Things to do in Ottawa

Top Things to Do in Ottawa, Canada - Ottawa Must-See Attractions

Things to Do in Ottawa


Book these experiences for a close-up look at Ottawa.

Top Attractions in Ottawa

These rankings are informed by traveller reviews—we consider the quality, quantity, recency, consistency of reviews, and the number of page views over time.
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Tours, activities and experiences bookable on Tripadvisor, ranked using exclusive Tripadvisor data including reviews, ratings, photos, popularity, user preferences, price, and bookings made through Tripadvisor.
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What travellers are saying

  • mabellejee
    Mount Vernon, IL139 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Book a tour to see how Canadian Parliament operates. Currently being held in West Block as they complete major renovations on Centre Block, Guide was informative. The newly created structure was beautiful and so many aspects to take in. For free, this tour was appreciated by all of my family. A win!
    Written 31 March 2024
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • Gardiner W
    Vancouver, Canada446 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Who knew? Comprehensive, thought provoking and very much "tell it like it was". Fascinating collections. Particularly liked the historical aspect of the museums offerings....tracing conflict from the earliest days...skirmishes amongst first nations peoples, to contact with European explorers and eventually settlers. And then of course Canada's participation in conflicts over the years...English vs French (the battles of these two great colonial empires), Canadian (comprising English, French and indigenous) with our big neighbour to the south. And then Canadian participation as the loyal British dominion in WW1 and WW2. A lot more history here than most Canadians realize. And if you are a military machinery fan, lots of tanks and armaments to gaze at. You really need 3 -4 hours to do the museum proud..or plan to come back another day. Underground parking ($13..pretty reasonable). The tours I had hoped for not available (staffing shortages) so check first by phone.
    Written 12 December 2023
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • PookyCake
    Victoria, Canada13,892 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    When visiting Ottawa, it is virtually impossible *not* to see Rideau Canal. If coming in from the airport, and heading downtown, your TAXI or Uber will drive alongside the canal for a few kilometers. Then, once downtown, it’s a major attraction near the Chateau Laurier thanks to the “Ottawa Locks” that bring boats safely down (or up) towards the Ottawa River, representing an elevation change of some 79 feet. In that regard, the Rideau Canal and their accompanying Locks represent a beautiful synthesis between human engineering, history, nature and, indeed, fun.

    A National Historic Site of Canada since 1925, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2007, the Rideau Canal is 202 kilometers in length – connecting Ottawa and Kingston – and was opened in 1832. Designed by John By, the canal was originally built to function as a reliable communication center during a time when Britain and the United States actively fought for control of the area (think War of 1812); however, it was never used for military service. Instead, it later functioned as an important shipping route and then, in the modern day, as a beautiful pleasure cruise space.

    In the current day, Rideau Canal is synonymous with Ottawa. As we were flying from Toronto, Air Canada showed a pretty nice propaganda photo of the canal as viewed across from the Senate of Canada Building and looking towards the Chateau Laurier. We made sure to mimic this photo ;)

    We only strolled a couple kilometers along the canal because of a foot malady I was dealing with at the time, but I imagine cruising the length of Rideau Canal would be nothing short of magical. Maybe that will be a future bucket list item?
    Written 15 December 2023
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • Stephanie H
    2 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Bring your walking shoes! There is so much to see! I was surprised by the sheer size of the building and number of displays
    I could have easily spent the day, and returned again, but we were subject to a timeframe.
    When you go, be sure not to miss the chapel- the sound is amazing.
    Definitely wish I was closer so I could make this a regular part of my week
    Written 28 March 2024
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • Lee H
    1 contribution
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    This museum is a must do if you are in the area.....Get a guided tour if you can........my guide was very entertaining as well as informative !! Don't miss this very interesting piece of history !!
    Written 27 March 2024
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • BCNY100
    New York178 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    Lovely and manageable museum with many exhibits. Great for kids who can read, a little less fun for those who can’t.

    The Dino extinction movie is very scary for kids. The owl special exhibit was a big hit
    Written 15 February 2024
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • Bea
    703 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    It is the capital’s oldest neo-Gothic basilica and largest church in Ottawa. It dates to 1841. You can visit it daily between services or book a guided tour.
    Written 11 December 2023
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • Helen E
    London, UK59 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    Fabulous museum that reviews Canada’s military and civil aviation history. Genuine Lancaster bomber. Also lots of of WW1 aircraft - very educational. Tons of interactive opportunities for kids— climb into the cockpit of a Soviet-era Mig, or a Tutor jet. For toddlers, lots of freedom and fun ride-on bikes. Small cafe. Clean bathrooms. Only downside: you have to pay for parking on top of your admission fee!
    Written 11 March 2024
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • CPJT
    Nanoose Bay, Canada19 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Our family off four, including two kids 12 and 16, enjoyed the 45-minute guided tour. It was fascinating to learn how advanced our coin-making technology is in Canada and how much we subcontract our services to other countries around the world. Our tour guide Zoe was fantastic and did an excellent job of explaining each step of the production process.

    One tip... it's a good idea to book your tour in advance. We didn't and were surprised when we arrived and the next tour wasn't available for about three hours. Not a big deal, as there's lot of other stuff to see and do within walking distance, but better to know in advance.
    Written 2 March 2024
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • Dimitris L
    Sydney, Australia45,568 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    The Peace Tower is a bautifful building on Parliament Hill. It was originall built as a memorial to those who died in World War I. It is currently undergoing quite extensive renovations and is unfortunately closed to the public. However it's worth visiting and having a look from the outside, as it is an architectural marvel.
    Written 15 October 2023
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • PookyCake
    Victoria, Canada13,892 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Located in Confederation Square, and unveiled in 1939 by King George VI, this beautiful monument made of bronze and granite was originally built to honour all those soldiers who lost their lives during the so-called Great War (World War I); however, with the passage of time, Canada’s National War Memorial – also called “The Response” – has come to symbolize and honour ALL Canadians who’ve served in conflicts since 1939 and, indeed, those who will serve in times of war in the years to come. In this regard, the National War Memorial is “timeless.” This timelessness forms the essence of the annual Remembrance Day celebrations, which are held each year on November 11: The Royal Canadian Legion, RCMP, Governor General, Prime Minister, Service Women and Men, and the public come together to pay their respects to those who’ve fallen in past and current wars.

    As I mentioned in my earlier review of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, I’m usually not big on war memorials, but this one just gets to me. It is, ironically, a solemn spot in the middle of bustling Ottawa for remembrance and reflection; and this is all beautifully captured by the National War Memorial, inclusive of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

    When visiting Ottawa, make sure to patronize this site. It is at once beautiful, sad and powerful.
    Written 20 November 2023
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
  • Dimitris L
    Sydney, Australia45,568 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    The eight Ottawa locks, which are the largest single set of locks on the entire Rideau system, connect the channel of the Rideau Canal to the Ottawa River.
    They are designed to raise and lower boats from one water level to another. They were built, along with a series of dams, to bypass rapids and waterfalls.
    It takes at least one and a half hours to go through the locks.
    On one side of the locks are Canada’s Parliament buildings and on the other is the architecturally magnificent building of the Chateau Laurier hotel. Not to be missed!
    Written 14 October 2023
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
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