Home / Travel Guides - Ottawa / One Day In Ottawa

one day in ottawa

AAA

One Day in OttawaAAA editors suggest these activities for a great short vacation experience.

Morning Take a Gray Line 24-Hour Hop-on, Hop-off Tour (tours depart from jct. Sparks and Elgin sts.). Like the name suggests, the bus cruises through the city 24/7, making stops at many area attractions. It’s the fastest, most convenient way to see as much as possible in one day; plus, you get to ride in a super-cool double-decker bus.

AAA
You can tour the Parliament Buildings (on Parliament Hill) to learn about the inner workings of the Canadian government, but if you’re pressed for time, just stroll past the massive Gothic structures and admire their 19th-century design. Shoot some selfies in front of the buildings for an inexpensive souvenir.

flickr/Scazon
If you’re in Ottawa during prime tourist season, the Changing of the Guard (Parliament Hill lawn) is a must-see. Based on the same ceremony in London, this one takes place from late June to late August. Beginning with a parade down Elgin Street set to music by bagpipers and a military band, the traditional rite also includes drills as well as dress and weapons inspections.

iStockphoto.com/aimintang
Next, head to the National Gallery of Canada (380 Sussex Dr.) next. The modern glass building and a gigantic spider sculpture standing outside are enough to wow onlookers, but the inside reveals equally eye-catching works. The vast collection includes black-and-white photography, Canadian and indigenous art, a reconstructed chapel, and works by Monet, Picasso and other European masters.

Afternoonrabbit75_ist/iStockphoto.com
Just across the street from the National Gallery of Canada, the Notre-Dame Cathedral Basilica (385 Sussex Dr.) is also a thing of beauty. Built in the 1840s, the upper half of what is said to be the largest and oldest church in Ottawa is neo-Gothic in design, while the bottom half is neo-Classic. The basilica’s exterior is bound to impress you, but don’t miss its lavish interior with such majestic features as Gothic arches that run the length of the cathedral, hundreds of religious statues, gold-leaf altars dotted with precious stones and an incredible 4,700-pipe organ.

AAA/Inspector 542
When it’s time for a midday meal, make your way to the ByWard Market (bordered by Rideau, St. Patrick and Sussex streets and King Edward Avenue), a collection of restaurants and shops popular with locals. Stop at one of several seafood restaurants, including LaPointe Seafood Grill & Sushi (55 York St.) and The Fish Market Restaurant (54 York St.) or munch on pizza and Italian favorites at Vittoria Trattoria (35 William St.). For dessert, head to BeaverTails (69 George St.) for an iconic Canadian fried pastry with tasty toppings.

EveningAAA/Inspector 600
When the sun goes down, you won’t lack for things to do. First, treat yourself to an exceptional dinner at one of Ottawa’s finest restaurants. Top choices in the city include AAA Four-Diamond restaurants like e18hteen (18 York St.), Beckta Dining & Wine Bar (150 Elgin St.) and Atelier (540 Rochester St.). For the ultimate in fine dining, drive over the Ottawa River to AAA Five-Diamond Le Baccara (1 boul du Casino, Gatineau, Quebec); this splurge-worthy restaurant offers tasting menus, fine wines and artistically presented dishes that will awe the foodie in everyone.

slobo/iStockphoto.com
End your day on a high note and leave some time for a show at the National Arts Centre (1 Elgin St.). Fans of ballet, theatrical productions, opera, Broadway, contemporary dance, and many types of music from classical to country will want to check into the NAC’s offerings.

Read More

Ottawa, ON

AAA Inspected & Approved TOP Hotels

In-person hotel evaluations are unscheduled to ensure the inspector has an experience similar to that of members. All hotels must meet the same basic requirements for cleanliness, comfort and hospitality to be AAA Approved. A rating of one to five AAA Diamonds tells members what type of experience to expect, from no-frills to highly personalized.

Sponsored Listing

Albert at Bay Suite Hotel

435 Albert St. Ottawa, ON K1R 7X4

AAA Inspector Rating
Book Now
AAA Members

Sponsored Listing

Members save 5% to 15% and earn 10% bonus Best Western Rewards® points when booking AAA/CAA rates!

Best Western Plus Ottawa Downtown Suites

377 O'Connor St. Ottawa, ON K2P 2M2

AAA Inspector Rating
Book Now
AAA Members

Members save up to 15% and earn Honors points when booking AAA/CAA rates!

Hilton Lac-Leamy

3 boul du Casino. Gatineau, QC J8Y 6X4

AAA Inspector Rating
Book Now
AAA Members

Members save up to 10% and earn World of Hyatt points when booking AAA/CAA rates!

Andaz Ottawa ByWard Market

325 Dalhousie St. Ottawa, ON K1N 7G1

AAA Inspector Rating
Book Now
AAA Members

Travel Information

City Population

883,391

Elevation

87 m/285 ft.

Sales Tax

Ontario's Harmonized Sales Tax is 13 percent.

Emergency

911

Police (non-emergency)

(613) 236-1222

Fire (non-emergency)

(613) 580-2860

Temperature

(613) 998-3439

Road Conditions

511 or (800) 268-4686.

Hospitals

Montfort Hospital, (613) 746-4621; The Ottawa Hospital-Civic Campus, (613) 722-7000; The Ottawa Hospital-General Campus, (613) 772-7000.

Visitor Information

90 Wellington St. Ottawa, ON K1P 5L1. Phone:(613)237-5150 or (844)878-8333

Air Travel

Ottawa International Airport

Rental Cars

Hertz, (613) 521-3332 or (800) 654-3080, offers discounts to AAA members. For a complete list of rental agencies consult the telephone directory.

Rail Service

Via Rail's terminal, 200 Tremblay Rd. off Queensway (Hwy. 417), can be reached by city buses from Confederation Square. The station at 3347 Fallowfield Rd. can be reached by downtown bus 95; phone (888) 842-7245.

Buses

Greyhound Canada serves Montréal, Toronto, Mirabel Airport and other cities in Ontario, Québec and the United States. Its terminal, Ottawa Central Station, is at 265 Catherine St.; phone (613) 238-6668. City buses run by OC Transpo also serve the terminal.

Taxis

Cabs operate on the meter system, with a minimum charge of $3.85 plus $1.72 for each additional kilometre. In excess of four passengers and asking the driver to load and unload baggage costs extra.

call or visit a AAA Travel Agent Today!

Find a AAA Office

As a AAA member, you'll save even more. Your AAA Travel Agent will check to see if AAA Vacations is combinable with other AAA member benefits, plus cruise and tour past passenger discounts and benefits.

Not a Member?

Join Now