Must-see places for newcomers in Ottawa


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As you can expect, moving to a new city can be both an exciting and overwhelming experience. So, what’s a better way to relax than exploring your new surroundings and learning more about your place of residence? If you just moved to Ottawa, Canada’s charming capital, you’re in for a treat. From historic landmarks to picturesque parks, Ottawa has a lot to offer. If you don’t know where to start from, just ask your movers for recommendations on things to do and see there! Or, read this guide, brought to you by Professional Movers Ottawa, and join us on a journey through some of the must-see places for newcomers in Ottawa!

Your first stop should be Parlament Hill

Nestled at the heart of Ottawa, Parliament Hill stands as an emblem of Canada’s rich history and democratic values. This iconic landmark is not only a symbol of the nation’s governance but also a must-see destination for newcomers eager to learn more about the country’s heritage. The majestic Centre Block, famous for its stunning Gothic architecture, houses the House of Commons and the Senate. The Peace Tower, soaring high above, offers panoramic views of the city and the Ottawa River. Meanwhile, the Library of Parliament, a masterpiece of Victorian Gothic design, shelters a vast collection of books and documents.

Parlament Hill in Ottawa
Visit Parlament Hill and admire its stunning architecture

One of the most captivating traditions that take place on Parliament Hill is the Changing of the Guard ceremony. Each summer morning, the guards parade in their scarlet uniforms, accompanied by a regimental band. So, if you want to witness homage to Canada’s military history and traditions, local movers Ottawa suggest you don’t miss this event! Also, keep in mind that Parliament Hill offers guided tours that unveil the intricate workings of Canada’s government. Visitors can witness debates, learn about the legislative process, and gain insights into the nation’s political evolution. These tours are both informative and engaging, so you’ll learn something new regardless of your level of familiarity with the political landscape.

ByWard Market is also on the list of must-see places for newcomers in Ottawa

They say that ByWard Market is a “microcosm of Ottawa’s soul” and a place where culture, cuisine, and creativity come together. So, after long distance movers Ottawa help you relocate here, why don’t you test these claims and visit this vibrant market? If you wish to treat yourself to some shopping, this is a place to find craft items, from handcrafted jewelry to unique clothing. You’won’t stay hungry here either, as ByWard Market houses an impressive assortment of international cuisines and local delicacies. Whether you’re craving freshly caught seafood, crunchy pastries, or fusion dishes, you can try it here!

Craft stall at one of the must-see places for newcomers in Ottawa
Find yourself a unique decoration for your new Ottawa home at ByWard Market

However, ByWard Market isn’t just about shopping and dining; it’s also a hub for local art and creativity. Galleries, boutiques, and street art installations pepper the area, allowing newcomers to Ottawa to immerse themselves in the city’s cultural scene. And as the sun sets, ByWard Market transforms into a place for nightlife and live entertainment. The area comes alive with bustling pubs, trendy bars, and live concerts for every music taste. Therefore, you can choose between quietly enjoying artisanal cocktails or dancing the night away in one of the market’s groovy clubs.

Test your ice skating skills at Rideau Canal

The Rideau Canal, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, stretches through centre of Ottawa, so you can’t miss it. When winter blankets Ottawa in a layer of snow, a remarkable transformation takes place—the Rideau Canal becomes the world’s largest skating rink. Don’t worry if it’s safe to go there – whether you’re a seasoned skater or lacing up for the first time, the Rideau Canal caters to all skill levels. On top of that, you won’t spend much money, as this is one of the best budget-friendly activities in Ottawa. Besides, as you skate along the canal, you’ll be treated to stunning views of Ottawa’s historic architecture and picturesque landscapes. The Parliament Buildings, the Château Laurier, and other landmarks you’ll see.

A couple ice skating at the Rideau Canal
No matter whether you have experience in ice skating or not, ice skating with your loved one at Rideau Canal will be a truly unforgettable experience.

While skating is the main draw, the Rideau Canal offers an array of seasonal activities. During Winterlude, an annual winter festival, the canal hosts ice sculptures, concerts, and culinary events. In the summer months, the canal transforms into a boating paradise, inviting residents and tourists alike to paddle their way through the heart of the city. The Rideau Canal also connects to Dow’s Lake, which is a popular spot for picnicking and enjoying the outdoors. So, it’s safe to say that this canal should be one of the first things to explore after you settle in Ottawa!

Learn more about Canada’s art and culture at the National Gallery of Canada

The National Gallery of Canada boasts an extensive and diverse collection of Canadian and international art spanning various genres and time periods. So, if you’re an art lover, make sure to pay a visit to this gallery and learn more about the works of famous artists from all around the world. Moreover, the gallery’s architecture itself is a work of art. Designed by architect Moshe Safdie, the building’s intricate design and sweeping lines harmoniously blend into Ottawa’s landscape. Its glass façade offers breathtaking views of the city and Parliament Hill, creating a unique backdrop for the artwork within.

Art gallery in Ottawa
For those interested in art, the National Gallery of Canada should be on the list of must-see places for newcomers to Ottawa

For newcomers seeking a deeper understanding of the art on display, the National Gallery offers guided tours and interactive exhibitions. Knowledgeable guides provide insights into the stories behind the artworks, their historical context, and the techniques used by the artists. Therefore, you can get more from just a simple visit to one of the best cultural institutions in Canada.

Venture beyond Ottawa’s borders with a visit to Gatineau Park

Those who wish to see more than just downtown Ottawa and like spending time outdoors should head straight to Gatineau Park! Just a 20-minute drive from the heart of the city and across the Ottawa River, you’ll find this wonder of nature sprawling over 361 square kilometers. According to locals, a visit to this park is one of the best ideas for day trips from Ottawa, as you can spend the whole day here. From taking a slow walk to hiking along its trails, the hidden gems of Gatineau Park will certainly be worth your time.

Girls on a picnic
If you like making picnics with friends, Gatineau Park should be on your list of must-see places for newcomers in Ottawa.

One of Gatineau Park’s highlights is Pink Lake, a stunningly beautiful lake with crystal-clear waters and a unique color. The lake is encircled by trails that lead to breathtaking viewpoints, offering panoramic vistas of the surrounding landscape. As such, it’s a popular spot for photographers, nature enthusiasts, and couples looking for romantic date ideas. The best thing is, though, that Gatineau Park is one of those must-see places for newcomers in Ottawa that’s perfect all year round. In the warmer months, the park is a hotspot for hiking, mountain biking, and making a picnic. Meanwhile, as winter arrives, the park transforms into a wonderland for cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and even ice fishing on its frozen lakes.

Explore the national past at the Canada National Museum of History

If you’re curious to learn more about Canada’s rich history and cultural heritage, pay a visit to the Canadian Museum of History. Even though this institution is actually in Gatineau, it’s so close to downtown Ottawa that you can even reach it on foot. This museum isn’t just a collection of artifacts; it’s a gateway to understanding the way Canada has evolved since its early days. Depending on your interests, here you can explore a diverse range of exhibitions covering historical periods from the indigenous peoples of Canada to modern times.

For newcomers eager to immerse themselves in history, the museum offers interactive experiences that bring the past to life. From virtual reality exhibits to hands-on activities, visitors of all ages can step into the shoes of historical figures and get the impression of participating in key moments for Canada. There are also special events focused on children, so residential movers Ottawa recommend you visit the Canada National Museum of History with your youngest ones.

Royal Canadian Mint might surprise you on this list of must-see places for newcomers in Ottawa

For newcomers to Ottawa, exploring the city’s rich history and cultural landmarks is a must. One such captivating destination is the Royal Canadian Mint, where the fascinating coin-making process comes to life. Therefore, schedule your visit to this institution and witness the intricate process of turning raw materials into currency! The Mint offers guided tours that walk you through each stage of coin creation, from designing and engraving to striking and quality control. However, not everyone knows about this, so small movers in Ottawa recommend it as a hidden attraction in the capital city.

Canadian money
If you want to see how Canadian currency is made, make sure to pay a visit to the Royal Canadian Mint in Ottawa.

The Royal Canadian Mint goes beyond static displays by offering interactive exhibits that are fun for visitors of all ages. There, you can engage with touch screens, learn about the technology behind coin security features, and discover the Mint’s role in producing coins for countries around the world. One of the highlights is the chance to see the Guinness World Record-holding largest gold coin, an awe-inspiring sight you won’t want to miss. Of course, no visit is complete without a stop at the Mint’s gift shop, which offers a range of unique souvenirs and coin-related items. From collector’s coins and jewelry to art pieces, there’s something for everyone to take home as a memorable keepsake of your visit!

Unveil the hidden history of the world in Diefenbunker, Canada’s Cold War Museum

Among the must-see places for newcomers in Ottawa, the Diefenbunker stands out as a unique and immersive experience that delves into Canada’s more recent history. This underground bunker, designed to withstand nuclear attacks, offers an intriguing glimpse into a significant era in global affairs. The Diefenbunker was constructed during the height of the Cold War to serve as a top-secret government command center. Its primary purpose was to ensure Canada’s continuity in the event of a nuclear attack. The bunker’s impressive architecture and engineering showcase the lengths nations went to safeguard against potential threats.

From informative displays to rare artifacts, you’ll gain insight into the strategies and mindsets that shaped this pivotal period. However, your visit will be far from static if you embark on one of Diefenbunker’s guided tours led by knowledgeable experts. You’ll ge to unearth hidden chambers, operational rooms, and even a decontamination area. Also, you will be able to engage in interactive espionage experiences that simulate the challenges of intelligence work during the Cold War. For sure, this experience will help you bring history to life in a tangible and exciting way!

So, what are the must-see places for newcomers in Ottawa?

As you can see, Ottawa has a fantastic combination of impressive landmarks, museums and galleries, and places to relax in nature. While we’ve highlighted some of the must-see places in Ottawa, the city’s allure extends far beyond these sights. So, take this as an invitation to venture further, to explore the nooks and crannies, and to discover the hidden gems that make Ottawa truly unique!

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