Summers in full swing. Here’s a summer bucket list to make summer sixteen the best one yet:

  1. Northern Lights sound and light show starts Saturday, July 9th on Parliament Hill. It’s a light show projected onto Centreblock illuminating Canada’s history. Catch this free light show at Parliament every night until September 10th. The Show starts at 10:00pm in July, 9:30pm in August and 9:00pm in September.

    Light Show Parliament
    Light Show on Parliament @littlemissottawa
  2. Ottawa Bluesfest is on July 7th-17th. One of the biggest events of summer, Bluesfest brings thousands of Ottawans to Lebreton Flats for some great music. You’ll have a blast enjoying summer nights hearing some great talent with your friends. Here’s the lineup:

    ottawa bluesfest lineup
    Photo from Ottawa Bluesfest
  3. Plan a camping trip. On July 15th all Ontario parks will be free for the day. Take advantage of this and plan a camping trip with friends. Pitch a tent, start a bonfire and enjoy the great outdoors.
  4. H.O.P.E. Volleyball Summerfest is North America’s largest one-day beach volleyball tournament. Head to Mooney’s Bay on July 16th to take part in the action. Between sets you can head to the hot 89.9 hot zone and end the day off with concerts at their main stage including headliners Hey Rosetta! Not on a team? No worries, you can still enjoy the day’s festivities. It will be packed with thousands of people.
  5. Cool down with some ice cream. Moo Shu Ice Cream will be opening soon on Downtown Bank Street and I couldn’t be more excited. You’ll love their unique ice cream flavours like matcha, ginger vanilla bean, fruit loops cereal milk and more. There’s also an Ice Cream Festival taking place at the Canadian Agriculture Museum on July 17th. You can find out how ice cream is made, learn about the difference types of ice cream, try some yummy samples and more.
  6. Participate in Parliament Hill Yoga. Join hundred’s of yogi’s as they practice yoga on Parliament Hill. This free event is held every Wednesday from 12:00pm-1:00pm until September 30th.

    Parliament Hill Yoga
    Parliament Hill Yoga @littlemissottawa
  7. Spend a day on the water at Dows Lake. Rent a paddle board, kayak, paddle boat or canoe. When you’re finished walk to Preston Street for lunch or dinner at one of the great restaurants in Little Italy.

    Dows Lake
    Dows Lake @littlemissottawa
  8. Have a picnic in Majors Hill Park. Pack a blanket and a picnic for a great afternoon with friends or a date. You can grab sandwiches at La Botega in the Byward Market and then head over. You’ll find benches scattered throughout to stop and relax and enjoy the beautiful scenery. From here you’ll get great views of the Ottawa River and Parliament.

    Majors Hill Park
    Majors Hill Park @littlemissottawa
  9. Explore the Lansdowne Farmers MarketEvery Sunday from 9:00am-4:00pm head to Aberdeen Square for goods from great local vendors. You’ll find everything from fresh produce, baked goods, handmade jewellery and more.
  10. Participate in Yoga On Tap. Do a yoga class while enjoying beer samples at a local brewery.
  11.  Sunday brunch in the capital. Get your friends together and head to EVOO Greek Kitchen for one of their amazing brunches. You’ll fall in love with this restaurant in Little Italy. You’ll be set with their delicious menu, mimosas and a DJ spinning the beats. Here’s a shot of their spicy baked feta that is a must try.

    EVOO
    EVOO Spicy Baked Feta @littlemissottawa
  12. Enjoy the great outdoors at Gatineau Park. It’s the perfect spot for hiking, camping, swimming, biking and more. It’s a great place to disconnect and take in the amazing views of the trails and lakes. Stop in at Mackenzie King Estates while you’re there. This country estate belonged to William Lyon Mackenzie King, Canada’s 10th Prime Minister. When he passed away he left his estate to all Canadians. You can walk through the gardens, historical ruins and relax in the Mackenzie King Cafe & Tea Room.
    Gatineau Park
    Gatineau Park @littlemissottawa

    Mackenzie King Estate
    Mackenzie King Estate @littlemissottawa
  13. Make some creative cocktails. Join the Ottawa Tea Guild on July 14th at The Tea Party Cafe as they teach you how to make tea-infused cocktails. You’ll learn how to put a new twist on your favourite cocktails and come up with some refreshing concoctions.
  14. See sunrise or sunset at Nepean Point. It’s a great spot to take in a beautiful view of the capital. You’ll find this spot behind the National Gallery of Canada. From the top you’ll get a great view of the Ottawa River, Parliament and the Canadian Museum of History. The statue is of French Explorer Samuel de Champlain, who explored the Ottawa River in 1613. The hill is located between the National Art Gallery and the Alexandra Bridge.

    Nepean Point
    Nepean Point @littlemissottawa
  15. Plan a Weekend Getaway. Take a weekend to explore a new city. Montreal is two hours away from Ottawa and has plenty to keep you busy. Visit the different neighbourhoods, restaurants, etc. There is always a festival you can attend, street art to see and more. Quebec City is another great option, about a 4 and a half hour drive from Ottawa. This city will remind you of Europe. It’s a beautiful city that’s rich in history.
    Saint Catherine Street, Montreal
    Saint Catherine Street, Montreal @littlemissottawa

    Quebec City
    Quebec City @littlemissottawa
  16. Bike around the capital. You can enjoy cycling on Sundays on car-free road’s in the capital region. Over 50km of parkways are open for cyclists, runners, skaters and walkers. It’s a great way to get outside and be active while taking in some stunning views. Nokia Bike Days will take place from May 15th until September 4th.  Visit their website for more information about routes. Don’t have a bike? Head to one of the VeloGo Bike Share stations and rent a bike for the day. Visit their website to find out when bikes are available. Rent a bike in one area and drop it off at the next available station. It’s a great way to see the city.

     VeloGo Bike Share @littlemissottawa
    VeloGo Bike Share @littlemissottawa
  17. Spend a rainy day exploring Ottawa’s museums and art gallery. There is plenty to see and learn at the Canadian Museum of History, Nature Museum, War Museum and National Art Gallery of Canada. You can visit them for free every Thursday from 5pm-8pm. A rainy day is also a great opportunity to take a tour of Parliament. Here’s a shot of the library of Parliament.

    Library of Parliament
    Photo by Ottawa Tourism
  18. Enjoy drinks on a patio in the Byward Market. The Market has plenty of great patios to enjoy a nice sunny day. Head to Clarence on the weekends in July for Patiofest. The street will be closed and restaurants will be extending their patios.
  19. See international street performers at the Busker Festival on Sparks Street on July 28th to August 1st. This year its celebrating 25 years. You’ll see clowns, acrobats, dare-devils and more.
  20. See fireworks at the Casino Du Lac Leamy Sound of Light International Fireworks competition. For the month of August you’ll be able to see stunning fireworks light up the sky from Casino Du Lac Leamy. The competition brings pyrotechnics from all over the world. The fireworks are absolutely stunning with perfect syncronization to music.

    Fireworks Competition @littlemissottawa
    Fireworks Competition @littlemissottawa
  21. Looking for adventure? Head to the Great Canadian Bungee for Bungee Jumping. It’s Canada’s highest with a 200ft plunge.
  22. Participate in the 5k Foam Fest Race. It’s an all ages run that includes running through foam, mud and water and tackling 16 obstacles on your route. It’s on July 23rd at Edelweiss.
  23. Enjoy some ribs at Capital RibfestOn July 28th-31st, ribfest will be at City Hall. Try the different vendors and then vote for your favourite.

    Capital Rib Fest
    Capital Rib Fest @littlemissottawa
  24. See a drive-in movie.  A drive-in movie will be played at the Carp Fairgrounds on Wednesday, August 31st at 6:00pm. Head to Carp early and catch dinner at Alice’s Cafe first. Locals love this gem in the heart of Carp. The food is amazing and it has a great, welcoming atmosphere.

    Alice's Village Cafe
    Alice’s Village Cafe @littlemissottawa
  25. Walk, Run or Bike the full length of the Canal. It’s the perfect spot to get active. You’ll have an amazing view for the duration of your workout.

    Rideau Canal
    Rideau Canal @littlemissottawa
  26. Have dinner in the Byward Market Courtyard. This is a hidden gem in the Byward Market. It’s a great spot to enjoy patio’s in the summer and you’re able to access patios from multiple restaurants and bars. It has a great ambience and perfect for time with friends or date night.

    Byward Market Courtyard
    Byward Market Courtyard @littlemissottawa
  27. Try some new beers at the Ottawa Craft Beer Festival. It’s a great opportunity to sample some new beers or enjoy your favourites. It will be held at Aberdeen Pavilion on August 26th-28th. There will be over 40 craft breweries available to choose from.

    Ottawa Craft Beer Festival
    Ottawa Craft Beer Festival @littlemissottawa
  28. See the changing of the guard. Every morning at 10:00am until August 31st you can watch the changing of the guard at Parliament Hill.

    Changing of the Guard
    Photo by Ottawa Tourism
  29. Spend a day at the beach. Head to one of Ottawa’s like Mooney’s or Britannia and enjoy a day soaking up the sun. Bring your own net or rent one on site and start a game of volleyball.

    Mooney's Bay
    Mooney’s Bay @littlemissottawa
  30.  Cheer on the Ottawa Redblacks and Ottawa Fury. Head to TD Place and cheer on our teams. Both have a great in-game atmosphere and you’ll have a blast supporting the team with other fans. Watch as the fireworks light up the sky when the Redblacks score a touchdown.

    TD Place
    TD Place @littlemissottawa
  31. Attend the Gatineau Hot Air Balloon Festival. This festival takes place from September 1st to 5th. Not only can you see plenty of hot air balloons take-off but you can also take a ride yourself.

    Gatineau Hot Air Balloon Festival
    Photo by Ottawa Tourism
  32. Try white water rafting on the Ottawa River. Rafting Momentum has multiple packages and trips depending on group size and whether you’re looking for the most adventurous trip or something more tame.
  33. Walk along the Alexandra bridge to see a view of Ottawa across the river. This walk is perfect for the summertime. You’ll get a great view of the Ottawa River, Canadian Museum of History and Parliament and the locks. A rainy day is also a great opportunity to take a tour of Parliament.
    Alexandra Bridge
    Alexandra Bridge @littlemissottawa

    View of Parliament from Alexandra Bridge
    View of Parliament from Alexandra Bridge @littlemissottawa
  34. Visit the Remic Rapids. You can access this area from the Sir John A. Macdonald Parkway. Here you’ll find John Felice Ceprano’s rock art that changes yearly. It’s also another great spot to watch sunset as it sets along the water.
  35. Learn how to salsa dance. Every Wednesday from 6:00pm-11:00pm until August 31st there is free salsa dancing at City Hall.
  36. Explore the Byward Market. It’s one of Canada’s oldest and largest markets. You’ll find a great selection of vendors selling everything from fresh produce, clothing, crafts and more. Stop by one of the many flower vendors and pick up some seasonal flowers for yourself or someone special.

    Maple Syrup at Byward Market
    Maple Syrup at Byward Market @littlemissottawa
  37. Pick some fresh berries at a local farm. Visit this website for a link of farms you visit and pick your own strawberries, raspberries and blueberries.
  38. Explore neighbourhoods of Ottawa. Take some afternoon’s to explore the many great areas of Ottawa like Westboro, Chinatown, Little Italy, Downtown Bank, the Glebe, Hintonburg and more. Each neighborhood has its own quirks and charm and you’ll come across some great shops and restaurants.
    Downtown Bank Street
    Downtown Bank Street @littlemissottawa

    Chinatown
    Chinatown @littlemissottawa
  39. Watch the sun go down at the Ottawa Locks. This is my favourite spot to see the sunset in the capital. You’ll see stunning colours on the water as the sun sets.

    Sunset at the Ottawa Locks
    Sunset at the Ottawa Locks @littlemissottawa
  40. Read a book in the park on a sunny day. Head to Ministry of Coffee and grab an iced coffee then head to Confederation Park, grab a bench, and read near the fountain. We just released our book An Insider’s Guide to Canada’s Capital by WingD. I had the opportunity to write a section and have many of my pictures featured in the book. The book is $40 but for a limited time the pre-sale price is $30. Pick up your copy here. It’s a great guide to the capital that features things to do all year long.

    An Insider's Guide to Canada's Capital
    An Insider’s Guide to Canada’s Capital

As new events come up we’ll be posting them in our Facebook event here.

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