Start your morning with a wholesome breakfast at Jak’s Kitchen, where we recommend the C’est Bon omelette of smoked salmon, goat cheese, arugula and spinach.
Jak’s Kitchen, 479 Bronson Ave., 613-230-2088, jakskitchen.com
Visit Parliament Hill, Canada’s seat of government. Guided tours may include visits to the public galleries, the Senate and the House of Commons, when they are not in use. Visitor information is available here; groups of 10 or more need to book in advance, which they can do here.
Parliament Hill, 1 Wellington St., 613-992-4793, parl.gc.ca
Stroll a little further to the Supreme Court of Canada and become acquainted with the Canadian judicial system through guided tours provided by law students, who explain current legal issues of public importance.
Supreme Court of Canada, 301 Wellington St., 613-995-5361, scc-csc.gc.ca
The Canadian War Museum is definitely worth a visit. The designers of this stunning and ecologically friendly building received the Governor General’s Medal in Architecture. Alternatively, you can spend this part of the morning exploring the stories of an evolving city and its residents from its early days as Bytown to present-day Ottawa at the Bytown Museum; while you’re there, check out the canal locks.
• Canadian War Museum, 1 Vimy Place, 819-776-7000, warmuseum.ca
• Bytown Museum, 1 Canal Lane, 613-234-4570, bytownmuseum.com
Stroll through the Byward Market and sample some of the fresh and homemade goods from the various stalls and stores. The colourful vendors, street performers and boutiques help the Market retain its Victorian feel. Afterwards, shop along nearby Dalhousie St., home to many sellers of Canadian and local designers.
Bytown Market, byward-market.com
No visit to Ottawa is complete without a stop at 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 or personal tours, as well as audio guides, are available.
National Gallery of Canada, 380 Sussex Dr., 613-990-1985, gallery.ca
During the warmer months, take a boat cruise along the Rideau Canal (Paul’s Boat Lines offers several). If it’s winter, you can still hit up the Canal—just go for a spin on the world’s largest outdoor skating rink.
• Rideau Canal, 613-239-5000, canadascapital.gc.ca
• Paul’s Boat Lines, 613-225-6781, paulsboatcruises.com
Call up Ottawa Rickshaws to hop a ride into downtown Ottawa. The company offers trips and tours from September to April by reservation and daily from May to August.
Ottawa Rickshaws, 613-784-9122, ottawarickshaws.ca
Take in a show at The National Arts Centre, home to the NAC Orchestra, as well as world-class theatre and dance performances from across the country and around the world.
• National Arts Centre, 53 Elgin St., 613-947-7000, nac-cna.ca
• NAC Orchestra, Southam Hall, 53 Elgin St., 613-755-1111, nac-cna.ca/en/orchestra
End the night on a high note with drinks and dancing in the Byward Market or on Elgin Street, both of which are home to some of Ottawa’s hottest bars and clubs.