Ottawa in January becomes a beautiful snowy wonderland, the one straight from the Disney movies. The Canadians don’t just stay warm indoors but go out and enjoy the white snow caps and indulge in different outdoor festivals. During winters, Ottawa is spectacular with twinkling lights illuminating the frosty trees, various ice sculptures, al fresco ice bars, and the skaters gliding along the Rideau Canal. The chilly yet delightful winter in Ottawa is definitely worth experiencing if Canada is your next holiday destination.
Ottawa Weather In Winter
If you detest winters, then you should stay away from Canada because temperatures here will drop below zero. Those who love making snowmen and sledding down the snow slopes, Ottawa in winter is an absolute delight. The temperature in winter in Ottawa plummets down to as low as -21 degrees Celsius. The capital becomes a snowy wonderland.
Places To Visit In Ottawa In January
Add all these places to your itinerary if you wish to enjoy the winter season in Ottawa to the fullest. These places are where locals come to celebrate winter in January.
1. Byward Market
One of the most amazing places to visit in Ottawa in winter is Canada’s famous market, several square blocks from downtown. Willed with 600 business, this market with numerous bars, eateries, boutiques and retail stores, is open during winters too. The most section of the market is located indoors and there is a sign of Ottawa sign in the heart of the market. Be sure to grab tasty dinner at Stella Osteria and also stop by for local beer in one of the Canadian pubs.
2. Parc Omega Park
One of the thrilling Ottawa winter activities is to visit the 2200 acre Parc Omega that is a natural habitat for the Arctic and Canadian Wildlife. The visitors can wander through the park and see animals like arctic wolf, arctic fox, bison, elk, and caribou. The best time to visit Omega park is during winters because the animals are most playful during this time, love cold and seeing them play with the snow is simply awesome.
If you plan to stay, you can stay at the warming lodge and fee yourselves at the restaurant. WHile you are there, feed carrots to deer and elk. Check out the sugar shack, sleigh rides, and more during your visit in the park.
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3. Hotel De Glace
The Hotel De Glace is a famous iconic seasonal hotel in the world located in Valcartier Vacation Village. Everything in the hotel right from walls, chandeliers, and even the rooms and made from snow. The unique rooms with beds made of blocks of ice, mattresses and sleeping bags as well as the themed suites featuring ice sculptures and artistic lighting, and fireplaces are just beautiful.
Besides this, amenities such as an outdoor Nordic spa with hot tubs and saunas, 4 restaurants, a bar, and a wedding chapel, all made of ice are available too. You can plan a memorable date for your loved one here, stay over night or just book a tour and explore all the rooms.
4. Cacao 70
As the temperature in winter in Ottawa goes down, craving for hot chocolate catches speed, the Cacao 70 is the best place to visit to share a delicious Chocolate Tray with your lover. The tray comes with mouthwatering chocolate fondue along with brownies, fruit, waffles, and chocolate dip. Having hot cocoa or hot chocolate is a mandatory thing to do during winters. It is the best way to celebrate winter spirits.
Winter in Ottawa offers the love birds to relax and enjoy in the 6000 sqft Retreat & Spa – Strathmere. You can your better half can get a massage, daily yoga, day & overnight packages, outdoor hot tubs, wellness retreats, fire pit and nature/ski/snowshoe trails. There is a polished Retreat Cafe that offers delicious artisan handcrafted menus, VQA wines, local craft beer, fair trade organic coffee, seasonal cocktails, and loose leaf teas.
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6. Andaz Hotel
Another romantic thing to do during the winter is to enjoy the wonderful views of the city’s skyline from the Andaz Hotel. Head to the 16th floor, get your hands on the signature cocktails of Andaz Hotel and sink in the views. The incredible charcuterie plate served here is mouth-watering and a must try. It is one of the most romantic things to do with your spouse on a winter vacation in Ottawa.
7. Nordik Spa-Nature
Just 20 minutes from downtown, the Nordik Spa-Nature is a unique spa and the largest spa in North America. This spa is in a perfect natural environment with the outdoor saunas and hot tubs while the snow falls make your experience blissful and romantic. The Scandinavian practiced here includes rituals of heat, cold and rest.
Ottawa In January: Things To Do
Apart from visiting the famous attractions in Ottawa, these winter experiences are kind of mandatory to strike off from your list.
1. Winterlude – The magical winter festival
One of the famous and fun things to do in Ottawa winter is to watch the incredible winter festival and one of the main Ottawa events of the year – Winterlude. This 3 week event held in Ottawa offers a ton of activities such as ice sculpting competitions, ice dragon boat festival, ski races and more. You can take part in any one of them or simply just roam around watching the snow/ice sculptures, eat frozen maple syrup and drink hot chocolate.
2. Go Tobogganing
Grab your folks, a sled and head to the hills of Toboggan in Ottawa. The thing is that these mountains are covered with snow during winter so that you can enjoy going down the slope on the sled. We don’t need to tell you how fun it is going to be. The Mooney’s Bay and Green’s Creek are some of the amazing spots for the activity. The best part is that it is absolutely free. So, why not get outdoors and take advantage of winter in Ottawa in the most fun was possible. You just have to sit on the sled and slid down the hill.
As 90% of Ottawa is rural, it offers tourists plenty of scope for walking, snowshoeing and hiking in the winter. Hiking through the Gatineau Park to witness the white powdery snow is another one of the fun things to do in Ottawa in winter. It is an amazing way to explore the rural countryside of Ottawa. Take a break from visiting all the museums and galleries and venture into the wilderness.
Skiing is one of the famous Ottawa winter activities that you should witness. This city has above 200 km of trails for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. The best places for skiing are Gatineau Park, Green Belt and Camp Fortune. Canadians are born with the skill of skiing. So, you could learn the sport from them. Also, if you love winter sports, then you must really be excited for skiing down the snowy slopes of the Toboggan Mountains in Ottawa.
5. Visit Museums
After sightseeing when you feel like getting out of your court, visit the Canadian Museum of History, Canadian Museum of Nature and Ottawa Art Galleries. The Canadian Museum of History allows you to explore the collections of the history and first people.
You can also enjoy the Butterfly Exhibit in the Canadian Museum of Nature and see plenty of fossil, mammal, bird, earth, and nature galleries. The photography, art exhibits and permanent collections from all over the world are presented in Ottawa Art Galleries.
6. Ice Skating
When the winter seasons docks in Ottawa, the Rideau Canal freezes which excites the locals and tourists to go skating over the 7.2 km groomed ice. Attracting millions of visitors every year, the Rideau Canal skateway is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. When the canal freezes in the winter, the locals love skating to their work along the canal each morning. Skate rentals, hot chocolate, beaver tails, and warming huts are available here too. Skating here with your spouse is one of the most romantic things to do in Ottawa in winter.
A few other fine places where you can skate are Gatineau Park, Rideau Hall Historic Arena, Governor General’s Skating Rink, SENS Rink of Dreams, and Lansdowne Pavilion. These places offer a more controlled environment for skating where even rentals are available and Beavertails can be enjoyed too. Constructed in 1872, Rideau Hall is located on the site of the residence of the Governor-General of Canada. Now, the hall is newly renovated, the rink is maintained by hand and the ice is cleared in an old fashioned way.
7. Take An Evening Stroll
Head out for a stroll with your loved one in the evening through Taffy Lane, Upper Canada Village, Major’s Hill Park and Confederation Park to see the beautiful Christmas lights. The Upper Canada Village hosts one of the biggest outdoor light festivals in Ontario. The Heritage buildings, fences and trees are adorned with hundreds of charming Christmas lights that are worth seeing.
Ottawa in January is out of this worth with lots of playing in the snow, Christmas lights, romantic getaways and more. After your international vacation in Ottawa, winter will be your favorite season. If you like winters and below-zero degree temperatures, then you are going to love visiting Canada in January. Everything is white, frozen, and pristine.
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Frequently Asked Questions About Winter In Ottawa
How cold does Ottawa get?
The winters in Ottawa are pretty chilly, snowy and mostly cloudy, the temperature in Ottawa during winter varies from 6°F to 80°F and is rarely below -13°F or above 88°F.
Does Ottawa have snow?
Ottawa witnesses first snowfall in the month of November and sometimes early in the month of October. The last snowfall of the season happens in April or sometimes in May.
Is Ottawa colder than Toronto?
Normally Ottawa is colder and was ranked the coldest capital of Canada.
What can you do in Ottawa for free?
There are a number of free things that you can do in Ottawa, some of them are watching outdoor movies, tour to museum, see festivals galore, see Parliament buildings, play at Andrew Haydon Park and more.
Are museums free in Ottawa?
There are a number of world-class museums in Ottawa and most of them offer free admission on Thursday evenings. The Museum of Nature, Bytown Museum, the Canadian Museum of Civilization, and the Canadian War Museum are free on Thursdays after 5 pm.
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