Here in Canada’s capital, we take winter pretty seriously – and we do it well.
No matter your preferences, this city offers something for everyone at this time of year. Planning a great date in the Winter can be a breeze… just think of things you and your date enjoy and go from there.
Do you love the outdoors, or would you rather be somewhere warm and cozy? Are you planning something fancy for a special occasion or hoping for a laid back and fun first date?
Without further delay, here are 25 winter date ideas (with a wide variety of options to suit different couples):
1. Ice-Skating on the River Oak Trail
If you’re looking for something different from the Rideau Canal and other popular skating spots in the city, the gorgeous ice-skating trail at River Oak is just 30 minutes away from Ottawa. The trail runs through an orchard, forest, and meadows.
Address: 2900 York’s Corners Rd, Metcalfe
Phone Number: (613) 212-0077
For couples who are really looking to embrace the winter and have fun, Winterlude is the perfect event for a date and runs on weekends until February 17th.
Visit Jacques Cartier Park’s giant winter playground featuring ice sculptures, tube sliding, ski and snowboard lessons, a zip line, indigenous performers, and more! Head over one block south of Parliament Hill for various live performances and interactive light structures.
3. Nordik Spa
If you’re looking for something extra romantic to celebrate an anniversary or spoil your loved one, Nordik Nature Spa is a local favorite and beautiful at this time of year.
Located just 15 minutes from downtown Ottawa in Chelsea, Quebec, Nordik is the largest spa in North America. This relaxation and wellness centre specialises in thermotherapy and relaxation techniques from Scandinavian countries.
This winter, Nordik is hosting a Snowshoeing and Spa event in partnership with Gatineau Park that could make for a memorable date/staycation.
Address: 16 Chemin Nordik, Chelsea, QC
Phone Number: (819) 827-1111
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4. Sledding at Carlington Park
Ottawa has a whopping 56 approved hills for sledding. One popular spot is Carlington Park, the home of a former ski hill. This park is pet and human friendly, with trails and a view of the city. The hill is pretty steep and usually has jumps carved into the snow for those adventurous enough to try them.
Address: 1640 Laperriere Ave, Ottawa
Phone Number: (613) 580-2595
5. Visit a Museum
If the weather is a little too cold for an outdoor date, why not visit one of Ottawa’s many museums?
Choose from the Museum of History, Science and Technology Museum, Aviation and Space Museum, Agriculture and Food Museum, Museum of Nature, War Museum, The National Gallery of Canada, and others.
Spend the day learning and exploring together, stopping to get a bite to eat and check out the gift shop before you leave.
Need I say more? #beavertails
Seriously though. Beavertails were first sold by Pam and Grant Hooker at the Killaloe Fair in 1978. Since then, their popularity has grown so much they are now a Canadian favorite.
Stop by the oldest permanent location in town – the ByWard Market – or visit a food truck while skating on the Rideau Canal for this warm treat. Watch out for their new ‘Retro Luv’ flavors: Trix, Cookie Crisp, and Lucky Charms!
Address: 69 George St, Ottawa
Phone Number: (613) 241-1230
7. Rock Climbing at Coyote Rock Gym
When you don’t like the cold or the weather’s bad during the winter months, it can be hard to stay fit. Healthy couples looking for a more adventurous date might want to consider rock climbing or bouldering.
Ottawa has the Coyote Rock Gym or Altitude in Kanata, or you can swing by Altitude’s second location in Gatineau, a quick drive away from downtown Ottawa.
Rock climbing is a great all-levels activity that works the whole body and involves communicating with a partner, a perfect way to spend quality time as a couple.
Address: 1737B St Laurent Blvd, Ottawa
Phone Number: (613) 739-4074
8. Jigsaw Escape Rooms
Another exciting indoor activity that’s very popular these days are Escape Rooms. Pay to be locked in a room and see how long it can take you to escape, just don’t let the clock run out!
Many companies have opened up their own Escape Room experiences in Ottawa. Jigsaw Escape Rooms located in the ByWard Market has friendly staff and 45 to 60-minute escape room experiences.
There are plenty of different themed rooms to escape from, from A Cabin in the Woods to the Wild Wild West. This is another fun date idea where you can really put your communication skills to the test.
Address: 12 Byward Market Square Unit 2, Ottawa
Phone Number: (613) 422-6542
9. The Clarendon Tavern
Customers love the warm ambiance of this tavern, which is extra welcome during those winter months. They have a good beer selection and their menu, inspired by Chef Dave Godsoe, features handmade dishes using seasonal and locally sourced ingredients.
Address: 11 George St, Ottawa
Phone Number: 613-422-5111
10. Maple Syrup Festivals and Sugar Shacks
Visit a maple farm and make maple memories! Learn the art of maple syrup making, enjoy sugar shack food, taste maple taffy and more!
11. Absolute Comedy Ottawa
For some people the winter months can be a little bleak and depressing. If you and your significant other could use a laugh, Absolute Comedy is the place to go.
Enjoy some food, drink, and a show in a warm and lively setting. Don’t worry about those first date awkward silences, you’ll be too busy laughing and having a good time.
Address: 412 Preston St, Ottawa
Phone Number: (613) 233-8000
12. House of Targ
Couples looking for a unique and quirky date idea can look no further than House of Targ. This venue is known for its arcade, live music, theme nights, and handmade pierogis!
Customers love this cool hangout spot for its fun atmosphere, along with excellent food and great service.
Address: 1077 Bank St, Ottawa
Phone Number: (613) 680-8274
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13. Hog’s Back Park
Open daily from 5am – 11pm, Hog’s Back Park would make an ideal date for couples who love the outdoors. This park has impressive waterfalls that still flow during winter and stunning hiking trails.
This is a highly recommended spot for a wintery date in Ottawa. It’s just like walking in a Winter Wonderland!
Address: 600 Hogs Back Rd, Ottawa
14. Vineyards Wine Bar Bistro
This cozy spot on York Street is known for delicious food and live jazz music on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Sunday evenings from 7pm – 10pm.
Vineyards serves a European-influenced menu of steaks and seafood. They have a large selection of over 150 imported beers and 200 wines to choose from.
Set up in a stone cellar with Tiffany lamps, the décor at this restaurant is intimate and romantic, perfect for a fancier date.
Address: 54 York St, Ottawa
Phone Number: (613) 241-4270
15. The Loft Board Game Lounge
Do you and your date love to play board games? If so, The Loft Board Game Lounge is hidden treasure that’s a must for a memorable and fun-filled date. Consider making a reservation because they do get busy some nights.
This trendy hang-out spot has hundreds of board games to choose from, including old favorites and newer games. Enjoy unlimited gameplay for a low cover charge, along with espresso drinks, beer, and snacks available for purchase.
Address: 14 Waller St, Ottawa
Phone Number: (613) 695 7529
16. The Moonroom
Customers enjoy their wine selection and cheese plates. This is a high-quality spot with good service, perfect if you’re looking for a place that’s a little different and not too crowded.
Address: 442 Preston St, Ottawa
Phone: (613) 231-2525
17. Cosmos Bowling at McArthur Lanes
Bowling is a fun activity that also involves food and drink, making it a great idea for a date night. Go as a couple or make it a group date with some friends!
If you’re up for something a little different check out the new glow-in-the-dark Cosmos Bowling at McArthur Lanes for an out of this world experience and great music.
McArthur Lanes has been a town favorite since 1959, has great food, and 30+ bowling lanes.
Address: 175 McArthur Ave., Vanier
Phone Number: (613) 745-2117
18. Gongfu Bao
Gongfu Boa is a humble Asian food restaurant that takes its influences from Chinese and Taiwanese culinary traditions. Located on Bank Street, their food is described as being delicious and savory.
One of Gongfu’s specialties is handcrafted steamed buns (bao). The food here is inspired by the utility and creativity of street foods, making it a fun and unique spot for a date.
Address: 365 Bank St, Ottawa
Phone Number: (613) 454-5963
19. Ottawa Farmers’ Market
Just because its wintertime doesn’t mean there aren’t any markets to visit, they’ve just moved indoors!
Head over to the Ottawa Farmer’s Market at Lansdowne on Sundays from 10am – 3pm. At this market you can get everything from food and preservatives to plants and personal care items.
Lansdowne is the only local-producer farmer’s market open year-round in the city. In the winter, it is located in the Aberdeen Pavilion.
Address: 1000 Exhibition Way, Ottawa
Phone Number: (613) 863-1049
20. Troubadour Books and Records
While there are many great book and record stores to choose from in Ottawa, Troubadour Books & Records on 508 Bank Street is a great spot for a date.
Something unique about this bookstore is that you can choose from a collection of books wrapped in brown paper with the summaries written on, something the independent store does to encourage patrons not to ‘judge a book by it’s cover’.
Address: 508 Bank St, Ottawa
Phone Number: +1 697-808-1216
21. Th3rd Fridays Street Dance Battles
If you’re passionate about dance or just want a different kind of entertainment than you’re used to, check out one of the dance battles that takes place every third Friday evening of the month at City Hall (110 Laurier Ave W, Ottawa).
These dance battles are free for spectators and it’s $2 per category to participate. A DJ plays music from a variety of genres from hip hop to funk and participants compete against each other.
22. Louis Pizzeria
Pizza lovers will love Louis Pizzeria, a cozy family-run spot on 181 McArthur Avenue. They have a varied menu with omelettes, sandwiches, burgers, and of course, pizza.
This place is known for making heart-shaped pizzas for couples, so if you call ahead and request one you can surprise your date! They’re super cute and very tasty.
Address: 181 McArthur Ave., Vanier
Phone Number: (613) 741-0724
23. Parliament Hill
For people born and raised in Ottawa, Parliament Hill can be a bit overrated, but there’s something new to learn and see each time you go! It can be a great date spot for people who are new to town especially.
Book a free 40-minute walking tour of the House of Commons in the newly restored West Block. Learn more about how Parliament works as well as the history, art, and architecture of the building.
Address: 111 Wellington St, Ottawa
Phone Number: 613-992-4793
24. Visit the Love Lock Bridge
If you’re feeling extra cheesy and romantic, you can plan a nice walk by the Rideau Canal and stop at the Love Lock Bridge. Many lovers have left locks along the bridge as part of a worldwide tradition of love.
Stop by to take in the view at this adorable spot and leave your own lock to symbolise your love for each other. Officially known as the Corktown Bridge or Somerset Bridge, this bridge is located where the University of Ottawa meets Elgin Street bars.
25. Take in a live performance
Attend various plays and music performances by local musicians, orchestras, and acting groups at various locations across Ottawa.