Finding cheap things to do in Ottawa, Ontario Canada has never been easier! Aside from Ottawa being just an overall beautiful city, it’s also the nation’s capital! During our most recent trip to Ottawa, Ontario, we decided to indulge while keeping our budget low. Traveling can be so dang expensive which is why we choose to travel on a strict budget, sometimes. We did a ton of things in Ottawa, Ontario Canada that wound up costing us approximately $300 per person, which included a place to stay, gas for the car, Ubers, food, and fun activities!
Disclaimer: Since we’re from the United States, Canada has a great conversion rate that definitely worked in our favor at the time. Essentially, everything wound up being cheaper there, which is why our trip wound up being inexpensive. Before traveling to another country, we’d suggest looking up the conversion rates to see what your currency will get you. While some countries are definitely more expensive, some may be a great bang for your buck during your next vacation.
Check Out ByWard Market for Some Great Restaurants and Fresh Foods For Things to Do in Ottawa
ByWard Market should be at the top of your list for things to do in Ottawa, Ontario. The market is a buzzing spot of farmers’ market stalls, restaurants, and specialty food shops that everyone visiting must check out. You’ll be able to find local Canadian cheese, maple-infused chocolates, fresh produce, and homemade crafts and clothes. Since a lot of the shops are occupied by locals, the food and items are fairly cheap. We bought about 4 peaches and some fresh fruit mix for about $4 total…not bad for some fresh foods! The ByWard Market also features a compelling night-life scene with a ton of fun bars and taverns.
You’re In the Capital…Add Parliament Hill to Your List!
Parliament Hill, also known as The Hill, is located on the southern banks of the Ottawa River. The buildings reminded us of something out of a move or a castle of some sorts. They’re absolutely breathtaking to look at. These beautiful pieces of history and architecture can be a FREE thing to do in Ottawa, Ontario. But, if you want a guided tour, you’ll have to obtain some at the ticket window on a first come, first served basis. During the summer months, these tours go fast, so be sure to get there early if it’s something that interests you!
We had limited time during our trip to Ottawa, Ontario. As a result, we viewed Parliament Hill from across the Ottawa River by the Canadian Museum of History. It allowed for some scenic (and phenomenal) picture opportunities!
With That Being Said…Check Out the Canadian Museum of History
The Canadian Museum of History is actually located on the Quebec side of the Ottawa River and deserves a spot on cheap things to do in Ottawa. It’s Canada’s National Museum of Human History and gives a great overview of the country. It’s also located in the great hub of Gatineau, Quebec, making it an easy walk to most restaurants and stores. The museum is open every day from 9:30am to 5pm (Thursday is open until 8pm). The museum is on the pricier side at $20 for 1 adult ticket and 1 movie. We didn’t include the museum in our last trip due to your fee, but if you’re into learning about a country’s history, it’s a cost that may be worth the investment!
If You Have the Time for One Hike…Make It to Lusk Caves
While the Lusk Caves aren’t directly located in Ottawa, Ontario, it’s a short and easy drive to make. Located in Gatineau Park in Quebec, the Lusk Caves were one our favorite amusements and things to do in Ottawa, Ontario. They’re free to enter and require no guide. However, you will need to pay a $15 parking fee for the park. The fee will definitely be worth it if you’re a hiker and plan on visiting other areas of the park throughout the day.
The hike to the cave is on the longer side, but is by no means difficult. It’s about 10 km round trip for the easiest trail to Lusk Caves and took us about 3 hours to complete (including our lengthy visit to the caves). During the hike, you won’t experience much besides pavement and the view of some people’s campsites. While you are walking along the river, the trees block most of the scenic portions. Regardless, there are a few spots where you can take a break and stop to make a quick swim if it’s during the hot summer months.
Once you get to the entrance of Lusk Caves, you’ll be in awe for your entire journey. The water gets really deep at nearly 1 meter, which gives a challenging vibe to the caves. At a few points the water was to our necks!
What Should You Bring?
The Lusk Caves are tough to enjoy unless you come fully prepared. You WILL need a flashlight, shoes, and a bathing suit (unless you don’t care about your clothes getting wet). It’s also advisable to leave the camera gear in the car unless you plan on leaving it where the caves exits. We brought our GoPro with us when we visited the Lusk Caves, but since they were so dark, it was difficult to really capture the natural beauty of the caves. Guess you’re just gonna have to just go see for yourselves!
Feeling Artsy? Hit Up Jacques Cartier Park
Jacques Cartier Park was a great little gem we came across when traveling to our AirBnB. Located in Gatineau, Quebec, the park features events at all times of the year and is an easy addition to your things to do in Ottawa, Ontario. Our favorite part about the park was the art we came across! There are an assortment of sculptures made from bushes and flowers. However, entering this part of the park comes at a price. At $20, you’ll be able to view all of the beautiful sculptures. Unfortunately, we didn’t want to spend the money at the time, so we chose to do the “cheaper” version. The park is behind a linked fence that can easily be seen through. We pretty much just walked around and took some pictures of the beautiful sculptures. If you’re feeling like you want to get a more up-close and personal feel, you’re definitely going to want to pay for the access and stay for a while to make the investment worth while!
Looking For Somewhere Awesome to Spend the Night After All Those Attractions in Canada?
AirBnB has been our recent go-to when we’re traveling and looking for great places to stay. They’re incredibly cheap in Canada, especially when you’re looking for a private apartment or house. We stayed in Gatieau, Quebec at an apartment before we went out and completed our cheap things to do in Ottawa. We had a great host that left us a Welcome Basket and a surprise cabinet filled with drinks! But, just a disclaimer if you decide to stay in Quebec: Ubers aren’t regularly available here. Since different provisions in Canada have different regulations regarding the use of Uber, Ontario is definitely much easier with finding them!
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