Ottawa is justly proud of its reputation as a vibrant, cosmopolitan capital with a long, multicultural history. Strikingly green, famously friendly, and a joy to traverse on foot, the city is a welcoming haven for visitors.
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WHEN TO GO
Winter in Ottawa, which runs from November to March, is notorious for its heavy snowfall and face-freezing temperatures, while summer, from June to August, tends to be hot and humid. Spring (April to May) and fall (September to October) bring pleasantly temperate weather and are the most post popular times to visit.
NEED TO KNOW
Visas: Travelers from the United States do not need a visa to enter Canada. Make sure you bring a passport valid for the duration of your stay.
Money: The currency here is Canadian dollars. ATMs are easily accessible and international credit cards widely accepted, so there’s no need to carry a lot of cash.
Travel Health: Check with the Destination Canada for the latest health and safety information, including travel protocols and requirements like negative COVID-19 tests, quarantines, mask mandates and more in connection with COVID-19. Before traveling, research and prepare for what to do if you get sick while away.
Getting Here: Macdonald-Cartier International Airport is the primary airport, but some international airlines fly into Trudeau International Airport, located roughly a two-hour shuttle ride away.
Getting Around: Visitors can opt to navigate the city via the O-Train light rail system or the Transitway, an efficient bus system. Both taxis and ride sharing services like Uber are easy to flag. For travelers not in a hurry, the city is fantastic for cyclists and many areas are easily walkable. A scenic alternative is to hop on one of the boats that ply the Rideau Canal, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Local Lingo: Ottawa is the only North American capital that is officially bilingual. With English-speaking Toronto to the west and French-speaking Montreal and Quebec to the east, the city fully embraces its multiculturalism. Signs are bilingual and while most locals have a preference for English or French, they tend to be fluent in both.
Must-Have Apps: Canada Travel Guide by Triposo; Uber
Insider Tip: Many of the most popular museums have offer free admission during select times, meaning travelers can save quite a bit by planning ahead. Keep an eye out for special evening programming and extended hours as well.