Surreal Places In Ottawa You Won't Believe Really Exist

How many of these spots have you seen?
Staff Writer
Surreal Places In Ottawa You Won't Believe Really Exist

Ottawa is such a stunning city with some pretty surreal places! If you are an Ottawa local, you might feel as though you've seen all this city has to offer. But, there is always something new to discover in our beautiful National Capital region.

Around the Ottawa area, there are plenty of Insta-worthy spots from an umbrella covered street, a Japanese garden, and even a waterfall. Some of these hidden gems will have you feeling like you are no longer in Ottawa.

So what are you waiting for? Invite your friends to explore all of these must-see spots with you.

Moving Surfaces At Landsdowne

Next to Landsdowne you can find the sculpture called Moving Surfaces designed by Jill Anholt Studio. The urban sculpture is made out of a series of stainless steel shapes inspired by the moving water of the Rideau Canal. At night is the best time to visit the statue as you can see it lit up.

The National Gallery Of Canada

The National Gallery Of Canada is filled with amazing spots to photograph. From the massive spider out front to the stunning artworks you'll find inside. You'll be left in awe from all the beautiful curated objects.

The Kipnes Lantern

One of the best features of the newly renovated National Arts Centre would have to be The Kipnes Lantern. At night the three-story lantern illuminates the downtown core with digital images.

The Tent Room At Rideau Hall

One of the most photographed rooms at Rideau Hall is the Tent Room. The bold red and white room was initially used as an indoor tennis court and a reception room; it is now used for official functions. To visit the Tent Room, you can sign up for one of the free tours of Rideau Hall.

Canadian Science And Technology Museum

If you grew up loving the Science and Technology Museum, you need to return to see the newly renovated museum. One of the new favorite rooms would have to be The Zoom Room where you can get a fantastic photo where you appear to be standing in a room upside down.

One Hundred Food Line

At Nepean Point, you can find the massive sculpture The One Hundred Foot Line. The enormous contemporary stainless-steel statue is 30.5 meters high and is made to represent the confrontation between nature and technology. From the base of the statue, the soaring metallic line seems to touch the sky.

The Canadian Museum Of Nature

One of the most surreal things in Ottawa would have to be the massive jellyfish in the Queen's Lantern at The Canadian Museum of Nature. The enormous inflatable can be seen floating in the front of the Museum and looks best when photographed at night when it is illuminated.

Magic Of Lights

Around the holidays Wesley Clover Parks has a magical 2 km drive through the tunnel of lights. The event called the Magic of Lights takes place from November 22 until January 5.  The pathway of lights is designed to be seen by driving through with your car. 

Fairmont Chateau Laurier

Ottawa has a castle that looks like something straight out of a fairy-tale. The luxurious hotel makes an excellent backdrop for your photos.

Japanese Zen Garden

You don't need to go to Japan to see a Japanese Zen garden, as you can find one at the Canadian Museum of Civilization. Outside of the museum, you can find the peaceful garden designed by Zen Buddhist Monk, Shunmyo Toshiaki Masuno.

Princess Louise Falls

One of the lesser known waterfalls in Ottawa is Princess Louise Falls in Orleans. The beautiful waterfall makes for a great Instagram spot, as it will look like you are on a tropical vacation instead of the suburbs.

Hi-Ottawa Jail

One of the more unique accommodations in Ottawa would have to be the Hi Ottawa Jail! The 150-year-old former prison now is a hostel where you can sleep within your own cell.

Lusk Caves

Located in Gatineau Park, the marble Lusk Cave is something you need to explore. When visiting the caves makes sure to dress appropriately, as there is one section of the cave where you will need to swim to exit.

The Ottawa Art Gallery

The new Ottawa Art Gallery is free to visit and filled with fantastic art you need to see. Some must visit artworks would be the canoe made out cereal boxes, or the intriguing sculpture by Max Dean that consists of a giant tree, toys and a mattress.

Remic Rapids

The Remic Rapids is a popular spot to photograph the stacked rocks at sunset. While here, you need to search out the "walking trees" sculptures.

Morrison's Quarry

Just 30 minutes outside of Ottawa you can find a hidden swimming hole with super clear water. Morrison's Quarry is located in Wakefield, Quebec and is a favorite spot with locals to go swimming.

Carbide Willson Ruins

These ruins in Gatineau Park are worth hiking to. The former experimental facility was used by scientist, now the Carbide Willson Mill is left in ruins, but is a cool site to see.

Escape Rooms

Escape rooms are the ultimate surreal experience. In Ottawa, there are plenty of different escape rooms to try including, Escape Manor, Jigsaw, Captive Escape Room, Lockdown, Hideaway, the Mystery Motel, Amaze, Amnesia, and Room Escape Ottawa. While the concept is always the same, escape before the time runs out each room has a unique theme, and you will find everything from a castle, a forest, or even a creepy hotel room.

The Parliament Buildings Light Show

The Parliament Buildings are Ottawa's most iconic landmark, and at various times throughout the year, it has a light show projected on it. In the summer, for Remembrance Day and around Christmas the Parliament Building will have a laser light show that you can watch for free.

Common Eatery

Common Eatery on Elgin Street has a breathtaking rose wall that you need to see! In the back of the restaurant, there is a rose wall made out of 5000 red roses!

The Diefenbunker

The Diefenbunker is undoubtedly a sight to behold. The Cold War Museum is within a massive four-story bunker that is 100,000 feet underground and built in 1959. Now the museum also is used as the location of the world's largest escape room.

Laval Street

If you head to Laval Street in Gatineau, you'll discover an eye-catching umbrella covered street. Nearby you can find plenty of delicious restaurants and charming cafes where you can relax and enjoy the view of the colourful umbrellas.

Zak's Cantina

At Zak's Cantina, you can have tacos on a bus! Somehow the small restaurant in the Byward Market managd to fit an entire bus inside their space. The super fun restaurant actually lets you eat aboard the bus, and if you wish, you can wear one of their sombreros too.

Parc Omega

Get up close to Canadian animals at Parc Omega. The safari park is just a short drive outside of Ottawa, where you can feed animals like deer and elk, carrots. Make sure to have your camera ready, as here you can get some extraordinary animal photos.

Colony VR

Colony VR will have you feeling like you're in the movie Ready Player One. At the virtual reality cafe, you can rent a virtual reality system by the hour where you can play any of the games in their library of games. After you put on the headset, you can't help but marvel at how real some of the virtual settings appear.

Nordik Spa-Nature

Just 10 minutes outside of Ottawa you can find the largest spa in North America! Nordik Spa-Nature is a huge spa where you can spend the day relaxing at their various hot tubs, saunas and plunge pools. Expertly designed you can relax in a hot tub next to a waterfall, or soak in a giant infinity pool for the perfect relaxing day off.


Every time you dine at Atelier, you can't help but be stunned by the dishes Chef Marc Lepine has created. The restaurant on Preston Street offers a 12-course tasting menu of stunning molecular gastronomy dishes. On the menu, you'll find everything from edible balloons to food plated inside dangling glass balls. The food is so creative that this year Chef Lepine was awarded Most Innovative Chef by Canada's 100 Best.

Notre-Dame Cathedral

Notre-Dame Cathedral is Ottawa's oldest standing church. The awe-inspiring architecture is something you need to see. The next time you're downtown make sure to wander into the church to see the beautiful interior.

Mer Bleue Conservation Area

Stroll through a northern boreal landscape within Ottawa! The 7700-year-old bog is said to look more like the Arctic than the Ottawa Valley. Here you can walk over the boardwalk to see plants and wildlife typical of northern boreal bogs. The peaceful setting is perfect for a leisurely stroll and birdwatching.

Stephanie White
Staff Writer
Recommended For You