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Parliament Hill picture in Ottawa
Ottawa Tourism / Flickr

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Details

  • Sightseeing, Tours Type
  • 2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
4.5
Overall
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  • Value
    5.0
  • Facilities
    4.0
  • Atmosphere
    4.5

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Acting as the anchor of downtown Ottawa, these three neo-Gothic structures are hard to miss. Like its mother country England Canada is governed by a parliamentary democracy, and it is here on the Hill that decisions are made on how to run the country. But just like the city itself, the Parliament buildings put tourists on a pedestal, catering to their whims with free guided tours, concerts, cultural exhibitions and even a seasonal after-hours sound and light show. Recent travelers said visiting Parliament Hill is an experience you can't miss, with many saying that walking around the palatial buildings felt like taking a step back in time. The knowledgeable guides were another point of praise for reviewers.

Several areas are open to the public, the most notable being the Centre Block. From here, you can head upward to the observation deck of the Peace Tower for a bird's-eye view of the city (the highlight for many recent visitors), or pay tribute to Canadians killed during military service in the Memorial Chamber (tours of these areas are self-guided). On the central lawn, you can observe the vibrant Changing of the Guard ceremony, which occurs every day in summer (June through August) at 10 a.m. To the north is the octagonal Library of Parliament, with ornate galleries and colorful windows that shelter hundreds of priceless books. Recent visitors agreed that the Centre Block and the Library of Parliament are well worth a visit.

But wait, there's more. Flanking either side of the Centre Block are the East and West blocks. Although the West Block isn't open to the public, the East Block is and it's home to the Privy Council Chamber, the Governor General's office and several other historic rooms. You can also tour the Supreme Court of Canada, which flanks the western edge of Parliament Hill. You're welcome to tour the East Block between early July and early September.

Bordering both the Ottawa River and the Rideau Canal, the Parliament Buildings welcome visitors year-round, although tour times are subject to change depending on the month. Free guided tours last anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour. Tickets for guided tours and the Peace Tower and Memorial Chamber are available on a first-come, first-served basis. For more information, check out the Parliament Hill website and the Supreme Court website.

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Hotels Nearby

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Alt Hotel Ottawa

Alt Hotel Ottawa ...

  • 0.3 Miles Away
  • 3.5-star Hotel Class
Capital Hill Hotel and Suites

Capital Hill Hotel and Suites ...

  • 0.3 Miles Away
  • 3.0-star Hotel Class
Sheraton Ottawa Hotel

Sheraton Ottawa Hotel ...

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#1 Rideau Canal Snaking its way through the center of Ottawa, the Rideau Canal is one of the city's most historic attractions. This 125-mile waterway was originally constructed between 1826 and 1832 ... Read more » Ottawa Tourism / Flickr

#2 ByWard Market Sitting in the heart of downtown Ottawa, the beloved ByWard Market is one of the country's oldest and largest public markets. Throughout the year, you'll find local vendors ... Read more » Radius Images / Getty Images

#3 Canadian War Museum Perched on the steep slopes framing the Ottawa River, the Canadian War Museum pays homage to Canada's long and violent military history, including its involvement in the French and ... Read more » Marie-Louise Deruaz / Courtesy Canadian War Museum

#4 Parliament Hill Acting as the anchor of downtown Ottawa, these three neo-Gothic structures are hard to miss. Like its mother country England Canada is governed by a parliamentary democracy, and it is ... Read more » Ottawa Tourism / Flickr

Timothy Neesam / Flickr

#6 Gatineau Park When you need a break from the city, head to Gatineau Park. Located just 15 minutes from downtown Ottawa, this nearly 90,000-acre park offers a variety of year-round activities ... Read more » Saffron Blaze / Getty Images

#7 Canadian Museum of Nature Housing more than 10 million specimens, the Canadian Museum of Nature showcases 4 billion years of Earth history. Recent visitors agreed this is a must-see, especially if you're traveling ... Read more » Martin Lipman / Canadian Museum of Nature

#8 Canada Aviation and Space Museum The Canada Aviation and Space Museum is home to the country's most comprehensive collection of vintage aircraft, which includes more than 130 artifacts and aircraft from both military and ... Read more » Ottawa Tourism

#9 Notre-Dame Cathedral Basilica Even if you're not an avid churchgoer, the silvery spires of Ottawa's Notre-Dame Cathedral Basilica are sure to catch your eye. Sitting across the street from the National ... Read more » Naeem Jaffer / Getty Images

#10 Bytown Museum When it comes to brushing up on Ottawa's history, there's no better place than the Bytown Museum. Housed in what was once the commissariat for food and materials ... Read more » Ottawa Tourism / Flickr

#11 Canadian Museum of History Spread across four floors and nearly 300,000 square feet, the Canadian Museum of History (formerly the Canadian Museum of Civilization) is a behemoth. Welcoming more than 1.2 million ... Read more » Ottawa Tourism / Flickr

The Rideau Canal picture in Ottawa
The ByWard Market picture in Ottawa
Canadian War Museum picture in Ottawa
Parliament Hill picture in Ottawa
The National Gallery of Canada picture in Ottawa
Gatineau Park picture in Ottawa
Kids in Fossil Gallery picture in Ottawa
Canada Aviation and Space Museum picture in Ottawa
Notre-Dame Cathedral Basilica picture in Ottawa
Bytown Museum picture in Ottawa
Canadian Museum of History picture in Ottawa
The Rideau Canal picture in Ottawa
The ByWard Market picture in Ottawa
Canadian War Museum picture in Ottawa
Parliament Hill picture in Ottawa
The National Gallery of Canada picture in Ottawa
Gatineau Park picture in Ottawa
Kids in Fossil Gallery picture in Ottawa
Canada Aviation and Space Museum picture in Ottawa
Notre-Dame Cathedral Basilica picture in Ottawa
Bytown Museum picture in Ottawa
Canadian Museum of History picture in Ottawa

Opened in 1832, the Rideau Canal is a UNESCO World Heritage site and one of the oldest attractions in Ottawa. Ottawa Tourism / Flickr

Named after Rideau Canal-builder, John By, this vibrant market is the place to go for a quick snack. Radius Images / Getty Images

Among the Canadian War Museum's more than 3 million artifacts, it houses artillery, uniforms, medals, documents, sound and visual recordings and rare vehicles. Marie-Louise Deruaz / Courtesy Canadian War Museum

Ottawa is the seat for both houses of the Canadian Parliament. Ottawa Tourism / Flickr

Timothy Neesam / Flickr

Located across the river from downtown Ottawa, the massive Gatineau Park is the perfect place for hiking. Saffron Blaze / Getty Images

Martin Lipman / Canadian Museum of Nature

The Canada Aviation and Space Museum is home to the country's most comprehensive collection of vintage aircraft, which includes more than 130 artifacts and aircraft from both military and civil service. Ottawa Tourism

This beautiful cathedral is the seat of Ottawa's archbishop. Naeem Jaffer / Getty Images

You'll find this quaint history museum near the mouth of the Rideau Canal. Ottawa Tourism / Flickr

Welcoming more than 1.2 million people annually, the Canadian Museum of History is one of the country's most-visited museums. Ottawa Tourism / Flickr

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