Only have two days in Ottawa? Here's what you have to see and do while you're there! // dreams-etc.com

What to See and Do In Ottawa

I only spent two full days in Ottawa last fall, but it was enough to capture my heart. I didn’t get to see all that the city has to offer, but I really enjoyed what I saw and it gave me a new appreciation for and understanding of the city. I’ll share my two-day itinerary in my next post about Ottawa–it was perfect if you only have a short amount of time. Today I’m sharing a roundup of all the places I visited while I was there.

What to do & see during a quick trip to Ottawa. // dreams-etc.com

What to do & see during a quick trip to Ottawa. // dreams-etc.com

Rideau Canal

The Rideau Canal was built as a military precaution in case of a war with the United States. It was never used for that purpose, but today it’s used for pleasure boating during the warmer months. During winter it becomes a large skating rink and, apparently, you can see business people skating to work. How cool would that be? It’s also incredibly beautiful and looks like a great place to go for a walk or a run.

What to do & see during a quick trip to Ottawa. // dreams-etc.com

Bytown Museum

This is a small museum along the Rideau Canal. It looks like a little house and is the cutest building! The Bytown Museum shares the history of Ottawa–which used to be called Bytown. Be sure to check the hours before you go, because it changes seasonally. It cost about $7 to get in and was well worth it. The museum covers the history, why the name changed and what life was like. When I visited they also had a special exhibit on the fire in Parliament Hill, but it closed two days after I left. I’m sad it wasn’t a permanent exhibit, because I thought it complimented the tour of Parliament Hill so well!

What to do & see during a quick trip to Ottawa. // dreams-etc.com

Byward Market

The Byward Market has stalls to buy produce and plenty of restaurants. I dipped into one of the restaurants for a quick lunch one day while I was there. If you want to take a longer break for lunch, there are some nicer restaurants you can sit down at, too. While you’re there, be sure to grab a Beavertail. It’s basically a flattened donut that looks like a beaver tail and they have different options for toppings. The Beavertail is big and rich–I had no hope of finishing it! But I enjoyed it and it’s something I read about before I visited.

Only have two days in Ottawa? Here's what you have to see and do while you're there! // dreams-etc.com

Walking Tours

What to do & see during a quick trip to Ottawa. // dreams-etc.com

The Ottawa Walking Tour takes about 2 to 2 1/2 hours, costs $15 and is so worth it! You’ll go out rain or shine (we went out in the rain), but I learned so much about the city and how it was developed. Some highlights: seeing the Prime Minister’s office and learning more about how the Canadian government works, and learning about the architecture in the city. The tour starts across the street from Parliament Hill and ends in Byward Market.

What to do & see during a quick trip to Ottawa. // dreams-etc.com

The Haunted Walk of Ottawa has a variety of tours you can go on and I want to go on all of them! The one I chose was the Original Haunted Walk of Ottawa, which only takes place from April to November. It actually covered a lot of the same terrain that the Ottawa Walking Tour covered, but added a different perspective to it since they share the “spooky” and mysterious stories. It wasn’t a scary walk at all, but it was a lot of fun! You’re led by a guide who wears a black cloak and carries a lantern. The walk starts outside of their office and ends with a tour of the jail. It was about $20, but again, it was so worth it! Would I recommend doing both of these walking tours if you have a chance? Yes!

On the Street

 

Only have two days in Ottawa? Here's what you have to see and do while you're there! // dreams-etc.com

The Valiants Memorial is a series of statues and busts that commemorate key figures from Canada’s military history. I was so excited to see a couple of women in the mix too! The memorial is located near Parliament Hill and the entrance to the Rideau Canal. I found this as I walked around on my first day after a tour of Parliament Hill.

Only have two days in Ottawa? Here's what you have to see and do while you're there! // dreams-etc.com

The Peacekeeping Monument commemorates Canada’s role in international peacekeeping and the soldiers–living and dead–who have participated in the effort. I stumbled upon this one as I walked from the Byward Market to Notre Dame. It sits near the National Gallery of Canada.

What to do & see during a quick trip to Ottawa. // dreams-etc.com

The Famous Five are on Parliament Hill grounds, but I saw them on the walking tour. These are the women who were part of the “Persons” case, in which they asked the question, “Does the definition of persons include female persons?” This led to the ability for women to be appointed to senate.

What to do & see during a quick trip to Ottawa. // dreams-etc.com

Maman isn’t a memorial or monument, but you’ll find this sculpture as you walk around the city. I wrote “See Spider Sculpture” on my itinerary and I knew I wouldn’t get on a plane without seeing it. This is a sculpture by Louise Bourgeois, created as an ode to her mother who was a weaver. If you visit, make sure you walk under it to look at the sac of marble eggs. The statue sits right outside the National Gallery of Canada and across the street from Notre Dame.

Visit "the Hill" and see the gothic-style Parliament building, warm up by the Centennial Flame and go up to the Peace Tower when you visit Ottawa! // dreams-etc.com

Parliament Hill

If you’re wondering, “What about Parliament Hill?” I have a full post on the tour of Parliament Hill, which is another must-do activity to put on your itinerary.

Have you visited Ottawa? What were some of your favorite sights?

If you missed the previous posts on Ottawa (or just want to reread):   Solo Travel  |  First Impressions  |  Parliament Hill

What to do & see during a quick trip to Ottawa. // dreams-etc.com

 

24 Comments

  1. Erica @ Coming up Roses

    May 3, 2017 at 12:28 pm

    What a fabulous guide – I need to visit Ottawa now! Can we talk about that Beavertail???!?!?!?! ALL THE HEART EYES.

    Reply
    • Crystal @ Dreams, etc.

      May 8, 2017 at 4:57 pm

      Thanks Erica! Yes, you do! 🙂 And yes!! The Beavertail was awesome! Definitely something everyone needs to try.

      Reply
  2. Glamamom®

    May 3, 2017 at 1:21 pm

    Looks like an awesome trip. That flattened doughnut has my name all over it!

    Reply
  3. shootingstarsmag

    May 3, 2017 at 1:56 pm

    I’ve never been but it sounds great! That’s interesting that the canal was built for possible war with the U.S. Never knew that! OMG, I totally need a beaver tail right now. Yum. Love the sound of the haunted walk. I’d so do that – I actually went on one in Nashville and it was so much fun.

    -Lauren
    http://www.shootingstarsmag.net

    Reply
    • Crystal @ Dreams, etc.

      May 8, 2017 at 4:59 pm

      Yeah! I thought that was really fascinating! And the Beavertail was fantastic! The Haunted Walk was awesome! I definitely want to go on one in every city that I visit if they offer one. It gave a really cool unique look at the history.

      Reply
  4. Beth Kondrick

    May 3, 2017 at 1:58 pm

    Looks like lots of great things to see! I’ve been to Canada once but would love to go back!

    Reply
    • Crystal @ Dreams, etc.

      May 8, 2017 at 5:00 pm

      There are! It definitely has more than I anticipated the first time I heard about Ottawa (way back when). 🙂 There are so many places I’d like to visit in Canada and after visiting Ottawa I’m definitely interested in exploring more of the country!

      Reply
  5. Charlotte

    May 3, 2017 at 2:29 pm

    What a fun post! I’ve never been to Ottawa before… looks like you got to see some really beautiful and interesting things while you were there. That spider freaks me out though, LOL. Also! Love that people ice skate to work! So neat 🙂

    Reply
    • Crystal @ Dreams, etc.

      May 8, 2017 at 5:01 pm

      I think the spider might be a love it or hate it kinda thing! 😂 I know! I thought it was so cool that people do that. I’d love to skate to work! If I could skate… I’ve never been good at the balancing on blades thing.

      Reply
  6. justine @ sunnyinjune.com

    May 3, 2017 at 9:36 pm

    how cool! i’ve been to canada but i’ve never been to ottawa. i think i want to go just for the beaver tail. LOL i feel like walking around for 2 1/2 hours earns you the beaver tail, right? my kids would FLIP seeing that spider with the egg sac, they’re really into bugs. eeeek

    Reply
    • Crystal @ Dreams, etc.

      May 8, 2017 at 5:02 pm

      Definitely! 2 1/2 hours definitely earns the beaver tail! Especially since I did that walk the same day I did the Haunted Walk and that was another two hours. No wonder my feet hurt so much that day! 😂

      Reply
  7. Taylor Smith

    May 4, 2017 at 10:36 pm

    I’ve never been to canada but I have a ton of family that lives up there!!! I need to visit!

    Reply
    • Crystal @ Dreams, etc.

      May 8, 2017 at 5:02 pm

      Yes! You should definitely go! There are a lot of places I’d like to go see in Canada.

      Reply
  8. Rachel @ STCL

    May 5, 2017 at 9:34 am

    How fun! I’ve only been to Montreal and Quebec (years ago), so I’d love to plan a trip back to Canada to see more! Totally agree about walking tours being the best. And that Beavertail looks SO good!

    Reply
    • Crystal @ Dreams, etc.

      May 8, 2017 at 5:04 pm

      Montreal is next on my list! (After another trip to Ottawa.) It’s actually where I had initially thought of going, but I planned the trip on the fly and Ottawa was a little cheaper. The Beavertail was delicious! Definitely worth trying out!

      Reply
  9. Casey

    May 5, 2017 at 6:42 pm

    What a fun round up of activities! I’ve never been to Canada but I definitely hope to visit one day. And that beaver tail is MASSIVE!

    Reply
    • Crystal @ Dreams, etc.

      May 8, 2017 at 5:04 pm

      It was a lot of fun! You should definitely visit soon if you have the chance. 🙂 There’s so much to see and do. I’m excited to explore more! It was!

      Reply
  10. Ashley Cowen

    May 6, 2017 at 2:56 pm

    oh my goodness that Beavertail!! That looks amazing! I’ve never been to Ottawa, but now I think I’ll have to add it to my bucketlist!

    Reply
    • Crystal @ Dreams, etc.

      May 8, 2017 at 5:05 pm

      It was delicious! So big, but delicious! 🙂 And definitely! Ottawa was such a fun city to visit, I highly recommend visiting if you have the chance.

      Reply
  11. Julie San

    May 6, 2017 at 5:36 pm

    Wow, that pastry looks INCREDIBLE! I’ve never been to the Eastern side of Canada — it’s been in queue on my travel list for quite some time!

    Reply
    • Crystal @ Dreams, etc.

      May 8, 2017 at 5:06 pm

      It was so good! I’d love to explore more of Canada in the future. What are some of your favorite places on the Western side?

      Reply
  12. Kimberly @ Berly's Kitchen

    May 7, 2017 at 3:43 pm

    Ottawa has always been on my list of places to visit. I definitely want to go now after reading your post. Of course, when I get there a Beavertail is on my list of items to find. 🙂

    Reply
    • Crystal @ Dreams, etc.

      May 8, 2017 at 5:06 pm

      Yes! The Beavertail is a must to try! 🙂 I hope you get a chance to go soon! It was a great city to visit.

      Reply

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  • I wasn’t particularly close to my aunts and uncles growing up. I was born when my parents were a little older and I always felt like my aunts and uncles had done the aunt and uncle thing and didn’t need more of it by the time I was born.

But my Uncle H and Aunt J were different. When my uncle was dying I was asked what some of my biggest memories were. This question came up again over the weekend. And there were so many to choose from. The biggest was, of course, sticky buns on Sunday morning. (And usually going to the store with him to get them.) There was also ✨ “driving” the tractor through the fields on the farm
✨ fishing during the summer
✨ trips to the store and getting a candy bar that I didn’t have to tell my parents about (but always did)
✨ talking about his Spanish classes
✨ “scaring the fish away” by talking, but he was fine with me talking anyway
✨ driving the boat...and starting to fill the boat with water when I went too fast, but he wasn’t upset
✨driving the golf cart around the golf course
✨ listening to his stories about his time in the army

He wasn’t a perfect man and I saw that once I was an adult. But for someone who was only close to one uncle growing up, he’s part of some of my best childhood memories. 💙
  • ”I am going to try to pay attention to the spring. I am going to look around at all the flowers, and look up at the hectic trees. I am going to close my eyes and listen.” [Anne Lamott]

The last time I was here it was cold and the ground was covered in snow. I said goodbye to my uncle. (That sentence still brings tears to my eyes.) Now it’s (slightly) warmer and the world is waking up after winter. This weekend I was thankful for 🌻 the chance to enjoy a beautiful view of Lake Michigan with my dog in my lap
🌻 a family brunch
🌻 followed by a family dinner the same day
🌻 fresh WI cheese curds
🌻 long talks with my cousin

What were you thankful for this weekend?
  • Lake Michigan was barely visible when we left this morning. It was fun to see how the view of lake changed each day—and throughout the day!—this weekend.
  • I guess I didn’t have to worry about whether or not the dogs would get along. 🤷🏻‍♀️😂
  • Hello, Lake Michigan. 👋🏼
  • When you think they finally placed an order for you...and then they make you get off the chair. 😒 Swipe to see other photos from my day: 🐾 Met my human’s aunt and I was cute.
🐾 Asked my grandhuman for tummy rubs.
🐾 Realized my tummy rubs weren’t his priority. 🙄
🐾 Met two Doodles and my human pet one of them... so if you’d like a human, I’m getting rid of mine. No time for that kind of betrayal.
  • We’re headed on an adventure! Mina’s handling the longest road trip she’s been on like a champ. While at a rest stop we met a man wearing a “Dogs are my favorite people” shirt (👏🏼👏🏼) and his German Shepherd, who fell in love with Miss Mina. Can you blame him? Who wouldn’t fall in love with her? #littleonesadventures
  • Goodnight moon. 🌙

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