A few weeks ago I ventured out to Ottawa for a quick weekend getaway and stayed at the Westin Hotel. While I did spend a bit of time experiencing what the hotel had to offer, I also ventured out to explore Ottawa as well.
Our nation’s capital has the county’s most national museums and is a pedestrian-friendly city with most attractions just a 20-minute walk from the downtown hotels. Here are some of the activities I enjoyed!
This was my second visit to Ottawa, and during the previous visit last year, I arrived just after the Tulip Festival was over. This time around I was able to experience it since I just made it in time!
The Canadian Tulip Festival is held to celebrate the historic gift of tulips from the Dutch to the Canadians after the Second World War as a symbol of international friendship. The festival is a commemoration of the role played by the Canadian troops in the liberation of the Netherlands and Europe, as well as the birth of the Dutch Princess Margriet, in Ottawa during those war years.
The cool temperatures prevented the tulips from blooming fully at the time of my visit, it was beautiful nonetheless!
Canadian National Museum of History
As a history major, this was, of course, my favourite stop. The Canadian National Museum of History is HUGE and inevitably I spent a lot of time exploring it. Situated right on the Rideau Canal, the museum overlooks Parliament Hill and has gorgeous grounds to explore. The museum itself is absolutely stunning and it’s no wonder that you lose all sense of time as you trudge deeper and deeper through it forgetting all else as you encounter one exciting exhibit after the other. I enjoyed the Neanderthal exhibit most of all. The museum is open every day of the week, including Sundays.
Bike or Walk the Rideau Canal
The location of the Westin Hotel was ideal since it’s only a few steps away from the Rideau Canal which can be explored in many ways. In winter, visitors can skate on some sections of it, but during the warmer months, the canal can be explored both on and off the water. The pathways of the canal run on both sides of it and are multi-use popular with walkers, runners, and cyclists.
I made use of the Westin’s bike sharing program, the easiest way to experience the canal. The bikeWestin program allows you to rent a bike for up to 4 hours to explore Ottawa with all proceeds going to the local children’s hospital. While you enjoy biking around Ottawa it is great to know that you are contributing to a great cause helping others that are less privileged.
The runWestin program allows you to choose between two scenic trails to run and stay fit on. It has become extremely popular in many cities around the world, helping people to stay fit.
Ottawa was definitely worth a second visit!
Stay up to date on my Ontario travel and lifestyle adventures by following along on Instagram, @roamwithash.