Things to do in Ottawa this summer


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As the temperature climbs and the sun bathes the city in its warm glow, Ottawa awakens to its full potential. And from what the best moving companies in Ottawa can tell, the Canadian capital has gained recognition as an exceptional summer destination, so most people choose this season to settle down here. Whether you’re a resident or just a visitor, this guide on the things to do in Ottawa this summer will show you some of the city’s best-kept secrets. So, brace yourself for a world of outdoor exploits, cultural treasures, and culinary delights that will undoubtedly leave you craving more!

This summer, outdoor adventures await you in Ottawa!

If all you want to do when the days become longer is to spend time outside, you’ll love summers in Ottawa. When it comes to embracing the great outdoors, Ottawa leaves no stone unturned. One of the prime destinations for outdoor enthusiasts is Gatineau Park, located just a short drive from downtown. This vast expanse of natural beauty offers a plethora of hiking trails catering to all levels of experience.

Happy couple riding bicycles
Feel the breeze in your hair as you ride a bicycle along Rideau Canal!

Meanwhile, if you prefer cycling, rent a bike and embark on a leisurely ride along Ottawa’s scenic pathways. One such must-see pathway is Rideau Canal, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that’s bustling with activity during the summer. As you pedal along its picturesque banks, you’ll witness iconic landmarks, such as the Parliament Buildings and the historic ByWard Market. Immerse yourself in those sights, and don’t forget to capture some Instagram-worthy photos along the way!

Beat the heat at Ottawa’s beaches

When the sun is high, and the temperatures soar, Ottawa’s beaches offer a welcome respite from the heat. With its sandy shores, Mooney’s Bay and Britannia Beach are some of the most popular beaches within the city limits. There, you could dive into the crystal-clear waters for a refreshing swim, bask in the sun, or simply relax with a good book. And when hunger strikes, spread out a blanket and make a delightful picnic!

For those seeking aquatic adventures, the Ottawa River can be your playground. For an unforgettable day by the water, grab a kayak or paddleboard and glide across the gentle currents, taking in the stunning riverfront scenery. Families also love spending time there as the waters are calm and the access points are convenient. As such, it’s no surprise that many guides on sports activities for kids in Ottawa recommend a visit to the Ottawa River!

Exploring cultural wonders is also on the list of things to do in Ottawa this summer

One of the ways to relax in Ottawa after your relocation, especially if you moved during a heatwave, is to seek shade among Ottawa’s museums and galleries. Luckily, for history buffs and culture enthusiasts, the capital has plenty of things to offer! Begin your journey at the Canadian Museum of History, where you can learn more about the rich heritage of Canada. With interactive displays, this museum offers a fascinating glimpse into the nation’s past. That being said, an exhibition on the history, cultures, and beliefs of the First Peoples of Canada’s Pacific Coast will be especially interesting!

A girl in a museum, reading the list of things to do in Ottawa this summer
Espace the summer heat in one of Ottawa’s famous museums

At the same time, art aficionados will be captivated by the National Gallery of Canada. Not only is it home to an extensive collection of artworks from around the world, but this gallery is also an architectural marvel. Meanwhile, if you’re seeking a unique experience, visit the famous Diefenbunker, Canada’s Cold War Museum. Step back in time as you explore the underground bunker, originally built to protect government officials during the Cold War. There, you can gain insight into this intriguing period of history and marvel at the facility’s impressive architecture and preserved artifacts.

Indulge in gastronomic adventures

Just like its population, Ottawa’s culinary scene is a melting pot of flavors and cultures.  So, if you want to spend warm summer nights trying out mouthwatering dishes from around the world, you’re in luck! From juicy street food to fine dining establishments, Ottawa’s food scene has something to satisfy every palate. And when the weather permits it, patio dining becomes a must. Whether you prefer a cozy courtyard or a bustling street-side spot, there will be plenty of hip eateries to choose from in this city.

Friends in a bar talking
Hitting a bar with your friends and trying out new food is definitely one of the top things to do in Ottawa this summer

Perhaps you could also make your way to the farmers’ markets and immerse yourself in the local food culture. Sample fresh produce, artisanal cheeses, and delectable pastries while engaging with friendly vendors. Not only you’ll experience the true flavors of Ottawa, but you’ll also support local farmers and artisans!

Explore Ottawa’s hidden gems or take a day trip

While Ottawa itself offers a wealth of attractions, why not embark on one of the most popular day trips from Ottawa and discover the region’s hidden gems? Just a short drive away, you’ll find the charming town of Merrickville, renowned for its well-preserved historic buildings and delightful boutique shops. Lose yourself in the quaint streets, explore local craftsmanship, and soak in the old-world charm. Meanwhile, if you’re yearning for a step back in time, a visit to Upper Canada Village is a must-see. This open-air museum showcases 19th-century rural life through meticulously restored buildings and engaging costumed interpreters. So, take a stroll through the charming streets and interact with historical characters, and you’ll get a glimpse of the past.

For nature enthusiasts, hiking in Gatineau Hills will be the best getaway! Here you can marvel at breathtaking lookouts, embrace the thrill of zip-lining adventures, and immerse yourself in the serene beauty of nature. Alternatively, if you prefer spending time in the mountains, pay a visit to the Calabogie Peaks Resort. Nestled amidst rolling hills, this all-season resort offers outdoor activities that cater to all ages. From hiking and mountain biking to off-track expeditions, there’s no shortage of thrills in this beautiful setting. Finally, don’t forget to explore the gardens and grounds of Rideau Hall, the official residence of the Governor General of Canada!

Discover Ottawa’s festive spirit

When it comes to celebrating summer, Ottawa knows how to throw a party! Perhaps that’s the reason why so many young couples are moving to Ottawa these days. That being said, make sure to mark your calendar for the iconic Canada Day celebrations. Ottawa residents go above and beyond to create the right patriotic atmosphere, and it feels great being part of it! And if you’re in the mood for a captivating show, head over to Parliament Hill and witness the Sound and Light Show. Then, you’ll have a chance to see history come to life through stunning visual projections, and it’s completely free on top of that!

Girls attending a concert in Ottawa
What’s better summer fun that attending a musical event with your friends?

However, it’s not just about lights and shows. Ottawa’s summer is also a haven for music lovers. Have you checked out the lineup of outdoor concerts and music festivals happening throughout the season? From jazz to rock, there’s a melody for every ear. And for those craving a cultural experience, the Ottawa Dragon Boat Festival and the Ottawa International Animation Festival are not to be missed.

Summer in Ottawa offers plenty of opportunities for a family-friendly fun

For families visiting Ottawa or thinking of getting Ottawa relocation services to move there, summertime will be the best time of the year. The city offers a plethora of exciting and educational experiences that will delight both children and adults alike! Besides, the children will be on vacation, so there will be more time to enjoy them. For a start, plan a visit to the Canada Agriculture and Food Museum to get an interactive farm experience. For example, kids can learn about farm animals, try their hand at milking a cow, and discover the wonders of Canadian agriculture.

A girl feeding goats
Your children will love spending time with animals on a nearby farm

Aviation enthusiasts will love the Canada Aviation and Space Museum! With its impressive aircraft displays and engaging exhibits, this museum provides a captivating journey through the history of flight. Get up close to iconic airplanes, explore interactive displays, and ignite your imagination. Meanwhile, for a hands-on exploration of science and technology, head to the Canada Science and Technology Museum. Finally, when the temperatures soar, a visit to Calypso Water Park promises a day of exhilarating fun for the whole family. From thrilling water slides to wave pools and lazy rivers, this water park offers a refreshing escape from the heat. So, grab your swimsuits, slather on the sunscreen, and get ready for a splashing good time!

Explore Ottawa’s neighborhoods in a different light

Beyond the city’s main attractions, Ottawa’s neighborhoods offer a wealth of unique experiences waiting to be discovered. And what’s a better time to discover something new than during summer? Start your exploration in the historic ByWard Market, where you can meander through bustling streets and find unique souvenirs. For a taste of trendy urban living, head to Westboro. This vibrant neighborhood boasts an array of boutiques, chic restaurants, and stylish cafes. After you go there, treat yourself to a shopping spree and have lunch in one of its hip eateries.

If you love art, the Glebe area will be for you! In this creative district, you can find many unique stores, art galleries, and charming cafes. So, hit the streets, admire local artwork, and immerse yourself in the vibrant arts scene that defines this eclectic community. And if you need a cup of good coffee after the whole day of exploring, take a break at Wellington Village.

Summer is the ideal time to work on improving your home

While exploring Ottawa’s summer delights, don’t forget to take some time to work on the things around your own home. This season presents the perfect opportunity to start a garden and fill it with vibrant blooms and fresh herbs. Gather your gardening tools, select your favorite plants, and create a haven of beauty right in your backyard. However, summer is also a great time to organize and declutter your home. Take stock of your belongings, and store away winter items that you no longer need. Then, apply the KonMari method or tackle one room at a time to create a more spacious and inviting living environment. If you need help with that, remember that professional movers in the area offer packing services Ottawa and other services useful while decluttering.

Seniors packing boxes
Decluttering might also be on the list of things to do in Ottawa this summer

Also, this is the right time to start working on those outdoor maintenance projects you’ve been planning for a long time. Use these warm and long days to check off tasks like cleaning the gutters, power washing the exterior of your home, or giving your deck a fresh coat of paint. By taking care of these essential tasks, you’ll ensure your home is in top shape for the season!

This summer in Ottawa can be the time of your life!

As you can see, Ottawa is a summer wonderland, offering a multitude of unique experiences for every type of adventurer. From festive celebrations to family-friendly activities, this city has something to offer everyone. So, pack your bags, lace up your shoes, and focus on fun things to do in Ottawa this summer! One thing is certain – whether you’re a local or a visitor, Ottawa will captivate you with its charm and leave you with unforgettable memories.

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