Interested in Ottawa?
We'll send you updates with the latest deals, reviews and articles for Ottawa each week.
Other recent lists by clamc40:
Lists you may be interested in:
A budget-friendly weekend in Ottawa with children in tow
This should be your first stop. Great location, easy to find, and TONS of helpful tourism information. A neat interactive type of model map that will amuse the kids while you are picking up tourism literature, directions, etc. Directly across from Parliament Hill, and our favourite statue (Terry Fox) out front.
Kids will likely be bored with one of the full tours of Parliament Hil. But you don't need to take a tour - you can walk up and around the buildings - please check out the great views in the back! Lots of park-type areas for the kids to burn off some energy and for you to get some great pictures. You can see the views, take the pictures, walk on the lawns and the paths - all free. And if want to compromise (adults/children) - don't do the full tour - just do the part where you can go up the peace tower in the elevator. All kids like to do that and be high up and look out the windows from the peace tower. More great pictures! If you do go inside (for either just the Peace Tower elevator, or the full tour) please note that you will need to go through security screening like they have at airports. Didn't used to be that way ... but ... well, the world has changed!
Cool views. Kids will enjoy - IF the wait to get up isn't too long, that is.
If you are walking, this walking route will take you right by many of the main attractions. If you are going to most of the places on this Go list, you will have be on it, anyways. Read the link to learn more.
Give the kids some pocket money, and browse around the market. You'll likely be parked somewhere around there, anyways, as you tour & sightsee downtown Ottawa - it is a good "base" to use as you make your way to-and-from other sites. All major Ottawa attractions are within walking distance; plus, there are lots of places to eat around there. Don't forget to try a Beavertail (you haven't done Ottawa until you've had one). We often buy some fresh berries (we usually go for raspberries!) from one of the farmer's stalls and eat them while exploring.
'50's style diner smack dab in the middle of the Byward Market that kids really seem to enjoy because of its fun atmosphere and homey types of foods. Adults have also been known to indulge in milkshakes! Always busy. Food is average, but it is "atmosphere" here that makes the difference with the kids.
Another restaurant in the Market that is family friendly with a decent kids menu
Take a walk along the Rideau Canal; a good place to start your walk is either at the National Arts Centre or at the Bytown Museum. Ask anone on the street, don't worry, they will point you in the right direction. I usually get nervous if the kids get too close to the edge, though. They always like to watch locks and boats. This is also free (unless you buy an ice cream or hot dog from one of the many vendors!)
Yes, I know, I know. Kids won't want to view an Art Gallery - and you are right. But, since you are probably spending the day dowtown, you can (free) take some pictures outside of the gorgeous building, see the inside lobby, and explore some of the nearby places - Major's Hill park is across the street, the Byward Market is across the other side of the street, and you can pick up a brochure from the lobby and tell yourself to come by when you are with adults only! The glass building is quite exceptional. More picture taking opportunities...
Again, kids probably won't care to do an inside tour, but you can compromise and go to the grounds. The grounds/gardens of Rideau Hall are free (yay!) and open to the public and are very pretty and wide open spaces -- kids can run and jump and play. There is a playground near the gates. Adults will find it a peaceful & pretty place for photos and relaxation (while the kids are running and playing) and it is quite fun to check out all the plaques posted at the bottom of the various trees, as they were all planted by various Heads of States, etc. Rideau Hall is just down (and across) the street from the Prime Minister's residence - you can walk to see outside the gates of the Prime Minister's house, but you can't drive up to it or stop.
Using one of the maps you received from the InfoCentre, take a pretty drive along Queen Elizabeth to Dows Lake and Commissioners Park. Especially amazing in the spring with the tulips, but summer flowers are good, too! Follow Queen Elizabeth from downtown to Dows Lake. Park at Dows Lake, get out and stretch your legs.
Another pretty drive and FREE thing to do with the kids. Again,using one of the maps you picked up, take a drive along Colonel By drive (lovely) to Hogs Back Park, where you can get out and stretch your legs, run around...
Now, I don't know about your kids, but mine (2 active boys) usually get bored in museums. This place, however (which is in Gatineau Quebec, but don't worry, that is directly across the River from Parliament Hill in Ottawa, and can be very easily accessed from downtown Ottawa) is great because it has lots of educational, cultural, and historic displays for adults -- but it has a Children's Museum in-house, too. Plus the drive there (if you are driving) down Wellington Street (past the Parliament Buildings, Supreme Court, etc.) and over the Portage bridge into Gatineau is lovely. Try it, perhaps, on a rainy day (or the winter) - I never like to waste nice days inside, myself.
Maybe combine this one with the Museum of Civilization on a rainy day, but worth it. Adults and Kids both give it high reviews. You'll need a car or drive to get there.
Outside of the downtown core, but one of my kids favourites. Very hands on, lots of fun. Save it for when you have a couple of hours away from downtown (and a car), but they will likely really enjoy it.