Top 10 Things To Do in Ottawa
Canada’s capital and coolest city has captured our interest for student travel in 2017, this year being the country's 150th anniversary! We think this is the perfect opportunity to get your students involved in Canadian culture and history, an absolutely amazing educational immersion experience for any age group or interest level!
Sitting in the southeastern province of Ontario near Montreal, Ottawa is home to the country's most important legislation, architecture, museums, artwork, and even natural landscapes. Whether you want to spend your trip immersing yourself into the cities amazingly intriguing history at any of the world-class museums or just enjoy Canadian culinary delights before hitting the canal for some ice skating or canoeing, Ottawa is the place for you!
- Rideau Canal - One of the most popular local landmarks in Ottawa is the Rideau Canal, a 202 km chain of stunning canals, rivers, and lakes beginning in Kingston and ending here in Ottawa. This spot is historic, naturally gorgeous, and highly useful to the city as a still widely used navigable boating channel. Enjoy a water taxi ride, a relaxing cruise, ice skating, canoeing, people watching, or even picnicking here, this being an essential Ottawa stop sure to please a ll interests in your group.
- Canadian Museum of History/Canadian War Museum - Both of these museums are absolutely worth a visit, and in a way go hand in hand, so if you stop at one try to make time for the other. Together, these two world-class museums will give you all the interactive education you need on Canada’s natural history, military history, and cultural history. Both provide multilingual guides and tours, as well as learning workshops and performance venues for student groups.
- OWL Rafting - If you come to Canada seeking some real thrill and eco-adventure then you need to make a beeline to OWL Rafting on the Ottawa River, an excellent water recreation company providing opportunities for everyone, from non-swimmers to pro-rafters. Here you can experience the ‘warm, wild, and rugged’ whitewater rapids on the historic Rocher Fendu, with other fun options such as pontoon bbq’s, resort-rafting, and even cave canoeing!
- Funhaven - Students, families, and specialty travel groups alike will love this Ottawa entertainment option, the always fun and exciting Ottawa Funhaven. This upscale yet affordable thrill center holds attractions and events suitable for all ages and skill sets, including the world’s largest escape experience, a jungle gym, bumper cars, a rock wall, laser tag, and even an exciting‘spinning coaster’. Serving up to 200 guests in a group at once, providing budget-friendly menu options, and offering fun events like sleepovers and birthday parties, Funhaven is the perfect spot in Ottawa for student groups!
- Parliament Hill - Grand, historic, educational, and Ottawa-essential, Parliament Hill should always be on your Ottawa itinerary in one way or another. Whether your student group just wants to walk around it, picnic near it, or tour the inside, you really have to see it during your visit. Canada’s legislation, most iconic artwork, and neatly manicured grounds will greet you happily, with daily free tours of the various going-ons inside for your group (such as the Senate, House of Commons, and Parliament Library).
- Ottawa Senators - The U.S may have football locked down, but Canada most certainly has hockey! This Ottawa attraction allows you to see the highly popular Ottawa Senators, a favorable local NHL team. Head to the Canadian Tire Center on Palladium Drive to enjoy a hockey game or major concert, or maybe just a tour or dinner at one of the 7 onsite eateries!
- Ottawa Walking Tour -
Serving the area for over 11 years, OttawaWalking Tours is one of the most immersive, educational, and entertaining ways to get to know the Canadian Capital. The history and charm of Ottawa comes alive on such tours as the Historical Highlights tour where participants learn about the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, the Prime Minister's office, the Bank of Canada, and Parliament Hill to name a few. Or, discover Ottawa's rich public art scene on the popular Art & Culture in Public Spaces tour perfect for those interested in arts.
- ByWard Market - Considered to be Ottawa’s number one tourist destination, this shopping, dining, arts, and entertainment area is perfect for any size student group, and any interest! Whether you want to go shopping, grab a bite to eat, see a movie, or just sightsee, ByWard is the place for you! Located in Lower Town, this series of market buildings and open-air markets sees about 50k visitors each week during the summer, with a total of over 260 stands and 600 businesses throughout!
- National Gallery of Canada - One of the finest art museums in the entire country of Canada sits here in Ottawa, the National Gallery of Canada. Enjoy fine art, a great location, curriculum-based tours and workshops, and again, performance spaces for student groups. The story of Canada is told well through the various exhibits, such as the Inuit and Aboriginal pieces, and you will get an even better story if you visit in May 2017, when the gallery will display the largest Canadian Art Collection in the world (1,000 pieces, 5 exhibits).
- Peace Tower - Also known as the Tower of Victory and Peace, this Ottawa famous tower is an iconic clock and bell tower that sits directly in the center of Centre Block of the Canadian. Standing at an astounding 98 meters total, this tower is definitely one of the most dominant features of Parliament Hill, as well as one of the most recognized symbols of Canada. Grab your camera and enjoy the outstanding view from the top!
Excellent Group Eatery Must Mentions:
- Tosca Ristorante - For a memorable night on the town in Ottawa head to Tosca Ristorante, an upscale Italian eatery in the heart of the downtown district. This rich and contemporary restaurant offers a rustic backdrop, amazing food (try the linguine with clams or Atlantic salmon), and most importantly, favorable accommodations for groups of up to 120 people. In their own words ‘Mettez Tosca Dans Votre Itineraire!’
- Real Sports Bar + Grill - This is a more laid back eating option to add to your Ottawa adventure, though students always tend to love it! Real Sports Bar + Grill is located in the heart of the ByWard Market, a fantastic spot for groups and students due to the high-variety menu, kid-friendly favorites, and ease of group accommodations inside the eatery. Try the brie and sourdough ‘grown up grilled cheese’ or the fish and chips, or keep it classic and try a Canadian AAA Certified Angus burger!