Ottawa date ideas: your next great date in your city

Woman near Parliament Hill in Ottawa

Got a big date planned and need some fun, romantic Ottawa date ideas? We’re here to help! We’ve picked the best date ideas in the city; a mix of laid-back, fun, daytime dates and more dramatic, romantic date nights, designed to help you and your date experience the best the city has to offer. Pick your favourite and enjoy!

From sunny summer patios to romantic winter skateways, there’s an Ottawa date idea tailor made to suit you. Whether you want to meet for first-date coffee or find new adventure, we’ve found the best date ideas in the city: pick a favourite, then scroll down to find it on our map.

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The best Ottawa date ideas: find a great date here

1. Try out the craft cocktail revolution

Ottawa’s booming craft cocktail scene means that those in search of a romantic drinking spot are spoiled for choice. Try the lovely Moonroom: the heart and soul they put into their drinks and tapas make for a really special evening. For something slightly more unusual, try the Russian style Moscow Tea Room. Here, opulence is the name of the game – perfect for an Ottawa date night where you get to spoil your main squeeze.

2. Have a date night in Little Italy

Whether you want a convivial coffee or delicious dinner (or both!), Little Italy can provide. For relaxed daytime (or dessert!) dates, get coffee and cake from Pasticceria Gelateria Italiana, while at night you can kick it up a notch in the romance department. DiVono Wine Studio is ideal for a dreamy date-night – the gnocchi alone is swoon-worthy!

3. Stake out a great summer patio

When summer arrives, it’s (finally) time for one of the all-time great Ottawa date ideas: heading to a sunny patio to while away the afternoon with great company and tasty drinks. Ottawa’s patios are legendary – which means we couldn’t pick just one! If you like rooftop bars, head to the fun Atari and for pretty surroundings (and rain-cover!) try Pub Italia. If you want river views and great craft beer, Mill St. Brew Pub is the place to go, The Earl of Sussex is ídeal for sports fans, and The Clocktower Brew Pub is a great place to catch that late afternoon summer sun.

5 of Ottawa

4. Share secrets at the Whispering Wall

Up on Parliament Hill you can find The Robert Baldwin and Sir Louis-Hippolyte LaFontaine memorial or, as it’s more commonly known, The Whispering Wall. Its curved design allows people sitting at opposite ends to hear each other perfectly, making it a truly romantic way to cap off a night in the city: climb the hill, sit your date down and whisper how great they are.

5. Have coffee and gelato at Stella Luna

Meeting for coffee might seem a bit routine but, in fact, our members think it makes a great first date! Just don’t opt for Timmy’s: Ottawa has some wonderful independent cafes that make for truly romantic dates. Try Stella Luna – not only do they do spectacular coffee, you can make the date last by trying some of their out-of-this world gelato and sorbet.

6. Eat at the ByWard Market

Yes, it’s a little cliché and a little touristy, but hopping around the ByWard can nonetheless be a fantastic date night – especially if it’s early days and you’re still not quite sure what each other likes. Start with a drink-with-a-view at The Lookout, share some small plates at Play food and wine, and finish the evening off with dessert or milkshakes from Zak’s Diner.

7. Make the most of the cold weather

As shown below, some of the best Ottawa dates ideas happen during the winter cold. Skating on the Rideau Canal (and then having hot chocolate) is a true classic, as is checking out the ice sculptures at Winterlude. There are also plenty of great stay-warm dates to be had: try meeting your date at The Loft for a cozy afternoon of craft beer and board games by a toasty fire.

8. Spend time in the sand

Summer also brings fun Ottawa date ideas. Along with the aforementioned patios, the warm weather means it’s time to get to the water – or at least to take your date to the beach. Close to town there’s lively Westboro and, in Gatineau, cool Parc Moussette, while more peaceful beaches are within a short drive: try Burnstown Beach for a slice of sandy paradise.

9. Rent a pedal boat

There are also places in Ottawa that do double duty, providing both winter and summer date ideas. As mentioned before, the Rideau Canal Skateway is the perfect winter date, but the canal also has a lot to offer once the ice melts. Try heading to Dow’s Lake Pavilion and renting a kayak, canoe or pedal boat with your date – an ideal, fun way to get a new angle on Ottawa’s beauty.

10. Cuddle up at the light show

For more than 30 years, another classic summer Ottawa date idea has been to grab a blanket and snuggle up for the light show on Parliament Hill.

Did we get your favourite Ottawa date ideas? Are we missing something great? Let us know below or contact us at [email protected]

About the author: Sophie Watson

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