A guide to the best holiday events in Ottawa

From sleigh-riding, to Santa visits, we've compiled the best holiday events in Ottawa you can enjoy this season with your loved ones.

Ralf Joneikies
07 Mar

Christmas is the time to enjoy the holidays with your family. And what better way than sleigh riding, craft making and visits to see Santa?

Our team at Ottawa Lookout has created a list of the best holiday events you can enjoy together with your family.

“Join us for a Christmas in the country. Daytime features snowy daytime fun for everyone, farm fresh food, holiday sweets & treats and visits with Santa. Night time features a sound & light show drive through with thousands of lights, following a heart-warming story line.”

Location: Saunders Farm, 7893 Bleeks Road | Munster, ON K0A 3P0

Hours of Operation: Dec. 4-30, 10am-4pm

Attending: Pre-book online, tickets start at $35

What to do: Daytime and night time activities with wagon rides in the snow, Christmas decor for your home, snowy mazes.

“Bundle up for an evening stroll through this picture-perfect postcard setting! Over one million lights adorn the heritage buildings, trees, and fences of Upper Canada Village creating a one-of-a-kind magical backdrop for its annual Alight at Night Festival — a true winter wonderland!”

Location: Upper Canada Village, 13740 County Road 2, Morrisburg. Ont., K0C 1X0

Hours of operation: Friday-Sunday 5-9pm, then nightly Dec. 16-Jan. 1

Attending: Pre-book online, $15 for tickets, children under four years old get in free

What to do: One million lights adorn heritage buildings, romantic horse-drawn carriage rides, hot chocolate and a variety of food and gifts

“Come live the nocturnal odyssey of luminous sparks that awaken during the Canadian winter solstice. Their mission is to add light to winter evenings. The luminous sparks travel across Canada’s multiple landscapes. As they surmount obstacles, they will get help to achieve their important task.”

Location: Parliament Hill

Hours of operation: Dec. 8-Jan. 7, 5:30-11pm, presented in 15-minute loops

Attending: Free

What to do: Watch the light show every night on Parliament Hill.

“At the farm you can see all of our friendly barnyard animals and take a peek into Santa’s workshop, make sure to bring your letters for Santa and drop them in our North Pole Express Mail Box, every letter with a return address will receive a personalized letter directly from the big guy. You can enjoy some hot apple cider and warm up around the fire while listening to Christmas music. This year we are pleased to have the return of our wagon rides (included in your admision) a favorite of everyone.”

Location: The Log Farm 670 Cedarview Rd., Nepean

Hours of operation: Nov. 28-Dec. 23 mostly on weekends, 9am-4pm

Attending: Pre-book tickets online, $11.97 for tickets

What to do: Animal petting farm, mail letters to Santa, check out Santa’s workshop, purchase Christmas trees, wagon rides and try the warm apple cider.

Elgin St Market

“Check off your holiday shopping list early and get in the holiday spirit at the Elgin St Market – Holiday Addition, brought to you by Ottawa Street Markets and the Centretown Community Association. Pick up gifts and decor made by local artisans, prepared foods, and more. Bring the family (even the furry ones) to sip on hot cider and have a visit from the big man himself, Santa!”

Location: Boushey Square, 211-A Waverley St, Ottawa

Hours of operation: Saturday, December 4th from 3pm to 7pm.

Attending: Free

“Magic of Lights is a dazzling, drive-through holiday lights experience featuring favorite holiday scenes and characters of the season using the latest LED technology and digital animations. Experience Magic of Lights from the comfort and safety of your own car as you wind through the sparkling path of Ottawa’s favorite holiday tradition.”

Location: Wesley Clover Parks, 411 Corkstown Rd. Ottawa

Hours of operation: Now until Jan. 8, 5-10pm

Attending: Pre-book tickets online (valid any day), $20 early bird before Dec. 2 then $25 after.

What to do: Holiday lights drive-through experience.

“Surrounded by snow-capped heritage buildings and wooden chalets is the Ottawa Christmas Market presented by TD. Thousands of Christmas lights and decorations twinkle and sparkle to create that festive atmosphere that is accompanied by holiday entertainment, local flavours, and, of course, some holiday shopping!”

Location: Lansdowne Park

Hours: Friday-Sunday, then Dec. 17-22, varies in time but usually 5pm-10pm on weekdays and 10am-10pm on weekends

Attending: No tickets needed, check out the event schedule

What to do: More than 35 local vendors, ongoing musical performances, Santa’s Workshop and many children’s activities

“Explore the postcard-perfect scenery of the 1920s and -30s village on foot as you take in the 30,000+ lights illuminating heritage and true-to-era buildings. Enjoy colourful vignettes highlighting traditions of days gone, see the portable printing press in action, and travel back in time with a festive soundtrack from the interwar years. Continue the fun at home with a take-away cookie decorating kit, hands-on crafts, and a special telegram from Santa.”

Location: Cumberland Heritage Village Museum, 2940 Ch. Old Montréal Rd., Cumberland

Hours: Friday-Sunday Dec. 3-19, 3pm-9:30pm

Attending: Pre-book group tickets online (includes up to six people)

What to do: Photos with Santa, 30,000+ lights display, gingerbread cookie decorating kit and hands-on crafts.

“Hop onto the Jingle Bus for a tour of Bank Street filled with music, festive décor, and fun-filled trivia for a chance to win a holiday dinner package. That’s right, seven days and seven chances to win a free basket of goodies to take home and celebrate with family! ”

Location: Centretown United Church (at Bank and Argyle heading north for pick up; Bank and Argyle for drop off)

Hours: Dec. 13-19, 9am-12pm, 1-3pm, 6-8pm

Attending: Pre-book group tickets online (includes up to six people)

“Enchanted, is a holiday drive-through experience like no other. While making their way through the nostalgic Karters’ Korner’s track, attendees will experience eight holly, jolly, festive scenes for the whole family to enjoy. Enchanted will have no shortage of spectacular special effects, innovative lighting, and fantastical production, but, unlike most other experiences, it will also largely focus on scenery and interaction. With live actors (including Santa), fully built scenes, a mailbox for letters to Santa, and a sense of wonder like no other, Enchanted is set to bring a new level of magic to Ottawa this holiday season. ”

Location: 6336 Fallowfield Rd, Stittsville, ON K2S 1B8

Hours: Dec 1-23, 5pm onwards

Attending: Pre-book group tickets online, $45

“Take a ride through the forest and visit the elves at their village. Play games, sing songs and maybe even meet a surprise visitor from the North Pole. Whether you’re a first time visitor to our heritage-style sugarbush, or you take a ride to our magical Christmas Village every year, you’ll be treated like one of our own! Bring the whole family to Stanley’s for some fun on the farm.”

Location: 2452 York's Corners Rd., Edwards

Hours: Saturday-Sunday, then Dec. 21-23 10am-5pm

Attending: Pre-book group tickets for $120

What to do: One-hour sleigh ride experience, meet the elves and visit Santa.

The Christmas Market at Lansdowne Park features 77+ artisans and farmers, who produce their edible goods and intricate crafts within a 100-km distance from the City of Ottawa. The market showcases the best of this region, with many agricultural, craft, baked goods, personal care products, and prepared food artisans in attendance. Each of our market vendors is committed to providing the freshest local products the season has to offer, including grocery staples such as fruits and vegetables, eggs, fresh bread, dairy, meat, marinades, and preserves!"

Location: Aberdeen Pavilion, 1000 Exhibition Way

Hours: Saturday-Sunday, 9am-3pm until December 19

Attending: Free

What to do: 77+ artisans producing goods and crafts that are from businesses within a 100km radius of Ottawa.

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