The city houses plenty, from delectable food and drink to incredible views and fun activities
Ottawa. O-Town. Our nation’s capital. Known for its politics, this city is home to so much more than just Parliament Hill and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (although both are must-see attractions, in my opinion!).
The city houses plenty, from delectable food and drink to incredible views and fun activities. So take a moment with me as I delve into Eat, Play, Sleep: Ottawa edition.
- Eat -
Le Moulin de Provence
55 ByWard Market Square
From hot dog stands to top-tier restaurants, this city has it all. We started our expedition in the Andaz ByWard Market, obviously. We hit up the famous bakery Le Moulin de Provence and got our coffee on.
You’re also guaranteed to find an array of desserts and mountains of sandwiches, not to mention their famous Obama cookies – sugar cookies shaped like a maple leaf with “Canada” written in white block letters atop red icing.
They got attention far and wide after the former U.S. president bought three of them for his family during his first official visit to Ottawa in 2009. Yum.
Copper Spirits and Sights
325 Dalhousie St.
Next stop: Predinner. Yes, it’s a thing. You know – cocktails and some nibbles before dinner.
We did that at Copper Spirits and Sights on the 16th floor of the Andaz Hotel. This is a must-do when visiting Ottawa.
The stylish lounge boasts some of the best views of the city.
In fact, it’s the highest bar in town. So grab yourself a Full Time Sour – my drink of choice – and watch the sun set over the capital.
430 Bank St.
After managing to snag a reservation at The Whalesbone on Bank Street, we headed there for dinner. Now, this place is magical.
If you’re a seafood lover, then this is the spot.
This small and intimate restaurant has some of the freshest oysters in town, not to mention the best selection. We got a bit of this and a bit of that.
And boy, was it worth it! Pro tip: The staff is awesome, so trust them. Ask for recommendations and based on what you like, they’ll sort it all out.
10 Daly Ave.
One of the most stylish cafés in the city and probably soon to be the most Instagrammed.
Jackson Café is essential for all you photography buffs.
Its cool interior and incredible natural light is an absolute dream. Oh, did I forget to mention the food is also top notch? I mean, did someone say avocado toast?
Beyond The Pale Brewing
250 City Centre Ave., Unit 108
What started as a “drunken talk over homebrew” (the owners’ words, not mine) has grown into an incredibly popular business. But it’s the total truth.
Beyond The Pale was packed with craft beer lovers, hipsters and pensioners rubbing shoulders with beers in hand and smiles plastered on their faces.
Flora Hall Brewing
37 Flora St.
A newbie to the Ottawa craft-brewing scene, but not one to be underestimated, Flora Hall Brewing takes everything up a notch.
With its easy-drinking beer and super-social atmosphere, it’s a perfect place to hang out with friends or have a fun family lunch.
In fact, we just happened to bump into founder Dave Longbottom, who sat at the bar enjoying a pint with a friend. After a chat with him, we quickly realized that his passion is not only for beer, but for the community.
He took on the task of converting this once-derelict warehouse into a pretty impressive, warm and welcoming gathering house.
11 George St.
The last time I visited Ottawa, I passed the Clarendon, wondering what it was like inside but didn’t have time to visit. This trip we made the time, and I’m glad we did.
The interior design is totally my vibe; emerald green tiles lining the wall of the bar, cozy exposed brick, and don’t get me started on the floor tiles. But what ultimately makes the Clarendon is its food.
We opted to share some dishes – a simple yet delicious tomato-and-basil flatbread, and an impressive Mediterranean platter washed down with classic cocktails.
969 Wellington St. W.
We heard SuzyQ Doughnuts was the ‘it’ place to get your doughnut on. Upon arrival, we realized this was true, as there was a line out the door!
After patiently waiting and salivating for about 20 minutes, we were finally handed that ahhhh-worthy box of delicious gourmet doughnuts.
Totally worth the wait.
1 Rideau St.
The perfect way to end our already-perfect Ottawa adventure was afternoon tea at one of the most famous Ottawa establishments, Zoe’s, in the lobby of the Fairmont Château Laurier.
Knowing that the hotel has played host to kings, queens and other dignitaries from around the world, we felt right at home. (Ha!) But you don’t have to be a descendant of royalty to feel welcome in this gorgeous space.
Choose from an array of teas to accompany your tower of treats. They also welcome events from birthday parties to baby showers.
- Play -
Can you really visit Ottawa without touring Parliament Hill?
That’s like going to Paris without seeing the Eiffel Tower; it’s just not right! I have been to Ottawa many a time and I still always take a moment to visit the site. And although I’m not necessarily a political buff, I can appreciate a beautiful building when I see one.
Keep in mind: the Centre Block is closed for extensive renovations but tours in the House of Commons and Senate can still be booked in the West Block and Ottawa’s former train station.
The Ottawa Art Gallery
50 Mackenzie King Bridge
Ever search for free activities? I do all the time and rarely come up with anything. Well, here’s one for you: The Ottawa Art Gallery.
Spanning five floors and 55,000 square feet, the gallery houses work by some of the most famous Canadian talents, from A.Y. Jackson, a prolific member of the Group of Seven, to Norman White, a pioneer in the use of technology and robotics in art.
Our favourite piece was a sound installation by Darsha Hewitt called Electrostatic Bell Choir.
16 Nordik Rd.
Sometimes you need to escape the hustle and bustle of a city and just take some time for yourself. Just a 15-minute drive outside of the city is North America’s largest spa, The Nordik Spa-Nature.
Choose from an extensive list of massage and spa treatments, or change into your bathing suit and slide into their thermal pools. Stimulate, rejuvenate and enjoy the beauty of nature as you switch from hot to cold, then rest and repeat.
If you have time, add the Källa treatment. Second of its kind in the world, this floating saltwater pool has been dug five metres into a rock, and contains 10 tons of Epsom salts.
It’s a must. Enjoy a weightless, floating experience, all while treating your body to its many touted benefits, such as improved blood circulation and reduced stress. Pro tip: Come early, as this place is super popular.
- Sleep -
Fairmont Château Laurier
1 Rideau St
The Fairmont Château Laurier is not only a national historic site but is also one of the most famous hotels in the country.
With exceptional service and 420 beautifully decorated rooms, you will feel yourself in the lap of luxury as you enjoy your stay here.
The place has hosted some pretty impressive people over its 107 years, including Sir Winston Churchill and Queen Elizabeth herself.
See? We told you thereʼs a lot more to Ottawa than just politics.
From the food scene to its beautiful rich history and everything in between, Ottawa is sure to provide the perfect Canadian getaway you didn’t know you needed.
This content was produced by The Globe and Mail's Globe Content Studio.
The Globe's editorial department was not involved in its creation.