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 on any coast-to-coast Canadian road trip, it’s a must-stop city.
Although Ottawa is one of the most populated cities in Canada, Ottawa’s accommodation scene isn’t hard to navigate. The best areas to stay in Ottawa ring in & around downtown Ottawa. They emanate south and eastward from Parliament Hill, on the banks of the Ottawa River.
Ready to book yourself into one of the best hotels in Ottawa? Plan the perfect trip to Canada’s capital with this complete guide to the best places to stay in Ottawa, Canada…
Best places to stay in Ottawa
Ottawa is Canada’s fourth-biggest city and the national capital. Even so, choosing where to stay in Ottawa isn’t much of a challenge.
The Ottawa city centre is 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. It also hosts the majority of the best Ottawa hotels. Most dwell around Centretown, ByWard Market, Sparks Street, and the Golden Triangle.
If sticking to a budget trumps centrality, other options lie elsewhere. You may want to cross the Ottawa River northwestward into Gatineau, Quebec. Or you could opt 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
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 is located south of Parliament Hill. It’s a great place to stay in Ottawa whether you’re travelling solo, as a couple, or as a family.
The Downtown encompasses the historic Centretown neighbourhood. Within them, you’ll find many of Ottawa’s top landmarks & attractions. Sightseeing options here include the beautiful Canadian Parliament Buildings and Rideau Canal.
The area is also home to many of the best museums in Ottawa. Nature lovers can peruse The Canadian Museum of Nature. A little further afoot, history buffs can check out 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 more expensive than elsewhere. But if you want to dig into all the city has to offer, there’s no better choice than staying downtown!
- Alt Hotel Ottawa is located 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 are spacious & modern. Included among the amenities are free WiFi, fitness centre, and an on-site restaurant & bar.
- The Metcalfe Hotel is a five-minute walk from Parliament Hill and the Rideau Canal. The mid-range Metcalfe Hotel charms guests with large rooms. There’s also a host of amenities here including an indoor pool and hot tub.
- Lord Elgin Hotel is one of Ottawa’s most legendary luxury hotels. The landmark Lord Elgin Hotel features large elegant rooms. It sits upon on popular Elgin Street. This sophisticated hotel is a particularly fantastic choice for couples visiting Ottawa. It’s famous for its romantic historical vibe. The Rideau Canal is also within walking distance. It’s only a few short minutes away by foot.
✔ Best place to stay in Ottawa for food & nightlife
Whether you’ve only got 24 hours in Ottawa or a week, you’ll spend plenty of time exploring ByWard Market. Located east of the Rideau Canal, ByWard Market is one of Ottawa’s oldest quarters. It’s stuffed with historical buildings—and plenty of 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. Most are centred around the ByWard Market Square, Clarence Street, and Dalhousie Street.
Staying in the ByWard Market area, you’re within walking distance of Ottawa’s main points of interest. Nearby attractions include Parliament Hill, Rideau Canal, and the National Gallery of Canada. Elgin Street, central Ottawa’s other nightlife hotspot, is also close by.
As one of the most popular areas to stay in Ottawa, most hotels in ByWard Market are in the mid- to high-end of the 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 is one of the area’s most budget-friendly options. 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 is located in the heart of ByWard Market. This mid-range Ottawa hotel offers spacious rooms and charming amenities. Extras include an indoor swimming pool and an on-site bistro.
- Andaz Ottawa ByWard Market is 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 is situated beside the Rideau Centre. This popular hotel delights guests with its colourful contemporary designs. The Westin is also popular for spectacular vistas over the city through its floor-to-ceiling windows. You’ll enjoy views of Parliament Hill, Chateau Laurier, and the Rideau Canal.
- Fairmont Chateau Laurier is the most famous luxury hotel in Ottawa. The historic hotel is a favourite destination for celebrities & dignitaries visiting Ottawa. Besides the elegant rooms, the Fairmont Chateau Laurier is chock-loaded with luxurious extras. Relax in the swimming pool or get pumped up in the health club. You’ll also enjoy several on-site dining & drinking options.
✔ Recommended area to stay in Ottawa for nightlife mixed with historical sightseeing
Sparks Street runs through the heart of downtown. The pedestrianized street is one of the city’s most popular places to hangout in Ottawa by day and by night.
Walking along Sparks Street, you’ll find plenty of small shops. Along the street, there’s also a fantastic selection of tasty restaurants & hoppin’ bars.
Shopping, eating & drinking not high on your agenda? Sparks Street is still one of the best places to stay for sightseeing in Ottawa.
The beautiful Canadian Parliament Buildings on Parliament Hill are nearby. They lie one block north of Sparks Street. Staying on & around Sparks Street you’ll also be within walking distance of the city’s top museums. Nearby, you’ll see the Bank of Canada Museum and the Canadian War Museum.
Visiting during festival season? Sparks Street lights up with some of Ottawa’s most popular events. Get your paws greasy at the annual Ribfest. Or chow down on Canada’s most famous national dish at Poutinefest.
As you’d expect with its central location, hotels on & around Sparks Street fetch premium prices. What you’ll find here, however, is generally high-quality.
- Homewood Suites by Hilton Downtown Ottawa is the perfect place to stay in Ottawa for families. These delightful suites come fully-equipped. They feature 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. An added bonus: the hotel is a short walk the Parliament Buildings and Rideau Canal.
- Delta Hotels by Marriott Ottawa City Centre is a fantastic 4-star hotel in the heart of downtown. This mid-range property features a range of excellent amenities. Included are a pool, sauna, restaurant, bar, and a buffet breakfast.
- Ottawa Marriott Hotel is one of the most recognizable buildings in downtown. This mid-range luxury hotel delights guests with its excellent city views. It also charms families & solo travellers alike with an assortment of extras. The hotel is home to a pool & fitness centre as well as an on-site restaurant & children’s playroom. For your sightseeing pleasure, Parliament Hill is a five-minute walk away.
✔ Best district to stay in Ottawa for trendy cafés, restaurants & bars
The leafy Golden Triangle is wedged between Elgin Street and the Rideau Canal. It’s become one of the trendiest city centre neighbourhoods in Ottawa.
The Golden Triangle is the best area to stay in the city centre for a quieter more residential vibe. It’s located 15 minutes by foot from downtown. Staying here, you’re never far away from 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 and art galleries. Elgin Street is also home to a ton of cool cafés and tasty restaurants. By night though, the neighbourhood truly comes alive. The street is packed with some of Ottawa’s most popular pubs & bars.
There’s a limited selection of accommodations in the area. Most options straddle 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 occupies a lovely heritage home. Its 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 is geared towards business travellers. But this self-catering aparthotel offers great value for families & couples, too. Upgrade to one of the one-bedroom suites to relax on your own private balcony to fantastic city views.
- Ottawa Embassy Hotel & Suites: is the top mid-range pick in the area. The spacious suites here feature full kitchens. They’re a great option for a self-catering visit in Ottawa.
✔ Recommended area for a quieter stay in Ottawa with a more local feel
The Glebe is a leafy residential area pushing west of the Rideau Canal and south of the Trans-Canada Highway (Hwy 417). These days, it’s one of the most coveted neighbourhoods for Ottawans to lay down roots in the city.
Much of the district consists of low-rise residential buildings. But there’s still a handful of things to check out in The Glebe itself.
The neighbourhood’s action centres around Bank Street. The Glebe embraces a smattering of independent shops and hipster-approved cafés. A barrage of craft beer joints, tasty restaurants, and the popular Ottawa Farmer’s Market also await.
The Glebe is also a great place for football fans. 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 deceiving. It’s only a 30-minute walk and less than a ten-minute drive to Parliament Hill via Bank Street. For a scenic & relaxing trip into the centre, you can walk to ByWard Market via the Rideau Canal Eastern Pathway.
As it’s further afoot, accommodations in The Glebe are often cheaper than elsewhere in Ottawa. The selection here, however, is limited. You’ll mostly find apartments, bed & breakfasts, and Airbnb-style home rentals.
- Glencree House B&B occupies a beautiful two-storey heritage brick home. The bed & breakfast offers a dash of home during your Ottawa visit.
- Ashbury House B&B is located mere 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 two blocks away.
- SOHO Residences Champagne is the top mid-range luxury pick in the area. This aparthotel is situated in the Little Italy neighbourhood on the edge of The Glebe Annex. Featuring large floor-to-ceiling windows, the bright apartments overlook the city. From your unit, you’ll see 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
Gatineau sits across the Ottawa River from downtown. Once known as Hull, the city of Gatineau is located in the province of Quebec.
Gatineau is a great alternative to the city centre for travellers interested in French Canadian culture. (Especially if you’re unable to extend your trip further into Quebec.)
To be sure, Gatineau doesn’t compete with other cities in Quebec for cultural attractions. Even so, there’s a handful of things to see in Gatineau worth a peek.
History lovers can check out the Canadian Museum of History. If you’re travelling to Ottawa with kids, pop into the Canadian Children’s Museum. For some relaxation, chill out in the lovely riverside Jacques Cartier Park.
Gatineau is also known for its burgeoning eating & drinking scene. Within the Gatineau city centre, there’s a handful of great places to eat & drink. Enjoy its cool cafés, microbrasseries, brewpubs, bistros, and upscale French restaurants.
There isn’t a large selection of accommodations in Gatineau. But, in exchange for escaping the central Ottawa bubble, you’ll find good value in Gatineau.
- Les Suites Victoria, Ascend Hotel Collection offers excellent value for its prime location. It’s wedged between the Canadian Museum of History and downtown Gatineau. This hotel is a great choice for family travellers. The suites here are spacious and well-stocked. They also include kitchenettes.
- Four Points by Sheraton Gatineau-Ottawa offers comfortable rooms and excellent amenities. At this mid-range hotel, you’ll enjoy extras like free WiFi, indoor pool, and a fitness centre. There’s also an on-site restaurant. The hotel is located down the road from the Canadian Museum of History and Jacques Cartier Park. Parliament Hill is 25 minutes away by foot or a 5-minute drive via Alexandra Bridge.
- Crowne Plaza Gatineau-Ottawa is one of the top accommodation picks in Gatineau for business travellers. The hotel offers comfortable suites & rooms on the Quebec side of the Ottawa River. Extras amenities include an indoor saltwater pool, hot tub, sauna, and fitness centre. Parliament Hill is a five-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 one day, you’ll 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 Canadian history & culture. Exploring its many historical & cultural museums and art galleries will take some time.
Is Downtown Ottawa safe?
Ottawa is considered one of the safest cities in Canada. Downtown Ottawa is generally very safe. As with visiting any large city, you should take usual safety precautions at night. Keep particularly on guard 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. These areas are home to dozens of clubs, bars & restaurants that make for a fun evening out on the town.