By Stefania Moffatt, Contributing Blogger
On a brisk Saturday morning in May, the Moffatt clan packed their car in a suburb of Ottawa and made their way to downtown Ottawa for an exciting staycation at one of the local hotels, the Ottawa Marriott Hotel. Although we weren’t too far from home, we wanted to have a relaxing and fun time, so we chose a local hotel with a pool and two playrooms catering to kids. The hotel was also within walking distance from many of the attractions in our nation’s capital.
On that cool Saturday morning, we dropped our bags off in our room after check-in, grabbed our sweatshirts and headed out to stroll along Sparks Street Mall, which claims to be North America’s Original Pedestrian Mall. We slowly made our way to Paul’s Boat Lines to enjoy an Ottawa River Cruise.
So often we live in a city and don’t take the time to explore. The cruise was a relaxing way to learn about Ottawa’s local history. We also caught a glimpse of some beautiful historical landmarks in the area.
Of course, there is a snack bar on the boat and the children gobbled down chips and chocolate bars while we enjoyed the sights.
Our next destination after the cruise and was a leisurely stroll through the Byward Market as we made our way to Zak’s Diner. Service at the diner was a tad slow for the Saturday lunchtime crowd, but enjoyable nonetheless as a place to eat with family in downtown Ottawa.
With full bellies and the weather growing increasingly hot and sticky, we made our way to Parliament Hill.
When we arrived on Parliament Hill we felt like wilted flowers and needed to lie on the plush grass and rest. This was a good opportunity to people watch and appreciate the beauty of the Parliament buildings.
Once we had re-energized we were ready to tour the Peace Tower. A tour of the Peace Tower is free of charge. Once you arrive, go to the Visitor Welcome Centre at the base of the Peace Tower. All visitors go through security and line-ups are to be expected. We visited on a very hot day in May; we waited in line for about 20 minutes. Fortunately the wait was inside, but it was still hot.
Once our tour of downtown Ottawa was complete we made our way to the hotel playrooms, dinner and then we checked out the pool. The next morning we had a delicious breakfast at Cora’s, which the girls thought was the best place EVER!
I recommend everyone check out what their city has to offer. Taking a day to play tourist and enjoy a staycation in your hometown is fun.
(Sidenote: A night-time activity, which we enjoyed one night during the summer is Mosaika. It’s a beautiful light show on Parliament Hill.)