Outstanding Ottawa Outings

by Rachael VanDerWerff

If you’re going to the Great White North on an academic adventure, here are some must-see, must-do attractions that will help you make the most out of studying abroad in Ottawa, Canada.

Parliament Hill, Ottawa, Ontario.
Parliament Hill, Ottawa, Ontario. Photo courtesy Doug Kerr

Parliament Hill

Located in downtown Ottawa, and home to the Parliament of Canada, this structure is a historical symbol and an architectural wonder. Visit during the day to observe its beauty in the sunlight, and during the night to experience the story of Canada portrayed through the famous Mosaika sound and light show.

Rideau Canal

A sequence of breathtaking rivers, lakes and canals passing through a labyrinth from Kingston, to Ottawa, is a historical sight and one of Ottawa's most precious areas.  The Rideau Canal is the oldest ongoing operated canal system in North America. In the winter the beautiful waters of the canals turn to ice and are transformed into the world’s largest skating rink. Bundle up and explore the ice and the many other activities offered at the Canal.

National War Memorial

Also referred to as The Response, the National War Memorial is a bronze sculpture, located in Confederation Square, erected to commemorate the First World War. After the Second World War and Korean War the structure was rededicated to include all three historical events. The site is now televised on November 11 each year for the ceremony of Remembrance Day. The event is attended by many government members, groups, and organizations, as well as veterans.

National Gallery Of Canada

If you’re in Ottawa to study fine arts, art history, or design, a trip to this important gallery will probably be part of your curriculum. Holding the country’s finest collection of art, the National Gallery features Canadian, American, and European artistry. Enjoy strolling through the exhibits of modern and contemporary art in the form of sculptures, paintings, drawings, prints, and photography. Make sure to set aside plenty of time to explore the mesmerizing halls.

Rideau Canal

Rideau Canal

Canadian Museum Of Civilization

The Museum of Civilization was created for the purpose of telling the story of the human history of Canada and the culture of its people. The Museum houses a collection of studies, preserved materials that are on display for all to observe and learn about Canada. There are many exciting exhibits in the halls of this Museum, one of which is the world’s largest display of totem poles. Visit this Museum to really delve into the history and culture of Canada.

Byward Market

An area filled with unique cafes, specialty food shops, museums, boutiques, galleries, pubs and restaurants, along with a wonderful farmers market, the Byward Market has something for everyone. Spend the afternoon pursuing the abundance of shops and booths along the curvy roads of downtown Ottawa.

Tulip Festival

If you’re spending the spring semester in Ottawa, you can take part in this blooming celebration, held annually during the month of May to welcome spring. More than 1 million tulips are planted each year and more than 500,000 guests come to admire the beauty of these elegant flowers. The flowers are planted all throughout the city, with the biggest display found in the Commissioners Park.


Known as the largest festival in Canada, Winterlude is held each year to celebrate the beauty and frost of winter. It takes place over three weekends, usually in the month of February, and attracts more than 1.5 millions visitors.  The focus of this grand event is the Rideau Canal Skateway, but activities can also be found all throughout the city. Other events include; ice sculpture competitions, an ice lounge and musical concerts.

National Gallery Of Canada

National Gallery Of Canada

Outdoor Adventures

For the outdoor adventure seeker studying abroad in Ottawa, there are plenty of activities to keep you going all year round. These include hiking, golfing, cycling, ice skating, ice hockey, boating, and kayaking. Take your pick, get outside and enjoy some fresh Ottawa air!