Ottawa: Canada’s Secret Hip City

Ottawa was not in my travel plans. In fact I didn’t know much about the city before I was invited by the Andaz Ottawa Byward Market. Located in the the downtown area of Ottawa, the modern boutique hotel is a nice addition for events, celebrations, and weddings.The hotel is almost a year old, so it’s still got that brand new baby smell to it. 

I would compare Ottawa to Washington, DC. It’s Canada’s capitol, where Parliament meets and home of the ever charming Justin Trudeau. It’s a city that has a particular charm. While it may not have the same panache as Montréal or Toronto, it’s on the come up and should not be ignored. That being said there are plenty of adventures to be had in Ottawa.

If you stay at the Andaz you can go the hotel’s signature restaurant is Feast+Revel which features farm to table food. Cooper Spirits & Sights is their rooftop lounge with a killer view and craft cocktails. The Andaz also hosts artist salons every month to put the spotlight on local artists. The salon is not only open people staying at the hotel, but to the community. It’s a great way to connect over wine and good times.

The food and wine scene around city is surprisingly poppin’. If you are into food and wine pairings, then Play Food & Wine is a nice eatery to stop by. The menu pairs small plates with wines by the glass. You can go with their suggested pairings or pair plates with your own selections on the menu. If you want to hit a hot spot in Ottawa, put on your fancy clothes and head to Rivera. The contemporary Canadian restaurant has great food and wonderful craft cocktails. What you will find at that most restaurants in the city have a local angle on their menus.

If you are a flower fan, every year the Canadian Tulip Festival brings hundreds of thousands of people into town from around the globe. It’s so popular it can actually be difficult to get a hotel room. Flowers are placed in various parts of the city to enjoy.

For those who like outdoor adventures, when it’s cold, you can skate the Rideau Canal like the locals. There are times when the people even skate on the streets when freezing rain takes over. Grab your skates and get moving. Don’t forget to grab a BeaverTail, a warm Canadian pastry to bring you some heat. I’m telling you they are downright delicious and addictive. Fried dough is always a good thing. Just skate on up to the window and enjoy.

The city is easy to walk around especially in the downtown area. It’s close to so many things. Clean, safe, and friendly, pretty much how Canada rolls. I was surprised at how much French was spoken and visible. If you are a francophile it’s an extra “oh la la” for going to Ottawa.

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