It is here! The holiday season is upon us in Canada’s capital region! With the snow already falling, it already looks a lot like Christmas. Would you like for your family to get into the spirit of the festive season? Have this list of 15 Family Holiday Events and Activities in Ottawa to plan some holiday fun with your loved ones and visitors!
15 FAMILY HOLIDAY EVENTS AND ACTIVITIES IN OTTAWA
Please take note that you will need to register and pay ahead of time to participate in many of these Christmas activities and events.
INDOORS FAMILY HOLIDAY EVENTS AND ACTIVITIES IN OTTAWA
1. NAC Holiday Programming
The NAC is the place to be to jump into the holiday season with your family. Beautiful holiday performances from beloved holiday stories will be showing for families to enjoy together.
December 10, 11, 17 and 18 with pickup times available between 10 am and 3 pm.
Treat yourself to our traditional Christmas Tea in the comfort of your home. Our popular Takeaway Tea boxes return this December with a festive twist. Each single serving box includes delicious seasonal finger sandwiches, a scone with jam and butter, mini desserts, and refreshment of choice: tea (several varieties available), coffee, or hot chocolate. All menu items are prepared or baked in-house with fresh ingredients.
Saturday, December 3 and 10 from 10 am to 3 pm.
Hop in a time machine and join us for a very vintage Christmas celebration at Nepean Museum! Wear your coziest PJs and join us around the tree for storytelling. Play with throwback toys from the 1970s and beyond, explore the exhibitions gallery on a scavenger hunt, craft a Christmas card with handmade paper and linocut blocks (you can even add some extra sparkle with LED lights), make and decorate your own salt dough ornament, and more!
4. Pet Nights With Santa – Place D’Orléans
Capture Santa photos with your pets! Pet Nights with Santa are on Monday, November 28th and Monday, December 5th between 5pm and 7pm. Booking in advance is required for Pet Nights.
5. Santa Sightings
Nothing tops off the holiday season like a visit to to the big man in red. Kids big and small are able to make sure Santa has their wish list just right. Visits are usually by appointment.
OUTDOORS FAMILY HOLIDAY EVENTS AND ACTIVITIES IN OTTAWA
6. MAGIC OF LIGHTS, WESLEY CLOVER PARK
Hop in the car and take in the wonder at Wesley Clover Park at Magic of Lights! It is a drive-through holiday light display made up of nearly one million LED lights. This display is spread out over two kilometres. Magic of Lights includes a 200-foot light tunnels and towering LED displays of beloved winter characters. Select proceeds from each carload admission benefit the Ottawa Senator’s Foundation.
7. Winter LIGHTS ACROSS CANADA, PARLIAMENT HILL
A projected winter landscapes show. Carolling and hot chocolate. Oh, and the lights! This is what visitors to Winter Lights Across Canada will experience when they take in this family favourite event on their December 8th illumination ceremony. The streets and several monuments in downtown Ottawa will be lit up with lights. All eyes will be on Centre Block as the whimsical Winter Landscapes show plays in the dark.
8. A Country Christmas Holiday Light, Saunders Farm
A Country Christmas Drive-Through experience through our beautiful 180-year-old family Farm and forest. Join Mazey, our young sapling, along the route as she explores the Farm in search of her own Christmas star.
9. Country Christmas Days, Saunders Farm
At the Country Christmas Days, there are lots of outdoor open air attractions, including pre-cut Christmas trees, hedge mazes, wagon rides, Christmas displays, our amazing Farm Shop and our new local vendor market featuring 20 incredible local vendors! They will be serving seasonal foods and lots of treats!
10. Lights At Lansdowne, TD Place
This free festive experience, including the presence of the largest Christmas tree in Ottawa at the Lights at Lansdowne. An impressive canopy of lights in and around Casino Lac-Leamy Plaza and other Instagrammable elements.
This season, the Cumberland Heritage Village Museum has adapted their Vintage Village of Lights. Relax and enjoy the festive scenery from your vehicle as you pass through a 1920s and 30s village illuminated by over 30,000 lights. Colourful vignettes will highlight Christmas traditions from the interwar years while an old-fashioned radio program will bring the sounds of the season to you. You may even spot Santa hard at work preparing for the big night along the way! As an added festive treat, each household will receive a goody bag to continue the celebration at home.
12. Christmas at The Farm, The Log Farm
There are lots of animals to see, touch and feed at the Christmas Down on the Farm. With lots of open space it makes it easy to be able to social distance and enjoy your visit. Check out Santa’s workshop and drop off your letters to Santa. Take a peak into how the pioneers would have celebrated Christmas. Enjoy Christmas music and a bonfire. Stop by the kids play barn: play in the favourite sensory corn table and let their imagination take over at the little farmers market stand and mechanics table. Climb on the hay piles we have a large and a small one. You can even pick up your Christmas tree from their pre- cut selection at our visitor centre.
13. Sleigh Rides
Go dashing through the snow with your family by going on a sleigh ride! Find the sleigh ride location that is closer to you too get going on this fun outdoor adventure.
Family Holiday Activities And Events Outside of Ottawa (Worth the Drive)
14. Stanley’s Christmas Village, Stanley’s Olde Maple Lane Farm
Once you arrive at the Stanley’s Christmas Village, you will be greeted by a Christmas Elf at the loading area. The tractor drawn sleigh ride will then whisk you away through the forest, to the Christmas Village. Explore the village and play games, sing songs, and warm up by the bonfire. Hop back on the sleigh for a ride through the bush passing by our rows of Christmas trees. Finish off at The Tent to meet the big man himself, Santa Claus, for a physically distanced visit.
Have your camera and smartphones ready to take your own pictures! Then grab a cup of hot chocolate, a delicious maple cookie and a special gift from your new Elf friend. This fully outdoors activity is 1 hour long.
15. Align At Night, Upper Canada Village
Bundle up for an evening stroll through this picture-perfect postcard setting! Over one million lights adorn the heritage buildings, trees, and fences of Upper Canada Village creating a one-of-a-kind magical backdrop for its annual Alight at Night Festival – a true winter wonderland!
Whether it is indoor excitement or outdoor enchantment you want to experience with your family, this list of 15 Family Holiday Fun Events and Activities around Ottawa will help to bring the holly jolly of the season to the whole family. No matter how you celebrate the holiday season, we hope you have a very merry one with your loved ones!
What is your family’s favourite way to bring in the holiday season? Comment below!
Revised November 20th, 2022.