How to Make the Most of Ottawa in the Summer

July kicks off with Canada Day festivities, before making way for RBC Bluesfest, one of the world’s largest music events.

Canadian summers are hard to beat, especially when you live in the nation’s capital. With sunshine, festivals and endless greenery, there are plenty of exciting activities to fill your weekends and holidays. If you need a little inspiration, here are 5 family-friendly ways to make the most of the season.

Attend a festival

Summer is festival season in Ottawa. Whether you prefer music, food or even fireworks, there are plenty of diverse events to choose from. At the end of June, you can sample the best BBQ in town at Ribfest, celebrate the arts at the Ottawa Fringe Festival, or enjoy some live music at the TD Ottawa Jazz Festival. July kicks off with Canada Day festivities, before making way for RBC Bluesfest, one of the world’s largest music events. In August, you will not want to miss Sound of Light, an international fireworks competition featuring music and world-renowned pyrotechnics.

Get active

Summer is the perfect excuse to ditch the treadmill and get active outdoors. In Ottawa we are lucky enough to enjoy NOKIA Bike Sundays, where many of the city’s most picturesque routes are closed to traffic on Sundays from 9am to 1pm. In effect until Labour Day weekend, Bike Sundays are a great opportunity for your family to bike, run, walk or rollerblade without worrying about vehicles.

Enjoy the great outdoors

Ottawa is truly a beautiful city, especially in the summer when it is not buried beneath five feet of snow! One of the best ways to see the city is to rent a canoe, kayak or paddleboat from Dow’s Lake Marina and explore the scenic views along the canal. Afterwards, head over to the Dominion Arboretum, one of the prettiest spots in Ottawa, and take in all the different species of trees, plants and flowers. The Ottawa Greenbelt is another summer gem, with over 20, 000 hectares of protected greenspace that are ideal for hiking, cycling, boating and camping; you can even make use of the Equestrian Trail or dog-friendly trails.

Take a day trip

Canada may be a vast country, but you can still enjoy a change of scenery by driving just over an hour. On a sunny day, get in the car and make your way to Merrickville or Westport. Spanning the shores of the Rideau River, these two picturesque villages are home to many local shops, cafés and restaurants; grab an ice cream and stroll along the river or enjoy a drink on a patio. If you are a little more pressed for time, consider driving only twenty minutes outside of Ottawa to Gatineau, Quebec. Gatineau Park has no shortage of scenic trails for walking, cycling and picnicking, including the family-friendly Pink Lake and Champlain Lookout.

Put on your tourist hat

Even if you are an Ottawa native, it is always fun to revisit some of the city’s most iconic attractions, especially in the summer. Peruse the stalls in the ByWard Market, take a walk around Parliament Hill, or visit one of our world-class museums: the Canadian Museum of Nature, the Canadian Museum of History, or the Canada Science and Technology Museum. To really get in the Ottawa spirit, you could even watch the Ottawa REDBLACKS play a game at TD Stadium.

We hope you feel inspired to make the most of the season! Is moving also on your summer to-do list? Take a look at our listings in the Ottawa area and do not hesitate to contact us with any questions – we love living in this city and are happy to help you settle in.