Ottawa is a city that wants to be nice, beautiful and funny, and in a country like Canada that means a huge range of leisure and dining, designed not actually for tourists, but for Ottawans, and ByWard Market area is its greatest exponent and candidate to the list of “cool” neighborhoods in the world.
Located in Lower Town, east of the business district. The building of the current market is the 5th built in the same location. What it was in the early 19th century little more than crummy area is currently the best place to stay, eat, drink, party and go shopping natural and typical Canadian products. The old market opens from 6 am to 6 pm, has inside and street stands (up to 260 in summer), that sell mostly food, but also other products such as clothing and souvenirs.
Its lateral sides have been renovated to house all kinds of restaurants, most of them modern or retro-vintage, as it is now trendy; no matter which one you choose, any of them has some charm.
The more the day goes on, the market turns from being a place to eat, to a place to have a drink. But not only the market itself; all surrounding streets have the same style, motivated by the need of more places to eat or drink when the market became too small. The result is a bohemian and quiet neighborhood at the same time, the typical “cool” neighborhood every major city currently long for.
It is also an area where plenty of accommodation is, especially backpacker hostels, which is logical given the large number of bars in the area. I was in Ottawa Backpackers Inn, I rated it 8 (now the review is 8.2, its best rate is location).
OTHER LOCATIONS TO EAT AND STAY
- Centretown. Also very good choice of restaurants, although aesthetically lacks the charm of ByWard Market. If you choose your accommodation in this area, it should be as northeast as possible to be closer to the points of interest.
- Although there is a Chinatown and a Little Italy, also together as in New York City, no one be fooled; those are residential areas without any interest at all to a visitor.