ICYMI, the nation’s capital is basically an urban winter wonderland. Between a brand new skating rink on Parliament Hill and the mesmerizing light show displayed on Centre Block and the Peace Tower, walking through downtown will immeds put you in the holiday spirit. Looking for last minute gift ideas? The Ottawa Farmer’s Market is stocked with festive goodies. Still want more? These are the best holiday events in Ottawa so deck yourself in red and green and hit the town. And if you’re not in O-Town for the days leading up to Christmas, no probs. Click here to peep our Canada-wide list.
Ice Skating on Parliament Hill
Find it: Wellington St., canada150rink.com
The low-down: Is there anything more iconically Canadian than a giant hockey rink on the lawn of Parliament Hill? Spoiler alert: heck yes—if you grab a BeaverTail after. This ice skating rink just opened last week as part of the final celebrations for Canada’s big 150th year. Skating passes are selling out fast, so grab one before the Christmas season ends. It might give the Rideau Canal some maj competition.
When: December 7, 2017 to February 25, 2018
Times: Vary depending on the availability, see the full schedule here
Prices: Free, but you must get a pass up to two days in advance before skating
Christmas Lights Across Canada
Find it: Wellington St., Parliament Hill, ottawatourism.ca
The low-down: After you finish gliding around the Canada 150 Rink, stay until sundown to take in the mesmerizing light show (think, winter scenes and plenty of Xmas colours) projected onto Centre Block and the Peace Tower then take a stroll to the National War Memorial to check out the trees topped with more colourful lights.
When: December 7, 2017 to January 7, 2018
Times: All week from 5:30 p.m. to 11 p.m.
Prices: Free admission
Ottawa Farmers’ Christmas Market
Find it: 450 Queen Elizabeth Dr., Aberdeen Pavilion, Lansdowne Park and 4899 Uplands Dr., EY Centre (weekend of December 16 and 17), ottawafarmersmarket.ca
The low-down: If a quaint Christmas market is what you crave this weekend, downtown Ottawa has got you covered. This indoor market in Landsdowne Park boasts 120 vendors ranging from festive knick knacks to farm fresh, locally-grown ingredients for your next holiday dinner party and prepared treats for a mid-afternoon pick-me-up.
When: December 2 to 23, 2017
Times: Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Prices: Free admission
Trees of Hope
Find it: 1 Rideau St., Fairmont Château Laurier, fairmont.ca
The low-down: This charitable fundraiser has been decorating the grand halls of the Fairmont Château Laurier for over 20 years. Vote on your favourite tree and make a donation that will go towards the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario. After all, the holidays are a season of giving.
When: November 27, 2017 to January 4, 2018
Times: All week, Anytime
Prices: Free, but donations are strongly encouraged
Alight at Night
Find it: 13740 County Rd 2, Morrisburg, Upper Canada Village, uppercanadavillage.com
The low-down: Although this charming historical village is about an hour drive from downtown Ottawa, trust us when we say it is well worth the trek. The heritage park is transformed into a literal winter wonderland with one million colourful lights covering the old-fashioned buildings and bare trees. Walk along the snow-covered paths on a crisp winter night, take a ride on the giant toy train through Crysler Park and stop by their bakery, harvest barn or tavern for some delish comfort food.
When: December 1, 2017 to January 6, 2018
Times: 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. (open and closed on different days during the week, see the full schedule here)
Prices: $15.95 per person