Ottawa is a gorgeous city in the fall. Although the fall season is very short-lived between our super humid summer and dreadfully freezing winter, it is beautiful none the less. After a few years of living here, I have compiled a few activities that I love to do in the fall time in the capital!
1. GO FOR A DOWNTOWN STROLL
I absolutely love how Ottawa’s downtown core is so lush with trees. The contrast of historical buildings with the colourful leaves make fall one of the most picturesque times to explore the city. I recommend checking out: Major’s Hill Park, Nepean Point, and the Laurier Bridge over the Rideau Canal.
2. EXPLORE THE MUSEUMS
On those particularly chilly fall days, Ottawa has plenty of beautiful spots inside to explore – aka museums! Free admission on Thursday evenings means you will never run out of museums to check out! My favourite museum is definitely the Canadian Museum of History, for its interesting exhibits, put also its gorgeous views of the Ottawa skyline.
3. HEAD TO GATINEAU FOR A HIKE
Gatineau Park is stunning in the fall time! Only a 30 drive from Ottawa, the park is full of trails to check out. A great place to escape the hustle and bustle of the city and rejuvenate your senses in nature. My favourite trails include:
Wolf Trail – for panoramic views of the Ottawa Valley, which is especially beautiful in the Fall with the changing leaves (NOTE: the hike is a little steeper than most)
The Wilson “Carbide” Mill Trail – a lovely trail (easy to hike), to some super cool ruins of an old mill and a waterfall
Mackenzie King Estate – “a walk through history”, this area of the park has everything from ruins, to historical buildings, to a yummy restaurant, to waterfalls. This place really has it all and the trail itself is a nice easy walk.
4. HUNT FOR OTTAWA’S BEST PUMPKIN SPICE LATTE
I have to admit, as the white girl that I am, I am totally a sucker for a good pumpkin spice latte in the fall. With so many great coffee shops in Ottawa, each one seems to be trying it’s own version of the infamous Pumpkin Spice Latte. Cozy up (and maybe study) in different cafes as an excuse to grab a PSL and see where you can find the best one. I recommend checking out: Little Jo Berries, Bridgehead, and Morning Owl.
5. SHOP AT THE FARMER’S MARKET
Shopping at the farmer’s market is a refreshing change to going to the grocery store from time to time. My favourite spots include: Lansdowne (Sundays), Byward Market (7 days/week), Parkdale (7 days/week). To me, going to the market feels much more laid back and welcoming compared to the grocery store. It’s great to chat with the people who grow or make the food and hear their stories and the food is always fresh and delicious!
6. ENJOY A COMFORTING VEGETARIAN MEAL
Ottawa is full of great vegetarian/vegan restaurant options! All though I’m no longer vegetarian, I love checking these places out because their food is always delicious. My favourite places I’ve tried so far are: Pure Kitchen, Rawlicious, and the Green Door.
7. FIND A TASTY TREAT
With all the school stress, you’ve got to treat yourself and Ottawa has so many great desert options to try! I personally love: Suzy Q Donuts, Beaver Tails, and Cupcake Lounge, but there are so many I have yet to check out. Definitely something I plan to do this fall…FOURTH YEAR NURSING IS HELLA STRESSFUL!
8. RUN OR BIKE ALONG THE CANAL OR RIVER
I always find it easier to motivate myself to exercise when it involves being outside in the crisp fall air! To be honest though…this year I have made every excuse in the book to be sedentary (thanks to school stress!) and boy is it taking a toll on me physically and mentally. I used to love going for runs and rides along the Rideau Canal and the Rideau River, as both have some awesome paths.
9. FIND A MOVITATING PLACE TO STUDY
The reality of fall for me for many years has been going back to school. Although studying is never anyone’s favourite thing to do, it is the reality of being a university student. I find the best ways to motivate myself are to create a spacious and inspiring study space and have lots of snacks.
10. PRIORITIZE SOME ME TIME
Although I love spending time with my family, my boyfriend, and my friends, I’ve realized that I really benefit from some alone time once and a while. I find it really nice to take some time to cozy up and reflect and fall is the perfect time for that.