The Capital Itinerary
The Capital itinerary takes you to the must‐see Ottawa attractions, landmarks and sights, with stops in between for food, drink and entertainment.
9:00 am: It is awe-inspiring to walk into the marbled Grand Entrance Hall of the Supreme Court of Canada. If the time is right, you may be able to sit in on a hearing.
9:45 am: Changing the Guard Ceremony is held each morning on Parliament Hill in Ottawa from late June through late August.
10:30 am: Visit Parliament Hill - Canada’s seat of government. Book group tours in advance (remember that the activities of Parliament sometimes have an effect on tours).
Tip: Watch for some of the fantastic stonework, including over 370 gargoyles, grotesques and friezes on the Peace Tower.
12:30 pm: Stop for lunch at D’Arcy McGee’s Irish Pub.
1:30 pm: After lunch stop at Rideau Hall, the residence and workplace of the Governor General of Canada. In the spring and summer the gardens are spectacular.
4:00 pm: It’s time for the ‘Hill Hour’ at the Métropolitain Brasserie from 4 to 7 p.m. on weekdays.
Youth/family-friendly option: Test your knowledge of Ottawa with a scavenger hunt with UrbanQuest. The Quest is designed to be your experience. You can run it as a race against your friends, a tour of the city, a new way to have dinner on the town or just a fun way to spend an evening.
8:00 pm: Jazz, blues and folk are just a few of Ottawa’s fantastic music festivals in the summer months. Classical music fans will love the world-renowned Ottawa International Chamber Music Festival (see the Calendar of Events for dates). Need a winter sports fix? The Ottawa Senators are the hottest ticket in town!
Youth/family-friendly option: In the summer months, head back to Parliament Hill after dark for Mosaika, the free nightly Sound and Light Show performance. (July 10 - September 7, 2013 – July show starts at 10 p.m., August show starts at 9:30 p.m., September show starts at 9 p.m. )
9:00 am: The Canadian War Museum is a must for a ‘Capital’ tour. With six different galleries and special exhibits for all ages, plan to spend a few hours.
12:30 pm: Head back downtown and have lunch at the Empire Grill in the ByWard Market. You won’t be able to resist popping into the one-of-a-kind shops and stalls in the market, so schedule a good two hours for the lunch break.
2:30 pm: For groups travelling in the summer months, Aboriginal Experiences (groups only), located minutes from downtown on Victoria Island, recreates the traditions, foods and dancing of First Nations Peoples. Alternatively, head east to the Canada Aviation and Space Museum and marvel at more than 130 aircraft on display: a collection that rivals many in the world or while at the museum opt for a ride in a historic biplane or helicopter for a fantastic view of the city.
5:30 pm: Patterned after the great steak houses of North America, is one of Ottawa's best choices for steak and seafood, Prime 360.
8:00 pm: After dinner explore the haunts of Ottawa with Haunted Walks of Ottawa. Locals and newcomers alike are fascinated by these glimpses into the darker history and haunting of the Nation’s Capital.
9:00 am: No ‘Capital’ tour is complete without a trip to the town of Carp (30 minutes west of Ottawa) to see the Diefenbunker: Canada’s Cold War Museum, a fascinating relic of the Cold War.
12:30 pm: The Lone Star Texas Grill (Kanata location) started right here in Ottawa, so go to the source for the best Tex-Mex food in town and it is on the way back from the Diefenbunker.
6:00 pm: Prepare for a fabulous evening by dining at Le Cordon Bleu Bistro @ Signatures Restaurant. The Signatures restaurant presented a formal fine dining atmosphere that celebrated the history and tradition of French cuisine and culture.
Youth/family-friendly option: The Fish Market Restaurant and its upstairs neighbour Coasters Seafood Grill offer a variety of surf-and-turf options in a casual, friendly atmosphere.
8:00 pm: The National Arts Centre always has something wonderful to see, whether your choice is theatre, music or dance.
10:00 am: You can’t leave town without a tour through the National Gallery of Canada with its giant bronze spider, Maman, on the plaza entranceway. Permanent exhibits include major works from European, American and Canadian masters among many others. Guided tours or personal tours with audio guide are available.
1:00 pm: Pick a delicious dish from the Blue Cactus Bar & Grill in the ByWard Market.
3:00 pm: Spend the afternoon at the Mackenzie King Estate in Gatineau Park. Roam around the romantic gardens and picturesque ruins or take one of the many trails through the woods before stopping for tea at the Mackenzie King Tearoom. Travel time is approximately 20 minutes.
6:30 pm: You can indulge in dinner at the Courtyard Restaurant specializing in Canadian cuisine using fresh, seasonal ingredients from local suppliers and is a favorite destination for relaxed fine dining.
8:00 pm: The Casino du Lac-Leamy offers slot machines, blackjack, and a variety of poker games, among many other options. If gaming isn’t for you, there is always great entertainment at the Théâtre du Casino.