Though this year we may be experiencing colder temperatures than usual, there are still many activities you can enjoy in Canada’s Capital during the colder months from traditional activities like Winterlude, as well as some new attractions to the city. As such, we’ve compiled a list of activities for both families and adults to make some amazing memories both indoors and outdoors this Winter!


We’re excited that Winterlude is back as an in-person event for the first time in 3 years! The magical Wintertime festival will be running from February 3- 20. One of the best things about Winterlude is that it has a wide range of experiences that people from all age groups can enjoy. From the National Ice-Carving Championship to the many outdoor art installations around the city, there is much to see walking around downtown Ottawa. There are also amazing cultural experiences such as the Indigenous mini pow-wow. This year there is also the Aurora Festive Winter Experience taking place in Gatineau. However, there are countless other activities  to take part in so we encourage you to take a look at their calendar of events.

Candlelight Concerts 

It’s almost time for Valentine’s Day and romance is in the air! Rather than the usual fare of dining out, Candlelight Concerts can be a fun addition to your night out. Come and enjoy an intimate performance of classic romance ballads, from Claire de Lune to My Heart Will Go On, and many more during their Valentine’s Day show running from February 11-14. There’s also other opportunities over the coming months to hear the musicians pay tribute to some amazing artists, such as:

  • Candlelight: A tribute to Taylor Swift on February 24
  • Candlelight: A Tribute to Coldplay on March 2
  • Candlelight: A Tribute to Adele on March 17
  • Candlelight: A Tribute to ABBA on May 13

Winter Pride Festival

With a mission to celebrate, advocate, educate and connect people with the 2SLGBTQ+ community, Capital Pride is hosting their Winter Pride Festival with events running from February 5-19. Some of the fun entails Drag on Ice, karaoke events, as well as a Rainbow Ice Mosaic. On February 12 there will be the Ice Parade on the Rideau Canal Skateway, Canada’s first-ever Pride parade on ice, which will kick-off at 4 pm. Many of the experiences are free, and we encourage you to look at their full event lineup on their website.

Skating Trails

While the Rideau Canal may not be open yet, there are plenty of amazing places where you can go skate in the Ottawa region. If you’re looking for an activity downtown close to other amenities, there is the Rink of DDreams in front of City Hall or Lansdowne Park. However, if you’re looking for a picturesque backdrop while you glide around, try RiverOak Skating Trail or Icelynd Skating Trails. Click here for more information about all your skating trail options.

Ottawa Senators Hockey Games 

On the topic of skating, we can’t forget to mention that this time of year is a great time to watch an Ottawa Senators hockey game ahead of the playoff season. Go and embrace the atmosphere of all the fans cheering for the home team! You never know who you may see at the game from Ryan Reynolds to Matthew Perry. As an added perk, there are special transit buses that can take you straight to the Canadian Tire Centre on game days, which can save you the hassle of getting stuck in traffic.

Skiing and Snowboarding Trials 

If you are interested in a bit more of an adrenaline rush, we highly recommend you hit the slopes and try some of the nearby skiing or snowboarding hills! While Camp Fortune and Gatineau Park are always popular spots, Ski Vorlage, Calabogie Peaks Ski Resort, and Mont Ste-Marie are other locations close to the city that are great for both novice and experienced skiers alike. If you’d like to take a break from skiing or snowboarding, some of the aforementioned destinations additionally offer snowshoeing, sledding or sleigh rides.

Spa Retreats

While outdoor activities can be a blast, sometimes a snowy Winter day calls for some relaxation. Ottawa has a variety of spas that can help you unwind, such as the Nordik Spa, Koena Spa, Uppliva Sauna & Steam spa, Au Naturel Spa, and Amerispa. Not to mention there’s several smaller spas located throughout the city that can offer a variety of services, so take this as your sign to treat yourself during these colder months.

Capital Bachata Festival 

If you’re a fan of exotic music and Latin dance, then Bachata festival is a must! The festival takes place from February 9-12. Think you need to be a dancer in order to participate? Think again! The festival offers beginner classes from international artists on Bachata, but also on other dances that influence Bachata into what is known today. It’s a great way to meet new people while also learning a new skill!

Heated Patios

Despite the cold weather, you can still enjoy being a foodie in Ottawa as well! The area has some amazing heated patios to keep you nice and warm while enjoying local cuisine outdoors. So bring your friends, bundle up, and enjoy these hot spots that are perfect for winter dining!

  • Back to Brooklyn (Downtown)
  • Bar Lupulus (Wellington West)
  • Cooper’s Gastropub (Downtown)
  • Glebe Central Pub (The Glebe)
  • Irene’s Pub (The Glebe)
  • Jack Astor’s (Lansdowne)
  • LOCAL Lansdowne (Lansdowne)
  • Parlour Place (Wellington West)
  • The Aulde Dubliner & Pour House (Downtown)
  • The Brig Pub (Downtown)
  • The Grand (Downtown)
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