How to Spend 72 Hours in Ottawa

Ottawa Sign

I'm sure tons of you know Carrie from Wish Wish Wish. She puts together the loveliest "address book" guides for places she's been and I love the idea of having everything pulled together nicely in a blog post. Here's how we made the most of 72 hours to explore downtown Ottawa! I'd love to hear suggestions from locals for our next trip. We found Ottawa to be the perfect mix of suburban and metropolitan. It was multicultural and multilingual. The beer and food scene was on par with what we've experienced in New York, Chicago, and Charleston. And to top it all off, there's beautiful architecture abound as one would expect from Canada's Capital city. 

What to Eat

Burgers N Fries Forever Ottawa
Burgers N Fries Forever Dalhousie Street

Burgers N Fries Forever
278 Dalhousie Street

If there's one thing I've been craving lately, it's a good hamburger. Burgers N Fries Forever didn't disappoint! It's the perfect spot for a quick lunch or dinner. With options to create your own burger (or chicken sandwich) or order from one of their famous menu items, there's something for everyone. 

BeaverTails in Ottawa's ByWard Market

69 George Street

No trip to Canada would be complete without a famous BeaverTail! We indulged in a couple of different kinds but there was plenty to share!

What to Drink


Origin Trade Coffee Shop in Ottawa
Origin Trade Coffee in Ottawa

Origin Trade
111 York Street

By far my favorite coffee during our trip to Ottawa, Origin Trade has staff that knows their craft and it shows. We enjoyed the industrial feel of the decor and skull accents throughout the shop. 

Arlington Five Coffee Shop in Ottawa
Latte and Pastry at Arlington Five in Ottawa

Arlington Five
5 Arlington Street

Arlington Five was a great neighborhood spot to warm up. Their lattes were great and pastries from Wilf & Ada's scratch diner nextdoor rounded out our breakfast experience. 


Tooth and Nail Brewing Company
Beer at Tooth and Nail Brewing

Tooth and Nail Brewing Company
3 Irving Avenue

If you're in Canada, you have to try out some of their beer since it's usually a much higher percent alcohol by volume than its American counterparts. Tooth and Nail has a great selection of seasonal beers that are worth tasting! The Agraria Farmhouse Ale was my favorite and you can pick up bottles to go from the shop on the way home.

Beer at Brothers
Croque Madame at Brothers Beer Bistro in Ottawa

Brothers Beer Bistro
366 Dalhousie Street

Brothers Beer Bistro has a great selection of Canadian and International beer with an updated versions of classic comfort foods to match any flavor palate. It's a quiet place for a late lunch date during the work week. 

What to Do

National Gallery of Canada

National Gallery of Canada
380 Sussex Drive

A must-see for any art lover, the National Gallery of Canada has huge collections of Canadian and Indigenous Art, photography, sculpture, modern and contemporary art, and the classics! You also can't pass on a museum cafe meal while you're there. 

Canadian Parliament
Library at the Parliament of Canada

Parliament of Canada
111 Wellington Street

Start with a tour of Centre Block and then make your way around the East and West Blocks as you explore Major's Hill. There are tons of statues and plaques to read and keep you busy if you're not too distracted by the breathtaking views of ByTown, the Rideau Canal, the Ottawa River, and Rideau across the way.

Notre Dame Cathedral Basilia Ottawa
Interior of Notre Dame Cathedral in Ottawa

Notre-Dame Cathedral
385 Sussex Drive

A must-see for anyone who loves Gothic architecture, the Notre-Dame Cathedral will make you feel like you're on holy ground whether you're religious or not! 

Escape Manor Ottawa

Escape Manor
982 Wellington Street West

Our first experience at an escape room was a success! Escape Manor doubles as a bar, making it perfect for date night or a fun night out with friends.

Where to Shop

Vertigo Records Ottawa
Vertigo Records Ottawa

Vertigo Records
193 Rideau Street

Vertigo Records is the place for new and used vinyl in downtown Ottawa! We had a hard time leaving without a few additions to our collection. 



Galaxy Camera
525 Bank Street

Camera Trading Company
386 C Bank Street

Visiting camera shops in Ottawa was a real treat! They're a dying breed so we were sure to stock up on some higher quality film to shoot during our trip. Hopefully, they did okay going through so many x-ray scans in the airport. Whether you're looking for film or a new camera or lens, these shops have got it all between the two. As a plus, they're within walking distance!