Looking to plan a sweet summer getaway? What better spot than our nation's capital to soak up awesome history, fantastic festivals and exciting excursions. Besides the pride and pizzazz that comes with Canada Day celebrations and Parliament Hill, Ottawa has plenty to offer all season long, from classic tourist stops to adrenaline-pumping thrills—and it's just a quick flight away from Atlantic Canada.
In order to jump start your trip planning and feed your need for a summer adventure, here's a handful of must-see-and-dos from Ottawa Tourism.
Cruise the Rideau Canal (2 Rideau Street)
If you went from Ottawa to the other end of the famous Rideau Canal you'd end up in Kingston, Ontario. But before you get ahead of yourself, let this cruise show off all the historic eye-candy the capital has to offer. Six times daily, every day, this trek (on an eco-friendly 100 per cent electric boat) takes visitors to City Hall, the Ottawa Locks and Lansdowne Park. Evening cruises are available at 6:30 p.m. and (Saturday only) 8:30 p.m. from mid-June to early September.
Try yoga on Parliament Hill (111 Wellington Street)
Leave it to Ottawa to reimagine the classic (some might say obligatory) tourist trip to Parliament Hill. Why not throw on some yoga gear (don't worry, beginners welcome!) and stretch it out on one of the country's most picturesque lawns alongside hundreds of your compatriots. The group workout is free every Wednesday at noon throughout the summer, and makes for a cool kickoff to a free guided Parliament tour or visit to the Peace Tower.
Take in the tunes at the RBC Bluesfest Ottawa (July 5-15, LeBreton Flats Park)
Come to the capital for the history, stay for the music. Ranked as one of world's top 10 music festivals by Billboard magazine, a jaw-dropping lineup of international, genre-spanning stars descend annually — and 2018 is no different. From homegrown talent such as Shawn Mendes and Bryan Adams to legends like Foo Fighters, Beck and Jethro Tull, the festival has something for all ages and musical tastes.
Push your limits at Camp Fortune's Explorer Park (300 Chemin Dunlop, Parc de la Gatineau Park)
A short distance from Ottawa is this majestic locale which combines peaceful hiking through scenic paths with exciting rope bridges and even a zip line. If those activities haven't gotten your heart racing a little then the Free Fall Air Bag Jump should more than satisfy your adventurous, thrill-seeking side. Be sure to leave your sandals and flip-flops at home as closed toe shoes are a must.
Explore more at the Canada Science and Technology Museum (1867 St Laurent Boulevard)
Open daily and with a state-of-the-art renovation recently completed, this impressive stop contains a wealth of interesting, interactive and engaging exhibitions that go beyond a typical museum visit. This summer's The Art Of The Brick by Nathan Sawaya is easily worth the price of admission alone. Sawaya's LEGO recreations of classic works by Da Vinci and Van Gogh are guaranteed to score you some serious likes on your social feeds.
Be dazzled by the Northern Lights sound and light show (Parliament Hill)
Projected upon the impressive Parliament buildings backdrop, this epic display of sounds and lights is a knock-your-socks- (or summer sandals!) off pitstop. Case in point: last year's show drew over 300,000 visitors. Lay out a blanket and pack some snacks for the nightly event, which starts around 10 p.m. in July (or slightly earlier as the summer days wane in August). Bonus, it's free — and the perfect way to wrap up a magical trip to the nation's capital!
Ottawa combines the thrills of an urban adventure with the rich history of a capital city. Book your visit today with Porter Airlines and start planning an incredible summer getaway.