There are so many things to do in Ottawa during the summer. With the cold weather finally gone, the amount of things to do almost triples! From hikes to ice creams, summer is filled with so many amazing activities. Ottawa has some staple things to do that you have to have done at least once.
Seriously, the things in this list are pretty much summer in Ottawa musts. Winter staples are things like skating on the canal and going to Winterlude, but now that it's summer it's time to conquer these classic Ottawa favourites. If you haven't done at least 17 of these, this summer is your chance to redeem yourself!
Had drinks at Tavern On The Hill
Tavern On The Hill is a summer must. This spot just opened up last year so you may not have been yet, but it has quickly become an Ottawan favourite. This outdoor patio serves up cocktails, beers, bubbles, wines, and gourmet hot dogs. Whether it's a lunch date or a night out with friends, this classic patio is a summer staple.
Kayaked or canoed down Dow's Lake
If you're someone that is super outdoorsy then you will love your time kayaking down Dow's Lake. It is such a great way to take in the summer weather. Renting your ride of choice costs $20 and up. If you have never tried this, now is your chance to try something new!
Spent your day with animals at Parc Omega
Calling all animal lovers, this one's for you. Parc Omega is located just outside Ottawa and it is a true Ottawa classic. Whether you went here as a kid, or still like going here now, it's a great spot to go to take in natures beauty. Here you can see all kinds of Canadian animals from wolves to deer to caribou you will see them all wandering freely in their habitats.
Chilled out at any Ottawa Beach
Now when I say chilled out, I mean it. Most of Ottawa's beaches don't have the most trustworthy water, but hey, we've all been to at least one. Whether you go to have a picnic or head there to play some catch, going to a beach during the summer is an Ottawa staple.
Explored the pretty Hogs Back Falls
Hogs Back Falls is so pretty to visit. It's a great place to go to enjoy the sunny weather while taking in the relaxing sound of a waterfall. Hog's Back Falls is on the Rideau River. The urban nature park surrounding the falls is a great place to go for a nice picnic to embrace natures beauty.
Watched the Parliament Hill Sound and Light Show
This is a true summer classic. After spending your entire day downtown you may have come across a lit up Parliament Hill and stayed to watch the show. Or you fully planned out your night to ensure you didn't miss it. No matter the reason, the Sound and Light show that happens at Parliament Hill every summer is an Ottawa must.
Had a blast at Calypso Theme Waterpark
Calypso Theme Waterpark is an absolute blast and if you have never been, now is the summer to go. With new rides continuously being built, this waterpark will fill your day with fun in the sun. Calypso has North America's biggest wave pool and tallest slide, it's no wonder why it's an Ottawa must.
Weaved through the crowds downtown on Canada Day
Every Ottawan knows that if you're planning on going downtown on Canada Day, you're in for a crazy time. The madness of Canada Day is an experience you will never forget. If you have never been downtown Ottawa on Canada Day yet, then this summer is your chance to wear your red and white and get ready for the crowds.
Gone for a hike through Gatineau Park
Summer is a time for hiking. Whether it's to Pink Lake or King Mountain, there are so many trails that are perfect during the summer. The pretty views have you in awe every time you go hiking through Gatineau Park. This summer you can do the classics, or try out some new hiking trails that are in and around Ottawa.
Indulged in the crazy ice cream from Sweet Jesus
When Sweet Jesus opened up we all fell in love. So many people go to Sweet Jesus on days that are hot and sunny. This ice cream spot has quickly become an Ottawa classic, whether you love brownie or red velvet, Sweet Jesus has an ice cream flavour for everyone.
Completely relaxed while doing Yoga On The Hill
This free activity is always a summer must. At Parliament Hill you can take free yoga classes every Wednesday at 12 pm. All you need to bring with you is your yoga mat and yourself. This is a relaxing way to take in Ottawa's beauty and embrace the rays of summer sunshine. If you have never done this yet, this summer is your chance.
Spent your entire day at Morrison's Quarry
Morrison's Quarry used to be a secret gem hidden just 30 minutes outside of Ottawa, but now it's a summer staple. So many people discovered Morrison's Quarry and it's absolute beauty last year and if you still haven't, this summer is your chance to do so. The stunning quarry has clear blue water perfect to cool you off this summer.
Discovered some of Ottawa's stunning Street Art
Ottawa has so many amazing murals throughout the city. One of the best streets to check out for some incredible art is definitely Bank Street. Whether you want to grab a cute photo in front of it for Instagram or you simply go to admire the art, there are so many murals in the city you can discover.
Had a cute picnic at an Ottawa Park
With so many parks across the city, there's no doubt that you have had at least one during the summer. This cheap and easy summer activity is a classic. Pack your favourite snacks and head to your local park for some fun under the sun. Bring some card games or a ball to play catch, there's so many things you can do while at a park.
Danced your night away at Ottawa Bluesfest
Ottawa Bluesfest has its ups and downs. There have been years with great lineups and some with pretty boring ones, no matter what, every Ottawan has been to Bluesfest at least once in their life. Whether it was to go see Kanye West or Keith Urban, there are so many artists that come every year you have to have gone at least once! If you've never been maybe this year can be your first time!
Spent your day exploring all that the ByWard Market has to offer
The ByWard Market always has so many things going on all the time. From street performers to chalk artists, you will be in awe of all of the unique things you will see at the market. The ByWard Market is such an Ottawa classic, I'd be shocked if you told me you have never been!
Watched the incredible Casino Du Lac Leamy Sound of Light Fireworks
Whether you watched it from downtown Ottawa or you went to watch it at the Museum of History, this is a true summer staple. Every year countries compete against each other to see who can put on the best firework display. This year the countries are Spain, United States, China, and Germany. If you have never seen the spectacular firework displays, this year you need to see them.
Attended Ottawa's completely free Glowfair Festival
Every year a portion of Bank Street shuts down for a crazy block party. The massive festival is entirely free so why not head to it and just check it out?! Artists take the stage at night and the party seriously starts. Some artists coming this year include Karl Wolf, Ria Mae, Bayla, and Iskwé.
Taken a photo in front of the Ottawa Sign on York Street
This new addition to Ottawa's ByWard Market was brought into the city last year. If you still don't have a photo in front of it, then this is your summer to get that picture. Of course the photo will be super tourist-y but there's absolutely nothing wrong with being a tourist in your own city!
Tried some of the best Poutine places in the city
Ottawa is home to so many places where you can get a delicious poutine. Fritomania in Orleans is a true Ottawa classic. This spot serves some of the freshest fries in the city and you will not leave it disappointed. There are plenty of places in Ottawa to grab a yummy poutine this summer.
Cheered on the Ottawa Redblacks at a game
Summer is a time of watching football and cheering on our team. The next few games in Ottawa arered on June 21st, July 12th, July 20th, and August 11th. Ticket prices range between $27 to $132 depending on where you wish to sit. This summer activity is bound to leave you feeling the Ottawa spirit as you cheer on the Redblacks.
Watched the incredible Dragon Boat Festival races
The Dragon Boat Festival comes to Ottawa every summer and if you still have never checked it out, this summer is your shot. This racing event is the biggest Dragon Boat race in all of North America! The event has free live concerts, food, performances, and activities for you to do. The Dragon Boat Festival will be on June 21st to 24th and you don't want to miss it.
Jogged, biked, or strolled down the Rideau Canal
The Rideau Canal is a great place to walk with pretty views. Whether you love running or biking or simply enjoy taking slow strolls, this summer staple is a great way to start or end your day downtown. This peaceful walkway is a summer must.