The Canadian capital is only a two-hour drive from Montreal, though be warned, it’s among the flattest, most boring drives you’ll ever go on. It’s worth it once you’re there, though, if only for a visit of the National Gallery of Canada, designed by Moshe Safdie as a contemporary reflection of the classic architecture of Parliament Hill, which it faces across the Rideau Canal. Ottawa also has a fantastic food scene (notables include Whalesbone Oyster House, Atelier, Town, and Supply and Demand), and right downtown, a stone’s throw from the National Gallery, great shopping in and around ByWard Market (including the Rideau Centre mall). Don’t expect much of a nightlife in Ottawa, save a few fun pubs, so if you stay overnight, plan for entertainment in advance by buying tickets for a dance show or a play at the National Arts Centre. The city is resplendent in spring, when all the tulips bloom in the public parks and you can jog by the canal, but to be honest it’s pretty all year round.
By Isa Tousignant, AFAR Local Expert
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