16 Holiday Gift Ideas for Those Who Love Experiences
Shopping for a minimalist, or that friend that has everything? Giving the gift of an experience not only avoids struggling to find that ‘perfect’ gift, it’s a fun way to spend time together. It’s an opportunity for adventure and creating memories! Here are 16 different experience gift ideas, featuring local Ottawa region businesses and activities.
Surprise Road Trip
If you love the idea of an epic day trip adventure as a gift idea, but don’t want the hassle of planning, Guess Where Trips has you covered. Guess Where Trips creates full day itinerary road trips, from major cities in Canada. They work with local writers and businesses, to curate a variety of themed outings. Each package includes 4 envelopes or ‘stops’ that make up the day’s itinerary, a ‘before you go’ packing list, and exclusive discounts at some local stops. They offer a specific gift option where the recipient chooses their own trip.
Charitable Challenge Pack
Do you have a friend that loves giving back? How about participating in challenges, or finding unique activities to enjoy? The Good Challenge offers challenge packages that are fun, can be done from anywhere and give back to Canadian charities. Each package has ten unique challenges of a specific theme, such as the Couples Edition, Family Edition and Food Edition. The packages arrive in the form of a booklet, with all ten challenges, and extra challenge at the end, instructions if you’d like to pass on the challenge, and the potential to win prizes! A minimum of $10 is donated to the charity of your choice, with each challenge pack purchase.
Skating Trail Entrance
Give the gift of a winter skate! Located southeast of Ottawa, RiverOak Skating Trail allows you to skate through a beautiful orchard. They offer on-site fire pits, hockey nets, snacks and preserves for sale, snowshoe and hiking trails, in addition to the maintained skating trails. RiverOak Skating Trail has tickets on sale now for the 2021-2022 skating season. There are winter season passes available, with different pricing for youths, adults and families. They also sell day passes, 3-day passes and gift certificates online.
Brew Donkey creates and runs the ultimate adult field trips, and is a perfect gift idea for any beer lover. They are Ottawa’s only craft brewery tour company! They have a real passion for beer, and bringing locals to the source of craft beer in our community. Whether you want to visit breweries in the east or west of Ottawa, include additional activities such as ax throwing, or add drink stops such as distilleries or coffee shops, Brew Donkey offers many different tours to suit your wants! Transportation, food and tastings included. Click here for a write up of my Brew Donkey experience. Gift cards also available.
A great gift idea for mom, a friend, a spouse… anyone! The Ottawa region offers multiple spa options for a full thermal experience. Nordik Spa-Nature is the largest thermal spa in all of North America, located only 30 minutes from downtown Ottawa. Spending a day here is the ultimate form of relaxation and truly an experience. Take your time hopping between steam rooms, saunas, hot tubs, cold pools and resting areas. They also offer delicious dining options, and multiple bar locations to grab a cocktail or snack.
A hub for Canadian arts and performances of all kind, you cannot beat a nice night out at the National Arts Centre (NAC). Whether you’re looking for dance performances, French theatre, orchestra music, music concerts, Indigenous theatre or popular musicals, you can enjoy it all here on Elgin Street, downtown Ottawa. The musical Hamilton is playing at the NAC from January 4-23, 2022! You can also currently find tickets to see Chelsea Handler live in March, and the musical Anastasia in April.
Let out any pent-up frustrations and have some fun with Vengeance Van. A mobile smash room, Vengeance Van is a giant truck full of items you can destroy, and ‘weapons’ to do so. You’re provided with safety equipment as well, in order to safely smash various items from bottles and electronics to items like furniture and even a car! They now have two options; have the van come to you, or meet them at their shop. It’s a great way to let loose and get some exercise. Gift card options are specific to a time frame and number of participants.
If you’re often struggling for gift ideas for your dad or any man in your life, a night out watching the Ottawa Senators play is a fun gift to experience together. Even if you’re not a big hockey fan, hockey games are a great night out, representing your Ottawa pride and soaking in the atmosphere. You can also look into Ottawa 67’s tickets.
Discover Canadian wild life at Parc Omega – a great gift experience for kids and animal lovers! Parc Omega is a spacious park where native animals can live peacefully in their natural habitat. The most common and popular attraction is the car trail, essentially a Canadian safari, in your own vehicle and at your own pace. View over 20 species of animals, as you feed deer and boar carrots from the window! There are also walking trails, restaurants, a wolf observatory, overnight accommodations and seasonal activities. Gift cards are sent as a printable PDF file.
Give the gift of a night out as a couple or a group, axe throwing with Lumberjaxe. Lumberjaxe offers private lanes for axe throwing, indoor, outdoor and off site. You can book a private party or purchase a gift card for a future night out. Lumberjaxe has coaches on site to set you up for whatever axe throwing competition you have in mind. They are also fully licensed, you can enjoy food and alcoholic drinks during or after your entertainment.
Bar from Afar creates classic craft cocktail experiences from the comfort of your home. They have different cocktail kit themes to suit your preferences, such as gin, speakeasy and sparkling cocktail. The kits have everything you need for the cocktails – spirits, mixers, a shaker, garnish and instructions. There are options for virtual and in person events, glassware for purchase and gift cards as well. They now ship across Canada, so family and friends outside of Ottawa can enjoy.
Outdoor Adventure Access
For the adventurous friend who loves hiking and camping, gift them a Parks Canada Discovery pass. The one annual pass covers access to over 80 national parks and historic sites in Canada, for a full 12 months (from date of purchase). It also saves time at the gate! Different pricing is available for adults, seniors and a family/group pass. Passes can be purchased online for delivery, at MEC store locations or some other participating locations across Canada.
A yoga membership package is a great idea for any yoga lover, one who wants to try it out or the friend who makes a fitness New Year resolution each year. Ottawa yoga studios, including Pure Yoga offer a discounted intro month rate. The first month includes unlimited classes, just like the monthly membership, but at a lower cost for first time goers. Pure Yoga also offers gift cards, that can be put toward the membership price, as well as workshops and merchandise. The membership includes access to both the Westboro and Centretown studios, for more class options.
Escape from reality, and enjoy a night spent at a nice hotel. A perfect idea if you’re gifting to couples, or a parent that deserves a break! Have them head to the quaint town of Wakefield, Quebec and spend the night at Wakefield Mill, Hotel and Spa. They offer much more than just a nice stay, including fine dining restaurants, spa and wellness treatments, waterfall views, and all the enjoyments of Wakefield itself. The Wakefield Mill has curated package options for an even more epic gift.
There are many ski hills nearby Ottawa to enjoy a day on the slopes together, both on the Ontario and Quebec side! Purchase and gift a season pass to a local hill, or plan a day adventure complete with ski rentals and meals. Some of the nearby ski hills include Camp Fortune, Mount Pakenham, Ski Vorlage, Calabogie Peaks and Mont Tremblant. You can add an overnight stay for the full staycation experience, or opt to go for the day. Locations typically offer a range of activities such as hiking trails, snowshoeing or tubing.
Wim Hof Workshop
Based on the three pillars, breathing, commitment and cold therapy, the Wim Hof Method is a simple yet powerful practise that can help your body in a variety of ways. Using a specific breathing technique and cold exposure, this method can help you increase energy, get a better night’s sleep, reduce stress, among other benefits. Ottawa has its own Wim Hof instructor that leads retreats and workshops.
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