(To more completely experience this blog post, ensure that speakers are turned on, cup of Cool Raspberry Mint is brewed, chilled on ice and in hand, your sunglasses are on and sun is shining on your face.. Push Play Here)
“Summertime … and the living is easy.” Ahhh, there is nothing better than listening to the ‘First lady of Soul’ herself, Ella Fitzgerald, sing about sweet summer while I sit on my balcony overlooking Laurier Ave. and sip on a freshly chilled cup of tea. Cool Raspberry Mint is my personal favourite Tealee tea to ice on a hot summer’s day because raspberries are SO in season right now, the hint of spearmint is completely refreshing, and the green tea reduces stress without putting me to sleep. There’s just enough caffeine to give me the energy boost I need to get out of the apartment and hit the town for fun summer activities, and, boy, does Ottawa ever have a slew of them for any and all kinds of activity seekers. With events like Bluesfest, Buskerfest and the Ottawa Craft Beer Festival, almost every weekend has some sort of fest going on. But, if fest-ing isn’t really your thing, here is a list of 10 other inexpensive things to do in Ottawa this summer while you enjoy a cup of iced Tealee tea :
Gatineau Park: The National Capital Region’s Conservation Park spans over 360 square kilometres and is just a short 15 minute car ride from downtown Ottawa. Explore the Eardley Escarpment, the Lusk Cave, or hike up to the top of King Mountain for a reminder of just how beautiful the Ottawa River Valley is.
Mackenzie King Estate Tea Room: Remember my favourite Prime Minister, Mackenzie King, the guy who made policy decisions by reading his tea leaves? Well his large cottage estate is located in the heart of Gatineau Park. The tea room hosts daily afternoon tea from 2-5 and is definitely worth a visit.
Whether or not you were born and raised in Ottawa, I highly recommend you take a Haunted Walking Tour at one point in your life. Not only are the tour guides hilarious, charming and knowledgeable, but the tour itself is full of information that gives any Ottawa lover a solid story or two about some of the most interesting places in in the city.
Not up for gallivanting around town but want to enjoy the sun? Grab a patio on Elgin or in the Market and people-watch. Summer vacation brings lots of different folks into the city, so people-watching is a real treat. Check out this Ottawa Rickshaws Guide to the best patios, I’d say it’s pretty accurate.
The Ottawa River offers many opportunities for adventure. If kayaking or canoeing isn’t your thing, make friends with someone who has a boat and test out the locks at the Canal. (Bring your tea for this one – the spearmint actually helps alleviate sea sickness!)
Speaking of the Rideau Canal, it has some of the best biking or running trails in Ottawa. Every Sunday between Victoria Day and Labour Day the scenic routes along the canal are closed for Alcatel-Lucent Sunday Bikedays, which makes it even safer for your family to enjoy the ride.
The grounds at Rideau Hall are some of the most beautiful in Ottawa. Take a tour of this 79-acre urban oasis, which has been the official residence and workplace of every governor general since 1867.
The new sound and light show on Parliament Hill opened just a few weeks ago and I am dying to catch it! Northern Lights is a 30 minute show that takes the audience through almost 150 years of Canadian history, highlighting some of our most important moments. It may have cost the government over $4 million to create, but it’s free for you to view!
Yoga on Parliament Hill is another great, free activity on the Hill. Organized by lululemon, every Wednesday at lunchtime a different teacher from around Ottawa runs thousands of participants through a multi-level yoga class. Yoga on the Hill is definitely one of my favourite things to do during my lunch break – I highly recommend you get downtown for at least one class this summer!
With so many options, you can’t possibly be bored in Ottawa this summer! Grab your favourite iced Tealee tea, get outside and enjoy the sunshine (while it lasts).
Is your favourite Ottawa summer activity not on this list? Let me know in the comments!