Who says you need to get out of town to have a vacation? Even with the 150th anniversary “hangover” in the wake of last year’s birthday blowout, in a city as diverse as ours it’s easy to find plenty of things to do without the need for a ton of travelling. So, if a staycation is more your style this year, here are some suggestions.

Be a touristHow well do you know your home town? You’d be amazed at the trivia and nuggets of knowledge you can pick up on a tourist tour of the city’s high points. Get a different perspective of the city on a tour of the Rideau Canal in a voyageur canoe, take a free guided walking tour, or try the combined land and water tour on the Lady Dive amphibus.

And with the imminent renovations coming to the Centre Block this fall, which will see the iconic building cut off from the public for a decade, this summer is the last chance you’ll have for some time to take a tour, catch the Changing of the Guard ceremony with the “proper” backdrop or see the Sound and Light Show illuminated against the Centre Block and Peace Tower.

Mosaiculture, part deuxIf you missed the giant, living sculptures at Jacques Cartier Park last summer, the exhibition is back, larger than ever. Combining living plants formed into spectacular sculptures, there are more than 30 installations and 2.5 million plants.

Embrace the heat, part 1Ottawa’s beaches are a great way to escape the heat on the cheap. Lifeguards are on duty daily from noon to 7 p.m. If you’re not sure where they are, the city’s beaches are:

Just be sure to check city updates if we’ve had heavy rain, which sometimes results in no swim advisories due to poor water quality. In that case, you can try one of the city pools.

Embrace the heat, part 2A lovely family activity is to pack a picnic lunch and head to one of the city’s many parks. Often, they have facilities such as washrooms, picnic tables and barbecues. What says summer more than relaxing under the trees and soaking up the summer atmosphere?

Escape the heatIf the heat is getting to you and you need to cool down, try a museum or three. There are seven national museums in the National Capital Region that are part of the National Museums Passport program, which lets you visit three of them in three days at a discount. Not into museums? Then head to the cool, dark escape of your local movie theatre.

Get in motion

Explore our natural heritage through a hike of Gatineau Park, cycling the city’s network of pathways, whitewater rafting or kayaking on the Ottawa River – you name it, it’s there for the doing.

Get in the groove

Festival season is in full swing. Here are ones still to come this summer:

Music & Beyond, July 4 to 18

Bluesfest, July 5 to 15

Hope Volleyball SummerFest, July 14 (yes, there’s music at it, too)

Chamberfest, July 26 to Aug. 9

House of PainT, Aug. 23 to 26

Limited engagementAppealing to child and adult alike, the Lego exhibit at the Canada Science and Technology Museum is sure to please with its array of original and re-imagined sculptures and artwork, each made from thousands of Lego bricks.

Pamper yourself

Looking to treat yourself to a spa day? There are plenty of options around, including Holtz Spa in the ByWard Market, flotation therapy at Iso Spa in Centretown, and the ever-popular Nordik Spa in Chelsea.

More ideasNeed more suggestions? Check out earlier blogs on great day trip ideas such as Opinicon Lodge and five other hot spots in the area.


And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Whew. Simply put, if you’re looking for ways to staycation, you’ll run out of time before you run out of options. Have a great summer!