Finally, Spring has sprung. At last we can enjoy the natural splendour of our city without fear of losing our extremities to the cold. This list of 10 Things To Do in Ottawa will help you make the most of the warmer weather.
Check out the May flowers at the Canadian Tulip Festival. This annual festival runs from May 11-21 and features over a million tulips across four locations. The one-kilometre stretch of gardens running alongside Dow’s Lake is a popular attraction for visitors and locals alike. With tulips in every colour, there is sure to be a great family photo op for everyone in attendance. Taking in the tulips along Dow’s Lake is free, $15 tickets are available to access the Tulip Gallery at Lansdowne Park.
Believe it or not, Ottawa is home to a few craft distilleries. One big name in the local scene is Top Shelf Distillers. Top Shelf produces gin, vodka, a variety of moonshine and recently launched a line of bitters. Top Shelf offers distillery tours for $10/person that will give you a glimpse into small-batch spirit production happening right here in our backyard.
Get a taste of culture by checking out the newly reopened Ottawa Art Gallery. After an extensive renovation, the OAG is back in action with an exciting inaugural exhibition “We’ll All Become Stories: A Survey of Art of the Ottawa-Gatineau Region.” Top off your visit with a cocktail at the new high-style restaurant on site, Jackson. Free admission!
What’s not to like about a hot dog? Tavern on the Hill gives you more reason to love this tubular meat by dressing it up with all sorts of unlikely toppings. From its perch at the north end of Major’s Hill park, Tavern on the Hill offers unparalleled views of Parliament, the National Gallery and the Ottawa River. This is one of the prime patio locations in the city – make the most of it, weather permitting!
Spend the day on May 26th seeking out hidden gems at the Great Glebe Garage Sale. Be sure to wear your most comfortable walking shoes and get to this neighbourhood-wide yard sale on public transit or on foot, parking is always next to impossible to find. Bring cash and your best bartering skills so you can take home that vintage set of Polly Pockets for a song.
Dust off your sneakers and lace up for Ottawa Race Weekend on May 26-27. With distances ranging from 2 km to 42 km there is a race for everyone. If you’d rather not hit the pavement, spend a crafternoon making an inspirational sign for runners and set yourself up along the route. Plus, if you have friends participating in the half or full marathons on Sunday, May 27, they’re probably going to need brunch afterward to refuel.
Take part in Doors Open Ottawa on June 2-3 to gain access to some of our city’s coolest places. Get your creative juices flowing with a trip down the slide at Shopify HQ or take in the beauty of the Art Deco architecture and furnishings at the French Embassy. Free!
Farmer’s market season is upon us. Maybe you’ve marvelled at the beauty of a zucchini flower but haven’t figured out how to work it into a meal. Cooking classes at The Urban Element will give you the tools you need to incorporate more seasonal fare into your diet and you’ll get to enjoy a delicious four-course meal in the process. Hands-on cooking classes start from $130 per person.
Celebrating its 15th anniversary this year, Westfest will feature 30 musical acts at Tom Browne Arena and Park from June 8-10. This arts and music festival is free to attend and is slated to feature a whole new line-up of food trucks.
Celebrate the Royal Wedding by doing your best impression of a proper lady or gentleman by taking tea at Zoé’s Lounge at the Fairmont Chateau Laurier. LOT 35 teas on offer at the Fairmont are absolutely divine. The Fairmont Earl Grey loose leaf tea is one of the best examples of this classic black tea I’ve ever had. Finger sandwiches, pastries and other bite-sized delights will be in ample supply. The afternoon tea menu is $48.