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Visiting Ottawa in February

Aleena Mehmood2024-02-01

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Ottawa, Canada's capital city, is a destination that dazzles in every season. While summer brings vibrant festivals and outdoor adventures, February transforms Ottawa into a winter wonderland. The city, adorned in snow and ice, becomes a picturesque landscape offering a unique charm. In this guide, we'll explore why February is an excellent time to visit Ottawa, delve into the myriad winter activities, and discover the top attractions that make this Canadian capital a must-visit during the colder months.

Ottawa

Photo credit @JacobMeissner/Unsplash

Is February a good time to visit Ottawa?

Absolutely! Ottawa in February is a magical experience. The cityscape is transformed into a snowy spectacle, offering a serene and enchanting atmosphere. The crisp winter air is invigorating, and the snow-covered landscapes create a postcard-perfect setting. The city is less crowded compared to the peak summer months, allowing visitors to explore its treasures at a leisurely pace. The unique winter events and activities make February an opportune time to witness Ottawa in a different light.

Reasons to Visit Ottawa in February?

Winterlude Festival: A Celebration of Winter

One of the prime reasons to visit Ottawa in February is the Winterlude Festival. This iconic event, spanning three weekends, celebrates all things winter. The city comes alive with vibrant ice sculptures, lively performances, and the famous Rideau Canal Skateway turns into an enormous skating rink. The Winterlude Festival is a testament to Ottawa's love affair with winter and provides a unique and festive atmosphere.

Skating on the Rideau Canal Skateway

Speaking of the Rideau Canal, a visit in February allows you to experience the world's largest naturally frozen skating rink. The Rideau Canal Skateway stretches over 7.8 kilometers, offering a breathtaking and novel way to explore the heart of the city. Strap on your skates glide along the frozen canal, and witness Ottawa's landmarks from a completely different perspective.

Embark on the Best of Ottawa Tour for a day filled with iconic landmarks and scenic delights. Book now!


Ice Dragon Boat Festival

For a truly unique experience, don't miss the Ice Dragon Boat Festival. This event combines the excitement of dragon boat racing with the winter thrill of gliding on ice. The colorful dragon boats slicing through the frozen waters of Dow's Lake create a spectacular and unforgettable spectacle.

Snowflake Kingdom and Nordik Spa

Ottawa in February unveils the Snowflake Kingdom, a winter playground for both the young and young at heart. This family-friendly attraction features snow sculptures, slides, and interactive activities. For those seeking a more relaxing winter experience, a visit to the Nordik Spa nestled in the heart of Gatineau Park offers a blissful retreat. Immerse yourself in thermal baths, saunas, and relaxation areas surrounded by a snow-covered landscape.

Ottawa February Weather

Before packing your bags, it's essential to know what to expect from Ottawa's weather in February. The temperatures range from -10°C to -5°C (14°F to 23°F), creating a true winter ambiance. The city is often draped in a pristine blanket of snow, adding to its picturesque charm. While the weather is chilly, the city is well-prepared for winter, ensuring that visitors can comfortably enjoy all the outdoor activities.

Ottawa`s Daytime View

Photo credit @ChrisDeSort/Unsplash

Things to do In Ottawa In February

Parliament Buildings and Downtown Ottawa

A visit to Ottawa is incomplete without exploring its iconic Parliament Buildings. In February, these grand structures stand against the snow-covered landscape, creating a mesmerizing sight. Take a stroll through downtown Ottawa, where historic architecture meets modern vibrancy. The city's streets, adorned with winter decorations, invite you to discover cozy cafes, boutique shops, and the warmth of Canadian hospitality.

Rideau Canal Skateway

Skating enthusiasts will find nirvana on the Rideau Canal Skateway. Whether you're a seasoned skater or a novice, gliding along this frozen waterway is an exhilarating experience. The Skateway is surrounded by breathtaking views of the city, providing a unique blend of adventure and serenity.

Byward Market

For a taste of local culture and cuisine, head to Byward Market. This bustling hub in downtown Ottawa is a treasure trove of culinary delights, unique crafts, and vibrant street performances. In February, the market retains its lively atmosphere, with the added charm of snow-covered stalls and a winter-themed ambiance.

National Gallery of Canada and Canadian Museum of History

Warm up indoors by exploring the rich cultural offerings of Ottawa. The National Gallery of Canada houses an impressive collection of Canadian and Indigenous art. Similarly, the Canadian Museum of History offers a fascinating journey through Canada's past. These cultural institutions provide a perfect balance to outdoor winter activities.

Explore Ottawa's winter charm with our Scenic Night Tour - where the city lights up under the stars. Reserve your spot!


Notre-Dame Cathedral Basilica

Marvel at the stunning architecture of the Notre Dame Cathedral Basilica. This national historic site, with its intricate Gothic Revival style, stands as a testament to Ottawa's rich heritage. The snowy surroundings add a touch of magic to this already captivating landmark.

Gatineau Park and Cross Country Skiing

For those seeking an escape into nature, Gatineau Park beckons. This expansive natural playground offers opportunities for cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and winter hiking. The pristine trails wind through snow-covered forests, providing a serene retreat just minutes away from downtown Ottawa.

Winterlude Festival and Ice Sculptures

Immerse yourself in the Winterlude Festival, where the city transforms into a winter wonderland. Admire the skillful artistry of ice sculptors as they carve intricate designs from blocks of ice. The festival's vibrant atmosphere and artistic displays make it a highlight of winter in Ottawa.

Events in Ottawa in February

In addition to the ongoing attractions, February in Ottawa hosts various events that cater to different interests.

Ottawa River Cruise - Capital Cruises

Take a scenic cruise along the Ottawa River with Capital Cruises. The winter landscape offers a different perspective, with views of snow-covered banks and iconic landmarks. This unique experience provides both relaxation and a chance to appreciate Ottawa's beauty from the water.

Sound and Light Show on Parliament Hill

As the day winds down, don't miss the Sound and Light Show on Parliament Hill. This captivating spectacle uses lights and sounds to recount key moments in Canadian history. Against the backdrop of a snow-covered Parliament Hill, this show is a fitting end to a day of exploration.

Discover the heart of Ottawa on our Best of Ottawa Small-Group Walking Tour with a Boat Cruise. Join the journey!


Where to Stay in Ottawa

Choosing the right accommodation enhances your winter experience in Ottawa. Opt for hotels in downtown Ottawa to be in the heart of the winter action. Many establishments offer cozy rooms, winter-themed amenities, and proximity to key attractions. Consider staying in a hotel with views of the Parliament Buildings, allowing you to enjoy the enchanting nightly light displays.

Conclusion: Embrace the Ottawa Winter Magic

Visiting Ottawa in February is a decision to embrace the unique charm of winter. The city's blend of outdoor adventures, cultural experiences, and festive events make it an ideal destination for those seeking a winter wonderland. Whether you're skating on the Rideau Canal, exploring historic landmarks, or immersing yourself in winter festivals, Ottawa in February promises a memorable and enchanting experience.

As you plan your winter getaway to Ottawa, consider the exclusive tours offered by Tripshepherd. Our experienced guides ensure an intimate and immersive exploration of the city's winter delights. From iconic landmarks to hidden gems, Tripshepherd's tours capture the essence of Ottawa's winter magic. Book your tour now and let us guide you through the wonders of Canada's capital city in the heart of winter.

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