Ottawa has its fair share of popular tourist destinations. From Parliament Hill to the Rideau Canal, and every incredible museum and giant spider in between. So, there's really no shortage of bucket-list-worthy attractions in the capital for you to enjoy. But if you're looking to go off the beaten path, there are plenty of places to visit in Ottawa that'll make you feel like a true local.

From hidden gems sprinkled throughout the city to eternally popular spots, to truly experience our country's capital, you have to seek out the best local Ottawa hangouts. Whether that means embracing patio season in the winter, grabbing some delicious diner food at 2 a.m., or bowling in a 1960s alley, there's a whole other side of Ottawa to experience. 

So, if you're looking to visit Ottawa and want the true taste, or you're a resident looking to hang with the city's regulars, read on!

Lowertown Brewery

Price: Prices vary

When: Daily from 11:30 a.m. to close

Address: 73 York St., Ottawa, ON

Why You Need To Go: Only true Ottawa locals would be brave enough to sit on a patio in the winter. And at Lowertown Brewery, you can do just that. With locally brewed craft beers and a menu that would make your mouth water, it's no wonder this little brewery is a local favourite. 


Chez Lucien

Price: Prices vary

When: Daily from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m.

Address: 137 Murray St., Ottawa, ON

Why You Need To Go: Open since 2004, this spot has become a local hot spot in the market. You can enjoy locally brewed beers, tasty food, free jukebox tunes, and more. Even Tom Green, a notable Ottawa-born celebrity, approves of this place.


Cafe Morala

Price: Prices vary

When: Monday to Friday from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m., weekends from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Address: 734 Bank St., Ottawa, ON

Why You Need To Go: This charming little coffee spot has been a long-standing local treasure. This is the kind of spot where they greet regulars by name. You can enjoy a lovely menu and beautiful decor, including the ever-changing and stunning chalkboard art.


Zak's Diner 

Price: Prices vary

When: 24/7

Address: Various locations, Ottawa, ON

Why You Need To Go: Known for being "locally world-famous" Zak's is a beloved spot to eat, drink, and be merry. This old-school diner has been serving tasty affordable food since 1986, with, thankfully, no end in sight. 


Elgin Street Diner

Price: Prices vary

When: 24/7

Address: 374 Elgin St., Ottawa, ON

Why You Need To Go: Elgin Street Diner is another long-standing local staple in Ottawa. This spot holds a special place in Ottawan's hearts for being one of the best hangover cures in the city. With a long list of award-winning food, it's no wonder this late-night diner is a point of pride for the city. 


Absolute Comedy

Price: Prices vary

When: 8 p.m. to 12 a.m.

Address: 412 Preston St., Ottawa, ON

Why You Need To Go: Despite being (unfairly, we might add!) known as the city that fun forgot, locals love to LOL at Absolute Comedy. A common spot for co-workers and friends to gather after a long day to unwind and take in both local and travelling comedians. 


Shawarma Palace 

Price: Prices vary

When: Most locations open at 11 a.m.

Address: Various locations, Ottawa, ON

Why You Need To Go: In a city with a different shawarma place on every corner, it can be tough to pick which one to try. Not for Ottawa locals, though. Many will tell you that Shawarma Palace is THE shawarma place. If the line-up out the door doesn't convince you, the food certainly will.


McArthur Lanes

Price: Prices vary

When: Monday to Thursday from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m., Friday from 10 a.m. until 1:30 a.m., Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1:30 a.m., and Sunday 9 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.

Address: 175 McArthur Rd., Ottawa, ON

Why You Need To Go: Known as Ottawa's favourite bowling destination since 1966, this local staple makes for a perfect casual hangout. With tasty food, drinks, glow-in-the-dark bowling and more, there's so much to enjoy at this well-loved bowling alley.



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