Choosing A Hotel in Ottawa
Quick Summary of Most Popular Areas
Downtown Ottawa: home to Parliament Hill and the Supreme Court of Canada
Byward Market: crawling with activity at all hours from cafes, museums and street markets to restaurants, pubs and clubs
Where to Stay in Ottawa
Ottawa really is a beautiful city, as it should be considering it is the capital city of Canada (and ultimately where all your tax dollars go). The integration of the Rideau Canal (both beautiful and functional in the summer and winter) is scenic and really creates a certain uniqueness and maximization of a waterfront compared to other cities (ahem...Toronto). You can't help but feel a little patriotic when you visit downtown Ottawa to see the historic Parliament Hill. A patriotism we Canadians seem to only let out as a unified voice once every 4 years when our Olympic men's hockey team dominates the rest of the world (except in 2006, but we won't speak of that). Also on that note, if you do plan to visit Ottawa I would highly recommend going for Canada Day. The crowds are absolutely insane, but it's definitely an experience everyone should have at least once in their life.
Home to both the Supreme Court of Canada and one of the Canadian Mint locations, downtown Ottawa is pretty much where the laws and money of Canada are made. The Ottawa Mint really only produces commemorative and collector coins and not high volumes of paper money. So if being in the presence of a lot of hard currency makes your heart pump, go to Winnipeg instead.
While there are not a lot of hotels in Byward Market this hip hangout area (just across the Rideau Canal from downtown) is an entirely walkable four blocks of boutiques, restaurants, outdoor markets, spas, museums and art galleries.
Staying in a hotel near Ottawa airport is a convenient option if you need to quickly get to and from the airport, however be advised that these are not near downtown or Byward Market. If you are in Ottawa for even just a short while and have business in the city it would probably be best to stay in a hotel in downtown Ottawa instead of taking a taxi or public transit in and out of the city everyday.
Things To Do In The Surrounding Area
If jumping to another province sounds exciting (it really isn't, but anyway...) then you're in luck when staying in Ottawa. A short trip across the Alexandra Bridge or King Edward Avenue brings you to nearby Gatineau, home to the Canadian Museum of Civilization, a great place for an educational and family-friendly afternoon. But, why bother, you're probably better off just taking in the awesome atmosphere in Byward Market.