We went to Ottawa, Ontario over the weekend and had the best time. I know going north to Canada isn’t necessarily the first place a lot of people think to travel in February, but Ottawa is a city that really makes winter fun — and if I can have fun in the cold, anyone can! I actually lived in Ottawa for two years while I went to grad school, so when our friends Celeste and PJ from California asked if we’d be interested in meeting there for a weekend, Andy and I immediately said YES!
Canada’s capital is a great walkable city, where you can easily go from the gorgeous buildings of Parliament Hill to world-class museums to restaurants on Elgin Street to meandering through the Byward Market without ever needing to get in a car. One of the best things about Ottawa, though, is the Rideau Canal that runs through the center of town. When it freezes in the winter, 7.8 kilometers (4.8 miles) are opened up for skating, which makes it the longest skating rink in the world. There are hot chocolate stands and places to rent skates all along the canal, and it’s so much fun. Living there, it was also a really convenient way to get from one side of town to the other. I would sometimes skate to the mall! Well, after all our excitement to go skating, it ended up raining last week and the canal had to be closed all weekend until it could re-freeze. Womp womp.
But since we couldn’t skate, we had more time to eat! Ottawa has become a bit of a foodie town in the last few years, so there’s tons of really great restaurants. Just take a walk along Elgin Street and you’ll find dozens. When I think of Ottawa, though, I think of Irish pubs and poutine, so we enjoyed A LOT of both. Poutine, if you’re not familiar, is traditionally french fries, brown gravy and cheese curds. It sounds weird, looks messy, and tastes like heaven. You can find a variation of it on almost every menu in Ottawa, and you really can’t go wrong.
- Town for a nice dinner
- lunch at Smoke’s Poutinerie
- Beavertails in the Byward Market
- dessert at Pure Gelato
- Chateau Lafayette (The Laff) for drinks and laughs
- Zone for modern homegoods
- Hotel Indigo
We’re thinking, since we didn’t get to go skating this time, the four of us will just have to go back soon, right?!