Ottawa Year-Round

I’ve been living in Ottawa for quite a while now (I moved here when I was 18) and I have to say that as a city to live in, it’s fantastic.  To visit……maybe not so much.  Or rather – there’s plenty to do here, but we don’t really advertize that fact.  Because Ottawa is like an apartment that you finally got the way you like it, so you go out to the parties, but don’t ever throw any at home, because then something would get broken, and you’d just have to clean up after other people, and who wants that trouble?

I’m breaking that rule.
Apart from the museums, and Parliament Hill, what do we have in Ottawa year round?  Other than just hitting up a random bar (not a bad plan) what is there to do to wile away the hours of the evening?  I’ve got just the things…..

Have you ever wanted to party in a  museum, shaped like a castle, and full of bones?  If you’re over 19 (the drinking age in Ontario), one Friday a month the Canadian Museum of Nature hosts “Nature Nocturne” a dance party in the museum itself.  Tickets cost $20; and the museum is easy to get to from downtown (bus routes 1, 5, 7, 14, or walk along the canal).

TimeKode, also on Fridays (the third Friday of every month) features music, turntables and dancing.  

Spins & Needles is great for those of you who craft and love music.  Why not combine the two?  If you don’t have a craft on the go, or didn’t bring one with you, they often provide material for something there.  In the same vein, every Tuesday night, Raw Sugar Cafe hosts Beats and Boards – Djs with a side of board games.  (Alternately, if you’re not here over a Tuesday, hit up Monopolatte – Ottawa’s only board game cafe.)

Barrymore’s Musical Hall has a retro 80s night every Sunday.  Some come dressed in their 80s best, and others come in comfortable shoes.  Show up early to get in the door, the line has been known to snake around the corner.  In the winter, there’s a coat check available.  Last time I was there, they had 80s movies playing (silently) to accompany the music.  Right on!  Hop on the 1, 2 or 7 and hop off at Somerset street.  Walk a half block down and you’re there.

 Shanghai Restaurant on Somerset has karaoke on Friday and Saturday nights with China Doll.  Dog & Pony also has karaoke at various places – always an entertaining show.  I’ve been to O’Briens with friends, although I saved everyone’s ears.

If you’re looking for something less thumpy-thumpy, and more of a laid-back get together, and you’ve got oodles of useless trivia swimming in your brain, come on out to a trivia night at a local pub.  Most locations are within the downtown core and easy to get to.  Bonus if you come to Pints and Quarts (Ps&Qs) on a Sunday night – yours truly is the host.

If you’re looking for something more intellectual, check out The Gladstone, GCTC or Arts Court for local theatre productions.  There’s also the National Arts Centre for larger productions.  The Gladstone has some pretty interesting Art Deco architecture, if you’re looking for some interesting buildings to check out.

If you’ve got your walking shoes with you, you can always hit up Ottawa’s Haunted Walk.  Tours run year round, and will educate on the city’s seedier side with their stories.  Bonus points if you stay in the Ottawa Jail Hostel – it’s rumoured to be haunted!

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