Ottawa’s Best Christmas Attractions

The Christmas season is upon us! Have you started decorating yet? I haven’t yet brought out my decorations, but I am taking a close look at the calendar and planning out when to hit up the different holiday events offered around the capital region.

I recently blogged about the extensive line up of Santa Claus parades. And I will definitely be taking my kids to have their photos done with Santa at some point (for my last year’s list of mall Santas you can click HERE. ) But there are a number of other fabulous Christmas attractions in and around Ottawa –  and this blog post includes some of my favourites. Enjoy!

Magic of Lights

Wesley Clover Parks Campground

Open nightly November 17 – January 6, 5:00 pm – 10:00 pm

A 2 km long drive thru holiday lights show featuring more than 300 displays. It costs $20 a vehicle. Bring cash or even better, purchase your ticket online ahead of time HERE. This is the Magic of Lights second year in operation, and it will be interesting to see what if anything they have learned and improved on from last year. You can read about my impression from last year.. I won’t hesitate to visit again, especially because you can enjoy it no matter how cold it is outside the car! However, I will definitely try to pick an “off” time, maybe a week day and the earlier in the evening the better because the wait times can get long at peak times. I recommend grabbing a hot chocolate on the way and cranking up the Christmas tunes to get in the spirit.

Alight at Night

Upper Canada Village

December 1 – January 6, operates Thursday-Sunday from 5:00 pm – 9:00 pm

It’s a picture perfect setting featuring lights, carollers, a horse drawn carriage, visits with St.Nicholas, and hot chocolate. I absolutely loved our experience at Alight at Night last year. Read my full review HERE . For more information and to purchase tickets online ahead of time (which I recommend) head to their website.

Vintage Village of Lights

Cumberland Heritage Village Museum

November 24 – December 17, open Friday-Sunday 3:00 pm – 8:00 pm

Explore seasonal scenes and activities inspired by classic Christmas stories and songs of years past. Take in the 30,000 lights illuminating the Museum, visit with Santa and send a telegram to the North Pole. Decorate a cookie or a make a Christmas craft. Singalong to your favourite carol then experience a horse-drawn wagon ride. This festive display was surprisingly not busy at all and very affordable when we visited last season . Here’s hoping there is some snow on the ground again this year, because I found that really made the experience memorable.

Christmas Lights Across Canada

December 7 – January 7

Combine Christmas shopping downtown with a magical evening walk amongst thousands of colourful lights illuminating the National Capital Region’s winter landscape. Don’t miss the winter lightscape multimedia show that will be projected nightly onto Parliament Hill’s Centre Block. Inspired by Canada’s nature, climate and culture, this 13-minute fairy tale runs nightly in a loop, from 5:30 p.m. to 11:00 p.m.

Not to mention from December 7 – December 31, you can lace up your skates and enjoy free skating on the Canada 150 rink right on Parliament Hill! With the backdrop of the Christmas lights, this is one experience you won’t want to miss.

Christmas in the Byward Market

December 2 – December 17, 12:00 pm – 4:00 pm

Stroll through the market stalls selling holiday wares and decorations. Visitors can also enjoy complimentary wagon rides and Christmas Choirs for the first three weekends of December. Choirs will perform every Saturday and Sunday on the George Street Plaza from noon – 4 p.m. Wagon rides are offered every Saturday and Sunday at William Square from noon – 4 p.m., except Saturday Dec. 9 where rides will be available 11 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.

Taffy Lane

It’s always fun to take a drive or stroll along Taffy Lane in this residential neighbourhood in Orleans. Taffy Lane is famous for the number of homeowners who like to do it up big for the holidays, so much so that it attracts thousands of visitors every year. The narrow residential street can get quite congested in the days leading up to Christmas, but this is a fun and free holiday attraction worth checking out.


  1. Jenifer Zacher-Hollister | 17th Nov 17

    I always appreciate getting info about events and things happening around Ottawa, especially with kids!

    • | 17th Nov 17

      I’m glad you find it helpful!

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