Things to do in
Ottawa River

Ottawa River

Ottawa River: Our most recommended tours and activities

Ottawa: Sightseeing River Cruise

1. 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: Bilingual Guided City Tour by Amphibious Bus

2. Ottawa: Bilingual Guided City 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: River Zipline Adventure

3. Ottawa: River Zipline Adventure

Try out a completely unique activity that demands to be tried at least once. Try the world's only interprovincial zip-line flying across the mighty Ottawa River, separating Canada's capital, Ottawa, from the city of Gatineau. Arrive at the Welcome Desk on the Gatineau side to register and sign the liability waiver. Collect your equipment and head to the launch tower in Ottawa, an 8-minute walk from the Welcome Desk, across the Chaudière Bridge. Climb the steps to the tower and get ready to cross from one province to the other. Soar from Ontario to Quebec in less than a minute at an average speed of 40 km an hour, 120 feet above the water. Enjoy a breathtaking view of the National Capital Region with historic landmarks such as the Parliament of Canada, the historic district of Old Hull, and the Chaudière Falls, classified as a natural monument and national heritage site. Capture the whole experience and keep it as a souvenir for you and your loved ones with the Kool Replay video capture system. Quickly upload the full video of your zip line ride for your social media and watch your friends go wild.

Ottawa: Floating Tiki Bar Cruise on the Ottawa River

4. Ottawa: Floating Tiki Bar Cruise on the Ottawa River

Take a relaxing tour up and down the Ottawa River on a floating tiki bar. 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 floating palapa boat 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: Guided Bike Tour through Gatineau and Ottawa

5. Ottawa: Guided Bike Tour through Gatineau and Ottawa

Canada's Capital is famous for the recreatinal pathway system linking our two ciies and two provinces. We access the pathway directly from our downtown bike path site starting on the World Heritage Rideau Canal, proceeding south to Dow's Lake, Hartwell Lockstation, Rideau Falls, the Arboretum, Central Experimental Farm, Ottawa River and Chaudière Falls. Commentary on our history, culture and society. And even a little gossip from our professional guides. We finish the experience back on the Rideau Canal downtown. Our new Giant bikes are light and efficient. Slower participants can use electric assist models if necessary at 20$ additional fee. If e-bikes are required, please inform us in advance. The pace is easy.

Ottawa City Scavenger Hunt and Self-Guided Walking Tour

6. Ottawa City Scavenger Hunt and Self-Guided Walking Tour

Explore Ottowa at your own pace with this scavenger hunt (mobile web-based). Stroll past famous sites like the Canadian Museum of History and the ByWard Market, and learn all about them through our mobile website's personalized instructions and directions. Complete fun challenges along the way, collecting points as you go. Begin by converting your purchase on our website ( instructions are sent to you post-purchase by messaging and text. Next, go to the starting point in front of the Government Conference Center. Head out on your walk, and begin solving riddles and puzzles to unlock your next destination and learn about each site on the way. Make stops at Chateau Laurier, the Supreme Court, Byward Market, and, of course, the Parliament Hill. Learn a little history about the sites as you complete mini-challenges. Take as little or as much time as you like at each stop. Visit a total of 36 locations.

Ottawa: Yacht Cruises on Ottawa River - Wed, Thu, or Fri

7. Ottawa: Yacht Cruises on Ottawa River - Wed, Thu, or Fri

CRUISE THE AFTERNOON OR SUNSET Indulge in unparalleled luxury on the water with our exclusive public cruises. Immerse yourself in scheduled departures that guarantee panoramic views and impeccable service, providing the perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of the city. Unwind and relax as you traverse the water, whether it's a leisurely afternoon cruise, a breathtaking sunset voyage, or an exhilarating sunset & fireworks nights. Our enchanting experiences cater to solo travelers, couples, and groups of up to 24, promising unforgettable moments that will leave you yearning for more.

Ottawa River: White Water Rafting with BBQ Lunch

8. Ottawa River: White Water Rafting with BBQ Lunch

Enjoy a thrilling rafting adventure on the Ottawa River. Paddle, splash, and rollover rapids. Follow challenging routes through the white water, led by an expert guide on this 8-hour adventure. Begin your experience at our waterfront resort with an in-depth safety briefing. After a short bus trip to the start location, meet your guide and board your raft for a day of white water adventure. Paddle with your crew as you take in views of the Ottawa River. Take a break for snacks and drinks, and savor a BBQ lunch cruise at the end of your trip. Return to the meeting point and watch a video of your rafting trip, filmed by a video kayaker. Choose between low and medium intenstity rafting adventures depending on your comfort and skill level.

Ottawa Rideau River self-guided walking tour scavenger hunt

9. Ottawa Rideau River self-guided walking tour scavenger hunt

Are you looking for things to do in Ottawa? A walk along the Rideau River is an opportunity to learn about the importance of the city and discover some of its attractions. You will have to solve challenges at each step to discover your next destination. Walk from Rideau Falls Park to Green Island to Rideau Hall and the residence of the Prime Minister of Canada, passing some parks, and mansions. You will have fun completing challenges. The Ottawa Rideau River Tourist Scavenger Hunt is a 3.9 km / 2.4 mi walking tour with challenges along the way. It should take you 2 hours to complete. - A fun learning experience - Learn some local history - Challenge your knowledge: 22 varied challenges - Start whenever you are ready, from your smartphone – no fixed schedule - Take as little, or as much time as you wish to complete your hunt Buy 1 scavenger hunt for your party of 1 to 6 people.

Ottawa: Small-Group Walking Tour with Boat Cruise

10. Ottawa: Small-Group Walking Tour with Boat Cruise

Explore Canada’s capital city on foot with a walking tour of Ottawa. See the Giant Spider sculpture, and wander through ByWard Market, passing the Royal Mint, Notre Dame Cathedral Basilica, and Centennial Flame. End the tour with a scenic river cruise on the Ottawa River. Meet your local guide at the Giant Spider sculpture named "Maman" in front of the National Gallery. Gaze in awe of this stunning piece of art created by artist Louise Bourgeois, depicting a spider with a sac containing marble eggs. Walk past the Royal Mint and Notre Dame Cathedral Basilica, to the ByWard Market, an outdoor farmer's market in a historic neighborhood known for artisan shops, restaurants, and nightlife. See several historic landmarks and cultural institutions, getting a glimpse into the city's rich heritage. From there, continue walking toward The Centennial Flame, a flame-shaped fountain commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Canadian Confederation. Pass by the Fairmont Chateau Laurier on the way. At your last stop, board a relaxing river cruise to enjoy views of the downtown city center and discover the wonderful Ottawa River. As you board the boat, say goodbye to your guide.

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What people are saying about Ottawa River

Overall rating

(1,393 reviews)

Excellent tour. We didn't come at the best time on account of the weather in mid-April, and the three of us were the only people riding, but our guide and his son were a pleasure to talk with and listen to as they explained all of the landmarks and historical facts about Ottawa. It was a great tour of the city, friendly for beginners who knows how to shift gears and go up-and-down hills.

The tour was amazing. Conrad went above and beyond and wonderful as a solo adventure trip. He even took the time after to recommend a great lunch spot for me. Would highly recommend.

Unusual and incredible activity when the bus goes into the water Funny guide Interesting visit Small downside: sometimes he forgot to translate into French

Harry the guide was very knowledgeable and pointed out site's on the way and allowed as to stop and take some photos. I would highly recommend this tour

really pleasant, it's a good walk, but we liked it