If you’re planning a first-time Canada itinerary, there’s a good chance you’ll need to figure out where to stay in Ottawa. The nation’s capital is one of the most interesting historical destinations in Canada, and a must-stop city on any coast-to-coast Canadian road trip.
Although it’s one of the most populated cities in Canada, Ottawa’s accommodation scene isn’t so difficult to navigate. The best areas to stay in Ottawa ring in & around downtown Ottawa, emanating south and eastward from Parliament Hill on the banks of the Ottawa River.
Ready to check yourself into one of the best hotels in Ottawa? Plan the perfect trip to Canada’s capital with help from this complete guide to the best places to stay in Ottawa, Canada…
Best places to stay in Ottawa
Despite its status as Canada’s fourth-biggest city, choosing where to stay in Ottawa isn’t much of a challenge. The Ottawa city centre is relatively compact, and many of the capital’s top accommodations options fall within this area.
For most travellers, downtown Ottawa is the best place to start your search for the perfect Ottawa hotel. The downtown is home to many of the top tourist attractions in Ottawa along with the majority of the best Ottawa hotels. They’re centred mostly around Centretown, ByWard Market, Sparks Street, and the Golden Triangle.
If centrality is less of a concern than your budget, there are other options as well including crossing the Ottawa River northwestward into Gatineau, Quebec, or opting for more residential quarters in The Glebe to the south of the city centre.
The best areas to stay in Ottawa include:
✔ Best area to stay in Ottawa for first-time visitors
If you’re visiting Ottawa for the first time or on a tighter schedule, you can’t go wrong with staying in Downtown Ottawa.
Ottawa’s city centre, located south of Parliament Hill, is a great place to stay in Ottawa whether you’re travelling solo, as a couple, or as a family.
In Downtown (including the Centretown neighbourhood), you’ll find many of Ottawa’s top landmarks & attractions including the beautiful Canadian Parliament Buildings and Rideau Canal.
The area is also home to many of the best museums in Ottawa including the Canadian Museum of Nature, and, a little further afoot, the Canadian War Museum. The National Gallery of Canada is also close by on the eastern side of the Rideau Canal.
Besides all the historical & cultural attractions, there’s a great selection of accommodations here. As you’d expect, prices are a tad more expensive as you’ll find elsewhere. But if you really want to dig into all the city has to offer, there’s hardly a better choice than staying downtown!
- Alt Hotel Ottawa: Located just a few blocks south of Parliament Hill, the hip Alt Hotel Ottawa is one of the best-kept secrets in Ottawa’s accommodation scene. The rooms here are spacious & modern. Included among the amenities are free WiFi, fitness centre, and an on-site restaurant & bar.
- The Metcalfe Hotel: A five-minute walk from Parliament Hill and the Rideau Canal, this mid-range hotel charms guests with large rooms and a host of amenities including an indoor pool and hot tub.
- Lord Elgin Hotel: One of Ottawa’s most legendary luxury hotels, the landmark Lord Elgin Hotel features large elegant rooms in a great location on the popular Elgin Street. This sophisticated hotel is a particularly fantastic choice for couples visiting Ottawa thanks to its romantic historical vibe. The Rideau Canal is also within walking distance, just a few short minutes away by foot.
✔ Best place to stay in Ottawa for food & nightlife
Whether you’ve only got one day in Ottawa or a week, you’ll probably spend plenty of time exploring ByWard Market. Located east of the Rideau Canal, ByWard Market is one of Ottawa’s oldest quarters with plenty of historical building & tales to back up its reputation.
ByWard Market is home to one of the first farmer’s markets in Canada, still operating to this day. The area also hosts a tremendous selection of restaurants, bars & pubs centred around the ByWard Market Square, Clarence Street, and Dalhousie Street.
Staying in the ByWard Market area, you’ll also be within close walking distance of many of Ottawa’s main points of interest including Parliament Hill, Rideau Canal, the National Gallery of Canada, and Elgin Street.
As it’s one of the most popular areas to stay in Ottawa, hotels in ByWard Market tend to be on the mid- to high-end of spectrum. That doesn’t mean that it’ll be impossible for you to book a good room at a good price here though!
- ByWard Blue Inn: If you’re looking to stay front-and-centre in ByWard Market without breaking the bank, look no further than this top-rated budget hotel. Some rooms even include a kitchenette and private balcony.
- Courtyard By Marriott Ottawa Downtown: Located in the heart of ByWard Market, this mid-range Ottawa hotel offers spacious rooms and an excellent set of amenities including an indoor swimming pool and an on-site bistro.
- Andaz Ottawa ByWard Market: The trendiest luxury hotel in Ottawa, the Andaz boasts an eclectic modern vibe from its designer rooms to its common areas. The rooftop lounge, featuring enviable views of the city, is a favourite among guests.
- The Westin Ottawa: Situated beside the Rideau Centre, this popular hotel delights guests with colourful contemporary designs and spectacular views of the city (including Parliament Hill, Chateau Laurier, and the Rideau Canal) through floor-to-ceiling windows.
- Fairmont Chateau Laurier: The most famous luxury hotel in Ottawa, the historic Fairmont Chateau Laurier is a favourite destination for celebrities & dignitaries when they visit Ottawa. Besides the elegant rooms, there’s a whole array of luxurious extras here including a swimming pool, health club, and several on-site dining & drinking options.
✔ Recommended area to stay in Ottawa for nightlife mixed with historical sightseeing
Running through the heart of downtown, Sparks Street is a pedestrianized street that’s one of the city’s most popular places to hangout in Ottawa by day and by night.
Sparks Street is loaded with small shops along with a fantastic selection of tasty restaurants & hoppin’ bars. And even if shopping, eating & drinking aren’t high on your agenda, Sparks Street is one of the best place to stay for sightseeing in Ottawa.
The beautiful Canadian Parliament Buildings on Parliament Hill are located just one block north of Sparks Street. Staying on & around Sparks Street you’ll also be within walking distance of some of the city’s top museums including the Bank of Canada Museum and the Canadian War Museum.
If you happen to be visiting during festival season, Sparks Street lights up with some of Ottawa’s most popular events including Ribfest and Poutinefest where Canada’s most famous national dish makes its greasy delicious presence known.
As you’d expect with its central location, hotels on & around Sparks Street tend to fetch premium prices. What you’ll find here, however, is generally high-quality.
- Homewood Suites by Hilton Downtown Ottawa: Within walking distance of the Parliament Buildings and the Rideau Canal, these delightful suites are the perfect place to stay for families in Ottawa. They come full-equipped with everything from a kitchen & dining area to a flat-screen TV & free Wifi. Kids will love swimming in the large indoor pool. Breakfast is included.
- Delta Hotels by Marriott Ottawa City Centre: A fantastic 4-star hotel in the heart of downtown, this property features a range of excellent amenities including a pool, sauna, restaurant, bar, and a buffet breakfast.
- Ottawa Marriott Hotel: One of the most recognizable buildings in downtown, this mid-range luxury hotel delights guests with its excellent city views and assortment of extras for families & solo travellers alike from a pool & fitness to an on-site restaurant & children’s playroom. Parliament Hill is a short 5-minute walk away for your sightseeing pleasure.
✔ Best district to stay in Ottawa for trendy cafés, restaurants & bars
Wedged between Elgin Street and the Rideau Canal, the leafy Golden Triangle is one of the trendiest city centre neighbourhoods in Ottawa.
Located just 15 minutes by foot from downtown, the Golden Triangle is the best area to stay if you’re looking for a quieter most residential vibe without setting yourself too far away from all the tourist attractions around Parliament.
The eastern border of the Golden Triangle, Elgin Street, is one of Ottawa’s favourite hangout spots. By day, you’ll discover trendy boutique shops, cool cafés, tasty restaurants, and art galleries; by night, the neighbourhood comes alive with some of Ottawa’s most popular pubs & bars.
There’s a limited selection of accommodations in the area, straddling the budget and mid-range of the market. For luxury, you’ll need to look further north around ByWard Market or to the east in Centretown.
- Rideau Inn: Occupying a heritage home, these B&B-style accommodations are a homey alternative to the central Ottawa hotel scene. Elgin Street’s poppin’ nightlife & restaurant scene is less than a block away.
- The Business Inn: Although geared towards business travellers, this self-catering aparthotel offer great value for families & couples alike. Upgrade to one of the one-bedroom suites to relax on your own private balcony to fantastic city views.
- Ottawa Embassy Hotel & Suites: The top mid-range pick in the area, the spacious suites here, featuring full kitchens, are a great option for a self-catering visit in Ottawa.
✔ Recommended area for a quieter stay in Ottawa with a more local feel
Pushing west of the Rideau Canal and south of the Trans-Canada Highway (Hwy 417), The Glebe is a leafy residential area that’s one of the most newly-coveted neighbourhoods for Ottawans to lay down their roots in the city.
While much of the district consists of low-rise residential buildings, there’s still a handful of things to check out in The Glebe itself. Centred mostly around Bank Street, The Glebe embraces a smattering of independent shops, hipster-approved cafés, craft beer joints, tasty restaurants, and the popular Ottawa Farmer’s Market.
The Glebe is also a great place for football fans as the area hosts TD Place, the home stadium of the Ottawa Redblacks of the Canadian Football League (CFL).
Although The Glebe might seem far removed from the city centre, it’s only a 30-minute walk and less than a ten-minute drive to Parliament Hill via Bank Street. For a more scenic & relaxing trip into the centre, you can walk to ByWard Market via the Rideau Canal Eastern Pathway.
As it’s a little further afoot, accommodations in The Glebe tend to be cheaper than elsewhere in Ottawa. The selection here, however, is limited to apartments, bed & breakfasts, and Airbnb-style home rentals.
- Glencree House B&B: For a little dash of home while visiting Ottawa, look no further than this lovely bed & breakfast occupying a beautiful two-storey heritage brick home.
- Ashbury House B&B: Located just blocks from the heart of The Glebe, this historic B&B charms with antique furnishings & artwork sprinkled throughout the property. The shops, cafés & restaurants of Bank Street are just two blocks away.
- SOHO Residences Champagne: Situated in Little Italy on the edge of The Glebe Annex, this aparthotel is the top mid-range luxury pick in the area. Featuring large floor-to-ceiling windows, these bright apartments overlook the city and Ottawa’s green southern fringes including Dominion Arboretum and Dow’s Lake.
✔ Recommended choice of where to stay in Ottawa for experiencing French Canadian culture
Located just across the Ottawa River from downtown in the province of Quebec, Gatineau is an alternative to the city centre for travellers interested in experiencing French Canadian culture firsthand.
While Gatineau, formerly known as Hull, can’t compete with other cities in Quebec in terms of cultural attractions, there’s a handful of things to see here that are work a peek including the Canadian Museum of History, the Canadian Children’s Museum, and the lovely riverside Jacques Cartier Park.
Gatineau is also known for its burgeoning eating & drinking scene. Within the Gatineau city centre, you’ll find a handful of cool cafés, microbrasseries, brewpubs, bistros, and upscale French restaurants.
There isn’t a large selection of accommodations here but in exchange for escaping the central Ottawa bubble, what you’ll find in Gatineau tends to offer good value.
- Les Suites Victoria, Ascend Hotel Collection: Offering excellent value for its prime location between the Canadian Museum of History and downtown Gatineau, this hotel is a great choice for family travellers thanks to its spacious & well-stocked suites including kitchenettes.
- Four Points by Sheraton Gatineau-Ottawa: Located just down the road from the Canadian Museum of History and Jacques Cartier Park, this mid-range hotel offers comfortable rooms with extras like free WiFi, an on-site restaurant, indoor pool, and fitness centre. Parliament Hill is just 25 minutes away by foot or a 5-minute drive via Alexandra Bridge.
- Crowne Plaza Gatineau-Ottawa: One of the top accommodation picks in Gatineau for business travellers, this hotel offers comfortable suites & rooms on the Quebec side of the Ottawa River. Extras amenities here include an indoor saltwater pool, hot tub, sauna, and fitness centre. Parliament Hill is a 5-minute drive away via Portage Bridge.
Frequently asked questions
What is the best area to stay in Ottawa?
How many days do I need to visit Ottawa?
While you can see many of Ottawa’s highlights in just one day, you will need to spend at least 3 to 4 days in Ottawa to take it all in. Spending extra time in Ottawa is especially important if you’re interested in exploring its many interesting historical & cultural museums and art galleries.
Is Downtown Ottawa safe?
Ottawa is considered one of the safest cities in Canada. Downtown Ottawa is generally very safe, but, as with visiting any large city, you should take usual safety precautions at night, particularly in the areas on the fringes of ByWard Market and the Rideau Centre.
Where can I go at night in Ottawa?
Much of the nightlife in Ottawa centres around ByWard Market, Sparks Street, and Elgin Street in Downtown. Both these areas are home to dozens of clubs, bars & restaurants that make for a fun evening out on the town.