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The best way to see Ottawa in one day will depend on what time of year you visit. Though Ottawa has exciting things to see and do year-round, being in Canada, you can count on those activities changing depending on the season. Much of the itinerary will remain the same, but subbing in ice-skating on the Rideau Canal is a must in the winter, while kayaking on that same canal is a blast in the summer.
Begin your day with breakfast and a bit of shopping at ByWard Market. As one of Canada’s oldest and largest public markets, it’s the epitome of Ottawa. Pick up a pastry from The French Baker on Murray Street and explore the nooks and crannies that ByWard Market has to offer. You’ll find everything from specialty foods and local produce to arts and crafts.
Once you’ve gotten a taste of the market, make your way to the Rideau Canal for skating in the winter. The world’s largest naturally frozen skating rink is hugely popular in Ottawa. You can rent skates at the canal and enjoy the scenery. Pop over to one of the kiosks for a BeaverTail — a pastry stretched to resemble a beavertail and topped with everything from cinnamon and sugar to chocolate and candies. If you’re visiting in the summer, you’ll head to Dows Lake Pavilion and rent a paddleboat to explore the Rideau Canal; it’s fun and a different way to see Ottawa. And we recommend that you still enjoy a BeaverTail, too.
After you’ve worn yourself out from skating or paddle boating, head to Parliament Hill for some time in the museums. Whether you opt for the National Gallery of Canada and see some intriguing works of art or head for the ever-popular Canada Science and Technology Museum to check out some kooky gadgets, you’ll have a blast.
When it’s time for dinner, make your way back to ByWard Market and stroll along the restaurant-lined streets until something strikes your fancy. Trust us, it won’t take long.