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Canada's capital city could hardly be lovelier. Perched upon Parliament Hill are Ottawa's gothic government buildings, set against the slow-moving Ottawa River. Miles of late-Victorian brick houses dot neighborhoods. Canadian art and history are on display at museums throughout the city, including the impressive Canadian Museum of Civilization. Ottawa makes it easy to enjoy its beauty through outdoor pursuits. The tidy, hand-dug Rideau Canal has bisected this city since 1832 and remains popular with cruisers, bicyclists and ice skaters.
Things to Do
Wander the grounds of Parliament Hill and spend the morning watching the Changing of the Guard before the ornate Gothic spires of government buildings. Colorful, carved ravens and fierce wooden bears adorn First Nations totem poles, greeting visitors to the Canadian Museum of Civilization. Exhibits recount Canada's long history with prehistoric weapons, textiles and tools of 16th-century New France. The museum also celebrates the lives of its most prominent historical figures, such as explorer Samuel de Champlain and writer Gabrielle Roy.
Nightlife and Entertainment
Canadian and international performances take the spotlight at the National Arts Centre, entertaining visitors with ballet, theatre and orchestral works within view of the Rideau Canal and Parliament Hill. For live alternative music, fun cocktails and wine bars, head to the ByWard Market. Bar 56 is a martini lounge; Chateau Lafayette, established in 1849, is Ottawa's oldest tavern; and Must is a sophisticated wine and tapas bar.
Restaurants and Dining
You'll find whatever you're hungry for at the ByWard Market. One of Canada's oldest and largest markets since 1826, shoppers fill their baskets with locally raised meat and fresh sausage from the 260 stalls every day. Follow your nose to the mingled scents of Mediterranean roasted garlic, Thai curry and fresh Atlantic seafood permeating the market -- it's home to 88 restaurants and more than a dozen pubs. Pick up a beaver tail for dessert; it's a cinnamon and sugar-sprinkled fritter found only in Ottawa.
The tidy Rideau Canal slices through Ottawa and offers plenty of opportunities for outdoor recreation. In warm weather, tour boats ply the canal's waters, while guides offer commentary on the city's history and attractions. A popular paved bicycle trail borders the canal and spreads outward from there, extending over 100 miles -- a boon for this city of bike-lovers. In winter, the frozen canal becomes the world's longest ice rink, providing both recreation and an alternate mode of transportation for Ottawans.
It's easy to explore the capital of Canada with American Airlines flights to Ottawa. From visiting museums to enjoying its beautiful natural setting, there are many things to do in Ottawa for an enjoyable getaway. Get ready for an exciting experience with our picks for seeing the city.
As the Canadian capital, located in Ontario, there are plenty of activities in Ottawa that capture the country's spirit and heritage. Start by visiting Parliament Hill, set on a hilltop affording a great view of the city. It's the seat of the federal government and also the setting for national celebrations throughout the year. Guided tours are available for the public galleries and to the top of Peace Tower, which features an observation deck where you can enjoy 360-degree views of Ottawa. During the summer, you can also watch a morning changing of the guard ceremony on the front lawn of Parliament Hill.
The city is also known for its breadth of museums and galleries, and spending an afternoon on a museum crawl is one of our favorite things to do in Ottawa. The National Gallery of Canada is located near Parliament Hill, so it's a great place to begin. You can't miss it thanks to a giant bronze sculpture of a spider in front of the building created by Louise Bourgeois. Inside you'll be able to see an expansive collection of Canadian works, including pieces by Tom Thomson and the Group of Seven, along with international collections and exhibitions. Next door to the National Gallery is the Royal Canadian Mint, where you can take a guided tour and watch coins being made and even see what $1 million in gold looks like. At the Canadian Museum of Civilization, located across the Ottawa River from Parliament Hill, you'll be able to learn about the country's indigenous heritage. It features the world's largest indoor collection of totem poles and the First Peoples Hall is devoted to the cultural origins of Canada.
If you're interested in more adventurous activities in Ottawa, you're in luck. With the Ottawa River running through the city, there are many ways to enjoy its scenic natural beauty. Whitewater rafting, kayaking and wilderness tours are all fun options that will get your adrenaline pumping. On land, Ottawa has a great network of trails throughout the city for biking or walking, and you can go mountain biking in Gatineau Park. Of course, in the winter you can enjoy skiing with cross-country trails in the city and downhill trails about an hour's drive away.
It's a city full of fun discoveries, and the inviting atmosphere makes a visit fun and memorable. American Airlines has made it easy to fly to Ottawa with convenient flights and trip-planning information -- start planning your getaway today.
|Ottawa International Jazz Festival||20 Jun - 1 Jul 2013 (annual)||Ottawa|
|Ottawa Bluesfest||Jul 2013 (annual)||Festival Site|
|Mr Leather||Nov 2013 (annual)||Saint Brigid's Centre for the Arts|
|Winterlude||Feb 2014; Weekends only (annual)||Ottawa|
|Ottawa Boat & Sportsmen's Show||Feb 2014 (annual)||CE Centre|
|NHL Ice Hockey: Ottawa Senators||Oct 2013 - Apr 2014 (annual)||Scotiabank Place|
|Canadian Tulip Festival||May 2014 (annual)||Ottawa|
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