20 Things to Do in Ottawa for Under $5

Published Apr 16, 2018

Want to explore the city for cheap? Here are some of our top budget friendly suggestions of places in Ottawa you need to check out.

Ottawa is Canada's capital, and just like any other capital city, the standard of living may seem to be high, but it's not so when it comes to entertainment spots within the city. Ottawa is home to several parks, museums, attraction sites as well as a vibrant culture that makes life all the more colourful.


During the winter, the city has several activities for its residents whether indoor or outdoor. Fortunately, most of these activities are quite affordable and some even free of charge. Having lived in Ottawa for some time and being challenged to find some cost-friendly activities for the kids, here is my discovery list.


1. Take Yoga classes

If you are feeling exhausted, you might want to attend yoga classes that are offered for free by Lululemon on parliament hill. All you need to do is to be there early to get space.


2. Catch an outdoor movie

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During summer you can enjoy a free movie at Centretown Outdoor Film Festival. So why not make a date and take the kids for a free movie.


3. Nature walk at the Rideau Canal

The canal has a breathtaking scenery all year round hence suitable for runs or biking; you can bring along the children so that they can enjoy the fantastic view.


4. The Byward Market

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For lovers of shopping, Byward market is the place for you. Here you will find jewelry collection and other unique items for a relatively lower price than in other markets. While shopping you will enjoy the free entertainment. The best part is that the market operates both day and night, so you don't have any excuse not to sample.


5. Canada Day Fireworks Downtown

This yearly event hosted by parliament hill is a must attend if you are in Ottawa. Bring the kids on board as they will love the pomp and colour of the fireworks.


6. Parliament Buildings

Before I visited the parliament buildings, I didn't think much of it. After my visit, I realized that it is one historic building everyone in Ottawa should visit. Apart from the beautiful architecture is the history behind it. Plan a tour for you and the kids for an exciting experience.


7. Hike in Gatineau Park

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With its location just 15 minutes from Ottawa downtown, Gatineau Park is an ideal location for a family picnic, nature trails, and excursions. It also has amazing views and serves as a great hiking spot.


8. Visit Rideau Hall.

You can take the kids to the historic Rideau hall, the home of to Canada's governor general so that they can learn Ottawa's history. This site is also suitable for skating, and you certainly can count on having a good time.


9. Go to the beach

Get silly at the beach and have fun playing with your kids. The beach is quite refreshing hence you can use this time to refresh your mind as well as having a great time with your family for free. Even though our beaches aren't world-class, they still pass for a great time when you spend it with friends or family. You can play volleyball, pig out on ice cream, and if you're brave enough, you can dip your toes in the not-so-clear water.


10. Visit the Lansdowne Farmers Market

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How often do you go out with the kids? The market is an ideal spot to teach them responsibility and also pick some fresh groceries at reasonable prices.


11. Attend the Glow Fair

Don't miss the June glow fair that happens in the streets of Ottawa. It is an incredible evening where everyone gets to enjoy the city's flair for free as they dance in neon lights. It is a great family event.


12. Attend a stand-up comedy show

You don't have to get bored in the evening. Head out for a night of laughter at the Yuk Yuk's for as little as $5. It's ideal for the whole family.

13. Window shopping in Westboro Village

The adorable little shops will make you want to go on a never-ending shopping spree. You will also find cute and affordable eateries where you can spend a whole afternoon catching up with family as the kids roam around looking for niceties.


14. Skating

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Ottawa has various skating spots that you can take advantage of. You can visit the Rideau Canal Skateway any day and time and enjoy free skating. You can also opt for indoor skating at City of Ottawa for a small fee.


15. Winter festival

The Winterlude takes place during the first three weeks of February. It's a fun and exciting event for the whole family.


16. Skiing

Ottawa is endowed with several skiing sites, enough to leave you spoilt for choice. However, favorite places like Sir John A. Macdonald Winter Trail is a must visit.


17. A visit to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Musical Ride Centre

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Imagine a performance by the world-renowned musical ride? Well, you can catch this free tour all year round, especially on Tuesday and Thursdays. It's a lifetime opportunity that will leave you thoroughly entertained.


18. A visit to the museum

Visiting the museum never gets old. It's a great learning experience and there is no reason not to tour because most museums in Ottawa admit for free, or have various discounted events throughout the year! 


19. Salsa lessons

There is no better way to end your Wednesday evening than with salsa lessons! You can tag along with your kids for free classes offered by the city hall. They will not only have fun but also get to bond with you as you dance the night off.


20. Canoe ride

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Perhaps you are looking to spend some quality time with your family. Bring your own (for FREE) or rent a canoe and spend the day exploring the Rideau Canal as you enjoy the cool breeze. Canoes go for much less compared to a boat ride.


Sample these affordable activities and make the most of your time in Ottawa.

Looking for more fun activities to in Ottawa with the family? Check out our Event Page!

New events are added daily, so make you come back often to know what's going on in the capital. 

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