7 Things to do in Ottawa this Holiday Season

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Rideau Canal - Ottawa, ON

7 Festive things to do in Ottawa this holiday season

Have you been downtown Ottawa yet to see how the Christmas lights have transformed our city? The fresh powder lit up by the beautiful colours is magical. It truly makes this season the most wonderful time of the year. Did you know that Ottawa has all kinds of cool things to do in December? There really is something for everyone. Looking to do some local Christmas shopping, skating with friends, or want to get that perfect Instagram photo? We've got you covered!

Check out our top 7 things to do in Ottawa this holiday season!


1.      Christmas Lights Across Canada

This radiant event began 3 decades ago and is still an Ottawa favourite. From the beginning of December through to early January, our city sparkles and shines. Be sure to watch the winter landscapes show which illuminates Centre Block nightly from 5:30 – 11pm. The 13 minute show is inspired by Canada’s robust nature and culture. The best viewing spots include the National War Memorial and the Garden of Provinces. The view from Alexandra Bridge is also spectacular!


2.      Lansdowne Christmas Market

The farmers market at Lansdowne Park has been transformed into a beautiful Christmas market! There are over 120 vendors of local food and arts and crafts. If you are looking for some last-minute stocking stuffers, this is your place to go! Bring the kids too, there are horse and wagon rides along with other activities in the Kids Craft Corner. The Christmas market is truly magical, especially when the sun goes down. Get a photo with the #XMAS sign while you're there! The markets are open Saturday’s and Sundays from 9am – 3pm up until Christmas.



3.      Alight at Night

Eastern Ontario’s biggest outdoor light festival is in full force at the Upper Canada Village! Take a horse-drawn wagon ride or a trip on the toy train. Sip hot chocolate and apple cider while you warm up by the fire. Feel like singing? Head over to the church and sing your favourite Christmas carols. And of course, get your photo with Santa! Alight at Night is open every weekend from now until Christmas and every weeknight from Boxing day until January 5th. Admission is $16.


4.      Magic of Lights

The Magic of Lights exhibit is a 2 kilometre stretch of festive and vibrant displays of light. You can drive through this one-of-a-kind experience right from the comfort of your own car! There are multiple holiday themes and hundreds of sparkling lights. Don’t miss out on the tunnel of lights at the very end and get your Instagram photo! This spectacular event takes place at Wesley Clover parks nightly from dusk until 10pm. Tickets are $20 per vehicle.



5.      Nightmare Before/After X-mas tour

Are you missing the spooky Halloween themed fun? The Haunted Walk Ottawa has a new festive approach to their original walks. Explore the darker side of holiday traditions with strange and creepy stories from around the world. Don’t worry about the cold as most of the tour is inside the Bytown Museum. Did you know that some guides are too scared to give tours of the museum? Want to know why? Book your tour today! Tours will take place December 15, 21, 22, 27 – 30. Tickets are $23.75.


6.      Originals Ottawa Christmas Craft Sale

This Christmas Craft Sale brings the best Canadian handmade crafts for 10 days of unique holiday shopping. The craft show is held at the EY Centre and is open until December 16th. Have some last-minute shopping to do? Check out the craft show and give the gift of local handmade goods. There is an astounding assortment including jewellery, fashion, glassware, gourmet treats and more! Bring a friend and enjoy this unforgettable shopping experience where you’ll find gifts worth giving.



7.      Ice Skating at the SENS Rink of Dreams

The canal may not be open yet, but you can get your skating craving in at City Hall, complete with Beavertails! The rink includes music and illuminated changing colours which give it an enchanting feel. Skate rentals are available, and the rink is open 6am-11pm daily. Grab a friend and head down to the SENS Rink of Dreams right in the heart of downtown Ottawa for some outdoor fun!