Presented by\nWinters in Toronto can be quite boring, especially when it feels as though you’ve done it all. Skating in front of Nathan Phillips Square? Check. Renting a chalet with your friends? Check. Check. Check. I mean really, the best way to truly enjoy this season is to plan an epic road trip with your friends to the nation's capital!\nOttawa is proudly Canadian and tells the story of our fine country. It's a wonderland of cool activities to motivate you to actually leave the house, jump in the car, and road trip with your besties for a weekend of fun and free activities.\nFrom Feb. 2-19, Ottawa hosts the 40th edition of Winterlude, an annual celebration of winter. Yes, winter! It may seem cold and unappealing right now as the deep chill sets in, but winter is chill af. There’s so much to do and plenty to keep you entertained.\nWinterlude is a free festival that kicks off and lights up the capital starting Feb. 2, with including ice sculptures, live music, art installations and skating.\nThis magical festival takes place along the world’s largest skating rink, the Rideau Canal Skateway, and other sites across Ottawa. Who doesn’t want to leave their worries behind, escape the daily grind and play in a winter playground? Getting lost in the wonders of Winterlude includes the Snowflake Kingdom maze, a staple at Jacques-Cartier Park.\nAnd while you're there, make sure to say hello to the smiling Winterlude mascots - the Ice Hogs. Word on the street is that they give really warm hugs.\nVia Ottawa Tourism\nFrom cross-country skiing to the enchanting ice sculptures, our country’s capital offers a variety of experiences to make you love winter. Plus, bundling up is fun. Drinking hot chocolate is satisfying, and skating along the world’s largest naturally frozen ice skating rink is the best.\nAnd this year marks the festival's 40th anniversary making it an even bigger reason to visit Ottawa this winter! I mean, it really is only a 4hr drive so why not escape the winter blues with some enviable fun!? There’s plenty to do to keep you entertained and outdoors for the winter. Because snow is to be celebrated. We are Canadian after all!\nSo while you're in town checking out Winterlude, here are some activities to do while you're in Ottawa:\nTry your hand at some Ice Carving\nVia Ottawa Tourism\nWhere: Confederation Park\nWhen: February 2-19\n\nDazzling ice sculptures light up Ottawa as blocks of ice are transformed into beautiful works of art at Confederation Park’s Crystal Garden. At night, the park's sculptures light up which makes the entire thing look like it's straight out of a fairy tale.\nHike, snowshoe and even cross-country ski through the magical trails of Gatineau Park\nGatineau Park, just north of the Ottawa River, has some of the most beautiful and tranquil trails in Ottawa. Explore several spots like the King Mountain Trail, the highest hill with a breathtaking view. Sugar Bush Trail and Pioneers Trail also provide a full day of inspiration and magic. Bring your camera, you'll definitely want to take pictures for this one.\nRelax outdoors at North America’s largest Spa, the Nordik Spa-Nature\nVia Nordik Spa Nature\nA spa is the best indulgence. Especially when it's as cool as this one. The Nordik Spa-Nature is a giant relaxation space that uses Thermotherapy. The idea is to transition from a hot sauna to a dip in a cold pool and end with a total relaxation for 15 minutes in one of the designated relaxation areas. It's a foolproof way to get in some self-care.\nGlide along the largest skating rink in the world\nWhether you’re a novice or total pro, lace up your skates and glide along the Rideau Canal Skateway, the world’s largest naturally frozen ice skating rink.\nTry out some cross-country skiing or snow biking\nVia Ottawa Tourism\nWhere: Gatineau Park\nWhen: until March 18th\n\nWith over 200 kilometres of cross-country ski trails and another 55 kilometres of snowshoeing-only trails, Gatineau Park is the place to be for the winter. Perfect for a romantic stroll (or ski) around the block.\nVisit the magnificent Ottawa Dragon Boat Fest\nVia Ottawa Dragon Boat festival\nWhere: Rideau Canal Skateway\nWhen: February 10th\nDid you know, Ottawa's Ice Dragon Boat Festival is the largest one in the world? Teams use ice-sticks to move their dragon boats on skates across the Rideau Canal. Cool, right? If you love a challenge, then get your team ready to race. Or simply watch from the sidelines as people race against opponents and the elements.\nEnjoy a pint or two at the Gatineau Winter Beerfest\nWhere: Canadian Museum of History\nWhen: February 2-3\nIt's all about the cold beer and warm vibes at Gatineau's Winter Beerfest. Spanning two days, over 150 beers and 35 breweries, you'll definitely leave with a smile on your face, and a little more heat in your body.\nBring a little jazz into your life with TD Ottawa Winter Jazz Festival\nVia Ottawa Tourism\nWhere: La Nouvelle Scène\nWhen: February 8-10\nThere’s nothing quite like getting serenaded by live music while you skate. The TD Ottawa Winter Jazz Festival is a celebration of unique Canadian talent and Ottawa’s vibrant music scene.\nWarm up this season at the Winter Brewfest\nVia Ottawa Brewfest\nWhere: Lansdowne Park\nWhen: February 16-17\nNow in its fourth year, Ottawa’s Brewfest will definitely warm you up with its selection of 100 craft beers from across Ontario and Quebec. There’s even a bonfire and live DJ to keep the party going throughout the night!\nCatch some fun outdoors at the 38th Annual Accora Village Bed Race\nVia Canadian Heritage - Patrimoine\n\nWhere: Dow’s Lake\nWhen: February 17th\nA fun and quirky Winterlude tradition where 50 teams race decorated hospital beds across a 50-metre course of frozen ice. Bet you’ve never done that before. The funds raised during the race support the Kiwanis Aktion Club.\nJam out to some music at an outdoor concert\nVia Shutterstock\n\nWhere: Confederation Park.\nLooking for new music? And proudly Canadian artists? The Sub-Zero concerts liven up the music scene on Friday and Saturday evenings with a variety of talented Canadian performers. Oh, and there’s also a light show added to the entertainment.\nDon't miss the Interactive Art Installations\nVia Winterlude 2018\nWhere: Confederation Park\nFace it, art is cool. And so is this art installation Face, a light show with portraits mixed with bold animations shown on a face sculpture. The sculpture is meant to signify the ‘face of everyone.’\nExperience the Canada 150 Rink on Parliament Hill\nWhen: until the end of February.\nThe NHL-sized skating rink on the lawn of Parliament Hill is ready for visitors. Lace up your skates and give it a try.\nSo what are you waiting for? Make the most out of this winter and start planning your getaway to Ottawa now!\nCheck out the Ottawa Tourism website, Instagram and Facebook page for more info.