Your Ultimate Ottawa Guide: Back to School Edition
by Meghan Burns
Think Ottawa is boring? Think again! Here are some of the best places to eat, places to go and things to do this fall in our nation’s capital, whether you’re a local or a newcomer to our beautiful city!
Where to eat
14 ByWard Market Square
Located in the heart of the Byward Market, Zak’s Diner is the go to stop for locals hanging out downtown. This breakfast spot is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and is famous for its kitschy interior, great service and amazing milkshakes. Zak’s is the best place to meet up for brunch, or eat some 3am pancakes.
Multiple locations, closest location to campus is 1172 Bank St
Need coffee? This Ottawa based chain is known for their fair trade and organic coffee, as well as their delicious treats. A great place to study, chat with friends and/or stress cry.
912 Bank St, across from Lansdowne
Kettleman’s is THE best spot in Ottawa (and probably in the world) for bagels. They’ve got everything you could want: tons of different flavours, sandwich combinations and 24/7 service. Did I mention bagels??
House of Targ
1077 Bank St
If you’re looking for somewhere fun and different, head to House of Targ! Located in Old Ottawa South (only 15 mins walk away from campus), this arcade/music venue has over 40 pinball machines, hosts lots of live shows, and is famous for their perogies.
1103 Bank St
This award-winning, family-owned gelato spot is the best gelato in Ottawa, located within walking distance of Carleton, and offers over 20 delicious flavours to choose from (which may be one of the hardest decisions you make this year).
Places to go
Gatineau Park is a bit of a ways away from Carleton (30 minutes by car), but definitely one of the most beautiful outdoor places in Ottawa to explore (especially once the leaves start changing colours). Pink Lake Trail, the Wilson Carbide Ruins, and Luskville Falls are some of my favourite hikes. If you don’t have a car, don’t worry! The Gatineau Park Fall Rhapsody Festival is taking place October 5-27, which means there will be free shuttle buses running from downtown to Pink Lake and Champlain Lookout. Check out more details here: http://ncc-ccn.gc.ca/places/ncc-fall-rhapsody
The Arboretum is a beautiful green space with lots of trails, connected to the historic Rideau locks right next to campus, and to the Fletcher Wildlife garden. The Arboretum is a perfect place to relax by the water or walk around between classes. (There are usually lots of dogs around too, which is a bonus!)
Mooney’s Bay Beach
Missing summer? Bust out your bathing suit and head over to Mooney’s Bay! Sure, it’s no Miami, but there’s sand and the (mostly) swimmable Rideau River. Located only 25 minutes walk from campus, with the right filter, you can trick your friends into thinking you’re still on vacation.
Ready for spooky season? Love to be scared? Saunders Farm is the place to be! Starting September 21, take the trip to Saunders for the best haunted hayrides, haunted houses and all Halloween related events. Pro tip: go early in the season to avoid the huge crowds, and watch out for people with chainsaws.
Dows Lake/Rideau Canal
Only minutes from campus, this picturesque spot offers kayak, canoe, stand up paddle board or paddle boat rentals until the beginning of October, starting at $16/hour. Paddle your way along the canal, and get a unique perspective of Ottawa from the water. Check hours and prices here: http://www.dowslake.com/summer_rentals.php
Things to do
Terry Fox Run
September 15, start at Carleton
Coming up Sunday, September 15 is the Terry Fox Run! Raise some money and run and/or walk for a cause. The start of the run is at Carleton, with 1 km, 5 km and 10 km courses. Don’t want to run alone? Run with AKCESS! You can sign up to register with our team at this link: https://secure.terryfox.ca/registrant/TeamFundraisingPage.aspx?Referrer=%26Referrer%3dhttps%253a%252f%252fwww.terryfox.org%252f&TeamID=868070
CityFolk and Marvest
September 12-15, Lansdowne Park
Coming up next weekend, September 12-15, this annual music festival is held right around the corner at Lansdowne Park. This year, Leon Bridges, The Strumbellas, Lucinda Williams, and Donovan Woods are just some of the amazing acts that will be headlining. You can also check out free local music happening around the city as part of Marvest, another CityFolk initiative. Check out the full lineup here: https://cityfolkfestival.com/
September 12-21, multiple locations
A new festival to Ottawa, running September 12-21, this multi-disciplinary arts festival, in partnership with the Great Canadian Theatre Company (GCTC), aims to showcase Indigenous artists and artists of colour, especially those that identify as part of communities that are under-represented in Canadian professional arts, including women, members of the LGBTQIA community, and artists who are Deaf and disability-identified. Located at four different venues across the city, this festival will include everything from art installations, to film screenings, to concerts and plays. Find out more here: http://prismaticfestival.com/index.php/plan-your-prismatic/
Richmond Fair/Carp Fair
September 19-22, September 26-29
Fall is not complete without a trip to the fair, and luckily there are two coming up, both located less than 30 minutes drive outside of Ottawa. September 19-22 is the 175th Richmond Fair, and the Carp Fair is the weekend after, September 26-29. Both offer midway rides, music and shows, and petting zoos! (Make sure to get that top of the ferris wheel picture!)
If you like museums, Ottawa has got you covered. Even if you don’t, there’s something for everyone! Some of the most well-known are the National Art Gallery, the Canadian Museum of History and the Canadian War Museum, but there’s also the Bytown Museum (covering the history of Ottawa), the Bank of Canada museum (conveniently located on Bank) and the Agriculture Museum, located at the Experimental Farm. No money? No worries! Most major Ottawa museums are free Thursday nights from 5-8pm.
Enjoy your next few months in Ottawa, no matter how you spend them. Welcome back, and good luck with fall semester! (And don’t forget to check out all of the upcoming AKCESS events this year!)
Meghan Burns is a second year BPAPM student in the Human Rights and Development specialization. She is currently serving as VP Comms on AKCESS, and works at the Canadian History Museum, Canadian War Museum, and as a tour guide with Ottawa Urban Adventures. If you have any Ottawa tourism related questions, let her know! Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow on instagram @meghan_burns.