5 Free Winter Date Ideas in Ottawa

Everyone loves free! Read on to discover our top 5 free winter date ideas in Ottawa to try this season.
datenight - Ottawa Winter Date Ideas

We get it, date night can get expensive! Between dinners at restaurants, going out to the movies, and purchasing tickets for local events, the costs can all add up quickly.

To help slow down the spending without sacrificing on any of the fun, we’ve created a list of 5 free winter date ideas in Ottawa to try this month! 

Located just 15 minutes outside Ottawa’s downtown core, Gatineau Park is the largest green space in the National Capital Region with more than 361 square kilometres of rich and unique biodiversity. It’s the second most-visited park in Canada and for good reason – there’s SO much to explore. From scenic lookouts to gorgeous lakes and cool caves, this is the perfect active winter date idea!

Although some winter activities (cross-country skiing, snow biking, and snowshoeing) have an access fee, winter hiking and walking in Gatineau Park is free! There are 11 kilometres of walking and hiking trails, ranging in level of difficulty.

Location: Chelsea, Quebec

Although we were sad to hear that the iconic Rideau Canal Skateway won’t be opening this winter, there are still lots of local ice skating rinks around to city to enjoy! The Lansdowne Park Skating Court is one of our absolute favourite free winter date ideas – it has a prime location for grabbing post-skate dinner and drinks and there is lots of on-street parking available nearby. 

Grab your skates and your bae for the ultimate rom-com worthy date night!

Location: 1525 Princess Patricia Way, Ottawa

Hours:  Open daily from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. (weather permitting)

If you’re looking to escape the cold, plan a visit to Ottawa’s iconic Parliament Hill! While Centre Block undergoes a decade-long renovation, you can enjoy two new guided tours of other interior spaces: The House of Commons in Parliament Hill’s West Block and the Senate in the Senate of Canada Building (Ottawa’s original train station). 

During your visit, you’ll learn about the building locations, security restrictions, and accessibility information. Both tours are free to the public with multiple time slots each day – book your tickets here to learn more about Canada’s federal government! 

The Ottawa Art Gallery is Ottawa’s municipal art gallery and cultural hub. During your visit, you’ll learn about Ottawa’s artistic past and present, and delve into the world of Indigenous art. The gallery holds local, national, and international art, including The Firestone Collection of Canadian Art (FCCA) – a collection containing approximately 1,600 works by influential Canadian artists. 

Visiting the art gallery is always free and walk-ins are always welcome! 

Location: 50 Mackenzie King Bridge, Ottawa

Hours: Open Sunday, Tuesday & Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Thursday-Saturday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.

5. Free events at the National Arts Centre

The National Arts Centre host tons of free events throughout the year. This March, you can experience an Afro-Caribbean folklore-based dance class, a house dance workshop, a powwow life drawing session, live classical musical concerts, and more! 

Click here to explore the full schedule of free events and activities. 

Need more winter date ideas? We’ve got you covered! Click here for more winter activities in Ottawa.

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