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Your Itinerary to Feel Like You Are in a Christmas Movie 

December 13, 2023

From dazzling lights to beautifully decorated Christmas trees and delicious dishes, Ottawa’s Original Downtown is the place to be this holiday season. Here is a fun itinerary that will make you feel like you are in your Christmas movie in Ottawa’s Original Downtown. 

Spend the Day in the ByWard Market

Take a stroll through the beautiful historic ByWard Market and discover various activities to do in the small Christmas town. Walk up and down the streets and shop local at some of the amazing small businesses. There’s Milk Shop Boutique with two floors of unique and stylish clothing, jewelry and accessories, or Irving Rivers, a little corner of the market that has been around for over 70 years selling all-year-round clothing and souvenirs. 

There is no shortage of eclectic food retailers in the ByWard Market that have been around for generations. After a great day of shopping, take a short break at Le Moulin de Provence and enjoy a specialty coffee with a homemade soup and sandwich, and try one of their signature freshly-baked cookies like the iconic Obama cookie. After lunch, take a walk through the aisles of Nicastro’s La Bottega, which has been in the market for over 100 years, and transport yourself to Italy while browsing and take traditional and authentic Italian ingredients. 

End your day with a Beavertail at the stand on the corner of York and William. You can’t go wrong with this sweet treat during the festive season, as it is a Canadian classic. 

Walk Along the Snow-Covered Rideau Canal 

The Rideau Canal is a must-see regardless of the season, but it is oh so beautiful during this time of year. With the canal beginning to freeze for skaters to skate on and twinkling lights illuminating the sidewalks it is a great way to explore Ottawa’s Original Downtown. Make sure you bundle up and stay warm with a cup of hot chocolate from Starbucks or any of these coffee shops located on Rideau Street. 

Take a Stroll and Enjoy Thousands of Dazzling Lights 

There are beautiful spots in Ottawa’s Original Downtown where you can see the thousands of lights that illuminate these streets. Winter Lights Across Canada takes place every year where the downtown core shines with over 400,000 Christmas lights brightening up the night sky. 

We recommend starting your walking route at Confederation Park as light fixtures hang from the trees and are beautiful to see. Head down Elgin Street towards the National Arts Centre as lights surround Canada’s Stage. You can see through the glass windows and view the beautiful decorations within the NAC. Stop and take in the War Memorial as bright trees surround the historic monument. End your route at the Fairmont Chateau Laurier on Rideau Street and take in all the lights of the downtown core. 

Holidays at the Fairmont Chateau Laurier 

Splurge this season with a staycation in Ottawa’s castle, the Fairmont Chateau Laurier. The castle comes alive around the holidays with so much to offer guests. Check in and observe the immaculate views of the downtown core during this festive season and head down to see what the hotel has to offer. 

Enter the front foyer and view the beautifully decorated Christmas trees at Trees of Hope. This is a magical annual event where local companies and organizations come together to decorate the historic Fairmont Chateau Laurier halls with beautifully decorated Christmas trees.

After visiting the Trees of Hope, sip on festive boozy cocktails such as a Candy Cane Espresso Martini or Elf’s Nog in Ottawa’s hottest speakeasy, The Elf’s Pub. This pub is a hidden Christmas pop-up that will make you feel like you’re hanging out with the elves in Candyland.

See a Holiday Performance at the National Arts Centre 

See a show at the National Arts Centre during the holidays is a dream. With stars hanging from the ceiling and sparkling lights, the NAC foyer alone will get you in the holiday spirit. If you’re looking for a special night out before the show, make a reservation at 1 Elgin and indulge in a delicious, gourmet dinner using Canadian-grown ingredients. Grab a drink at one of the concession stands, take your seats and enjoy the show! 

Here are some of the festive shows that you need to see for yourselves: 

Are you worried about where you are going to park? Check out our Parking Blog to help you find all the parking options and rates downtown!  

Click here to check out other blogs we’ve written about businesses in Ottawa’s Original Downtown!