Downtown Ottawa at Night

Explore the Best Things to Do in Ottawa at Night

Wondering what to do in Ottawa when the night rolls in? Skip the guesswork. Our guide reveals the city’s prime evening spots, from quiet moonlit museums to electric live music scenes. Get ready to experience the capital’s diversity after dark with our list of things to do in Ottawa at night, without the fluff.

Discover Downtown Ottawa After Dark

Downtown Ottawa at Night

Downtown Ottawa morphs into a vibrant center of nighttime activity as twilight blankets the city. The glimmering lights of the Ottawa River reflect the capital’s vibrant energy, while the historical grandeur of Parliament Hill casts a majestic silhouette against the night sky.

Ottawa’s downtown core, a stone’s throw away from the bustling city of Gatineau, Quebec, becomes the perfect playground for an unforgettable night. Downtown Ottawa, which is synonymous with Ottawa’s downtown core, has a myriad of experiences to offer, whether you seek a tranquil evening or an adventurous night out.

Stroll Through ByWard Market

At the heart of Ottawa’s downtown core, a short walk from Parliament Hill and City Hall, lies the ByWard Market. By day, it’s a charming farmer’s market, but as the sun sets, the area becomes electrified with life. The market’s transition into a lively nightlife spot is most palpable during the warm summer months, where locals and visitors alike are drawn to the vibrant atmosphere. The streets buzz with energy, inviting you to indulge in bar hopping extravaganzas or simply enjoy the cool evening air as you wander amidst the historic architecture.

Venture deeper into the market, and you’ll find Social Cocktail & Lounge and Copper Spirits and Sights, where panoramic rooftop views offer a new perspective on the city’s beauty. But the ByWard Market isn’t just for nocturnal revelers; it’s a cultural mosaic of restaurants, art galleries, and retailers, providing an enriching experience that captures the essence of Ottawa at night.

Easily accessible and close to the captivating Rideau Canal Skateway, the market caters to all preferences, from animated tours to peaceful evening strolls.

Unwind at Andaz Hotel’s Rooftop Patio

Following your exploration of the vibrant ByWard Market, enhance your evening by relaxing at the stylish rooftop patio of the Andaz Hotel. As you step onto the outdoor patio, the urban landscape of Ottawa unfolds beneath you. The patio becomes a serene escape, where the day’s hustle is replaced by tranquil sunset views that paint the sky in hues of orange and purple.

It’s a place where time slows down, and the gentle evening breeze invites you to relax and savor the moment.

Late-Night Bites on Elgin Street

Elgin Street takes center stage when it comes to showcasing Ottawa’s culinary diversity in the late hours. Renowned for its array of dining establishments, this street caters to the late-night cravings that follow an evening of downtown exploration. Perhaps you’ll find yourself at:

  • The Elgin Street Diner, an iconic 24/7 spot known for its all-day breakfast and quintessential diner fare

  • The Fry, serving Korean fried chicken until the clock strikes midnight

  • Union Local 613, dishing out Southern-style cuisine until the wee hours

And for those who wish to combine a fun night of dining with entertainment, LIVE! on Elgin beckons with its karaoke nights, where meals and melodies create a harmony only found in Ottawa’s downtown core.

Nighttime Entertainment Extravaganza

The curtain rises on Ottawa’s entertainment scene as night falls, revealing a stage set for an extravaganza of laughter, music, and live performances. The city presents a robust calendar filled with engaging activities, perfect for a lively night out with friends or a solo escapade. From catching a Broadway show at the National Arts Centre to singing your heart out on karaoke night, there’s no shortage of night-time entertainment in Ottawa, ensuring that every Friday night is as unique as the last.

Let’s step into the spotlight and discover where the night can take us.

Catch a Show at the National Arts Centre

Located in downtown Ottawa’s core, the National Arts Centre illuminates Canadian art, hosting a myriad of vibrant dance, music, film, and theatre performances. A night at the NAC might whisk you away to the enchanted worlds of international concerts, Broadway shows, or the harmonious strains of an orchestra performance. As the cultural pulse of the city, the venue boasts a diverse program that caters to every artistic temperament, making it a cornerstone of Ottawa’s downtown core.

Before you venture to this temple of the arts, take advantage of the online seating plans to select the perfect spot for your evening rendezvous. Whether you’re drawn to the grandeur of a classical music concert or the raw emotion of a contemporary dance performance, the National Arts Centre’s grand halls await to fill your Ottawa at night experience with awe and inspiration.

Laugh Out Loud at a Comedy Club

Laughter is an integral part of a jovial night out in Ottawa, thanks to the city’s comedy clubs, the custodians of humor. Absolute Comedy stands as a bastion of comedic talent, where local and international comedians light up the stage and leave audiences in stitches. With shows like those featuring Dylan Rhymer and Larry XL, the club’s calendar is brimming with opportunities to laugh until you cry, nearly every night of the week.

For the aspiring comedians, Open Mic Mondays offer a chance to step into the limelight, while Moose McGuire’s Orleans extends the club’s reach, bringing the joy of stand-up to more corners of the city. A night at Absolute Comedy is not just about the laughs; it’s about being part of a community that values the power of a good joke and the camaraderie that comes with shared mirth.

Karaoke Night on Bank Street

Bank Street in Ottawa is the perfect place to indulge if you believe in laughter as the best medicine and singing as the soul’s elixir. Atomic Rooster, a popular bar nestled in the city’s bustling streets, is famous for its exhilarating karaoke nights. Here, the spotlight beckons the brave and the bashful alike to take the stage and belt out their favorite tunes. As the night progresses, the infectious energy of aspiring singers fills the air, creating a vibrant atmosphere that’s hard to resist.

While the stars of karaoke shine, Atomic Rooster ensures that no one goes hungry, with a kitchen serving up delectable dishes until 1:00 AM. Whether you’re there to sing your heart out or simply to cheer on the brave souls gripping the microphone, a karaoke night on Bank Street promises a fun night that resonates long after the music fades.

Explore Ottawa’s Museums by Moonlight

National Arts Centre at Night

Ottawa’s prestigious museums welcome visitors to traverse the corridors of history and art under the moonlit sky as the city lights shimmer. The museums, bastions of Canadian culture, cast a new spell in the evening, offering a tranquil yet thrilling alternative to the usual nightlife.

From the Canadian Museum of Nature to the hallowed halls of the Canadian War Museum, these nocturnal journeys promise an experience that blends education with enchantment, proving that Ottawa’s museums are as much a part of the night as they are of the day.

Evening Tours at the Canadian War Museum

The Canadian War Museum, an architectural marvel in Ottawa’s downtown core, extends its embrace into the evening with tours that traverse the chronicles of bravery and sacrifice. Every Thursday, the museum remains open until 7 p.m., allowing visitors to delve into exhibits such as ‘From the Cold War to the Present’ under the cloak of darkness.

These evening tours offer a profound perspective on Canada’s military history, a silent homage to the nation’s heroes, and a poignant reminder of the peace that blankets Ottawa at night.

Science and Technology Museum After Dark

For those seeking a fun night with a touch of scientific wonder, the Canada Science and Technology Museum presents after-dark workshops and demonstrations that illuminate the marvels of innovation. It’s a place where the curious minds of children and adults alike can engage with interactive exhibits, sparking a passion for the mysteries of the cosmos and the intricacies of technology.

Even as the stars emerge, the museum continues to shine a light on human ingenuity, making it a must-visit destination for anyone intrigued by the power of knowledge and looking for fun things to explore.

Outdoor Adventures Under the Stars

Night Skating on Rideau Canal

The allure of the wild doesn’t diminish with sunset but instead intensifies under Ottawa’s star-studded sky. The city’s proximity to nature’s playground offers thrilling outdoor adventures that merge the fresh air of the great outdoors with the excitement of the night. Whether it’s gliding along the Rideau Canal Skateway or trekking through the trails of Gatineau Park, Ottawa provides an enchanting backdrop for those seeking an adrenaline rush or a quiet retreat in the nocturnal hours.

Skate on the Illuminated Rideau Canal Skateway

Imagine the whimsical experience of skating along the Rideau Canal Skateway, with the soft glow of the city lights and the shimmering moon guiding your path. Open 24 hours during the skating season, the Skateway offers a rare opportunity to indulge in a night-time escapade, where the stark absence of overhead lights is replaced by the ambient glow of Ottawa’s downtown core.

For a safe journey across the glistening ice, it’s wise to carry a small flashlight or headlamp, ensuring that you can fully embrace the nocturnal magic of this iconic Ottawa experience.

Mountain Biking by Night in Gatineau Park

For the thrill-seekers, Gatineau Park becomes an entirely different realm as dusk falls. Its trails invite mountain biking enthusiasts to conquer the terrain under the cover of night, adding an extra layer of excitement to the challenge. With the moonlight casting shadows and the nocturnal sounds of the forest as your soundtrack, mountain biking by night transforms into an exhilarating adventure.

Riding through Gatineau Park’s natural splendor, with every turn and descent, promises an unforgettable experience that amplifies the raw beauty of Ottawa at night.

Casino Nights and Gaming Fun

Ottawa’s casinos exude an irresistible charm of glitz and glamour as the evening progresses. The allure of the game is in full swing at Casino du Lac-Leamy and Rideau Carleton Casino, where the vibrant sounds of slot machines, the clinking of chips, and the murmur of excited patrons create a symphony of night-time entertainment.

Whether you’re there for the thrill of a big win or just to soak in the lively ambiance, a casino night in Ottawa offers the perfect concoction of fun and excitement.

Hit the Slot Machines at Casino du Lac-Leamy

Step into the dazzling world of Casino du Lac-Leamy, where over 1,430 slot machines stand ready for your lucky touch. With a wide variety of games like Crazy Rich Asians™ and Hexbreak3r™, there’s a slot for every player, whether you’re looking to make a conservative bet or chase a life-changing progressive jackpot.

The stakes might start low at just $0.30, but the potential for excitement soars high, making every spin a heart-pounding moment in the vibrant Ottawa night.

Enjoy Table Games at Rideau Carleton Casino

Beyond the bright lights of the slot machines, Rideau Carleton Casino offers a diverse tapestry of table games, from the strategic complexities of Blackjack and Baccarat to the fast-paced excitement of Texas Hold ‘Em. For those feeling particularly lucky, the Blazing 7’s Progressive awaits, promising the chance to win a jackpot that grows with each play.

The casino’s doors are open late, especially on weekends, ensuring that the fun doesn’t have to end until the early hours of the morning. And for newcomers to the world of table games, resources are available to quickly become savvy with the rules and strategies, ensuring a fun night out in Ottawa.

Haunted Walks and Spooky Tales

Ottawa’s historic streets begin to echo with tales of the paranormal as the night deepens and shadows lengthen. For those who dare to venture into the city’s ghostly past, haunted walks offer a spine-tingling alternative to traditional nightlife. These guided tours reveal the chilling stories that lurk behind the facades of familiar landmarks, turning a short walk in downtown Ottawa into an encounter with the other side.

Join us, if you’re brave enough, for a night of spooky tales that will haunt your memories of Ottawa.

Ghosts and Gallows Tour

On the Ghosts and Gallows Tour, Ottawa’s darker history comes to life beneath the flicker of lantern light. As you traverse the streets and alleys, the tales of hangings and hauntings at sites like the Bytown Museum and the ominous Ottawa Jail Hostel chill the night air. This tour isn’t just about the eerie—it’s about storytelling that stirs the imagination and brings the city’s past into the ghostly present.

It’s an experience that offers a different kind of thrill, where the line between history and legend is as thin as a wisp of mist.

Alfresco Drinking and Dining

Ottawa’s alfresco scene buzzes with the clinking of glasses and the sizzle of gourmet dishes beneath the open sky as dusk gives way to a starlit night. The city’s mild summer nights beckon diners to the outdoor patios, where every meal is accompanied by a breath of fresh air and the conviviality of good company.

From the trendy back patios of ByWard Market to the bustling streets of Little Italy, alfresco drinking and dining in Ottawa is an experience that combines the pleasure of fine food with the beauty of the night.

Sip Craft Beers at Lansdowne Park

Amidst the historic charm of Ottawa’s Glebe neighbourhood, Lansdowne Park hosts CRAFT Beer Market, where an impressive array of craft beers awaits. The establishment, with its open architecture and central island bar, is a haven for beer aficionados and novices alike. Here, the world of hops and barley is celebrated year-round, even in the chillier months, thanks to a heated patio that keeps the cold at bay.

Whether you’re in for a quick sip or settling down for a session of tasting and toasting, CRAFT Beer Market is a vibrant part of Ottawa’s downtown core where good brews and great vibes flow freely.

Sunset Terrace at Nordik Spa-Nature

For a more serene evening away from the city’s hustle, the Sunset Terrace at Nordik Spa-Nature offers a peaceful retreat. Tucked away in the tranquil surroundings of Gatineau Park, visitors can bask in the calm of the Gatineau hills as they sip on signature cocktails designed to enhance the relaxation experience.

As the sky transitions from blue to fiery shades of the sunset, the terrace becomes an oasis of stillness where the stresses of the day dissolve into the twilight. It’s an essential stop for those seeking a moment of quiet indulgence in the embrace of nature.

Live Music and Dancing

As the night advances, Ottawa’s rhythm doesn’t dwindle; it merely shifts its tempo. The city’s live music venues beckon, offering a diverse soundscape for every musical taste. From indie rock to blues, from jazz to electronic dance music, Ottawa’s nights are alive with the sound of live bands and the energy of dancing feet.

Whether you’re looking to groove to the beat or simply enjoy the melodies of talented musicians, the capital’s music scene promises a fun night of auditory delight.

Groove at the Rainbow Bistro

The Rainbow Bistro stands as an iconic venue in Ottawa’s music landscape, revered for its intimate setting and eclectic mix of live performances. Renowned for more than just blues, the bistro’s dynamic schedule can have you grooving to rock, indie, and a multitude of other genres. It’s a great spot for music lovers to gather and share their passion, making it a cornerstone of Ottawa’s live music scene.

When the night calls for rhythm and soul, the Rainbow Bistro answers with open doors and tuneful promises.

Dance the Night Away at TD Place

When the urge to dance becomes irresistible, Canadian Tire Centre is the ultimate destination for a night of movement and music. The venue is renowned for its live concerts, showcasing a broad spectrum of artists and genres that keep the city’s nightlife pulsating. With a schedule that varies from week to week, Canadian Tire Centre is a place of discovery where new sounds and experiences await.

Whether it’s a high-energy pop concert or a soulful acoustic set, this premier spot in Ottawa’s downtown core invites you to let loose and dance the night away.


From the atmospheric charm of ByWard Market to the exhilarating mountain biking trails of Gatineau Park, Ottawa at night is a city of endless possibilities. Whether you seek the laughter of a comedy club, the thrill of a haunted walk, or the serenity of a rooftop terrace, the capital’s nightlife caters to every whim and fancy. As you reminisce on the experiences that have colored your nights in Ottawa, remember that each moment spent under its starry skies is a memory in the making, a dazzling story to be told.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does Ottawa have a nightlife?

Yes, Ottawa has a vibrant nightlife with live music venues, nightclubs, cocktail spots, and restaurants open late, offering various ways to experience the city’s nightlife.

How do you spend an evening in Ottawa?

You can spend an evening in Ottawa by visiting attractions such as Funhaven, Rideau Carleton Casino, National Arts Centre, Canadian Museum of Nature, Canadian War Museum, CINÉ+, Lady Dive Tours, and Gray Line to have a fulfilling experience. Enjoy your evening exploring these options!

Are there any venues in Ottawa for live music and dancing?

Yes, Ottawa offers several venues for live music and dancing, such as the Rainbow Bistro and TD Place. Don’t miss out on the vibrant music scene in the city!

Can I enjoy outdoor activities in Ottawa at night?

Yes, you can definitely enjoy outdoor activities in Ottawa at night, such as paddleboarding on the Gatineau River or snowshoeing in Gatineau Park. So, go ahead and make the most of the beautiful evenings in Ottawa!

Where can I find late-night dining options in downtown Ottawa?

You can find late-night dining options in downtown Ottawa, such as along Elgin Street where there are 24/7 eateries and international cuisine spots available into the wee hours. Enjoy your late-night dining experience!


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