Located in southeast Ontario near the Quebec border, Ottawa may seem an unlikely choice for Canada’s capital when compared to larger cities like Toronto and Montreal. But that doesn’t mean it should be ignored. Lonely Planet compares Ottawa to a personal ad: “… young, vibrant, clean, bilingual, likes kids, long walks on the river.” Visit for yourself, and you’ll see this city doesn’t fall short. It’s small yet lively, family-friendly yet nightlife-ready, somewhat chilly yet undeniably cool.
Ottawa is a political and cultural hub that particularly caters to the out-of-towner. Its downtown overflows with jaw-dropping architecture, state-of-the-art museums, funky boutiques and fantastic snack joints that are all easy for you to explore on foot. Plus, this is a city that loves to celebrate, hosting dozens of festivals throughout the year. And while cold weather may seem like a deterrent, a few hours ice-skating (or sipping cocoa) along the Rideau Canal will transform even the most stubborn summer-lover into a winter buff.
How To Save Money in Ottawa
- Leave the car behind Keep in mind that gas in Canada is charged by the liter, not by the gallon. And since prices listed are generally equivalent to those in the States, you’re actually paying more money.
- Limit your sit-down meals to one a day Ottawa has an abundance of fine restaurants, but dining out can get expensive quickly. Rely on less formal dining spots like the ByWard Market.
- Avoid downtown hotels You’ll find much lower rates if you look to the outskirts. If convenience is an issue, remember that all of the city’s bus lines stop in downtown.