If you're in Ottawa for more than a few days, it's a great chance to visit national museums and galleries or wander through Gatineau Park. A good general source of information on what to do in Ottawa is http://www.ottawatourism.ca/en/visitors/what-to-do.
rob published a guidebook on Ottawa (Ottawa the Unknown City) a few years ago with Arsenal Pulp: http://www.arsenalpulp.com/bookinfo.php?index=273. Neat background to some of the lesser known aspects of Ottawa history and a good teaser to your visit.
Three Gothic Revival-style buildings, located on a 170-foot bluff overlooking the Ottawa River, house the offices of the members of Parliament, the House of Commons and the Senate. Free guided tours delve into Canadian history and explain the workings of the political system.
The famous cat sanctuary for feral cats is behind the Parliament buildings and there are a few great look-off points on the Hill.
Gatineau Park, the Capital’s conservation park, has many unique and diversified ecosystems and heritage features. It covers 36,131 hectares (361 square kilometres) of land and is located where the Canadian Shield meets the St. Lawrence Lowlands and the Ottawa River meets the Gatineau River. Includes the gorgeous and strange Mackenzie King estate with fake ruins.
The National Gallery of Canada is one of the world’s most respected art institutions and is renowned for its exceptional collections: 36,000 works of art, as well as 125,000 images held within the Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography. It makes its home in a grand, light-filled structure of glass and granite, in which visitors can find a cloistered garden courtyard, a glass-bottomed pool, and a reconstructed 19th-century chapel.
With more than 10 million specimens gathered over more than 150 years and covering four billion years of Earth history, the Canadian Museum of Nature keeps one of Canada's most valuable assets: our natural history collections. The Canadian Museum of Nature's 24 major science collections represent Botany, Vertebrates, Invertebrates and the Earth Sciences. Newly renovated with impressive displays of fauna galore.
The Canadian Museum of Civilization (French: Musée canadien des civilisations) is Canada's national museum of human history and the most popular and most-visited museum in Canada. It is located in the Hull sector of Gatineau, Quebec, directly across the Ottawa River from Canada's Parliament Buildings in Ottawa, Ontario. The Museum's primary purpose is to collect, study, preserve, and present material objects that illuminate the human history of Canada and the cultural diversity of its people.
There's a great kids play area full of activities.
Located in the heart of downtown Ottawa, the Bytown Museum explores the stories of an evolving city and its residents from its early days as Bytown to present day Ottawa.
Housed in Ottawa's oldest stone building, the Museum is located at the Rideau Canal locks between Parliament Hill and the Château Laurier—one of the most picturesque sites in the city.
Our friend Michelle Prévost is Artist-in-Residence at the Bytown this year and an exhibit of her work should be on display at the museum around the time of our wedding.