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Getting Around Ottawa

The best way to get around Ottawa is on foot. The city's vibrant downtown area is extremely condensed, and excellent signage makes it easy to navigate. If you do get tired of walking, the Ottawa-Carleton Regional Transit Commission (OC Transpo) operates numerous bus routes (all of which originate from the Rideau Centre) through downtown and into the more residential areas. To get to the downtown area from the Ottawa MacDonald-Cartier International Airport (YOW), you can take the No. 97 bus for CA$3.65 (roughly $2.80). Taxis are also available, but expect to pay upward of CA$30 (about $23).

On Foot For many of Ottawa's visitors, two feet will suffice. The city's main attractions, restaurant areas and nightlife venues are all clustered within walking distance of one another in downtown Ottawa. And if you're in town for the winter and wish to look like a local, consider getting around by skates; many Ottawa residents use the frozen Rideau Canal like a sidewalk.
Public Transportation

You can rely on the Ottawa-Carleton Regional Transit Commission (OC Transpo) to get you to the more residential areas. OC Transpo operates nearly 200 bus routes throughout central Ottawa and into the suburbs. One-way rides cost between CA$3 and CA$6 (between $2 and $4) depending on the route you take and whether or not it's an express. You can also purchase a day pass, which allows for unlimited rides on both regular and express buses for CA$8.50.

There are also buses across the river for those of you who wish to explore Gatineau. Bus routes are operated by the Outaouais Society of Transportation (STO). Single rides cost CA$3.90 (around $3).

Taxi

Taxis are readily available, and while you're allowed to hail them from the street, you'll have better luck finding one outside a major hotel. Cab rates start at approximately CA$3 with each additional kilometer costing an extra CA$2. Drivers will often accept both U.S. and Canadian currencies, as well as major credit cards. Uber is also available in Ottawa.

Car

You can rent a car at the airport or at a downtown agency, but if you can help it, try to avoid driving in Ottawa. Although traffic isn't usually bad (except during rush hour), the downtown area is filled with one-way streets that can be difficult to navigate. Also unless you're used to driving through ice or snow road conditions during the winter can get precarious. Parking is pretty easy to find, and you can expect to pay approximately CA$20 a day. But before you start thinking that this is an affordable option, keep in mind that gas is charged by the liter, not by the gallon, and can be almost twice as expensive as in the U.S.

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