We may spend a lot of time complaining about Ottawa's harsh winters. But, the truth is, they're just as beautiful as they are tough to endure. Sure, the air hurts your face when you leave your house, and that bus you're on could get stuck in the snow at any moment. But, there's no denying a fresh layer of pure white snow and a few strings of twinkling lights can truly transform the capital into an enchanting winter wonderland. So, if you're looking for free things to do in Ottawa, don’t count winter out just yet.\nThe capital's winters are iconic for being brutal, but it's also the time when you can have arguably the most fun. With snowy festivals, the world's largest outdoor skating rink, and breathtaking Christmas light displays, there's no shortage of winter amusement to be had. To sweeten the season even more, many of the best winter activities are free to attend, too.\nSo, we've collected some of the best places to visit and events going on in the city this season so that you don't have to. It's time to give your bank account the break it's been asking for without putting your plans on hold.\nSkate on Rideau Canal\nPrice: Free\nWhen: Weather permitting \nAddress: Ottawa\nWhy You Need To Go: Skating on the world's largest outdoor rink is a must-do in the capital. The opening of the canal is dependant on the weather, but as Ottawans know, winter could hit at any moment, so get those skates sharp and ready.\n View this post on Instagram Humans of the Canal A post shared by N i c h o l a s (@pierrefrankson) on Feb 18, 2017 at 4:18pm PST\n\nWebsite\n\n\nOttawa Christmas Market\nPrice: Free entry\nWhen: Friday, November 29 until Friday, December 20\nAddress: 1015 Bank St., Ottawa, ON\nWhy You Need To Go: You can experience Ottawa's very first outdoor Christmas market. Opening night will coincide with the lighting of the Lansdowne Christmas tree and you won't want to miss the holiday magic.\n View this post on Instagram Only 95 days until Ottawa's FIRST ever European style Christmas Market! 😳😍🎄 ...but who's counting? . . . . #Christmas #ChristmasMarket #OttawaXmasMarket #Xmas #christmas2019 #tdplace #lansdownelive A post shared by TD Place at Lansdowne (@tdplace) on Aug 26, 2019 at 8:15am PDT\n\nWebsite\n\n\nPassage \nPrice: Free\nWhen: Until Tuesday, November 12\nAddress: Ogilvy Square\nWhy You Need To Go: Not only is this magical light and sound tunnel free, but you could actually win money for taking a selfie in it. \n View this post on Instagram “Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss it you will land among the stars.”- Les Brown ————————————————————————- • • • #interactive #urban #night #ottawa #ontario #canada #canada🇨🇦 #wherepassagelives #travel #traveling #travelling #travelphotography #travelblogger #travelbloggers #downtownrideau #fun #family #funfamily #placemaking #publicengagement #temporaryart #rideaustreet #ogilviesquare #cfrideaucentre #publicart #myottawa #weekend #soundandlight #ottarts #digitalmedia A post shared by 🧡 THE BLONDE_FASHIONISTA 🧡 (@elena.denning) on Oct 31, 2019 at 6:24pm PDT\n\nWebsite\n\n\nNational Gallery of Canada Tree Lighting\nPrice: Free\nWhen: TBD\nAddress: 380 Sussex Dr., Ottawa, ON\nWhy You Need To Go: One surefire way to get yourself in the Christmas spirit is to marvel at the size and pure beauty of the gallery's annual Christmas tree lighting.\n View this post on Instagram With dozens of phones held aloft to capture the moment, the giant (11m tall and 6m wide) tree at the National Gallery of Canada was brought to life with 100s or ornaments and 1000s of lights. I had the chance to witness them bringing in this behemoth earlier this week (it is quite a production to get it through the gallery and upright in their great hall). Unfortunately, weather delayed the tree's arrival later than I was able to stay so I had to catch the action later on CBC. Amazing how much work goes into making moments like this happen. #photooftheday #myottawa #ngctree #explorecanada #christmastree #apt613weekend A post shared by James Peltzer (@james.peltzer) on Dec 9, 2016 at 4:30am PST\n\nWebsite\n\n\nExplore Mer Bleue Conservation Area\nPrice: Free\nWhen: Year-round\nAddress: Ridge Rd., Ottawa, ON\nWhy You Need To Go: As we know, November in Ottawa could mean catching the last glimpse of stunning fall colours or it could mean being covered in a blanket of early snow. Either way, Mer Bleue Conservation Area is one of the best places to explore in Ottawa. And for no cost, you'd be silly not to take advantage.\n View this post on Instagram Mama bear in the wild 🐻 A post shared by j a n e s s a (@city_maus) on Oct 28, 2018 at 9:43am PDT\n\nWebsite\n\n\nChristmas Lights Across Canada\nPrice: Free\nWhen: Wednesday, December 4 until Tuesday, January 7\nAddress: Confederation Boulevard / Parliament Hill, Ottawa, ON\nWhy You Need To Go: You can watch the magic of Christmas come to life in the heart of Ottawa. Now, this one isn't until December, but the lights and multimedia show are so beautiful you won't want to miss it.\n View this post on Instagram So fun to attend the opening night of the illumination ceremony of Christmas Lights Across Canada at Parliament Hill! . . #christmaslightsacrosscanada #ig_great_shots_canada #facesottawa #pocket_family #pocket_canada #rebels_united #MyOttawa #explorecanada #apt613 #pocket_sweetness #outaouaisfun #rebelholiday2017 #gramoftheday #gotd_1723 A post shared by ☀️💢 Karen 💢☀️ (@kvallevand) on Dec 7, 2017 at 9:55pm PST\n\nWebsite\n\n\nTobogganing @ Green's Creek\nPrice: Free\nWhen: Weather permitting \nAddress: Ottawa East, ON\nWhy You Need To Go: Nothing says winter in Canada quite like tobogganing down epic snow hills like the one at Green's Creek. Just don't forget to wear your toque, eh?\n View this post on Instagram auntie j insisted on doing winter activities❄️ A post shared by char (@chartimm) on Jan 2, 2017 at 6:41pm PST\n\nWebsite\n\n\nVisit A Museum\nPrice: Free\nWhen: Thursdays from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.\nAddress: 240 McLeod St., Ottawa, ON\nWhy You Need To Go: Winter temperatures in Ottawa can be pretty harsh. If you're looking to escape the frigid cold, why not pop into one of the many amazing museums in the capital? For example, the Canadian Museum of Nature offers free admission to its permanent galleries every Thursday evening and it's a stunning place to hang out.\n View this post on Instagram So I get Buzzed once in a blue moon. A post shared by Tyler Rabb (@tylerrabb) on Oct 26, 2019 at 9:12am PDT\n\nWebsite\n\n\nOttawa Comiccon Holiday Edition \nPrice: Free entry\nWhen: Saturday, November 9-10\nAddress: 4899 Uplands Dr., Ottawa, ON\nWhy You Need To Go: If you can never afford regular Comiccon tickets, this free holiday edition is calling your name. Come in costume to show off your talent or simply enjoy other cosplayers as you wander the venue. If you wanted to spend a little money, you're sure to find some unique Christmas gifts.\n View this post on Instagram A post shared by Powerlifting & Photography (@the.angry.chopstick) on May 13, 2019 at 4:53pm PDT\n\nWebsite\n\n\nTropical Greenhouse \nPrice: Free\nWhen: Year-round\nAddress: Maple Dr., Ottawa, ON\nWhy You Need To Go: Ottawa's experimental farm doesn't cease being beautiful in the colder months. In fact, November offers a beautiful mix of vibrant fall colours against a snow-white backdrop. If it's too cold outside, just pop into the greenhouse to warm up.\n View this post on Instagram Can I just live here? 🤗🌵🌿🌱 #naturelover A post shared by Julia Dudkovskaya (@julia_dudkovskaya) on Feb 22, 2019 at 7:24pm PST\n\nWebsite\n\n\nHelp Santa Toy Parade\nPrice: Free\nWhen: Saturday, November 16 @ 11 a.m.\nAddress: Ottawa, ON\nWhy You Need To Go: You can enjoy a classic Santa Claus parade and support a good cause at the same time. Firefighters will walk the parade route collecting cash and toy donations for less fortunate children.\n View this post on Instagram November means the @hstp_ottawa is so soon! We are very excited to be walking in the parade again this year! Such a magical event! ✨🎅🏻 #GlassSlipperPrincess #HelpSantaToyParade #Ottawa A post shared by Glass Slipper Princess Parties (@glassslipperprincess) on Nov 3, 2019 at 10:34am PST\n\nWebsite\n\n\nThe Museum's Christmas Market\nPrice: Free\nWhen: Thursday, November 28 until Sunday, December 1\nAddress: 100 Laurier St, Gatineau, QC\nWhy You Need To Go: Even if you don't plan on buying anything, you can still enjoy the grand beauty of the Museum's Christmas Market. And, while this one is technically in Gatineau, there's an incredible view of Ottawa's Parliament Hill for you to enjoy as well.\n View this post on Instagram On vous souhaite un très, très joyeux Noël!! 🎅🎄 // We wish you a very merry Christmas!! 🤶🎄 📸 @bennguyen8 #repost #outaouaisfun A post shared by Tourisme Outaouais (@outaouais) on Dec 25, 2018 at 5:56am PST\n\nWebsite\n\n\nStittsville Parade of Lights\nPrice: Free\nWhen: Saturday, November 30 @ 6 p.m.\nAddress: Stittsville, ON\nWhy You Need To Go: You can watch numerous community floats covered in sparkling lights as they illuminate the streets. The parade, of course, ends with Santa himself.\n View this post on Instagram Stittsville Parade of lights 2016Photo credit: Barry Gray #mystittsville #Shoplocal #stittsvilleparade #Localchristmas A post shared by Stittsville Village Assoc (@mystittsville) on Dec 3, 2016 at 1:39pm PST\n\nWebsite\n\n\nChristmas In The Market\nPrice: Free\nWhen: Saturday, November 30 until Sunday, December 15\nAddress: Byward Market, Ottawa, ON\nWhy You Need To Go: Just because summer is long over, that doesn't mean the Byward Market stops thriving. You can enjoy horse-drawn wagon rides and charming Christmas choirs as the market transforms into a magical wonderland.\n View this post on Instagram Do you think they can parallel park?🐴 . 📷 @jesse.elliott.photography . #horsedrawncarriage #horses #wagonrides #spiritofthemarket #bywardmarket #myottawa #urbanmarket #ottawashopping #smallbusiness #smallbiz #boutique #613style #ottawatourism #christmasshopping #happyholidays #christmas2018 #christmasspirit #smallbusiness #support613 #shoplocal @ottawatourism A post shared by ByWard Market (@bywardmarket) on Dec 16, 2018 at 3:22pm PST\n\nWebsite\n\n\nSens Rink of Dreams\nPrice: Free\nWhen: Weather permitting\nAddress: 110 Laurier Ave. W., Ottawa, ON\nWhy You Need To Go: If the canal is a little too much for you, you can opt for the much smaller, but still amazing, Sens Rink of Dreams. If you're down for a night skate, the rink is beautifully illuminated with colourful lights.\n View this post on Instagram note to self: actually tie the skates #rink #of #dreams A post shared by emma (@emmaastack) on Jan 10, 2019 at 12:53pm PST\n\nWebsite\n\n\nNorth of Nashville\nPrice: Select free shows\nWhen: Saturday, November 23\nAddress: Various locations, Ottawa, ON\nWhy You Need To Go: If you'd rather be listening to hot country jams in Nashville than stuck in the bitter Ottawa cold but you don't have the funds to travel, don't worry. The North of Nashville show is the perfect compromise. You can apply for free early bird tickets to select shows on their website. Many of the daytime shows are free as well.\n View this post on Instagram When someone says they don’t like Queso.... . . . 📸: @colin_flora . . #nashville #buscall #livemusic #fullband #tennessee #instalike #instagood #mondaymotivation #mondayfunday #queso #funnyfaces #takamine #guitar #girlswithguitars #rodeokinghats #picoftheday #shows #entertainment #singer #songwriter #fullband #royalelynn #writersround #mirandalambert #codyjohnson #happy #ariatboots A post shared by 𝐑𝐎𝐘𝐀𝐋𝐄 𝐋𝐘𝐍𝐍 (@royalelynnmusic) on Oct 29, 2018 at 4:38pm PDT\n\nWebsite\n\n\nOttawa Farmers' Market Christmas Market\nPrice: Free entry\nWhen: Saturday, November 30 until Sunday, December 22\nAddress: Aberdeen Pavilion, Exhibition Way, Ottawa, ON\nWhy You Need To Go: While you may have to drop some cash on market goodies, you can get in for free. Plus, most years the market offers free horse-drawn wagon rides as well.\n View this post on Instagram Hi #Ottawa! Find *FREE* horse & wagon rides at the #Christmas Market! Both Saturday and Sunday from 10am to 2pm! . . . #MyOttawa #igersottawa #ottcity #local #shoplocal #shop613 #supportlocal #support613 #summer #ottawafarmersmarket #farmersmarket #market #ottawa2017 #canada150 #proudtobecanadian #farmfresh #christmas #christmasmarket #horse #wagon A post shared by Ottawa Farmers' Market (@ottawafarmmkt) on Dec 5, 2017 at 10:06pm PST\n\nWebsite\n\n\nVisit Corktown Footbridge\nPrice: Free\nWhen: Year-round\nAddress: Corktown Footbridge, Ottawa, ON\nWhy You Need To Go: Whether you add a lock or not, the infamous Corktown Footbridge, aka Love Lock Bridge, has a beautiful view of the Rideau Canal and is a great spot to take a scenic walk downtown.\n View this post on Instagram [3/3] Had so much taking Valentines Day pictures for Kendall and Jordan! A post shared by @ lacouleurjaune on Feb 14, 2018 at 7:23am PST\n\nWebsite\n\n\nChristmas Carols at Sunset\nPrice: Free\nWhen: Sunday, December 8 from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m.\nAddress: 5525 Dickinson St., Manotick, ON\nWhy You Need To Go: You can channel your inner Christmas elf and belt out some holiday classics at the historic Watson's Mill. With cheerful holiday sounds and a stunning sunset backdrop, you're sure to be in the holiday spirit after this.\n View this post on Instagram Today I start my new job in the heart of this beautiful town of Manotick. The last time I stepped into a workplace I had some pretty unreal views of the Rocky mountains. This will definitely be a little bit different but nevertheless I'm so stoked to get back serving and working again! Stop by The Vault Bistro in Manotick and say Hi! The iconic Mill is just a short walk down the street ✌️ A post shared by Mike Malis (@mikemalis25) on Nov 26, 2018 at 6:23am PST\n\nWebsite\n\n\n\nThere are stories everywhere. If you spot a newsworthy event in your city, send us a message, photo, or video @NarcityCanada on Twitter and Instagram.