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21 Best Places to Watch the Sunset Ottawa Style

The Canadian capital of Ottawa, located on the banks of the Ottawa River in southeastern Ontario, is probably not the first place that pops into your mind when you hear the word “sunset.”

Ottawa is usually known for its record-breaking ice skating rink, the Canadian History Museum, international music festivals, and booming gastronomy scene, and many other fun activities.

This vibrant city is, however, blessed with some of the most beautiful sunsets all year round. You can view them from one of the many exciting restaurants in Ottawa, beaches, and hidden gems found all over the city.

sunset ottawa

21 Places to Watch the Sunset Ottawa Style

If you are planning on traveling to Ottawa anytime soon, watching the sunset over this friendly city should definitely be on your bucket list.

Here are 21 of the best places to catch a stunning sunset in Ottawa.

1.    Dows Lake

Catch the last bit of sun along one of the bike paths as the sunsets over Dows Lake. You can also enjoy the sunset from the patios at one of the restaurants at the Dows Lake Pavilion.

dows lake ottawa sunset
dows lake ottawa

2.    The Arboretum

The Arboretum is considered to be Ottawa’s equivalent of New York’s Central Park. You can enjoy the sunset across from Dows Lake in the Arboretum, where you can enjoy a sunset picnic and sprawling views of the garden.

arboretum ottawa
arboretum ottawa

3.    Major’s Hill Park 

Major’s Hill Park never disappoints when it comes to outstanding views. Enjoy a picnic in the park or grab a seat outdoors at the popular Tavern on the Hill. Savor a drink and a gourmet hotdog, while you watch the sunset over the Ottawa River. Be sure to arrive early as this place is a favorite with both locals and tourists.

Majors Hill Park
Majors Hill Park

4.    Britannia Beach

Britannia Beach is a favorite amongst locals to catch the sunset at the end of a busy day. This large beach has plenty of room for sunset lovers. Grab an ice cream or beverage and enjoy a leisurely stroll along the beach as the sunsets.

britannia beach ottawa
britannia beach

5.    Andrew Haydon Park

Along the Ottawa River lies the Andrew Haydon Park, a family-friendly waterfront green space with bike paths, ponds, trees, a windmill, and picnic tables. Take an evening stroll or relax on the grass as you watch the sky turn into a vivid painting.

andrew haydon park
andrew haydon park

6.    Rideau Canal

Wherever you may find yourself on this scenic waterway, you are guaranteed to see a stunning sunset in Ottawa. You can watch the sunset from a kayak, canal cruise, or from one of the bridges that stretch over the Rideau Canal.


7.    Andaz Ottawa ByWard Market

This is without a doubt one of the best places to watch the sunset in Ottawa. Head over to the Copper Spirits Rooftop Bar on the 16th floor, where you can sip on a cocktail and relish panoramic views of downtown Ottawa.

The Andaz Hotel

8.    Bate Island

Located along the Ottawa River, Bate Island is a popular kayaking and fishing spot that also has tons of lovely picnic areas, where you can enjoy the sunset and spectacular view of Ottawa’s skyline. Beware, though, the island is home to Canadian geese. So, it’s best to be cautious if you’ve got children.

Bate Island ottawa
Bate Island

9.    Shirley’s Bay

Shirleys Bay is a 4km (2 mile) stretch of beach that leads to the Ottawa River shoreline. It’s the perfect place to watch the sunset by yourself, with your dog, or with your significant other.

shirley's bay
shirley’s bay

10.  Parliament Hill

Parliament Hill, also known as “The Hill” by locals, is home to one of Ottawas’ best-hidden gems, the Summer Pavilion. The pavilion overlooks the Ottawa River, and when golden hour hits, the sky lights up over the river and city skyline. This is a must-visit if you’re in Ottawa.

Parliament Hill in Ottawa

11.                  Remic Rapids Park

The Remic Rapids Park is situated on the shore of the Ottawa River and offers the best unobstructed views of the sunset over the nearby Gatineau Hills on the Quebec side of the Ottawa River. Not only is it great for watching the sun go down, but it is also a great picnic and kayaking spot.

remic rapids
remic rapids

12.                  Ottawa Locks

Situated along the Rideau Canal, this is one of the best places to catch the golden hour as you’ll see the vivid colors of the sunset dance along the waterway. The locks provide the perfect location for some great pictures to remember your time in Canada.

Sunset over the Ottawa River and locks

13.                  Champlain Lookout Point

If you’re keen to do a bit of hiking, take a trek up to the Champlain Lookout Point in Gatineau Park, and you surely won’t be disappointed. This location overlooks the Ottawa Valley. And while the view is pretty impressive during the day, it becomes even more impressive at golden hour as the sun sets over the valley.

Champlain Lookout Point
Champlain Lookout Point

14.                  The Rockcliffe Park

The Rockcliffe Park lookout point is an urban greenspace that runs along the Ottawa River, in one of the most historic neighborhoods in Ottawa. The park offers great, unobstructed views across the Ottawa River, the city, and the surrounding hills of Gatineau – which are extra special at sunset.

McKay Lake Rockcliffe
McKay Lake Rockcliffe

15.                  Westboro Beach

Just north of the Westboro Village, Westboro Beach is the perfect place to have a sunset picnic, stroll along the beach, or hang out at Westboro Beach Cafe with friends as you watch the sunset.

Westboro Beach sunset
Westboro Beach sunset

16.                  Nepean Point

Nepean Point is a small hill with the best panoramic views of Ottawa. The hill overlooks the Ottawa River, Samuel de Champlain Statue, Parliament, Downtown Ottawa, and Gatineau Hills. Located behind the National Gallery of Canada and Alexandra Bridge, it is one of the best places to watch the sunset.

Nepean Point
Nepean Point

17.                  The Mackenzie King Bridge

This Unesco World Heritage site runs over the Rideau Canal. It’s a great place to catch the sunset, and from here, you’ll be able to see the honey hues reflected off the glass of the Shaw Centre. It’s a convention space which is shaped like a tulip on its side, a true reflection of art itself.

Mackenzie King Bridge
Mackenzie King Bridge

18.                  Gatineau Park

Gatineau Park is home to some spectacular lookout points such as Champlain Lookout, Pink Lake, and Meech Lake. These beautiful spaces overlook the Ottawa Valley and are pretty spectacular locations for watching the sun disappear over Ottawa.

Gatineau Park
Gatineau Park

19.                  Corktown Foot Bridge

The Corktown Foot Bridge, also known as the Somerset Foot Bridge, crosses the Rideau Canal at Somerset Street. Lovebirds place padlocks with their names over the bridge’s rails, making this a super romantic place to hold hands and watch the sunset over the canal with your significant other.

One of the instagrammable things to do in Ottawa – the lock bridge on the Rideau Canal

20.                  The Canadian History Museum

This may seem like an unlikely spot to bid the day farewell, but the Canadian History Museum is actually one of the best places to watch the sunset in Ottawa.

The Canadian National History Museum seen from the other side of the Ottawa River

Cross the Alexandra Bridge and head over to the museum. Find a grassy patch where you can set out a blanket with some snacks and get ready for an array of bursting colors as you watch the sunset. 

21.                  Petrie Island

Petrie Island is the furthest of Ottawa’s four public beaches and is about 30 minutes from downtown Ottawa. While it may be a bit further out, it’s a great spot to watch the sun’s colors mirrored on the Ottawa River at golden hour.

petrie island sunset ottawa
petrie island

Check Out the Sunsets in Ottawa

While Ottawa may not be the first place that pops into your mind when you’re thinking of places to watch the sunset.

However,  there’s no denying that the city has got some pretty fabulous spots to hang out and watch golden hour.

From beaches and hills, to canals and museums, there’s a spot for everyone. Singletons, families, and romantics are spoiled with stunning views that Ottawa provides after a long day.

I covered all of the costs associated with writing this article. However, this sunset Ottawa post includes affiliate links. That means if you click through and end up making a purchase I will receive a small commission. I wanted to make sure you were aware of this.

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