4 Day-Date Adventures in Ottawa
Adventure 1: Downtown Ottawa
Photo credit: @sylvain.bouchard
Walk along the Ottawa River Pathway near Nepean Bay, to Chaudière Island.
Experience one of Ottawa’s most stunning natural landmarks, Chaudière Falls. These waterfalls are a historic meeting place and sacred site for the Algonquin Anishinaabe and other First Nations people. It also has an industrial past, as the falls provided energy for a number of lumber mills and factories that once occupied the area. It also is a simply beautiful view of waterfalls and the Ottawa River, with areas to sit and enjoy the scenery.
Visit Mill St. Brew Pub for a pint of beer and a meal on their outdoor patio, overlooking the Ottawa River. Mill St. is a popular Ontario brewery, which originated in Toronto with their first beer, Organic Lager. They opened their second brew pub here in Ottawa, located in a historic gristmill along the river.
Parliament Hill is just a 15-minute walk from Mill St. If you’re hoping for another patio stop, Sparks Street is one block from Parliament, with multiple outdoor patios to choose from. Some great options include The Rabbit Hole, D’Arcy McGee’s and Riviera.
Parking Options: There is a lot near Remic Rapids Park, a paid parking lot at the Canadian War Museum, and a paid lot on Albert Island. Parking available at Mill St Brew Pub, if you visit the restaurant. There are more parking garages and street parking in the Centretown core, near Sparks Street.
Adventure 2: Ottawa’s Centretown
Take a stroll through Dominion Arboretum, part of Ottawa’s Central Experimental Farm. This is the country’s oldest arboretum and home to about 10,000 different plants. Arguably the most beautiful being the magnolia trees, which typically begin blooming at the end of April and are at their peak in May. You will also find ornamental gardens, a tropical greenhouse, the Agriculture and Food Museum, and the Fletcher Wildlife garden at the farm. The trails wind around the farm area and connect to the Rideau Canal Western Pathway, offering beautiful views along the canal.
With the Dominion Arboretum being so central, there are a vast number of restaurants within walking distance. The Dow’s Lake Pavilion homes the closest restaurants, including Umbrella Bar. Umbrella bar has a spacious outdoor patio overlooking Dow’s Lake. If you enjoy spicy Southern inspired eats, this is the place to go! The mac n’ cheese and fried chicken sandwich are absolutely delicious.
Wander along Preston Street in Little Italy for a number of restaurants, including outdoor patios. Find patio seating at EVOO Greek Kitchen, Pub Italia, La Roma, Mati, Heart and Crown, Pure Kitchen and more.
As an alternative, pick up some takeout from one of these local restaurants, and enjoy it picnic style in the arboretum. Order a metre-long pizza from Farinella, along with some tasty Italian desserts!
Parking Options: There are two parking lots at Dominion Arboretum, as well as a paid parking lot at Dow’s Lake and the Hartwell Locks. There is both free street parking and paid areas in Hintonburg, Little Italy and Chinatown.
Adventure 3: Ottawa South West
Visit Hogs Back park, situated between Vincent Massey park and Mooney’s Bay beach, on the Rideau River. It is a beautiful green space featuring picnic tables, walking trails and waterfalls. The trails within the park connect to the Rideau River Eastern Pathway, for continuous views of the water. Hogs Back Falls (officially called the Prince of Wales Falls), is an artificially created series of waterfalls that marks where the Rideau Canal splits from the Rideau River into a man-made canal.
Drive under 3 minutes from Hogs Back to Overflow Brewing Company. This microbrewery not only has refreshing beers, they have a spacious taproom that acts as a live music venue, and a food truck outside next to their patio. They host large scale music shows in an intimate venue (Covid restrictions pending, of course). Enjoy some BBQ from Meatings food truck, as you enjoy the breeze and listen to some music.
Parking Options: There are parking lots at Hogs Back park, Mooney’s Bay and Vincent Massey park. Overflow has its own sizable parking lot.
Adventure 4: Ottawa East
Take a hike in Mer Bleue Bog Conservation along the Mer Bleue Bog trail, Dewberry trail or a numbered trail. Trails 50, 51, and 53 are longer distanced trails, each over 6KM in length. This ancient bog has a unique northern boreal landscape, and is home to diverse wildlife. There are outhouses on site and picnic areas to enjoy.
Find a hidden waterfall roughly a 25 minutes-drive away. Princess Louise Falls is part of a buried river system in Orléans. There is a simple trail system leading to the falls from both directions, as well as direct access from an entry path off of St Joseph Blvd.
Only 2 minutes away from the falls is Broadhead Brewery. Broadhead has a bright, spacious taproom, as well as new outdoor patio space. They have various food features throughout the week, typically offering apps and snacks. You can enjoy Bingo night on Thursdays and Live Music on Saturday afternoons.
Stray Dog Brewing Company is practically next door to Broadhead. This craft brewery is dog friendly, so feel free to bring your pup – they encourage it. They created an outdoor patio in their parking lot for the 2020 summer, with plans to have it up again Easter weekend. You can enjoy brews indoors or purchase some cans to go.
Alternatively, if you plan to only hike within Mer Bleue Bog and skip the waterfall, Dominion City Brewing Co and Orléans Brewing Co are each about 15 minutes away from the trails, and 15 minutes away from each other. Orleans has a spacious patio and food menu.
Parking Options: Mer Bleue Bog has the following parking lots: P20, P21, P22 and P23. You can park on Brookridge Crescent or Princess Louise Drive to access Princess Louise Falls. Each brewery has a parking lot.
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