It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Ottawa is quite the picturesque city to enjoy the holidays. Relish in tried-and-true traditions in the capital and some new ones too! From various Christmas markets to festive musicals or even taking flight with Santa himself around Parliament Hill! Discover 11 activities in and around the nation’s capital throughout our blog that will truly make anyone feel the holiday spirit!
Ottawa Christmas Market
A European Christmas market has made its way to the capital. Get your last-minute shopping done and support local businesses as you stroll through 35+ vendors. The market includes traditional Christmas décor, delicious food and beverage offerings, and live entertainment. Visit Blitzens, for a warm drink like mulled wine or cider and shop the night away. Make sure you bring your camera because there are some fantastic photo opportunities. The market is located in the Casino Lac Leamy Plaza at Lansdowne Park until December 22nd.
Ottawa Farmers’ Christmas Market
Also located in Lansdowne Park in the Aberdeen Pavilion, is the Farmer’s Christmas Market which runs until December 19th on Saturdays and Sundays from 9 am to 3 pm. With over 77+ local artisans and farmers who offer agricultural goods, crafts, baked goods, personal care products, and prepared food, you’ll surely find something for everyone on your shopping list!
Trees of Hope at the Fairmont Chateau Laurier
Visit the majestic castle in Ottawa, the Fairmont Chateau Laurier, and view their stunning Christmas tree display, all in support of CHEO Children’s Hospital. Local companies participate by decorating trees displayed throughout the hotel’s public spaces. Once you’ve taken a gander at the tree, it’s now time to vote online for your favorite and make a donation to the children’s hospital this holiday season. All guests and visitors must wear a mask at all times while viewing the trees. Located outside of the city? Participate virtually by visiting their website.
Take Flight with Santa
Looking for a unique experience to celebrate the holidays? This year Santa is trading in his reindeer for the vintage Cessna 172. Climb aboard your private plane and take a 15-minute tour over Ottawa’s stunning skyline with the man in red! The Ottawa Aviation Adventures offers the tour from now until the 26th between 10 am and 4 pm. Tickets start at $38 per person, and you can fly with 2 friends.
An Impressive Solo Performance of A Christmas Carole
Do you miss live events? See an in-person performance at the Gladstone Theatre by the talented Pierre Brault who has recreated a one man show of Charles Dicken’s holiday classic A Christmas Carol. Catch his performance until the 18th of December, ticket prices vary.
Grab a festive cocktail at this Holiday Popup Bar
The Standard Luxury Tavern on Elgin street transforms into Sippin’ Santa, a tropical Christmas-themed pop-up bar until January 1st. Enjoy festive cocktails with your pals as you relish in what feels like a tropical holiday vacation! Sip on fun cocktails such as “Christmas Eve of destruction,” “the re-gifter,” “mistletoe to-toe,” and “Kris Kringle colada.”
Christmas Lights Across Canada
Take a wintery walk and enjoy Christmas Lights Across Canada, one of the tried and true traditions that began more than 3 decades ago. It became a huge hit, and now other cities in Canada also participate in this national tradition. From now until January 7, 2022, enjoy thousands of colourful lights that illuminate Confederation Boulevard, including Wellington Street, Mackenzie Street, and Elgin Street in Ottawa’s downtown core. The lights add an extra touch of sparkle to buildings, streetscapes, and parks.
Don’t forget to add Parliament Hill to your walking tour as it offers a free multimedia projection show that comprises a beautiful winter-themed display that replays every 15 minutes.
Vintage Village of Lights
Go back in time and experience a vintage Christmas season at the Cumberland Heritage Village Museum for the Vintage Village of lights from now until December 19th. Trek on foot as you embark on a joyful journey of 30,000+ Christmas lights that shine throughout the 1920s–1930s village buildings. Discover vignettes that highlight old traditions and a portable printing press in action while listening to festive tracks from the interwar years. The man in red is said to be perusing the grounds, so keep an eye out for him! You can continue the festivities at home with takeaway cookie decorating kits and crafts. The price is $25 for a group of 6.
A Holiday Special with Carly Rae Jepsen and the NAC Orchestra
Let Carly Rae Jepsen and the NAC Orchestra serenade you on December 22nd and 23rd, the multi-platinum Grammy, Juno, and Polaris Prize-nominated singer/songwriter Carly Rae Jepsen perform live at the NAC. Enjoy classic Christmas tunes with a twist of pop! You won’t want to miss this performance! Tickets start at $50; purchase them here.
A Country Christmas at Saunders Farm
There is so much to see and do at Saunders Farm! Located approximately 30 minutes west of Ottawa is a whimsical farm with various holiday activities in both the evening and daytime.
At night, drive through a sound and light experience and uncover the beauty of the 180-year-old family farm and forest. Then, make sure you stick around for more fun and some shopping! Visit the Christmas Town Square Market, which includes bonfires, Christmas Tree lot, Farmshop gift shop, a heated Ciderhouse taproom, hot drinks, seasonal treats, and Beavertails for purchase.
Or make a day trip, visit the holiday wonderland, and enjoy some time outdoors with your loved ones. Explore the snow-covered mazes, bundle up for a hayride, and definitely take advantage of the Christmas photo displays set up throughout the farm.
Jingle all the Way down Bank Street
Climb aboard the jingle bus for free until December 19th and take in the sights and sounds of Bank Street with no other than Ottawa’s social media influencer, Katie Hession, or as many of you know, her YOWCityStyle! Enjoy Christmas tunes, festive décor, fun-filled trivia, and a Christmas-Music bingo game on the bus. Win prizes, including the grand prize of a holiday dinner package! Take a day or an evening tour; times include 9 am – 12 pm, 1 pm – 3 pm, or 6 pm to 8 pm. Pick-up starts at the Centretown United Church and ends at the Bank of Canada Museum.