Summer has always been an exciting and busy time in Canada’s Capital for tourists and locals alike. There are a lot of activities to do around Ottawa that are both fun and cost-effective! So, read this list, grab some friends, and enjoy the warm weather before you are wearing your Michelin man jacket and winter boots again.
Yoga on Parliament Hill
When: May 15 – August 28
Where: Parliament Hill, Wellington St, Ottawa
What better way to enjoy an outdoor workout – taught by your biggest athletic-wear influencers, Lululemon – than with yoga on Parliament Hill? This free event is accessible to all ages, regardless of their yoga abilities. Grab your Lululemon gear, your yoga mat, and water bottle, and get ready to downward dog with your friends.
The Canadian Tulip Festival
When: May 10-20
Where: Festival site map
There’s no better way to up your Instagram game than with a picture (or fifty) of the Tulip Festival. Founded by Malak Karsh, it was created to represent the symbol of international friendship of the Dutch and Canadians post Second World War. To celebrate the spirit of spring renewal, Karsh believed that “tulips brought colour back into a very gray world,” and we can’t help but agree! Every year, a vivid explosion of colours appears along Dow’s Lake and throughout Canada’s Capital. The festival brings together thousands of tourists and locals and has become a staple in Ottawa’s spring that many look forward to every year.
The Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend
When: May 25 to May 26
Where: Start and Finish Area Map can be found here.
Calling all runners! It’s time to participate in the annual Ottawa Race Weekend, hosted by Ottawa Marathon and Run Ottawa. This event includes six races and caters to all different ages and abilities. Enjoy a great day out with friends and family, all while staying fit and exploring the city! Information about each race and start times can be found here.
The Annual Great Glebe Garage Sale
When: May 25 8:00am-3:00pm
Where: Glebe neighbourhood
Living in the Glebe comes with many perks, but usually, space is not one of them. The Great Glebe Garage Sale is a great time for spring cleaning, and you’re sure to find plenty of hidden treasures to take home! The Glebe Community Association encourages vendors and participants to donate their proceeds to the Ottawa Food Bank. Any questions about the Great Glebe Garage Sale can be found on their FAQs page and donations can be made here.
Capital Pop-Up Cinema
When: May 25-September 15
Where: Different location each week (check schedule)
The Morning Hot Tub crew from HOT 89.9 will be hosting outdoor movie screenings all summer long! Every week the screenings will be at a different location, so be sure to check the schedule beforehand. Bring a toonie for a bag of popcorn, a cozy blanket, a chair, and enjoy the show!
When: June 14 to 15
Where: Along Bank Street (from Slater to James)
This vibrant, colourful party will take over ten blocks on Bank Street. Glowfair Festival has activities ranging from glow yoga and silent yoga to retro rink, talented street artists, and more! This event works alongside the Bank Street community to bring an extravagant festival to the area while contributing to the Michelle Jean Foundation, a charitable organization helping to strengthen the development of the youth art community.
Capital Rib Fest
When: June 19-23
Where: 100 Sparks St, Ottawa (from Elgin to Lyon St)
This five-day-long barbeque festival showcases 13 of the greatest grills (and their special sauces) in North America. The outdoor food festival is from 11:00 am to 10:00 pm and covers five blocks of Sparks Street. Bring your walking shoes, wallet, and, most importantly, a big appetite!
Escape the Canada Day Fireworks Parliament Hill Crowd
When: July 1
Where: Multiple locations
You won’t see a larger crowd of Canadians until you go downtown on Canada day. This 15-minute colourful event is launched at the Nepean Point and can be watched from various locations. However, what if you want to be able to breathe while watching the show, as in by avoiding the crowds? Here are a couple of alternative spots to escape and experience the show in all its glory:
- The 3rd level parking lot at St-Laurent Mall at 1200 St Laurent Blvd, Ottawa ON
- Canadian Museum of History green space at 100 Laurier Street, Gatineau Québec
Where: Parliament Hill, Wellington St, Ottawa
When: July 21 11:00 AM-5:00 PM
Paint Therapy is hosted by Art for Mental Health (AHM). This event hopes to bring awareness to mental health initiatives by creating free paint therapy workshops. Along with providing a fun, therapeutic activity for locals, any accumulated funds will be donated to the Youth Net/Réseau Ado by CHEO. It sounds like a win-win to us!
Ottawa International Busker Festival
Where: 300-35 O’Connor Street, Ottawa
When: August 2-5
This four-day festival hosts international street performers, showcasing their talent across over five blocks of Spark Street. It’s a can’t-miss if you’re in the Ottawa area, plus, it’s free and accessible for all ages! A schedule of the street performers can be found here.
Casino du Lac-Leamy Sound of Light Festival
Where: Canadian Museum of History, 100 Laurier Street, Gatineau Québec
When: August 10-24 (every Wednesday and Saturday)
A colourful fireworks event is always a great way to wrap up the summer. The five shows at this stunning festival are created by international firework designers and can be enjoyed from near or afar! Tickets can be purchased online or in-person at the Casino du Lac-Leamy Sound of Light office. Doors open at 6:00 PM and the show starts at 9:15 PM!
The Nation’s Capital is a great place to be during the summer months. This list is just a short preview of all the amazing activities there are to enjoy without travelling too far or breaking the bank!