Everyone in Ottawa knows how expensive it is to do anything remotely fun here. But, like anything, there is always a way around it. In fact, Ottawa has a list of activities you can do that won't empty your wallet, and will guarantee a summer of fun for you and your friends or significant other.
We totally get it. Not being able to hang out with people because of massive student loans, or even just saving up for life itself, can get pretty annoying. This list will end that excuse, and will have you get rid of the cringe-worthy Instagram post jealousy (it's a real thing.)
We're not letting you miss out on an amazing summer. Here is a list of 21 things to do in Ottawa if you're broke AF.
1. Yoga on Parliament Hill
This is one of the best things about summer in Ottawa. Starting at the beginning of May, Lululemon hosts yoga on Parliament Hill every Wednesday (weather permitting) which makes for an incredible, relaxing workout. Admission is free and we recommend going early, as it does get packed quickly.
2. Renting a canoe or kayak on Dow's Lake
Costing only $8.00 a person, canoeing or kayaking along Dow's Lake is a beautiful, relaxing time. This can also turn into a hilarious, comical scene if you are very uncoordinated (I warned you).
3. Outdoor movies at Centretown Outdoor Film Festival
This festival happens every summer, and it lasts for 6 weeks. It is free to attend, and it's an adorable date night idea for a Friday or Saturday.
4. Bike, walk, run, or rollerblade around the Rideau Canal
The canal all year round is beautiful, but it's a great way to exercise during the summer months. And if you bring friends along, you can burn calories while catching up on the latest gossip.
Photo cred - @ae_dn
5. Visit The Byward Market
There are always vendors for jewelry, flowers, and more unique items in the Byward Market. There is also entertainment, and the market during the day and at night has so much life that it's priceless.
6. See the famous Canada Day Fireworks Downtown
Every year, Parliament Hill hosts a concert and the most amazing fireworks. We recommend getting there very early, or just spending the whole day downtown to beat the crowd at night.
7. Tour the Parliament Buildings
This historic building is free to visit, which is something every resident of Ottawa must do at some point. Whether you want a guided tour or just want to tour the outside grounds yourself, you'll learn so much.
8. Hike in Gatineau Park
The views of all of the trails speak for themselves. I recommend Pink Lake for beginners, and Luskville Falls for advanced. Either way, both are amazing views that will leave you wanting to come back every week.
9. Have a picnic at Andrew Hayden Park
This is the perfect place to watch the sunset while having a picnic. You can also walk along the water, and stop by the lighthouse for an amazing view.
Photo cred - @murkymehr
10. Free times at museums
Canadian Museum of Nature: Free admission on Thursday nights from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m.
National Gallery of Canada: Free admission on Thursday nights from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m.
Canadian Agriculture and Food Museum: Free admission everyday from 4:00 to 5:00 p.m.
Canadian Aviation and Space Museum: Free admission everyday from 4:00 to 5:00 p.m.
Canadian Museum of History: Free admission on Thursday nights from 4:00 to 8:00 p.m.
11. Step up your Instagram game at Holland's Cake and Shake
Holland's Cake and Shake offers the coolest, most original cakes and treats that you have to try. Whether you have a sweet tooth or not, their items like a cherry Kool-Aid shake and real cotton candy ice cream will make your Instagram feed look 100% on point.
12. Spend a day at the beach
Even though our beaches aren't world-class, it's still a great time when you spend it with friends or family. You can play volleyball, pig out on ice cream, and if you're brave, you can dip your toes in the not-so-clear water.
13. Visit the Lansdowne Farmers Market
Spend an afternoon catching up with one your girlfriends at the Lansdowne Farmers Market. You can get fresh food, fresh flowers, and they have amazing, healthy popsicles that will keep you cool during the hot summer days.
Photo cred - @itsmagesty
14. Attend the Glow Fair
A block party unlike no other. Yoga on the streets, two main stages, a DJ, and everyone in neon clothing/glow in the dark paint. Does it get better than that?! This festival happens every year in June, and admission is free.
15. Celebrate your ethnicity with a festival
Lebanese Festival: July 20 - 24, St. St. Elias Antiochian Orthodox Cathedral
Ukrainian Festival: July 21 - 24, 952 Green Valley Crescent
Festival of India: August 5 - 7, Marion Dewar Plaza
SouthAsianFest: August 11 - 13, Ottawa City Hall
Greek Festival: August 11 - 21, 1315 Prince of Wales Drive
Turkish Festival: September 5 - 11, 335 Michael Cowpland Drive
16. Take an Instagram picture at Nepean Point
And remember how beautiful our city is at any time of the year.
17. Stop by one of Ottawa's most popular dessert spots
You can find delicious, mouthwatering desserts in Ottawa for cheap! I recommend The Cupcake Lounge, SuzyQ Doughtnuts, and Pure Gelato–or maybe all three in one day.
18. Take free salsa lessons at City Hall
City Hall offers free dance lessons every Wednesday from 6-11 p.m from July 6 - August 31. You can bring a friend, your SO or tap into your brave side and try it yourself!
Photo cred - @2lunchgirls
19. Have an incredible meal for under $6.00 at one of these places
You won't believe the delicious food you can get for this cheap. Check out the best options here.
20. Attend a stand-up comedy show
The shows at Yuk Yuk's range from $5 - $20 so you can pick which one you can afford. These shows are perfect for first dates, or just a night out with friends.
21. Window shop in Westboro Village
Westboro is by far the cutest, hippest neighbourhood in Ottawa. They have adorable little shops that you can browse, as well as restaurants and cafes that you can find cheap eats at. We can't promise you that you won't be tempted to buy something, though.
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