It’s the holiday season! The perfect time to experience Ottawa Christmas magic in the form of lights, decor, Christmas markets, and Santa’s Village. This blog post is your one-stop shop for all things Christmas in Ottawa!
Christmas lights are definitely my favourite part of the season. I’m of the opinion that the lights should stay up so long as there is snow. There is also an increasing number of beautiful, Hallmark-esque locations around the city that you need to visit this holiday season – and I’ve got them all for you here!
Christmas in Ottawa
Ottawa Christmas Markets
Most Christmas markets in Ottawa are a one-weekend event hosted sometime in November or December – but there are a couple of holiday markets that are still going right up until Christmas!
Ottawa Christmas Market at Lansdowne
This European-style Christmas market is new to Ottawa this year and they’ve done a spectacular job! It may be small now, but I expect to see it grow. Entry is free and you can spend an evening checking out the vendors, enjoying an alcoholic beverage within the liquor-licensed market area, and listening to live music. Getting chilly? That’s alright because the market is at Lansdowne so you can pop in to a nearby restaurant for a warm dinner before taking another spin through the market.
The Aylmer Christmas Market
There’s a small community with big Christmas charm on the Quebec side. Visit Aylmer for their annual Christmas market (that actually goes until a week after Christmas). Explore the streets of Aylmer while you’re there to see beautiful Christmas lights! Wander the market with a hot chocolate and shop local treats handmade goods.
Ottawa Christmas Dining
Holiday Afternoon Tea at Zoe’s Faimount Chateau Laurier
Afternoon Tea at Zoe’s is always a good idea, but around the holidays they offer a special, decked out tea experience. Enjoy the usual delicious scones, teas, and sandwiches with special holiday desserts featuring holiday flavours like candy cane and gingerbread. Chateau Laurier also offers several other Christmas dining options – like dinner and brunch on Christmas Day!
Christmas Brunch and Dinner at Grill 41
Christmas dinner without the cooking and clean up? Yes please! The Lord Elgin Hotel’s Restaurant Grill 41 also offers two special Christmas dinning experiences: a buffet brunch and a table d’hote Christmas dinner on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. My family and I love enjoying a Christmas meal this way!
Casino Lac Leamy
Casino Lac Leamy is full of Christmas fun. Go for dinner and a night of fun and games. Take a photo in front of their beautiful Christmas tree! Dine at one of Casino Lac Leamy’s 3 restaurants and enjoy festive dishes and live shows!
Miracle Pop-up Cocktail Bar
The Savoy Brasserie is hosting a Miracle Pop-Up Cocktail Bar this holiday season and it has all the Christmas decor and flavours you’ve ever dreamed of! The pop-up bar operates daily from 2PM to 2AM and features Christmas cookies and snack mixes.
Step in to a Hallmark movie at these beautiful Christmas villages! The plot of Hallmark movies may be predictable but come on… you know you want to be in that perfect scene.
Santa’s Village Dalkeith
The North Pole is only an hour from Ottawa! Bring your friends and family and explore this picturesque village and indulge in all kinds of Christmas activities. Take pictures with Santa, feed deer and goats in the petting zoo, explore the village by train and enjoy a horse drawn sleigh ride around the grounds. Weather permitting there are trails where you can snow shoe, cross country ski, or toboggan! When you’re ready to warm up enjoy a delicious burger (vegetarian options available) and follow it up with local, warm treats.
Stanley’s Olde Maple Farm Christmas Village
There’s even more Christmas magic to be found at Stanley’s Olde Maple Farm. On arrival you will be greeted by an elf and taken to their village on a sleigh ride! Explore the village, play games, and visit the Cookie Kitchen for something to eat. Little ones (or not-so-little hopefuls) can drop off their letters to Santa at the Post Office.
Ottawa Christmas Decorations and Trees
One of the things that I absolutely love this time of year is going to see Christmas decorations – and I’m developing a soft spot for indoor decorations. There are fortunately lots of beautiful places to see decorations without a coat!
The National Arts Centre
Enjoy a hot drink at Equator Coffee and wander the beautiful atrium to see the holiday decor.
Trees for CHEO at Chateau Laurier
Take a walk through the lobby and down Peacock Alley to see dozens of decorated Christmas trees.
The Senate of Canada
Book a free guided tour of the Senate and enjoy the beautiful Christmas tree in the waiting area before your tour!
The National Art Gallery
You can visit the beautiful Christmas tree in the atrium without paying for admission to the gallery (but the gallery is amazing and you should do that too – or visit for free on Thursday nights!)
Glow around the world at Glow Ottawa, an indoor display of Christmas lights and decor. Visit 6 countries in light form, enjoy live music, and drink from your light-bulb shaped Glow cup! Tickets and Information.
Christmas Lights Across Canada
The Christmas lights in in Ottawa are beautiful in the downtown every year. Find over 400,000 Christmas lights in the downtown until January 7th. My favourite places to see the lights are Confederation Park and from the Alexandria Bridge.
Wesley Clover Park
Experience the Magic of Lights; a 2-kilometer drive-through light show at Wesley Clover Park. Stay in your car and enjoy Christmas lights in the trees evenings until 10PM.
The Vintage Village of Lights
Visit Cumberland Museum to enjoy the Vintage Village of Lights on Friday nights and weekends until December 23. Over 30,000 Christmas lights illuminate this Vintage Village of Lights. Visit Santa, send a telegram to the North Pole, enjoy a carriage ride and warm up by the fire.
Alight at Night
Upper Canada Village’s Alight at Night has become e a must-see Christmas destination. The Village’s heritage buildings are all decked out in Christmas lights until January 4. While there; go on a horse-drawn wagon ride, enjoy a sound and light show, and check out the vintage merry-go-round!