Don’t let the winter blues get you down! Even though there’s snow everywhere, there are still plenty of fun things you can go out and do this winter in Canada’s capital city. Here are 25+ things to do in and around Ottawa during the winter season.
1. Go Skating on the Rideau Canal
Visit Rideau Canal and go for a skate! This is the world’s largest rink, made up of 7.8km. Lace up your skates and spend a few hours testing your moves at this fantastic rink!
2. Ski at the Sir John A. MacDonald Trail
Who doesn’t love to ski? Head to this trail and strap on your skis for a bit of exercise and the chance to explore the beauty of Ottawa. Don’t forget to check the trail conditions first!
Address: Goes from Carling Ave. to Booth St.
3. Snowshoe in Gatineau Park
Enjoy the beauty of this park by strapping on some snowshoes. Don’t have your own snowshoes? Not to worry! You can rent a pair at the park.
Address: 33 Chemin Scott, Quebec (accessible from downtown Ottawa)
Cost: $28.00 to rent snowshoes
4. Take a Picture at the Royal Canadian Mint
You don’t have to go inside the appreciate the uniqueness of this building. As one of two Mint locations, the Royal Canadian Mint in Ottawa was founded in 1908. Bring your camera and practice some architectural photography!
Address: 320 Sussex Dr.
5. Go Tobogganing at Bruce Pit
Located in the Ottawa region’s Stony Swamp, this is one of the best toboggan hills in the area. You’ll have hours of fun sliding down Bruce Pit. Not to mention you’ll get a ton of exercise as you climb back up!
Address: NCC 26, Nepean
6. Walk the grounds of Parliament Hill
If you’ve never been to this historic landmark, now is the time to go. Pack your camera and test out your photography skills. The building looks especially beautiful outlined against the crisp white of the snow.
Address: Wellington St.
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7. Visit Windsor Park
This beautiful park is a great place to spend a few hours at any time of day. Walk along the trails on a clear winter’s days and appreciate the beauty of Ottawa in winter. Do you have a dog? You’re welcome to bring yours here for a walk!
Address: 1 Windsor Rd.
8. Hike Through the Greenbelt
Just because it’s winter, that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy some hiking trails! The Greenbelt consists of 20,000 hectares of green space with a variety of trails. Get in some exercise and get away from the busy urban areas by visiting the Greenbelt.
You may like: 25 of the Best Hikes in and Around Ottawa
9. Go Skating at Rideau Hall
Though not as big as the Canal, Rideau Hall still offers an amazing location for skating. The rink will be closed until the end of January, but you’ll still get the chance to skate in February! So why not start planning your visit to this rink now?
Address: 1 Sussex Dr.
10. Explore the Grounds of the Notre Dame Cathedral
This stunning cathedral will take your breath away. Pack your camera back and work on your architectural photography by shooting the incredible spires and stained glass. You may not be able to go inside, but there’s still plenty to look at outside!
Address: 385 Sussex Dr.
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11. Hike the Capital Pathway Network
You’ll have a great time exploring this gorgeous part of Canada’s Capital. There are 800 km worth of trails, so you’ll want to come multiple times to explore as much as possible. Just remember to dress warm!
12. Go Tobogganing at Carlington Park
You’ll have a great time sledding down the hill in Carlington Park. Load up your sled and head over with a friend or family member or just go by yourself. You’re guaranteed a great if chilly, time! List of sledding hills in Ottawa.
Address: 1640 Laperriere Ave.
13. Winter Fun at RiverOak Estate
With trails that pass through orchards, forests, and meadows, it is no surprise that the winter trails at RiverOak Estates are so popular. Grab your skates or snowshoes, hockey or ringette sticks, and enjoy your time outdoors. Located 30 minutes from downtown Ottawa.
14. Visit Pine Grove
Not far from downtown Ottawa, Pine Grove is a great place to go for a walk. With 18.4km worth of trails, it’s easy to spend the day here. Have a dog? There’s a dog park in Pine Grove, so grab your pup and go!
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15. Explore Central Experimental Farm
There’s so much to explore at Central Experimental Farm, even in winter! Enjoy the Ornamental Gardens for a stroll. Or, head to the Arboretum and explore the beautiful trees.
Address: Bldg. 72, Arboretum, Central Experimental Farm
16. Skate at the SENS Rink of Dreams
Located right in front of City Hall, this rink is a fantastic place to spend a few hours skating. On the other side, you’ll also find Confederation Park, lit up with all the beautiful Christmas lights. You’ll have fun exercising, plus you’ll get to appreciate the beauty of the city.
Address: 110 Laurier Ave. W
17. Enjoy a Skate In the Forest
Located near Gatineau Park (45 minutes from Ottawa), Skating in the Forest offers the unique experience of skating on a 3 km nature trail. This enchanting site is also a great place to enjoy a winter walk or go snowshoeing.
19. See Birds at Mud Lake
Mud Lake located within Lac Deschênes is a major migratory corridor and is a popular site for bird watching.
20. See animals at Parc Omega
Breath in the fresh air at the Parc Omega. Drive through the nature park and observe wild animals from the northern hemisphere like wolves, elks, deer – all from the comfort of your vehicle. The snowshoe trail at the park is now accessible at zone 11. Book an overnight stay at the cozy Wolf Cabin. Located one hour from Ottawa.
21. Visit Hogs Back Park
Go for a walk in this beautiful park to stretch your legs and get away from the urban areas of the city. Completely with stunning falls, it’s easy to fall in love with this park. Lace up your boots and spend a few hours at Hogs Back Park!
Address: 600 Hogs Back Rd.
You may like: 15+ Waterfalls to Visit in and Around Ottawa
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22. Visit Mooney’s Bay Beach
It doesn’t have to be summer to enjoy the beach! Check out Mooney’s Bay Beach and enjoy how beautiful the water looks even in winter. It’s also a great place for a walk!
Address: 2960 Riverside Dr.
23. Snowshoe at Britannia Park
Strap on your snowshoes and head to this park for a few hours of fun and exercise! The Britannia Winter Trail is a beautifully maintained path perfect for snowshoeing. If you start getting too chilly, you can always stop at the Britannia Coffehouse for a cup of hot chocolate.
Address: 2805 Carling Ave.
24. Appreciate Public Art
There are many art installations, murals, and graffiti located throughout the city. House of PainT has created a map you can use to tour the murals and graffiti.
25.Ski at Ski Heritage East
One of Ottawa’s many skiing locations, Ski Heritage East is a fantastic place to practice your skiing. The trail is well-maintained and absolutely beautiful. Just remember to check the trail conditions first!
Address: Ottawa East-End
26. Get Ready for an Adventure
Experience winter with Countryside Adventures. Located 45 minutes east of Ottawa is a place where families, couples, or groups can enjoy a day out in the open. You can enjoy skating, snowshoeing, and cross-country skiing.
27. Visit Camp Fortune
If you’re more of a downhill skier, you’ll want to visit Camp Fortune. This resort has operated for over 100 years and has plenty of amazing downhill ski runs. Get your blood pumping as you race down the slopes at Camp Fortune!
Address: 300 Chemin Dunlop, Quebec (accessible from Ottawa)
Cost: Prices vary per day
28. Christmas Lights Across Canada
Christmas may be over, but Ottawa’s lights are still up until January! Check out Christmas Lights Across Canada, and take a look at the stunning lights decorating the city. If you’re not ready to let go of the Christmas spirit, this is the perfect way to hold on.
Address: Confederation Blvd.
You might like: Christmas Lights & Santa Claus Parades in Ottawa
Not everyone finds winter to be dreary. Find reasons the celebrate the coldest season of the year by attending Ottawa’s Winterlude in February. Full of fun activities, you’ll learn to appreciate winter at this festival. (Scheduled for February 5 to 21, 2021. More details TBA)
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