Ottawa 101?

Aug 5th, 2005, 06:51 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 3,464
Ottawa 101?

We are planing on spending a few nights in Ottawa in a few weeks, and have never been. A few basic questions:
-What neighborhood would be best to stay in as far as convienience seeing the sites, and being fun to walk around in? We usually prefer to stay in b&b's.
- Any recommendations on places to stay (preferably b&b's).
- I am assuming that Parlament Hill, the Museum of Civilization, and the National Gallery would be the top attractions. Any other recommendations?
- How easy is it to get to these sites? Are they within walking distance, is driving practical, or should we park it and forget the car (like we do in Montreal!).
- I understand there are some nice biking trails - any recommendations? If it's a hot day, how nice are the beaches ?
- Any recommendations for dining? We prefer moderately priced ethnic type places (BYOB preferred).
- En route from Montreal to Ottawa, anything worth stopping for?

thanks in advance for any advice!
zootsi is offline  
Aug 5th, 2005, 07:26 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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Hey Zootsi

After all your exploring of Montreal, I see that Ottawa has grabbed your curiosity. You will want to be in downtown Ottawa, not too far from Parliament Hill for ease of visiting sights and getting a feel of the city. Byward Market, Bank St., Elgin St., Sparks St. are the busier streets I've noticed. I like Ottawa but it's a lot quieter than Montreal, so be prepared for a different kind of city experience...

Ottawa is pretty compact and I've walked or bussed to many sites of the city, even the Museum of Civilization in Hull. You could easily park & forget the car while exploring downtown, but at the same time, driving is not as much of a headache as it is in Montreal.

Don't think there's much worth stopping for; Hudson close-in to Montreal if you go that way. I can't really help with the other questions, I'm afraid.

Enjoy DAN
Daniel_Williams is online now  
Aug 5th, 2005, 07:49 AM
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 1,569
There are several different tours of Parliament, Centre Block, East Block, and grounds. The tours are free and available in English or French, but require tickets because of limits to the group size.

If you'll be there during a peak time, get there early to get the tour time you want because they fill quickly.

Head out Sussex Drive to Rideau Hall, the Governor General's residence. You can tour the house or just wander the gardens. The Currency Museum in the Bank of Canada is also worth a visit.
Citylghts is offline  
Aug 5th, 2005, 08:45 AM
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As others have noted, Ottawa is fairly compact from a visitor's point of view, so you can park your car and walk or take the bus to most of the attractions. If you want to stay in a B&B, there are quite a few that are centrally located. Look for those in Sandy Hill, Downtown or Centretown. As I live here, I can't comment on any from experience, but you should have no trouble finding one to meet your needs.

The top attractions are indeed Parliament Hill, the Museum of Civilization, and National Gallery. I think that the stunning new Canadian War Museum is a must see, even if one is not particularly interested in warlike things. The other major national museums (Aviation, Nature, Science and Technology) are also worth seeing, depending on your interests. There are also many other smaller museums to visit.

There are many biking trails covering the entire region, along the canal, the Ottawa River and in the Gatineau Park (both paved and dirt trails there). You can rent bikes downtown if you don't want to bring your own. Here's an overview:

You can also see the canal and Ottawa river by boat, as there are tours and cruises on both. There are a number of beaches along the Ottawa and Rideau rivers, and in the Gatineau Park at Meech Lake and Lac Philippe. The City of Ottawa and NCC websites have the details.

For dining, you'll find many restaurants of all types in the Byward Market. The best Italian restaurants tend are located on Preston Street, west of downtown, while Somerset Street West has many Asian restaurants (Chinese, Vietnamese, Thai). Unfortunately there are few BYOB restaurants in Ottawa, as the rules only changed this year. For these you will have to go to Gatineau/Hull. If you have any particular favourite cuisines, I can offer some recommendations.

Here are some websites with more details on visiting Ottawa:

Enjoy your visit!
laverendrye is offline  
Aug 7th, 2005, 04:14 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 204
I would endorse the suggestion of the War Museum. We spent a Sunday afternoon there. It is laid out in 5 stages and is very interactive. You can get the OT bus from Parliament Hill or take a taxi. It is about a 30 minute walk from the parliament buildings. It is half price on Sundays so there were a lot of people there.
lolly is offline  
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