15 Things to Do in Ottawa This Summer

Christine Lyons is a fourth-year English student.


15 Things to Do in Ottawa This Summer

Christine Lyons is a fourth-year English student.

So you’re in Ottawa this summer, and you’re wondering what on earth you should do.  You’re also wondering how you can afford to do anything on that student budget.  It’s a good thing, then, that we’ve made this list.  Everything here is in Ottawa, suits the summer heat, and costs less than a crisp, green twenty.

Grab some sun at Mooney’s Bay Beach.

You can even rent a volleyball net for $15 an hour if you’re feeling energetic.


Check out Hog’s Back Falls.

It’s walking distance away from Mooney’s Bay Beach.

Then go visit Rideau Falls.

I promise they look different from Hog’s Back Falls.

Go for a walk along the canal and visit Dow’s Lake.

Dow’s Lake is perfect for a walk or afternoon of relaxation.  If you get hungry, you can even grab food at the pavilion above the water.

Rent a canoe, kayak, pedal boat or paddle board and exhaust yourself on the water.

One hour rentals cost either $15 or $16 per boat.  Pro tip: it’s cheaper to split pedal boats, canoes and two person kayak with your friends.

Experience the free sound and light show at Parliament Hill.

For the schedule, click here.


Watch the Changing of the Guard.

Visit Parliament Hill for the Changing of the Guard.  It happens every day at 10:00 am.

Get some free yoga at Parliament Hill.

Every Wednesday from 12:00-1:00, Lululemon hosts a free yoga class on the Hill.  All you have to do is bring a mat to practice on!

Go for a walk around the Byward Market.

This is free until you get tempted by the stalls of maple candies, fresh fruit and handmade products.  We also can’t guarantee that you won’t buy a beavertail.


Check out the free activities happening daily at City Hall.

City Hall at 110 Laurier Ave hosts summer activities such as salsa dancing, tai chi, circus jam and yoga, many of which are totally free to participate in!

Bike, jog, rollerblade or skateboard one of the many trails.

Follow the Rideau Canal, travel toward the downtown of Ottawa or choose one of the many paths in the core of the city for a nice summer outing.


Visit the Governor General.

Or at least, visit his residence with free tours of the state rooms and grounds.

Check out one of the many museums, all of which are free on Thursdays after 5:00 pm.

Museums include the Bytown Museum, the Canadian Museum of Civilization, the Museum of Nature, the National Gallery and the Canadian War Museum.  If you can’t make it for Thursday evening, then ask the museum about student pricing.


If it’s a rainy day, go to a board game cafe.

Try The Loft at 14 Waller Street or Monopolatte at 640 Somerset Street W.  Both cafes charge $5 for cover, but you can play as many board games as you want.

Or maybe grab a bite to eat at a local Ottawa spot.

The folks over at Zomato have compiled a list of the cheapest & greatest places to eat in Ottawa.


Still looking for ideas?  Why don’t you take a look at Ottawa’s Calendar of Events for the next few months.

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