Get from Beantown to Bytown, with flights from Boston to Ottawa.
Ottawa is Canada’s capital, but there’s more to this city than just politics. Beyond Parliament Hill and Rideau hall, a bustling city is waiting to be explored. Between shopping in the ByWard Market and visiting the Bytown Museum you’ll discover the heart of Canada’s political centre.
A comprehensive collection of museums makes Ottawa a cultural vacation spot. Whether you’re touring through the tanks at the Canadian War Museum, or examining the specimens of the Canadian Museum of Nature, you’ll find something that piques your curiosity.
Canadian culture and arts are on display in Ottawa’s art galleries. The National Gallery of Canada frames the nation’s most important art in a mix of stunning granite and glass. Within the National Gallery, the Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography focuses on photography as art.
To see art in motion, catch a show at Ottawa’s National Arts Centre. Music, theatre, and musical theatre share the spotlight at this multipurpose venue. 100 years of performance history take the stage at the Ottawa Little Theatre. Having produced more than 1,000 plays over its lifetime, this theatre’s contribution to Ottawa’s arts scene is anything but little.
Entertainment spreads outside at Major’s Hill Park. This park hosts many of Ottawa’s outdoor events, including the Canada Day celebrations on July 1st. For year-round outdoor fun, stroll or skate along the Rideau Canal. In the winter, this canal becomes the world’s largest skating rink. Rent a pair of skates and lace up to enjoy one of the most romantic things to do in Ottawa.
With so many attractions, there’s no debating it, you’ll fall in love with Ottawa before you return to Boston.
See the best of Ottawa’s political attractions on your trip from Boston, with a visit to Parliament Hill.
Get up close and political with Parliament Hill as you tour the historic halls of Parliament’s Centre Block. The 1916 fire that scorched the building still lingers in the heated debates that take place in the Centre Block. Listen in on the action as you pass through the House of Commons and the Senate, before making your way to the quiet Library of Parliament.
The nearby East Block finished in 1866, contains recreations of offices of past occupants. The original 19th-century furniture is still present in these rooms, including a horsehair sofa in the office of first Canadian Prime Minister, Sir John A MacDonald. Tours are available seasonally, but the intricate gothic revival exterior is an excellent photo-op any time of the year.
The law of the land is doled out at the Supreme Court of Canada. You don’t need to stand trial to take a tour of this courthouse, which also houses an art gallery and library. If a hearing is happening during your visit, sit in on the proceedings of Canada’s highest court.
Once you’ve had your day in court, make your way down to the banks of the Ottawa River. Follow a small section of the 24,000 km Trans Canada Trail onto Canal Lane, leading to the Bytown Museum. After learning about Ottawa’s history in Ottawa’s oldest stone building, you can continue on your way along the locks of the picturesque Rideau Canal.
After touring the Hill, head south on Sparks Street. During the day, Sparks Street is a favourite stop for shopping. At night, it becomes the starting point for the Haunted Walk of Ottawa.
Experience the ghostly atmosphere of sites like the Carleton County Jail, which now serves as a hostel for those daring enough to sleep over. Even if you don’t spend the night in jail, you’re sure to remember this spooky tour long after you’re back in Boston.
After flying from Boston to Ottawa, head down to Lowertown to see a quiet side of the city.
Lowertown is home to high art at the Bytowne Cinema on Rideau Street. Independent features and foreign films are projected onto the single screen of this art house theatre, which has been open since 1947.
Walk the winding shores of the Rideau River in Lowertown’s Bordeleau Park. This waterfront park affords a scenic view of the river’s islands, including Porter’s Island (no relation to Porter Airlines).
On the other side of Lowertown, Nepean Point juts out into the Ottawa River. This park can point you towards some of the best things to do in Lowertown. Get the most bang for your buck on the west side of Lowertown by visiting both the Royal Canadian Mint and the National Gallery of Canada, located only minutes apart.
If you’re homesick for Boston, pass by the United States Embassy on your way into Major’s Hill Park. Since 1826, Ottawa has been enjoying the outdoors in this park. Regular cultural events and the BLINK Gallery in the Header House add artistic colour to this urban green space.
As you exit the park, you’ll be entering Ottawa’s famous Byward Market. Shopping and entertainment await in this next stop on your trip from Boston to Ottawa.
Fly from Boston Logan International Airport (BOS) to Ottawa Macdonald-Cartier International Airport (YOW), with a quick connection in Toronto. Boston to Ottawa flight time is 2 hours and 50 minutes on average. Connection times vary. The distance from Boston to Ottawa is around 1,050km / 650 mi.
Enjoy complimentary drinks and snacks along the way.