City Name
Home » Recent posts » The 10 Best Festivals in Ottawa

The 10 Best Festivals in Ottawa

The 10 Best Festivals in Ottawa

Canada’s capital city is beaming with festivals, no matter the season. There’s always something to look forward to, whether that’s a film fest or a winter bash.

If you’re looking to experience something new, here are the best ones that will make you embrace the festive spirit!

Canada Day

Media credit: tag_hr


Location: Parliament Hill – Wellington St, Ottawa, ON K1A 0A9, Canada (main celebration)

Admission: Mostly free, some events may have admission fees

Every year on July 1st, the country celebrates the Canadian Confederation through Canada Day. Lucky for us, Ottawa holds the biggest event in the country at Parliament Hill, the official site of the event.

Canadians all over the world dress in red and white, celebrating the whole day and joining various events—and many of these are free! Many people also get to travel to Ottawa for free since public transport doesn’t charge fees on Canada’s birthday.

The day is always full of activities and events organized by the community and local organizations. It ends with everyone watching fireworks illuminating the sky—maybe have a pint at home while watching the fireworks, eh?

Pro Tip:
Be festive on Canada Day! Make the day memorable by decorating your home, making red and white desserts, cooking traditional Canadian food, and having fun with your friends and family.

Ottawa Jazz Festival

Media credit: ottawajazz


Location: Various places in downtown Ottawa

Contact Information: 613-241-2633, [email protected]

Box Office Phone Hours: Monday – Friday: 9:00 am – 5:00 pm

Full Festival Pass:

  • Youth Pass (13 – 25): $137.65
  • Bronze Pass: $290.12
  • Gold Pass: $453.10

Celebrate good music at the Ottawa Jazz Festival. This music event is held at the end of June and takes place in different venues near each other, allowing Ottawans to participate in several events without commuting too far.

Downtown Ottawa becomes more lively than ever with outdoor event stages and the many festivities celebrating all things jazz. Many establishments join in on the fun and offer beer, wine, and special blends of cocktails on the festival grounds.

There’s no shortage of talented acts here; local and international artists join the event. You also get to watch a diverse set of artists, including those performing genres related to jazz.

Pro Tips:
Make sure you have a cashless payment option because Ottawa Jazz Festival won’t accept cash in 2024, so there won’t be ATMs available on site. Bring your debit and credit cards, and have your e-wallet ready.

Don’t forget to download the Ottawa Jazz Festival mobile app on your phone to see the festival map. It makes walking easier since you will have an idea where to go.

Ottawa Bluesfest

Media credit: ottawabluesfest


Location: LeBreton Flats Park, Kichi Zībī Mīkan, Ottawa, ON K1R 1C2, Canada

Contact Information: 613-247-1188

Festival Pass:

  • Full Festival Pass: $404.84
  • Pick-3 Pass: $196 – $300

Bluesfest is an annual summer festival held outdoors in July, attracting an average of 250,000 visitors each year. It’s a multi-stage ticketed event, usually lasting around ten days.

Prominent artists gather to perform and entertain the audience, focusing on the blues genre but has also invited mainstream artists over the years. Other genres performed are pop, EDM, and rock—a tonne of variety!

This outdoor festival is held downtown, making LeBreton Flats Park its usual home. It’s easily accessible via public transport, just a few minutes walk from Parliament Hill, and has a convenient valet bike parking.

Pro Tips:
Avoid bringing cameras because only accredited media photographers are allowed to photograph the event.You may be asked to leave unless you bring smartphones and small cameras without detachable lenses.

Make sure your bag has the right dimensions to avoid paying to have it checked at the counter outside the front gates. The maximum size should be 12″ x 12″ x 6″.

Capital Pride

Media credit: fiertecappride


Location: Ottawa, Ontario and Gatineau, Quebec

Contact Information: 613-680-3033, [email protected]

Admission: Free for the parade, some events will have admission fees

It’s time to come out…of the house and celebrate the Capital Pride! Every year, the 2SLGBTQ+ community parade in the streets of Ottawa and Gatineau to celebrate and educate people about diversity.

It’s a colourful, fun, and loud event, full of festivities for seven to nine days in mid to late August. Expect a tonne of things to do, day and night, during the festival that welcomes everyone—a massive plus is that many activities don’t require an entrance fee!

So, head over downtown and meet new people, watch live performances, and take photos of the rainbow decorations. The streets will be filled with thousands of people marching and celebrating, being out and proud.

Pro Tip:
Plan ahead if you want to maximize your days. There are going to be loads of events, so check the schedules and map out your day.

Ottawa Fringe Festival

Media credit: ottawafringe


Location: 2 Daly Ave #100, Ottawa, ON K1N 7B9, Canada

Contact Information: 613-232-6162, [email protected]

Ticket Prices: $12 + 12% service fee (for all shows)

If you’re a theatre buff, you’re going to love the Ottawa Fringe Festival. It celebrates fringe theatre and supports emerging and established artists.

This 10-day event is held every year in June, welcoming anyone to participate. The best part? 100% of ticket sales support the artists to help them continue to create and hone their talents.

This festival is all about creativity, giving artists the chance to show off their talents and works. So, mark your calendar and pick the theatre performances you want to watch before tickets sold out!

Pro Tip:
Check the festival map to plan out your days so you won’t miss out on a show because performances will be held at different venues in Downtown Rideau.

Ottawa Tulip Festival

Media credit: cdntulipfest


Location: Queen Elizabeth Driveway, Ottawa, ON K1S 5K7, Canada

Contact Information: 613-567-5757 Ext. 102, 1-800-668-8547 Ext. 102 (toll-free)

Admission: Free except for guided tours

Smell the flowers at the Ottawa Tulip Festival and see rows and rows of multicoloured, bright, and stunning blossoms. Over 300,000 tulips bloom here in spring, with Dows Lake as part of the gorgeous backdrop.

In May, the tulips take center stage at Commissioners Park. The park welcomes everyone for 11 days when the tulips are at their best—and no ticket is required.

During the nighttime, the lights at the garden beds transform the place into a romantic spot—not that it isn’t during the day! And before leaving the festival, head over to the shop and purchase fresh flowers to brighten up your home.

Pro Tip:
It’s difficult to look for a parking spot near the festival, especially on busy days. Instead of driving, head to the downtown area and ride the Tulip Shuttle for a $25 round trip.

Ottawa International Animation Festival

Media credit: ottawa.animationfestival


Location: 2 Daly Ave #222, Ottawa, ON K1N 6E3, Canada

Contact Information: 613-232-8769

Ticket Prices:

  • Day Pass: $50 – $65 (depending on the day)
  • Weekend Pass: $130 – $200
  • AnimaPass: $200 – $260
  • TAC Pass: $580 – $625

Feed your imagination at the Ottawa International Animation Festival, an annual event held for five days in September. It’s a go-to if you love animated films, as you get to watch movies in different genres and art styles.

With good-quality movies that have a lot of heart, over 25,000 people have continued to visit the festival each year. Everyone is welcome to watch the screening, and artists are also free to submit their short films. 

Besides watching great films, guests also get the chance to attend talks, panels, picnics, and the award ceremony, depending on the type of ticket you purchase. So, choose your ticket well or you’ll miss out on the good stuff!

Pro Tip:
If you’re travelling to Ottawa, we suggest you look for hotels in the downtown area because the venues are there and near each other. You also get easy access if you’re already staying downtown.

Pumpkins After Dark

Media credit: pumpkinsafterdarkyow


Location: Wesley Clover Parks – 401 Corkstown Rd, Nepean, ON K2H 8T1

Contact Information: [email protected], [email protected]

Opening Hours: After dark, dates and hours will vary

Ticket Prices:

  • Adult (17+): starting at $21.63 + HST
  • Youth (4-16): starting at $18.56 + HST
  • Children (3 and under): Free, no ticket required
  • Family package (2 adults, 2 youths): starting at $75.26 + HST
  • Flex passes: $38.15 + HST (valid at any event date and time)

Ottawa’s Pumpkins After Dark will put a spell on you with its mesmerizing activities. It’s an award-winning outdoor event held annually in the fall, usually in October during the spooky season.

Every year, this freakishly amazing festival will be home to over 10,000 intricately hand-carved pumpkins. Visitors get to walk the pumpkin pathway, complete with lights and sound effects, for a memorable experience.

Plus, this is open to all ages, as there are no scary jump scares so you can bring your easily frightened friends. You also won’t go hungry here because there are food trucks available on-site, which is pretty convenient given that this festival is a walkthrough.

Pro Tip:
If you’re bringing kids, make sure they are wearing comfortable shoes. The walkthrough is 1 km, taking an hour or two to complete.


Media credit: explorecanada


Location: In various places in Ottawa and Gatineau

Contact Information: 819-956-2626, [email protected]

Ticket Prices: Will vary depending on the event; most are free

February is busy in the Ottawa-Gatineau area, with loads of activities, exhibits, and performances for all ages—there are over 200! The Winterlude Festival is a fun and exciting event you need to go to before Ottawa officially welcomes the spring season.

This winter festival is held annually for three weekends in February, welcoming thousands of tourists to spend the last days of winter in Ottawa. Visit restaurants as well, particularly in ByWard Market, which is bustling day and night.

Then, head over to Gatineau for more activities, including the popular Snowflake Kingdom, which has a massive tubing slide made of snow, a zipline, and obstacle courses—the ultimate family-friendly winter destination!

Pro Tip:
Check the Winterlude Calendar of Events, so you know which area to go to if you’re looking for a particular activity. Remember, the festival is all over the Ottawa-Gatineau area, meaning you’ll need to do a bit of commuting.