Go from Capitol Hill to Parliament Hill, with flights from Washington, DC to Ottawa.
As Canada’s capital city, Ottawa is packed with political attractions. From the heated debates of politicians on Parliament Hill, to the stately collection of Canadian art in Rideau Hall, there are things to do in Ottawa.
Like Washington, DC, Ottawa puts the nation’s best art on display. Walk past the spindly-legged outdoor sculpture of a giant spider on your way into the National Gallery of Canada. As the name suggests, this gallery holds some of Canada’s most famous artists, like Emily Carr and Alex Colville. America also has representation in the collection, with numerous works by Andy Warhol decorating the walls.
The art continues outdoors at Brewer Park, on the largest legal graffiti wall in Canada. From Brewer Park, you’re not far from the waters of Dow’s Lake. In the spring, the lakeshore is the main site of the colourful Canadian Tulip Festival.
Get a glimpse into Canadian history by visiting one of Ottawa’s more upscale historical buildings, Laurier House. The building was home to two influential past Prime Ministers, Sir Wilfrid Laurier and William Lyon Mackenzie King. Now, artifacts from their private lives share the space of the Laurier House.
Ottawa’s many museums collect together different parts of Canada’s history. From the growth of farming at the Canadian Agriculture Museum, to the launch of aerospace programs at the Canadian Aviation and Space Museum, you’ll find museums on every subject in Ottawa. At the Bytown Museum, Ottawa itself is the subject. Learn about this capital city before returning to your own, Washington, DC.
The ByWard Market takes not only its name from Colonel John By, but also its design. In 1826, By himself laid out the plans for the market’s streets, drafting George and York Streets to be wide enough for carriages carrying wares into the market. Today, you can still take a horse drawn carriage through this historic marketplace.
ByWard Market’s vendors gather in and around the ByWard Market Square seven days a week. Whether you’re shopping inside this 1926 building, or among the dense collection of outdoor stalls, you’ll find a variety of locally made and locally grown goods. Fashion and food are just the start of this diverse marketplace.
Even if you don’t pick up farm fresh food from one of the market’s stalls, you can enjoy the best of Ottawa’s harvests at one of the ByWard Market’s restaurants. Many of the restaurants in the area incorporate ingredients from the vendors, creating a cooperative culinary ecosystem within the market. With more than 100 restaurants, including two 24-hour eateries, you’ll never go hungry in the ByWard Market.
While you’re here from Washington, DC, get up close and political with Ottawa’s elite with the ByWard Market’s nightlife. The area’s bars range from upscale to homey, but if you’re overwhelmed with all the choice, you can’t go wrong with the Chateau Lafayette. Since 1849, this bar has been serving the ByWard Market’s thirsty patrons. Grab a pint of the past in the Chateau Lafayette, which predates the city of Ottawa by six years.
One of the ByWard Market’s biggest attractions is its proximity to some of Ottawa’s most famous landmarks. With the Rideau Centre, Notre Dame Basilica and the Rideau Canal all within walking distance, there are plenty of places to go next.
If you’re feeling homesick for Washington, DC, you can even walk past the US Embassy, one of the market’s closest neighbours.
While you’re visiting from Washington, DC, enjoy the convenient escape of Gatineau Park. With just a 15-minute drive from Ottawa, you’ll arrive in the wilds of Québec.
Hikers will delight in exploring the trails spanning 165 km of the park. If you’re looking to pick up the pace, take the challenging Luskville Falls Trail, and climb 290 metres up the steep Eardley Escarpment. Once you reach the summit, enjoy the sweeping view of the Ottawa River Valley. For a slower pace, stroll along the Des Fées Trail to some of the best birdwatching in Gatineau Park.
After scanning the skies for green herons and golden eagles, make like the park’s plentiful waterfowl and take to the lake. Choose from La Peche, Philippe, and Meech lakes, and six designated swimming beaches to set your towel down.
Winter weather doesn’t slow down the level of activity in Gatineau Park. Take advantage of the temperature drop on the park’s 200 km of cross-country ski trails. With snowy ski trails and plenty of untamed backcountry routes, you’ll be dashing through the snow all over Gatineau.
At the end of an exciting day spent hiking, swimming, or skiing through Gatineau Park, spend the night in one of the park’s overnight accommodations. Get closer to nature with outdoor tent camping sites, or stay cozy in the park’s yurts. Once you’re well rested, you’ll be ready for the next great adventure on your trip from Washington, DC.
Fly from Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD) to Ottawa Macdonald-Cartier International Airport (YOW), with a quick connection in Toronto. Washington, DC to Ottawa flight time is 2 hours and 20 minutes on average. Connection times vary. The distance from Washington, DC to Ottawa is around 895 km / 555 mi.
Enjoy complimentary drinks and snacks along the way.