An Ottawa Winter Weekend Getaway

As the ice thickens and the snow falls, tourists and locals alike anticipate the season’s first skate on the world’s largest skating rink, Ottawa’s Rideau Canal Skateway. It’s an activity that attracts people from around the world to Canada’s capital and makes the city a destination for winter getaways. But there’s plenty more to do in Ottawa this winter: follow this itinerary for the perfect weekend cozying up in the capital.  


9:00 am: Spend the morning lounging in plush white linens at the Alt Hotel in Centretown, just blocks from Parliament Hill and the ByWard Market.

Alt Hotel Ottawa

Tip: Make use of the hotel’s Digital Concierge accessed on mobile devices in the lobby for recommendations from the hotel staff for breakfast nearby.

11:00 am: Head to Black Squirrel Books & Espresso Bar for a lazy morning spent cozied up window-side in a velvet reading chair. Get lost amidst the store’s endless stacks of books while sipping dark roast from the front-of-house café.

Black Squirrel Books & Espresso Bar Ottawa

Tip: Check out the chesterfields downstairs for extra seating.

1:00 pm: Stop by the newly-renovated Ottawa Art Gallery for some creative inspiration. The gallery café, Jackson, serves up top-notch small plates and savoury cocktails named after works of art on display throughout the gallery. Check out the Karim Rashid: Cultural Shaping exhibit, on until February 10, 2019.

Ottawa Art Gallery

7:00 pm: Take a stroll from the hotel to North & Navy on Nepean Street for a taste of northern Italian cuisine. This elegant house-turned-trattoria serves up classic flavours with gourmet flare, like Barolo Braised Short Ribs and Polenta, to traditional Polpette.


9:00 am: Bundle up for a walk through Confederation Park on your way to the ByWard Market for brunch at The Clarendon Tavern. This historic stone building on the corner of George Street and Sussex Drive evokes a mid-century style with green glass lamps, exposed brick and comforting brunch favourites. Delve into scotch eggs, red velvet waffles or the Brunch Burger.

The Clarendon Tavern Ottawa

11:00 am: Time to embrace winter and get outside. Check to see if the Rideau Canal Skateway is open, or rent a pair of snowshoes on your way to the trails along the Sir John A. MacDonald Parkway. Leave from the Canadian War Museum, and follow the trails along the Ottawa River as they meander through pockets of forest.

Tip: Mountain Equipment Co-op offers daily and weekly rates for snowshoe rentals.

1:00 pm: Take a trip across the Ottawa River to Chelsea to visit Nordik Spa-Nature, just a 15-minute drive from downtown Ottawa. Soak the afternoon away in one of the outdoor pools, and unwind in a Scandinavian sauna. Sip a comforting beverage as you overlook the Ottawa-Gatineau Valley or cozy up fireside in one of the spa’s relaxation chalets. Finish with a hearty meal at the Chelsea Pub nearby before heading back, well-rested for a night in the city.

Spa Nordik Chelsea

Spa Nordik Chelsea

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