Best Times to Visit Ottawa
The best time to visit Ottawa is between March and May, when temperatures begin to rise and the city starts to bloom. This is also when some of the capital's favorite special events – including the beloved Tulip Festival – take place. Thanks to its characteristically warm weather, summer is the most popular time for a visit, but it's also the most expensive, with average room rates costing as much as $140 per night. For those of you itching to find a bargain, consider a winter trip; although temperatures often drop below freezing, you can keep your blood pumping by practicing your figure skating or hockey moves on the Rideau Canal.
Weather in Ottawa
Data sourced from the National Climatic Data Center
Reasonable room rates and rising temperatures – not to mention several fun-filled cultural events – make spring the ideal season for an Ottawa trip. Average highs range from the mid-30s to the mid-60s (depending on the month), and although winter slush lingers a little, the city is free of summer tourists and a pleasure to explore.
Temperatures in the mid-70s are perfect for those of you looking to sightsee. Sure, stop by the museums, but also make sure to spend time along the canal, strolling Parliament Hill or simply wandering the city. However, be prepared to share Ottawa's usually calm sidewalks with numerous fellow visitors. This might also cause a problem for bargain-hunters: The large influx of tourists tends to drive hotel prices up, meaning you'll have to look farther into the suburbs for decent rates. For convenience and cost, book at least a month in advance.
Autumn is another good time to visit Ottawa thanks to comfortable weather (average temperatures range from the high 60s to the low 40s) and declining hotel rates. However, the city's festival season continues to thrive through October, meaning that you'll still be battling fellow celebrators for space on the sidewalk and in the hotels. Consider booking at least three weeks in advance.
Winter is the least popular time to visit Ottawa, mainly because of the weather. Average highs struggle to exceed 20 degrees, but that doesn't stop Canadians and it shouldn't stop you. Ottawa is filled with wintertime activities like ice skating on the Rideau Canal and festivals that help residents and visitors stay warm. But just in case, it's a good idea to pack heavy layers and all the cold-weather essentials like a hat and gloves. In exchange for braving the chill, you'll be rewarded with bargain lodging rates, with rooms costing an average of $110 to $120 per night.
Popular Times to Visit Ottawa
Tourism volume is estimated based on in-market destination search query interest from Google and on travel.usnews.com in 2015-2016. Hotel prices are sourced from a sample of U.S. News Best Hotels rates through 2015-2016.
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