The Best 3-day Fall Adventure Itinerary for Couples in Ottawa

Canada’s Capital, Ottawa, Ontario, is perfect for a couple’s getaway to the city! There’s plenty of adventures, sight-seeing, and fun things to do for couple’s looking to have the best weekend away in Ottawa. Ottawa is one of our favourite cities in Canada because it’s where we first met each other! We came back to this beautiful city for the first time in years to share with you how to have the best 3-days in Ottawa in the Fall!

Ottawa has a great combination of an exciting, busy downtown-core city as well as having plenty of outdoor space and nature close by. This makes Ottawa great for couples who are looking for great restaurants, shopping, and also fun adventures exploring outdoors! Keep reading for the best 3-day adventure itinerary for couples in collaboration with Ottawa Tourism!

What you need to know before visiting Ottawa

Ottawa is the Capital City of Canada and is home to Canada’s Parliament Buildings. Ottawa is known for its rich Canadian culture and is a really great city for visitors to take free tours of historic buildings, check out national museums to learn more about Canadian history. Our Prime Minister lives in Ottawa and skating on the Rideau Canal is one of the top Canadian bucket-list things to do!

With this in mind, there is SO much to do in Ottawa and you can spend plenty of time exploring this city. It’s good to know that you’ll need at least 3-days to really enjoy yourself in this city but you can easily stay for 1-2 weeks. This itinerary was planned with couples in mind visiting Ottawa during the Fall and I’ll include bonus things to do at the end!

How to get to Ottawa, Ontario

Ottawa, Ontario is located to the East of Southern Ontario and the closest major city is Montreal, Quebec with only a 2 hour drive heading East. Ottawa to Toronto will take 4 hours heading West. Ottawa International Airport is located only 20 minutes from downtown Ottawa and offers flights to most major cities in Canada, USA, and Europe.

Will I need a car to get around Ottawa?

You do not need a car to get around Ottawa! What’s great about this city is how accessible public transit, Ubers/taxis, and bicycle lanes are. There are plenty of options to get around this city and it’s also very walkable. You’ll notice one of our favourite ways to get around Ottawa is to rent a bike and cruise! Outdoor adventures like Gatineau Park can be accessed by bus.

When is the best time to visit Ottawa?

Ottawa is truly great in every season. Jake and I know this because we’ve both lived there! This visit was planned specifically to see the Fall colours in Ottawa and we were there at the perfect time at the end of October. The leaves were perfect reds, oranges and yellows! Fall in Ottawa is beautiful and a must-see.

We also both agree that a bucket-list Canadian experience is to skate on the Rideau Canal. This means you will have to be there during the Winter when the water has frozen over. This usually opens on January 1st and is weather dependant. Spring/Summer are also a fantastic time to visit Ottawa, especially for Bluesfest Music Festival in July!

Best Things to do in Ottawa for couples

We found Ottawa to be a really fun destination for a couple’s getaway because of just how many fun things there are to do here! Date night’s were easy to plan and we’ve chose activities that are a mix of spending time outdoors in the Fall, exploring the city and Parliament buildings, shopping and dining in great restaurants. This is our recommended Fall couples itinerary in Ottawa!

Day One: Gatineau Park, Exploring Ottawa & more…

Our first day in Ottawa starts with chasing the Fall colours at Gatineau Park! Although Gatineau Park is located in Quebec, this beautiful park is only 15 minutes away from downtown Ottawa. General admission to this park is free, and you’ll be able to enjoy scenic lookouts, gorgeous lakes, and some the best Fall colours around!

Our trip to Gatineau Park included 4 stops at some of the best views! We stopped first at Champlain Lookout before heading to the King Mountain trailhead. We hiked for 2KM to see multiple viewpoints overlooking the Fall colours. Our next stop was the Mackenzie King Estate (pro tip: you have to see the old ruins)! Finally, we ended our adventures with another 2KM hike around Pink Lake – it really does have the most beautiful blue water and is the most scenic trail in the park!

After a full day of hiking in Gatineau Park and chasing Fall colours, we drove back to Ottawa for lunch at Art-Is-In Bakery. This industrial style cafe has some of the best sandwiches and pizzas! We checked in to our hotel at the Fairmont Chateau Laurier and went for a walk around Major’s Hill Park for a great view of the Parliament Buildings. We ended the night with dinner at Fauna Ottawa, a beautiful restaurant with a focus on small plates and local ingredients made for a great dining experience.

Day Two: Nordic Spa, Axe-Throwing Date Night & more…

Day Two in Ottawa started with total relaxation at Nordik Spa-Nature Chelsea, which is known as the largest spa in North America with 10 outdoor baths, 9 saunas, and 25 treatment rooms. The 3 step process involves warming up in a hot tub or sauna, doing a cold plunge, and relaxing in a repeated cycle. We enjoyed lunch and drinks at the spa which made for a perfect morning and afternoon. This spa is one of a kind and a romantic way to spend time together while in Ottawa!

Post relaxing morning at the spa, we went for a walk to see the Fall colours at Dominion Arboretum. We head back to the hotel to get ready for date night, and we’re heading to LumberJaxe Ottawa to start the night off with axe-throwing! Both of us are surprisingly good at axe-throwing so we chose their date night special which included an appetizer, 2 drinks from the bar, a private lane and coaching session!

It’s Saturday night and our dinner and night-out suggestions will take you to Byward Market for authentic Italian-style pizza at The Grand Pizzeria! This spot really tasted like pizza from Italy! Right next door you’ll find our favourite Irish Pub in Ottawa, the Heart & Crown Byward Market. Our date night in Ottawa was so much fun spending it right downtown and we enjoyed a quick walk back to our hotel.

Day Three: Helicopter Tour, Bike Tour & more…

Our last full day in Ottawa was an exciting one! We started the day with an epic helicopter ride above Ottawa and Gatineau with Heli Tremblant! We met our pilot at the Canada Aviation and Space Museum (located 5 minutes from the Prime Minister’s residence, how cool) and took off on an epic flight to see Ottawa’s Fall colours from above!

We flew above the Ottawa and Gatineau Rivers, above Gatineau Park and we even had permission to fly above the Parliament buildings! This helicopter ride was so special with the Fall colours popping and it’s definitely something I’d recommend you add to your Canadian bucket-list! After your flight, check out the Rockcliffe Park Pavillion for an enjoyable walk.

For lunch we’re heading back to Byward Market, which is a busy, outdoor market full of unique shops, restaurants, colourful street art, and specialty foods! This is one of the main tourist attractions in Ottawa and we love walking around the Byward Market in the Fall for these fun decorations! We had lunch at an Italian market called La Bottega, with an incredible deli in the back of the store which makes delicious sandwiches for a great price.

One of our favourite ways to get to know a city is by exploring via bicycle, and after lunch we’re heading to Escape Bicycle Tours and Rentals for a guided e-bike tour around Ottawa! Our private guide was SO much fun and knew the best ways to get around the city with multiple bike lanes making the city super accessible. Our guide brought us everywhere we wanted to see in Ottawa and even to some hidden gems!

We’re ending our night in Westboro, one of our favourite areas in Ottawa, for dinner at the beautiful Gezellig. This was our favourite restaurant of the trip because of the cozy atmosphere, perfect wine pairings and delicious food. We enjoyed steak and salmon and it was a really romantic date night.

Before heading back to our hotel, we enjoyed our final night in Ottawa with a Haunted Walk at the Haunted Jail Hostel. You can actually stay in the hostel if you’re brave enough, but they also offer guided tours around the old jailhouse with scary stories of hauntings from the former prison inmates. This spooky tour was great to get us excited for Halloween, and we recommend ending the night with cocktails from Stolen Goods cocktail bar.

Where to stay in Ottawa, Ontario

We have the BEST recommendation for where to stay on your trip to Ottawa, and that’s the Fairmont Chateau Laurier. This beautiful castle is located in the middle of downtown Ottawa, close to both the Rideau Centre Mall, Parliament Hill and Major’s Hill Park. The Fairmont Chateau Laurier is truly luxury for couples in Ottawa!

Other places to stay in Ottawa include Andaz Byward Market, Le Germain Hotel and a super interesting option is the Ottawa Jail Hostel… guests and staff say that the jail-turned hostel is haunted and have some incredible stories to tell!

Final thoughts on spending 3-days of Fall adventures in Ottawa

Ottawa is truly one of our favourite cities in all of Canada! Visiting in the Fall was an incredible way to see Ottawa come to life with bright autumnal colours, surrounding nature and hikes, and beautiful Parliament during the off-season. We had such a fun itinerary as a couple exploring the best things to do in Ottawa and I hope we’ve helped your trip planning with inspiration from our adventures!

For more Fall adventures in Ontario, stay tuned for our blogs on the 3 Best Fall Hikes in Algonquin Provincial Park, the Top Attractions you MUST VISIT at Niagara Falls. Thank you to Ottawa Tourism for hosting and sponsoring this blog post, and make sure to check out Ottawa Tourism website for more trip planning ideas!

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