5 Great Places to Stroll in Downtown Ottawa

You don't need to have a specific destination to enjoy your evening stroll but if you are seeking some specific ambiance in the Nation's Capital here are some ideas:

Along the tree-lined street of MacKenzie Avenue - where's MacKenzie Avenue you ask?  This is the street between Major's Hill Park and the American Embassy which parallel's Sussex to the east.  You can make a nice loop of this walk under the trees down to the National Art Gallery and then back up through Major's Hill park, possibly stopping at Tavern on the Hill and enjoying the view of the Parliament.  And this can even be extended down the canal if you are looking for a longer stroll.

Down Sparks Street to the Park of Provinces - this one provides you with some great people watching opportunities, offers the option of stopping and enjoying a drink at a patio and ends up a lovely shaded park with a unique fountain (negative ions people!) and a pretty lawn with some newly renovated garden beds.  You can even cross the street, explore the Supreme Court lawn and gardens and walk back along Wellington under some trees along Parliament Hill.

Urban stroll through the Byward Market - starting behind Chapters you can take a pedestrian lane all the way to the Notre Dame Cathedral doing your paseo through four different pedestrian courtyards each offering a different experiences: first a bustling one with restaurant and cafe patios, after this a quiet spot showcasing sculpture and flowered balconies.  Once you cross Clarence you will find yourself -  fountain and a view of the Tin House with the final pedestrian space linking up two patios - the Earl of Sussex and Memories Cafe.  This could be extended by walking along past the Gallery, (check out the historic sundials at Sussex/Bruy√®re corner), the Mint and down to Lady Grey Drive where you can access the riverfront and check out the Ottawa Rowing Club boat house.

Make this stroll even better by enjoying some ice cream or gelato as you walk.  There are at least 10 locations for Ice Cream/Gelato in the Byward Market now:

  • Murray Street - Piccolo Grande + Mantovani 1946
  • Clarence Street - Sweet Jesus
  • William Street - Sash Gelato Cafe + Cacao 70 + Lois N' Frima's
  • George Street - Menchie's + Rocky Mountain Chocolate Ice Cream
  • Byward Market Square - Amore Gelato
  • Laura Secord (in mall)

The boardwalk in Jacques Cartier Park in Quebec. It you are looking for a quieter spot with stunning views, a stroll in Jacques Cartier Park is it!  You might even want to start under the bridge at the Museum of History (Civilization) with a wander through the waterfront gardens there and then you can pass by the marina and up to la Maison des auteurs which offers great programming also!  The boardwalk starts on the east side of the parking lot here and brings you back down closer to the river and provides a sweet view of the Ottawa skyline especially at sundown.  This walk can extend under the Pont McDonald Cartier into a quieter part of the park also.

Historic Walk along Somerset to the Adawe Bridge in Sandy Hill - Or stroll down Somerset West (starting at Bank Street) past the historic buildings (and great restaurant patios) all the way to the Rideau Canal pedestrian bridge.  Keep going through the Ottawa U Campus (2017 - there is construction here but passage is possible) and through the older Sandy Hill neighbourhood until you arrive at Strathcona Park.  This is a great park to explore or even just to sit or lay in the grass or you could cross the Adawe Bridge and check out the Rideau River multi-use trails on the east side of the river.

Happy Summer Strolling!

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