I’ve always loved a good road trip, which is not surprising since I started travelling at such an early age. At only a few weeks old, my parents buckled me up (or, probably not – it was 1977!) and took me to Ottawa.
Only two years later, here I am again in front of the Parliament Buildings with my baby brother, Ed. Do you see a road trip theme here?
Yes, my family has always loved spending time in Ottawa, Canada’s fourth largest city – with a rich history and so much to see and do. For visitors, there’s a huge variety of IHG hotels in Ottawa as well.
Of course as teachers, my parents were always big on educational fun, and the museum selection in Ottawa is fantastic. Here’s an amusing shot from our 1989 visit to the then brand-new Canadian Museum of Civilization (now called the Canadian Museum of History). I say amusing, of course, because of my XXL eyeglasses (yep, those were real.). Hey, this was before I was old enough for contact lenses and well before LASIK!
You can also visit the Canadian War Museum, which tells inspiring wartime anecdotes through exclusive photos, art, tours and presentations, or the Royal Canadian Mint (which is on my list for our next trip to Ottawa).
The outdoor scenery in the city is beautiful, too. Many visitors and residents enjoy walking alongside the Rideau Canal with a cup of cocoa in the colder months. Skating is also very popular when the Canal is frozen.
Of course, there’s a place for sports fans in Ottawa as well. In fact, a few years ago when our beloved Montreal Canadiens were in a playoff series against the Ottawa Senators, my husband, father and I went wild and crazy and got same-day tickets (on a workday, no less – if you know how much I love my sleep you must be totally shocked by this) and hit the highway for Ottawa, driving back straight after the game. Who won the game, you ask? Oh, it doesn’t matter.
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the great shopping in Ottawa. The Byward Market is extremely popular, and for mall-lovers, the Rideau Centre is a popular choice with 20 million visitors each year.
Since Ottawa is the capital of our beautiful country, you can also find the Parliament Buildings here of course – a huge tourist attraction for my family, obviously!
Just this past spring, our ten-year-old Olivia made it to the Provincials for Lions’ Club Effective Public Speaking (her topic was “Careers of the Future” – let me know if you need any tips!), which was held in Ottawa. We took advantage of our family time in this beautiful city to introduce the girls to the Parliament Buildings, which they had never seen.
I love these next photos, taken at the same spot where the Prime Minister and Members of Parliament address the media outside the House of Commons. You never know, my girls could be back there someday!
There are seasonal events to consider in Ottawa, too. Thinking of visiting this fall? Note that the Ottawa Food and Wine Festival takes place in October.Who doesn’t love food and/or wine?
While we have done a couple of same-day Ottawa trips (over three hours each way…that seems crazy as I type it!), we usually try to take advantage of all of the great Ottawa hotels. By joining the IHG® Rewards Club, the world’s first and largest hotel loyalty program with more than 92 million members worldwide, you can get points for your hotel stay at IHG hotels. IHG is a global organization of hotel brands including Intercontinental® Hotels and Resorts, Kimpton® Hotels and Restaurants, HUALUXETM Hotels and Resorts, Crowne Plaza® Hotels and Resorts, Hotel Indigo®, EVEN® hotels, Holiday Inn® Hotels and Resorts, Holiday Inn Express®, Staybridge Suites® and Candlewood Suites®.
Ottawa certainly has something for everyone, and I would highly recommend it for your next family trip.
I started this post with a 1977 Ottawa family photo, so what better way to end than with one from 2016? This time, it’s a selfie!
Disclosure: This post was generously sponsored by IHG. Opinions are, as always, my own.