Ottawa, the capital of Canada, is full of lush greenery, cultural sights and political history. During the winter, the frozen canals make the perfect ice skating rink.

However, knowing which area to stay in when coming to Ottawa can be a headache. But no need to worry!

This is the reason why I have decided to create this guide on where to stay in Ottawa, so you can relax and find the best accommodation for you!

After reading this guide, you will know exactly where to stay in Ottawa depending on your style and budget.

Let’s not wait any further! Here is my guide on where to stay in Ottawa.

Quick Answers – Where To Stay In Ottawa

In a hurry? Here’s my top neighborhood for first timers:

FIRST TIME IN OTTAWA

Sparks Street

Sparks Street is located in the heart of Ottawa. It is a pedestrian street, so you will see no cars running here. Yet, the area is one of the most vibrant parts of Ottawa

Places to visit:
  • Shop til you drop at one of the numerous outlets of the street
  • Pay your respects to fallen soldiers at the National War Memorial
  • Learn about the history and politics of Canada at Parliament Hill

Where To Stay In Ottawa

Best Hostel in Ottawa – Hi Ottawa Jail Hostel

The HI Jail Hostel is one of the most unique hostels in both Ottawa and Canada! Located near ByWard Market in the heart of Ottawa, the Jail Hostel is a converted prison that offers unique accommodation where rooms are located in jail cells. Private rooms as well as single beds in dormitory rooms are available. A communal kitchen and a free wifi connection can be used by guests.

Best Airbnb in Ottawa – Urban Loft with a view

A few footsteps away from the Parliament Hill is this trendy and hip apartment right in the heart of Sparks Street. It’s super cozy couch, and view of the city makes you feel right at home. Don’t worry about driving much, its the perfect spot for work or play. Not to mention, the local cafes and bars are just downstairs and within walking distance!

Best Budget Hotel in Ottawa – Rideau Inn Ottawa

Rideau Inn is located in downtown Ottawa and offers great affordable accommodation in Canada’s capital. The comfortable rooms include air conditioning, a flat screen TV and a seating area. Some rooms have a private bathroom and others a shared bathroom. The hotel has a real family feel and the staff is helpful and friendly.

Best Mid-Range Hotel in Ottawa – Alt Hotel Ottawa

Alt Hotel Ottawa is a great option to stay in Ottawa. It is located close to the Federal Parliament buildings in the centre of the city and offers comfortable rooms fitted with air conditioning, a private bathroom and a free Wifi connection. The hotel also features a fitness centre and a café.

Ottawa Neighbourhood Guide

FIRST TIME IN OTTAWA
Sparks Street
FIRST TIME IN OTTAWA

Sparks Street

Sparks Street is located in the heart of Ottawa. It is a pedestrian street, so you will see no cars running here. Yet, the area is one of the most vibrant parts of Ottawa

ON A BUDGET
The Glebe
ON A BUDGET

The Glebe

The Glebe is an up and coming neighbourhood located just outside the centre core of Ottawa. It is often dubbed as the city’s best-kept secret as it is bustling with independently-owned shops and restaurants

NIGHTLIFE
ByWard Market, Ottawa
NIGHTLIFE

ByWard Market

ByWard Market is one of the most popular places to stay in Ottawa. It is centrally located, just across the Rideau Canal from the Parliament Hill and Sparks Street

COOLEST PLACE TO STAY
Westboro market ottawa
COOLEST PLACE TO STAY

Westboro Village

Westboro Village is a trendy Ottawa neighbourhood and the coolest place to stay in Ottawa. Located in the Western part of the city, it is located away from the centre of town and offers a much different feel

FOR FAMILIES
Downtown Rideau, Ottawa
FOR FAMILIES

Downtown Rideau

As its name suggests, the neighbourhood of Downtown Rideau is located right in the heart of the city along the Rideau Canal

Ottawa is the federal capital of Canada. It is a very diverse city, and home to more than eighty different neighbourhoods within its borders. Neighbourhoods located in the heart of town are much smaller than residential ones. The most popular areas are the ones surrounding are being part of the centre, bordering the beautiful Ottawa River.

Visitors usually stick to what is dubbed as Centretown, which is a quite compact area that is easily toured by foot or using public transports. Several distinct neighbourhoods can be identified within that area.

ByWard Market is a tourist favourite with all its restaurants, local shops and a vibrant nightlife. The actual market is also very popular with locals. By the Rideau Canal, theatres and museums have popped up everywhere. During the summer, festivals are held in this area. A lot of great Ottawa Airbnbs and apartment lets are situated around here for great nightlife access.

Pedestrians will love the car-free Sparks Street, where they will be able to find shops, restaurants, and street artists looking to entertain the crowd. Popular festivals such as the Capital Ribfest are also held there.

Outside of the centre’s borders, the Glebe offers an independent vibe filled with independent shops and restaurants. There, visitors will find relaxing parks, historic architecture and markets selling local products.

Ethnic communities are well represented in the centre of the city, with a bustling Little Italy and a lively Chinatown. Local specialities and a blend of Canada and its immigrants are a feast for the soul there.

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5 Best Neighbourhoods To Stay In Ottawa

If you are still confused about where to stay in Ottawa, here are more in depths descriptions of the 5 best neighbourhoods to stay in Ottawa.

1. Sparks Street – Where to stay in Ottawa your first time

Sparks Street is located in the heart of Ottawa. It is a pedestrian street, so you will see no cars running here. Yet, the area is one of the most vibrant parts of Ottawa. International brands and independent shop owners are lined up here, providing a great experience for shopping lovers.

The nearby Parliament Hill will let visitors admire the beautiful neo-Gothic architecture of the Canadian Parliament. Guided tours of the buildings are available.

Sparks Street is also home to many popular festivals over the year, such as Ottawa Ribfest. Come and see who gets the Champion Belt for the best ribs of the year! And let’s not forget the very Canadian Poutinefest and indulge into the best fries of your life during the month of April.

Street artists are very popular on Sparks Street, and live statues even have their own annual event there. Sparks Street is the perfect place to get the first glimpse of Ottawa.

Sparks Street
source: Wangkun Jia (Shutterstock)

Things to see and do in Sparks Street

– Shop til you drop at one of the numerous outlets of the street

– Pay your respects to fallen soldiers at the National War Memorial

– Learn about the history and politics of Canada at Parliament Hill

Best Hostel in Sparks Street – A Voyageur’s Guest House

There are no hostels around Sparks Street, but A Voyageur’s Guest House is a great option for cheap accommodation. It offers rooms with a shared bathroom fitted with air conditioning, heating and a TV. A good breakfast is served in the morning and a free wifi connection is provided.

Best Airbnb in Sparks Street – Urban Loft with a view

A few footsteps away from the Parliament Hill is this trendy and hip apartment right in the heart of Sparks Street. It’s super cozy couch, and view of the city makes you feel right at home. Don’t worry about driving much, its the perfect spot for work or play. Not to mention, the local cafes and bars are just downstairs and within walking distance!

Best Budget Hotel in Sparks Street – Downtown Bed & Breakfast

The Downtown Bed & Breakfast is a lovely guest house offering comfortable rooms with a shared bathroom. During the summertime, guests can relax in the garden by the fountain. The hotel is pet-friendly and provides vegetarian options for breakfast.

Best Mid-Range Hotel in Sparks Street – Radisson Hotel Ottawa Parliament Hill

The Radisson Hotel Parliament Hill is located a couple steps away from Sparks Street. The comfortable rooms all feature a private bathroom with a bathtub, air conditioning, a flat screen TV and a tea and coffee maker. The hotel also offers a fitness centre and an in-house bar.

2. The Glebe – Where to stay in Ottawa on a budget

The Glebe is an up and coming neighbourhood located just outside the centre core of Ottawa. It is often dubbed as the city’s best-kept secret as it is bustling with independently-owned shops and restaurants. Due to its location, it is one of the cheapest neighbourhoods to stay in the city.

It is the perfect place to stay in if you love to find unique products you will not find anywhere else. In addition, dozens of small restaurants will let you sample some of the best food the city has to offer. Craft beers, locally roasted coffee and tasty snacks will provide the perfect pit stop after a long day out wandering around town.

During the summer, the Escapade music festival gets the beats going and will swoop you in for a rave. If you are more of a sports fan, TD Place is home to the Ottawa Redblacks in football and the Ottawa Fury in soccer.

The Glebe
source: Ross Dunn (Flickr)

Things to see and do in the Glebe

– Cheer on Canadian football at TD Place

– Visit the farmers’ market and sample a selection of local products

– Taste the city at one of the area’s independent restaurants

– Sip on the finest coffee in one of the Glebe’s trendy coffee shops

Best Hostel in The Glebe – Ottawa Downtown Rideau Canal Glebe

This guesthouse offers double and twin rooms in the Glebe. The bathroom is shared and the rooms are strictly non-smoking. A free Wifi connection is provided everywhere in the guest house. It is possible to park a car at the property on request.

Best Airbnb in The Glebe – Charming Downtown Apartment

If you wanna stay somewhere safe, with a reasonable price in the city, this is it! Right in the middle of the glebe and the glebe annex (downtown), so your not missing out on anything, and in case you want to go to the Rail, it’s about a 10-minute drive. It’s relaxing as well staying here with all the books and big L shape couch to lounge in after a night out on the town.

Best Budget Hotel in The Glebe – Angela’s Bed and Breakfast Ottawa

Angela’s Bed and Breakfast is our top pick for where to stay in the Glebe on a budget. All rooms are spacious and include a hairdryer, a fan and heating. The bathroom is shared. Family rooms accommodating up to four people are available and a free wifi connection is provided.

Best Mid-Range Hotel in The Glebe – Glencree House B&B

Glencree House offers comfortable rooms in the heart of the Glebe neighbourhood. The rooms are fitted with a private bathroom with a bathtub, air conditioning, a seating area, a flat screen TV and a garden view. A full English breakfast is served every morning and a free Wifi connection is available.

3. ByWard Market – Best area to stay in Ottawa for nightlife

ByWard Market is one of the most popular places to stay in Ottawa. It is centrally located, just across the Rideau Canal from the Parliament Hill and Sparks Street.

ByWard Market is a historic place as it used to be one of Canada’s first and largest public markets. Today, the market is actually dozens of outdoors vendors flocking to the area and stay there between around 9 a.m and 5 p.m, depending on the weather.

One of the must-tries in the outdoor market in the famous Beavertail, a Canadian whole-wheat pastry that has been stretched to take the shape of an actual beaver tail. Any toppings can be added on top, from the traditional maple syrup to chocolate and peanut butter!

The area is also very popular with night owls, as many bars and clubs have opened up in the ByWard Market neighbourhood. On weekends, the party usually goes on until the wee hours of the night.

ByWard Market, Ottawa

Things to see and do in ByWard Market

– Shop around all year round at the outdoor market

– Dance the night away in some of Ottawa’s best clubs

– Enjoy a beer in a local brewery

– Grab a Beavertail from a shack

Best Hostel in ByWard Market – Ottawa Backpackers Inn

The Ottawa Backpackers Inn is a cool hostel near ByWard Market that does not charge any membership fee! They offer private rooms with a shared bathroom as well as single beds in mixed and female only dormitory rooms. Guests can enjoy a common room to relax and a fully equipped kitchen to cook delicious meals.

Best Airbnb in ByWard Market – Vintage Historic Home

This retro-style apartment sums up what it is like visiting Byward Market. The quaint home has the essentials needed to cook and make yourself feel at home. There is a deck off the kitchen with an umbrella, perfect for coffee and breakfast! It’s in the downtown district, just a few footsteps to the University of Ottawa, Art Gallery of Ottawa, many excellent restaurants, the Canadian Mint, War Museum, and Gatineau is just across the river.

Best Budget Hotel in ByWard Market – ByWard Blue Inn

ByWard Blue Inn is our top choice for where to stay in ByWard Market on a budget. The rooms feature a private bathroom, air conditioning, a flat screen TV and a tea and coffee maker. The in-house café serves a tasty breakfast in the morning, as well as an afternoon tea.

Best Mid-Range Hotel in ByWard Market – Swiss Hotel Ottawa

The Swiss Hotel Ottawa is an adult-only hotel located less than minutes walk away from ByWard Market and its outdoor vendors. The modernly decorated rooms are fitted with a hardwood floor and feature a private bathroom, air conditioning, a flat screen TV and a coffee maker.

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4. Westboro Village – Coolest place to stay in Ottawa

Westboro Village is a trendy Ottawa neighbourhood and the coolest place to stay in Ottawa. Located in the Western part of the city, it is located away from the centre of town and offers a much different feel.

It has always been a very diverse neighbourhood and has undergone significant urban rejuvenation since the 1990s. While it is now mostly residential and a favourite of families, Westboro is also full of small restaurants, independent shops and boasts lots of green areas.

Visitors will love walking or cycling on the river shoreline, and getting a real Ottawa feel in the streets from which tourist are mostly absent. During the winter, those activities turn into snowshoeing or cross country skiing.

While walking around, admire the murals painted by local artists and stop at one of the neighbourhood’s iconic restaurants. Every year in August, the one of a kind dining experience Westboro offers is celebrated with the Fuse Street Festival.

Westboro Village, Ottawa
source: Ross Dunn (Flickr)

Things to see and do in Westboro Village

– Take a walk or cycle along the river

– Mingle with locals in one of the trendy restaurants

– Cosy up in a local coffee shop

Best Hostel in Westboro Village – Motel Chateauguay

The Motel Chateauguay is the closest thing there is to a hostel around Westboro. It is located on the other side of the river, in Gatineau, and provides easy access to Westboro. The motel offers simple double and family rooms fitted with a private bathroom and air conditioning.

Best Airbnb in Westboro Village – Hipster Room for Wonderous Couples

In the trendy heart of Westboro is this heritage home. Gotta say, one of the best amenities is the location! There are loads of cafes and shops within a 10-minute walk. And conveniently this place can sleep up to 4 people if you and some friends want a place to crash on your travels in a cool neighborhood this is the spot.

Best Budget Hotel in Westboro Village – Travelodge by Wyndham Ottawa West

Located on the southern end of Westboro, the Travelodge Ottawa West is the best choice for where to stay in Westboro on a budget. All rooms feature air conditioning and a private bathroom, as well as a tea and coffee maker. A water park is available on site at an extra cost.

Best Mid-Range Hotel in Westboro Village – Double Tree by Hilton Hotel Gatineau-Ottawa

The Double Tree by Hilton Hotel Gatineau Ottawa is located in Gatineau, just across the river from Westboro Village. The neighbourhood is easily accessible via a bridge. The hotel offers luxurious amenities such as an 18-hole golf course, a spa centre, an indoor saltwater swimming pool and a restaurant.

5. Downtown Rideau – Best neighbourhood in Ottawa for families

As its name suggests, the neighbourhood of Downtown Rideau is located right in the heart of the city along the Rideau Canal.

The Downtown Rideau neighbourhood is hustling and bustling all year round and is a great place for families to stay in Ottawa. Lots of fun activities are available, such as walking or cycling in the park or taking a cruise alongside the canal to learn how canal locks work. The Rideau Canal locks are a UNESCO World Heritage site.

During the winter, as the water freezes, the Rideau Canal turns into the largest ice skating rink in the world. Come have fun for a few hours and come mingle with locals who go to work…skating!

Arts lovers will appreciate Downtown Rideau as it is home to the National Arts Centre, where artistic shows are performed almost every day. If you are more into painting, the Ottawa Art Gallery displays the work of some of the best Canadian artists and is free of charge.

Downtown Rideau, Ottawa

Things to see and do in Downtown Rideau

– Learn about Ottawa’s history at the Bytown Museum

– Take a canal cruise and explore the UNESCO listed canal locks

– In the winter, ice skate on the frozen canal

– Go watch a ballet or a musical at the National Arts Centre

Best Hostel in Downtown Rideau – Hi Ottawa Jail Hostel

The HI Ottawa Jail Hostel is located in Downtown Rideau in the heart of Ottawa. It offers unique accommodation where rooms are located in jail cells. Private rooms, as well as single beds in dormitory rooms, are available. A communal kitchen and a free wifi connection can be used by guests.

Best Airbnb in Downtown Rideau – Charasmatic Living Space

Enjoy this entire apartment to yourselves with the family being smack dab in the middle of downtown just off of Rideau. Go explore all the parks and nightlife, its nothing like you’ve seen before and luck you it’s just around the corner from home. This home is chic and has all the modern amenities needed when traveling with children, including a big screen tv for those rainy days you may need to camp indoors for a bit.

Best Budget Hotel in Downtown Rideau – Capital Hill Hotel and Suites

All the rooms at the Capital Hill Hotel and Suites feature a private bathroom, air conditioning, heating and a flat screen TV with satellite channels. The hotel is located really close to the Parliament Hill and is the perfect base to explore the centre of Ottawa.

Best Mid-Range Hotel in Downtown Rideau – Novotel Ottawa

Not sure where to stay in Downtown Rideau? Novotel Ottawa is a great choice! The spacious rooms can accommodate up to 4 adults, and children under the age of 16 cans stay for free in their parents’ room. All bedrooms are fitted with a private bathroom, air conditioning and heating.

Final Thoughts On Where To Stay In Ottawa

I love everything about Ottawa. It is a reasonably sized but vibrant city with a healthy amount of things to do and visit while on holiday. In the winter, you can skate on the frozen canal and during the summer, the river banks are a great place to take a stroll in greenery.

My favourite place to stay in Ottawa is around Sparks Street. It is a real pleasure to have no cars around and there is always something going on.

My number one hotel is the Alt Hotel Ottawa, located just a stone’s throw away from Parliament Hill and all the main sights.

If you prefer staying in hostels, Hi Ottawa Jail Hostel offers rooms and dorm beds in a unique setting in the heart of town.

Have I missed anything? Let me know in the comments!

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