Explore this list of Top Ottawa Photo Spots and capture great photos of one of the most beautiful cities in Canada.As the home base of PIXEO, we’ve put special effort into discovering the most stunning photography locations in Ottawa. From that, we’ve distilled it down to our favorite 10 spots. These gems are just a subset of the 219 captivating photo locations on our Ontario Photo Spots Map. But that’s not all, with the PIXEO App, you’ll find even more places to capture the perfect shot. If you stumble upon an Ottawa gem we’ve missed, upload it and add it to the collection. Discover the photographic beauty of Ottawa and the broader Ontario region with PIXEO!

1. Parliament Buildings

Parliament of Canada by Shawn M Kent

Any guide to Ottawa photo spots must begin with the Parliament buildings and surrounding public spaces. The Parliament buildings exemplify the ideals of gothic revival architecture. Standing prominently on a clifftop overlooking the Ottawa river, the nation’s capital building is majestic from almost any angle. The interior is stunning, featuring cathedral halls, a beautiful wood-panelled library, and vaulted halls of government. Wandering the grounds, the photographer will find spectacular views of the uniquely styled Canadian Museum of History, the termination of the Rideau canal, and vast expanses of lawn.

As a commonwealth country, Canada also maintains several British customs, including a daily changing of the guard from June to August. Every day at 10:00 am, soldiers in red scarlet tunics and bear fur hats march across the Parliamentary lawns in historic military pageantry. The photographic tapestry of soldiers in bright red uniforms against the vivid green of the gardens form perfect colour compliments.

Winter months also offer photography magic as well. Each evening in the lead-up to Christmas, holiday light projections paint the castle-like buildings starting in November. The Parliament buildings are a must-add to the top of any list of Ottawa photo spots. 

2. National War Memorial

National War Memorial - Photo by Faris Shewayhat

Once you finish taking photos of the Parliament buildings, you should head to the National War Memorial a few blocks away. The Canadian National War Memorial and Confederation square where it stands are both fantastic Ottawa photo spots. With the majestic Chateau Laurier nearby, the two landmarks can combine to make quite a compelling scene. We also recommend shooting at night when the tourists are away, and the city’s ambient light is on full display.

The War Memorial was erected in 1939 to commemorate the Canadians who fought in the first world war for Canada. The site is also home to the Canadian Unknown Soldier, and at certain times of the year, you can photograph the honour guard protecting the area and conducting drill manoeuvres.

3. National Gallery of Canada

National Gallery of Canada by Shawn M Kent

A trip through Ottawa photo spots is not complete without shooting the modern architecture of the National Gallery of Canada and its iconic giant spider sculpture. Named Maman, this sculpture is one of seven similar sculptures found around the world. The Ottawa version is among the world’s largest at 30 ft high and 33 ft wide.

The Gallery itself is well worth a tour and the soaring interiors offer almost limitless architectural photography opportunities. The glass-enclosed concourse, in particular, begs to be photographed. The use of flash and tripods inside the exhibits is not permitted, and some do not allow any photography. But the art and photography in its galleries make the visit worth it. You can find the open hours and more information on their website at: https://www.gallery.ca/

4. Notre Dame Cathedral Basilica

Notre-Dame Cathedral Basilica by Dan Fleury

Ottawa’s Basilica is a tapestry of vibrant colours and vaulted arch ceilings. The textures and colours combine to create an interior like no other. This historic landmark was built in 1846 and is Ottawa’s oldest and largest church. Photography is no problem within its walls, but please be respectful and appropriate when shooting this Ottawa Photo Spot. More info can be found on their website here: https://notredameottawa.com/

5. Gatineau Park

MacKenzie King Estate by Shawn M Kent

Once you tire of the bustling tourism and crowds of people in the city, photographers must take a few days at Gatineau Park. While technically not an Ottawa photo spot, the park is only about twenty minutes from the city, and it is enormous. In addition, Gatineau Park is home to many great photo spots and natural wonders hidden within its forested hills. We recommend spending several days hiking its trails and discovering its many gems, such as the MacKenzie King Estate, and numerous waterfalls. Luskville Falls are particularly spectacular in the springtime but require a special trip to visit. Also, be sure not to miss the Carbide Wilson Ruins, a fantastic abandoned old secret laboratory hidden deep within the park.

6. Eagles Nest Lookout

Eagles Nest Lookout by Shawn M Kent

The Eagle’s Nest lookout is the perfect Ottawa photo spot if you’re looking for all the raw and natural beauty Canada offers. About an hour and a half west of the city, this clifftop provides a beautiful scenic expanse of the surrounding area. Photographers will find Eagle’s Nest Lookout halfway along a 2.7 km trail loop with two routes depending on the fitness levels of the hiker. The climb to the top is pretty challenging, so pack some water and good hiking boots. But you will not be disappointed when you get to this fantastic Ottawa photo spot.

7. St Raphael's Ruins

St Raphaels Ruins - Photo by Shawn M. Kent

Another Ottawa Photography location that is about an hour and a half outside the city is St Raphael’s ruins. The Church of St. Raphael burned to the ground in 1970, leaving the exposed stone shell of the church. After its destruction, the parishioners chose to build a more modern church nearby and preserve the ruins. The ruins now give a sense of the scale of the church and include the disfigured and partially melted bell from the clock tower. The whole site is quite moving and a pleasure to photograph. As well, across the street can be found what remains of the College of Iona, a former seminary that itself is an excellent abandoned photography location.

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8. Canadian Museum of Nature

Canadian Museum of Nature by Shawn M Kent

The Canadian Museum of Nature is housed in a historic building in downtown Ottawa. The museum is well known in the city for its unique blend of old and new architectural styles, particularly the stunning glass-enclosed atrium at the front of the building. The museum features a number of beautiful nature exhibits including insects, dinosaurs and more. But the building and the grounds make it one of the best Ottawa photo spots in the city.

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9. ByWard Market

ByWard Market Square by Shawn M Kent

The ByWard Market is a fantastic place for taking photos day or night. Covering roughly four blocks the area is a commercial hub of the city. Many period-style buildings and a bustling marketplace atmosphere make it one of Ottawa’s best places to explore with a camera. Street photography and night photography are fantastic here as it is a popular place for tourists and is one of the main nightlife destinations in Ottawa. Learn more about the Byward Market on their website here: https://www.byward-market.com/

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10. Hog's Back Falls

Hogs Back Falls-Photo by Shawn M. Kent

Officially called the Prince of Wales Falls, Hog’s Back Falls is a series of artificial falls in the heart of Ottawa. The falls are a great Ottawa Photo spot, especially in the autumn months when the leaves begin to turn. Hog’s Back Falls is one of the main waterfalls to explore in the city, but there are also several other great waterfalls on the outskirts of the city.

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Explore More Ottawa Photo Spots with the PIXEO App

In conclusion, Ottawa, Canada’s capital, boasts an impressive array of photographic opportunities. With its rich history reflected in landmarks such as the Parliament Hill, the stunning natural beauty of Gatineau Park, the vibrant culture of ByWard Market, and the tranquil Rideau Canal, our highlighted top ten locations are just the start of your photographic journey in this dynamic city. To truly embrace Ottawa’s diverse scenery and hidden gems, we recommend downloading the PIXEO app. We have hundreds of photo spots around this city. This will allow you to navigate the city with ease and find hundreds more awe-inspiring locations to ignite your creativity. Begin your photographic exploration by downloading the PIXEO’s app today. Embark on this exciting journey in Ottawa and let your lens capture the city’s magic. Happy shooting!

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