Traveling isn’t the most affordable of hobbies, especially for students like myself.
However, that’s not to say you can’t make travel work on a student budget. In fact, I have a ton of posts sharing my tips for students and others on a budget to make traveling more affordable.
In today’s post, I’m going to turn it up a notch and do better than affordable and share some entirely free things that you can do on your next visit to Ottawa, Canada’s capital city!
Ottawa captured my heart in the year that I lived there and I am constantly going back to experience authentic Canadian culture and indulge in everything the city has to offer.
Here are some of my favorite free things you can do during your visit to Ottawa!
Skate on the Rideau Canal
Did you know the Rideau Canal is the longest skating rink in the world? The canal offers 7.8 kilometers of uninterrupted skating through the city from December to February, depending on the weather. It’s free to hop on the canal with your own skates so be sure to pack a pair in your suitcase!
Head up to Nepean Point
Nepean point is located just behind the National Gallery of Canada and provides the best view of Parliament Hill. Head up to this point to enjoy a picnic above the city with the most picture perfect view of Canada’s government building.
Visit the National Gallery of Canada
Speaking of the National Gallery of Canada, admission to the largest art gallery in Canada is free every Thursday evening after 5 pm.
Visit the Museums
Along with the National Gallery of Canada, most of the museums in Ottawa have free evening admission during the week.
The Canadian Museum of Nature offers free admission on Thursday’s after 5 pm.
The Canadian Agriculture and Food Museum offers free admission every day between 4 pm and 5 pm.
The Canadian Aviation and Space Museum also offers free admission daily between 4 pm and 5 pm.
The Canadian Museum of History and the Canadian War Museum offer free admission Thursday nights at 5 pm.
The Canadian Science and Technology Museum offers free admission daily between 4 pm and 5 pm.
Visit Parliament Hill
Tours are free and run daily around House of Common activity. You’ll get to learn a little bit about how Canada’s government works and see some of the most influential rooms in our history – all for free! You just have to pass through security similar to an airport.
Check out the Supreme Court
The Supreme Court Building of Canada is open daily from 9am-5pm and offers free tours every single day from May-September. This is a cool spot to visit if you’re interested in law or how Canada’s legal system works!
Take a Stroll Down Sparks Street
Sparks Street is always bustling with life – there are street performers and food trucks out daily to make your walk through the city that much more colorful.
Window Shop in Westboro Village
Westboro is one of the cutest and hippest neighborhoods in Ottawa. It has adorable little shops that you can browse, as well as restaurants and cafes that you can find cheap eats at.
Take Part in Yoga on Parliament Hill
This is one of the best parts about being in Ottawa during the summer months. Starting at the beginning of May, Lululemon hosts free Yoga on Parliament Hill every Wednesday. It makes for an incredible scenic workout! Due to the fact admission is free, spots fill up quickly, so be sure to get there early!
Visit the Byward Market
There’s no need to buy anything to enjoy the Byward Market! The market has a ton of cool places to window shop in and vendors offering free samples.
Hike in Gatineau Park
The park is just a short drive or bus ride outside of Ottawa and is well worth the trip! The views of all of the trails speak for themselves. I recommend Pink Lake for beginners and Luskville Falls for advanced. Either way, both are amazing views that will leave you wanting to come back every week.
Visit Canada’s Governor General
Rideau Hall is the home and workplace of Canada’s Governor General. Free guided tours of the gardens, residence and art collection are offered year-round. Make sure to check out the grounds, where dignitaries — from John F. Kennedy to Princess Diana — have planted trees while on official visits to Ottawa.