Ottawa
Culture & History

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Our most recommended Ottawa Culture & History

Ottawa: Hop-On Hop-Off Guided City Tour Day Ticket

1. Ottawa: Hop-On Hop-Off Guided City Tour Day Ticket

All aboard for this popular hop-on hop-off city tour of Ottawa that’s filled with fun, facts, and history! Stay on the bus for the 1.5-hour tour or hop off and back on throughout the validity of your ticket. See the sights of Ottawa from a classic open-top, double-decker bus. Sit on the lower deck and enjoy the inside comfort or ride on the top deck and enjoy the fantastic views as your knowledgeable, bilingual guide points out landmarks and shares the city's history with you. Hop off at sites you want to explore and hop back on to resume your city tour. Do this at your own pace, and visit as many of Ottawa’s top sites as you like. See museums, parks, galleries, the Byward Market, the Canadian Parliament buildings, and lots more. Explore, dine, and shop throughout the capital city!

Ottawa: Sightseeing River Cruise

2. Ottawa: Sightseeing River Cruise

Discover the natural beauty of the region that captured the imagination of the first European explorer Samuel de Champlain. Climb aboard the 'Paula D' for a 1.5-hour sightseeing cruise on the Ottawa River. This must-do experience offers an entertaining glimpse of the region's rich history and leaves you with plenty of time to enjoy the rest of your stay. For your convenience, there are two departure docks, one located in Gatineau and another in Ottawa. Once boarded, sit back and relax as you cruise down the river. Enjoy spectacular views of the city and learn about the river's past life as a watery highway for transporting resources with your guide's engaging and informative commentary in both English and French. During your cruise, you'll have the opportunity to see the Parliament Buildings, the Rideau Canal Locks, and the cities of Ottawa and Gatineau from the river. You'll also be able to spot some sights that are only visible from the water or from Gatineau. While you're taking in the sights, savor a nice cold beverage (at your own expense) on the large open-air upper deck. Alternatively, escape the elements and visit the closed-in lower deck to take advantage of the on-board canteen with a bar.

Ottawa: 1-Hour Bilingual Guided Tour by Amphibious Bus

3. Ottawa: 1-Hour Bilingual Guided Tour by Amphibious Bus

Climb aboard a unique vehicle that can travel on land and water and discover the historical attractions of Ottawa and the Ottawa River from different perspectives. Spend 40 minutes on land and 20 minutes on the water. Admire landmark monuments and attractions such as Lake Dow, Landsdowne Park and Byward Market. Get a magnificent view of the city as you cruise along the river aboard the amphibious vehicle. See all the important sights of Ottawa and the city of Gatineau, located just across the water. Avail of an activity that is both fun and educational for the entire family, and ideal for those who are short of time but want to see it all.

Ottawa: Haunted Night Walking Tour

4. Ottawa: Haunted Night Walking Tour

Experience Ottawa like never before on a 75-minute Original Haunted Walk. Spend an evening with fascinating tour guides who are chosen from the best local storytellers and have a passion for sharing the unexpected side of Canada's capital city.  On the Original Haunted Walk, your expert cloaked guide will reveal to you their favorite ghost stories from the Downtown Ottawa area and lead you by lantern light to some of the city's most well-known haunted spots. Visit locations such as the Fairmont Château Laurier, Grant House, and Ottawa’s haunted high school. A favorite stop is the haunted Bytown Museum where many of the guides have had their own experiences to share. You’ll never look at the city and these buildings the same again.  After being led through the streets of Downtown Ottawa, your guide can walk you back to the start location or leave you to enjoy a (sleepless) night in the city.

Ottawa: Ottawa River Tour by Hawaiian Palapa Hut

5. Ottawa: Ottawa River Tour by Hawaiian Palapa Hut

Take a relaxing tour up and down the Ottawa River on a Hawaiian-style palapa hut in a boat trip like no other. Just head to one of the embarkment sites, climb aboard and get the party started. The activity provider's captains are all small vessel certified and licensed. Enjoy fancy drinks and snacks as the tiki bar takes you along the river, offering stunning views of the shoreline. Whether it’s just hanging out with friends for a fun time, spending some relaxing time with your family, taking a romantic cruise, or a group excursion, this tour is one of the most unique ways to get out on the water. Cruise the time away sipping drinks, and listening to or singing karaoke to your favorite tropical tunes.

Ottawa: Canadian War Museum Admission

6. Ottawa: Canadian War Museum Admission

Visit The Canadian War Museum, the national museum of military history, conveniently located west of Parliament Hill near downtown Ottawa. The museum is one of the world's most respected places for the study and understanding of armed conflict.  Discover the inspiring and touching stories of Canada's military contributions. Canada's rich military history is showcased through personal stories, artwork, photographs, and interactive presentations. Tour the extensive permanent exhibitions and expand your knowledge of the conflicts that shaped Canada, Canadians, and the world. The galleries have been designed to emphasize the human experience of war.  Explore at your own pace as you discover the rare and historically important artifacts, uniforms, vehicles, art, and memorabilia that make up the 3 million pieces in the collections. Each gallery highlights defining moments in Canada’s military history and the ways in which past events have shaped the nation.

Ottawa Private Tour with a Local

7. Ottawa Private Tour with a Local

Explore the city with a friendly local who is passionate about the city and eager to share all the information that will help you make the most of your trip. Get to know Ottawa through the eyes of a local on a 2, 3 or 4 hour private tour. Meet at your accommodation and head out on the tour to get familiar with the neighborhood. Learn about the best places to eat and buy groceries, the easiest ways to get around, and the top things to see and do. By the end of the tour, you'll feel more comfortable navigating the city and confident that you have all the information you need to make the most of your stay.

Ottawa: Small Group Half-Day City Sightseeing Tour

8. Ottawa: Small Group Half-Day City Sightseeing Tour

Ottawa has so much to see and do that it is hard to pack it all in one day. This tour is a half-day tour that will allow you to visit some of the city’s most popular attractions including various Parliament buildings. After exploring these landmarks, take part in a river cruise giving you the opportunity to catch a glimpse of over 55 must-see sites throughout the capital city. The day will begin with your tour guide picking you up from your downtown Ottawa hotel. While heading to your first stop on the tour, which is Parliament Hill, your guide will give you your first introduction to the city. They are able to answer questions, provide you with fun facts and point out important landmarks and sites. The adventure will begin once you arrive at the Royal Canadian Mint. On your tour of the headquarters, you will get a behind-the-scenes look at the state-of-the-art facilities. There will be plenty of free time available where you can explore the surrounding buildings, wander the grounds, and capture some amazing photos of the nearby sites.  The day will end with a relaxing hour river cruise (seasonal availability from mid-May to mid-October) that will have you leisurely floating down the Ottawa River. During your enjoyable river cruise, you will be able to view over 55 different sites along the river which include everything from Chateau Laurier Hotel and Rideau Falls to the Parliament Buildings, Supreme Court of Canada and the Prime Minister’s House. After your memorable river cruise, your tour guide will take you back to your downtown Ottawa hotel. Join this tour and feel like a VIP as groups are limited to a maximum of 7 people.

Gatineau: Canadian Museum of History Admission

9. Gatineau: Canadian Museum of History Admission

Experience Canada’s rich history in exciting new ways at The Canadian Museum of History and tour the expansive permanent exhibitions. The Museum is located five minutes from downtown Ottawa and Parliament Hill. Explore immersive galleries and learn about the outstanding achievements of First Peoples. The signature exhibition, the Canadian History Hall, reveals the events, personalities, and historical currents that have shaped Canada. Make the most of your visit with the free multilingual museum guide. Download the app prior to arrival to unlock exhibition overviews, interactive maps, images, and 360-degree virtual reality tours.

Ottawa: Street Art and City Exploration Game

10. Ottawa: Street Art and City Exploration Game

Get to know Ottawa’s diverse urban art scene through its street and public art. From new to well-known artists – and a few hidden gems – find dancing lions in Chinatown, learn about one of the world’s greatest inventors in Little Italy, and track down a café courtyard with art on every wall. Start the game at the Ottawa Mural. As you solve challenges, directions on your phone take you to the next location and puzzle to solve. It will take you between 1-1.5 hours to complete but you should explore at your own pace: simply pause the game and resume when you want from the location where you paused it. You can play on your own, in a large group, or in several smaller groups that compete against each other before meeting at the final stop of the game, KindComments.

Frequently asked questions about Ottawa Culture & History

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Other Sightseeing Options in Ottawa

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What people are saying about Ottawa

Overall rating

4.4 / 5

based on 265 reviews

Everyone was very friendly and helpful. We were taken to the exhibit that i wanted to see. When we were lost a very nice young man came to our rescue.

Perfect duration and perfect time of the evening to take great photos. The guide was a very good story teller.

Really very pleasant. The guide was interesting and dynamic. Very interesting journey.

Very informative-really enjoyed our storyteller. Learned much about Ottawa.

Chris is such a cool guy. Very well paced and enjoyable time.