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Ottawa’s Top 15 Alternate Entertainment Options


Travel and Eats  

Dinner and a movie are overrated, especially when there are so many better and more exciting ways to entertain yourself!
If you’re looking for a fun way to spend an afternoon or evening that is a little different, look no further than this list of some of the best alternative entertainment options in Ottawa. From life-sized puzzles and escape rooms to community theater companies to festivals and farms, Ottawa offers a wide array of different entertainment options that are way more engaging and exciting than your typical night at the movie theater.


1.Jigsaw Escape Rooms

Picture Credits: Jigsaw Escape Rooms
Jigsaw Escape Rooms is a life-sized adventure game that is a fun and family-friendly way to spend an afternoon. Spend 45-60 minutes in a high-stakes scenario where you must solve a series of fun, yet challenging puzzles and find the Escape Key before time runs out! Don’t waste another evening or afternoon just watching mysteries and dramas on TV, star in your own adventure in real time and have a blast while doing it. They currently have five fun escape room scenarios to choose from: Try and escape the “Cabin in the Woods,” become a brave knight while making your way through “The Castle,” or become a Crime Scene Investigator in “CSI: The Study.” Jigsaw Escape Rooms is a great way to have an entertaining time out with your friends, loved ones, and teammates while travelling in Ottawa.



2. Putting Edge

Picture Credits: Putting Edge
Forget going to the park or hitting up a movie theater or whatever you normally plan for a free evening or weekend day. It’s time to escape ordinary entertainment and check out something completely different. Putting Edge provides a new and exciting twist on the traditional game of mini-golf. From the moment you enter one of the “Black-lit” courses, you will feel as if you have left the real world and entered a universe full of fun, imagination, and activity.
The entire experience will immerse you in a kaleidoscope of dazzling Glow-in-the-Dark colors, images, and sounds, rocking your senses in unordinary and imaginative ways. The challenging 18-hole mini golf course will transport you from the depths of the ocean to lush rain forests, from medieval times to Aztec jungles. Afterward, check out the interactive, Glow-in-the-Dark arcade! You really have to experience Putting Edge to understand what all the hype is about, but trust us, it’s well deserved. Putting Edge is high energy meets high quality – the ideal entertainment experience for all ages.



3. Murder Mystery Ottawa

Picture Credits: Murder Mystery Ottawa
Get into the story with Murder Mystery Ottawa, Ottawa’s only professional Popcorn Mystery Theatre. Murder Mystery Ottawa is, without a doubt, one of the most entertaining ways to spend an evening in Ottawa. With shows at 8 pm every Saturday night from September to May, Murder Mystery Ottawa is easily the funniest live entertainment in Ottawa. Each season offers two different shows, performed by a hilariously talented cast of over-the-top actors who are sure to get you out of your seat laughing. This interactive comedy theater experience is one for the books, and definitely something that you can’t miss when you are visiting Ottawa. The way the actors include the audience in the production, you won’t feel like you’re attending a play, you’ll feel like you’re in one.



4. Turning Tricks Comedy Magic Show

Turning Tricks Comedy Magic Show
Picture Credits: Turning Tricks Comedy Magic Show
Not every entertainment option in Ottawa can claim to have been called “amazing” by the queen of entertainment, Carrie Underwood herself. But Turning Tricks sure can. (Yes, this is true. And yes, you definitely need to check it out.) Turning Tricks is the only weekly comedy magic show in Ottawa. This amazing and mindblowing show will remind you that magic isn’t just for kids. Starring Michael Bourada, one of Ottawa’s foremost magicians and an award-winning entertainer, the show will have you gasping at mind-bending magic tricks and cackling at endless hilarious jokes. This isn’t just your everyday comedy show – you’ll see stunning magic and mind-blowing mental feats blended with laugh-out-loud moments and endless audience interaction. Check out Turning Tricks when you visit Ottawa to see just exactly what Carrie Underwood was raving about!



5. Saunders Farm

Saunders Farm
Picture Credits: Saunders Farm
Saunders Farm is a working, family-run farm that is one of Canada’s most unique and most eco-friendly attractions. Saunders Farm started off as a small family farm that offered pick-your-own-strawberries for visitors. Over the years, Saunders Farm has evolved to offer several different fun attractions and ways to entertain both yourself and your kids.
Visit in the fall to check out Haunting Season and Fright Fest for some fun and family-friendly Halloween games, a haunted hayride, and a haunted house. Saunders Farm also boasts the largest collection of hedge mazes in the world, as well as wedding facilities, and an industrial kitchen that serves up some delicious Farm Fresh Dinners with ingredients all from local farms. If you are looking to get out of the city for a minute, Saunders Farm is a great way to get outside and explore and offers a wealth of different activities and adventures to entertain visitors of every age.



6. Outdoor Now

Picture Credits: Outdoor Now
If you feel like the hustle and bustle of Ottawa can get to be a bit much, then you definitely need to check out Outdoor Now. There have been many scientific studies that have shown that being outdoors makes us feel at peace and that we are naturally connected to the environment. Outdoor Now specializes in reconnecting you with nature in a way that will allow you to relax and recharge away from the city. Choose from a variety of local and short distance trips/activities/events in Eastern Ontario, Western Quebec, the Laurentians, and the Adirondack region. Get outside, relax, recharge, and enjoy guided activities like hiking, snowshoeing, and canoeing with Outdoor Now.



7. Escape Manor

Picture Credits: Escape Manor
If you’re looking for a great afternoon of entertainment, a fun activity for a birthday party, or a team-building opportunity for your company, look no further than Escape Manor. At Escape Manor, you and your friends/colleagues/guests star in your own themed adventure. As the clock counts down, you use logic and teamwork to find clues, crack codes, solve puzzles, and escape! No matter the occasion, you’ll have a fantastic time and have them something they’ll talk about for weeks! With a wide array of different rooms including Cabin 13, The Asylum, and the Darkness, there is a different escape story for everyone.



8. Proulx Sugar Bush & Berry Farm

Picture Credits: Proulx Sugar Bush & Berry Farm
The Proulx family has owned and operated the Proulx Sugar Bush & Berry Farm in Cumberland since 1920. The beautiful farm offers acres of strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, sweet corn, sugar bush, and pumpkins as well as several seasonal festivals from March through December. Pumpkin Fest, their annual fall festival, is a great family event that offers face painting, corn mazes, wagon rides, and the opportunity to pick your own pumpkin. If you’re visiting Ottawa at a different time of year, you can visit the farm, pet farm animals, or have a delicious homemade brunch served up using the delicious produce grown right there. Proulx Farm is a great day time entertainment option all year round!



9. Altitude Gym

Picture Credits: Altitude gym
Altitude Gym is Ottawa’s top indoor climbing gym. If you’re looking for a fun day time entertainment option that also doubles as a great workout, Altitude Gym is the place for you! The gym offers over 100 routes, 6,000 sq. ft. of bouldering area, a dozen auto-belays for solo climbers, a training room with Moonwall, and an outdoor park with a boulder, training facilities including a Rig from Platinum Rig. And if you’re adventuring with kids, Altitude also offers the Clip ‘N Climb theme park that allows young people and families to become familiar with the first steps in climbing in a playful and colorful environment! No matter what your skill level, whether you’re an absolute beginner or a pro-climber, Altitude has something for you.



10.Evolution Wake Park

Picture Credits: Evolution Wake Park
You don’t need to travel to the beach to catch some waves, just check out Evolution Wave Park instead! Only open for a year, Evolution is the first wakeboard cablepark in Ottawa, but it’s already making waves with adventurers in Ottawa. When you visit Evolution, you know that you’ll have a great time and stay completely safe. Every ride comes with a lesson from a professional instructor. With rentals and safety equipment available, Evolution Wake Park offers absolutely everything you need to have a blast out in the sun.



11.Ottawa Fringe Festival

Ottawa Fringe Festival
Picture Credits: Ottawa Fringe Festival
Ottawa Fringe Festival is one of the most unique festivals in all of Canada. Ottawa Fringe Festival provides all performing artists, both emerging and established, with the opportunity to produce their work, regardless of content, form or style. The mission of the festival is to empower audiences and to encourage artists to take risks, pursue their visions and develop their skills. If you attend the festival, you’ll know your money is going to a great cause because 100% of ticket sales go to the artists. In fact, since 1997, the Ottawa Fringe Festival has returned more than $1.8 million to independent artists. Fringe Festivals trace their roots to Scotland when in 1947 several theatre companies not invited to participate in the first Edinburgh International Festival staged shows on the fringe of official venues, setting up wherever they could find space, finding audiences by word of mouth, and succeeding (or failing) on the strength of their talents alone. You can check out the Fringe Festival every summer in Ottawa – it’s a great experience for art and theater lovers who want to enjoy great live entertainment and support the arts community in Ottawa.



12. The Canadian Tulip Festival

Canadian Tulip festival
Picture Credits: The Canadian Tulip Festival
Whether you’re a flower lover, plant enthusiast, or just appreciate a good springtime festival, the Canadian Tulip Festival is a fun way to spend a beautiful weekend in May. Originally, The Canadian Tulip Festival was established to celebrate the historic Royal gift of tulips from the Dutch to Canadians during the Second World War as a symbol of international friendship. Now, the festival continues as a much-loved springtime tradition. With a wide array of concerts and performances and of course a tulip walking tour, there’s a little something for everyone. The tulip represents friendship, so grab your best friends or family and check out the Canadian Tulip Festival if you happen to be visiting Ottawa this May!



13. Notre Dame Basilica

Picture Credits: Notre-Dame Cathedral
The Notre Dame Cathedral is an absolute must-see on your next visit to Ottawa. The historic building, begun in 1841, is the largest and oldest standing church in the nation’s capital. Whether you’re religious or not, this stunning building is well worth a visit. It is both the gathering place of a lively community of believers and a splendid example of Canadian religious art. The interior is a breathtaking display of impressive stone archways, religious art, Gothic architecture, and gem-like stained glass windows. Join for worship on Sundays and weekdays (if that strikes your fancy), or drop in for a moment or two of quiet prayer/meditation/reflection.



14. Sakura Gaming Ottawa

Picture Credits: Sakura Gaming Ottawa
Get your geek on at Sakura Gaming Centre. This new-concept, high tech PC gaming centre offers a huge array of the most popular and competitive games. Whether you’re a novice gamer or an ongoing veteran, you will find the absolute best multiplayer action games. Sakura Gaming Centre is a PC gaming facility that is designed to bring the best PC gaming experience all levels of Gamers. Settle in and get comfy, this fun and social take on gaming also offer snacks, drinks, and other refreshments – everything you need! If you’re a big gamer or just want to see what all the hype is about, Sakura Gaming is a fun and unique entertainment option for visitors and Ottawa locals alike.



15. Kanata Theatre

Picture Credits: Kanata Theatre
If you appreciate theater or just want to support local artists, seeing a play at Kanata Theater is a fun way to spend an evening and your ticket sales go directly to supporting the theater itself, which is a registered charity. The Kanata Theatre is an all-volunteer amateur community theatre company. Founded in 1968 as a play reading group in a sleepy bedroom community, the theater now has about 250 members and put on five main-stage plays and a children’s holiday play each year. The Kanata Theater is housed in the Ron Maslin Playhouse, a 350-seat theatre with a workshop behind the stage, a large rehearsal hall, green room, and large foyer. When you see a play at Kanata Theater, the talented actors bring the story to life, truly embodying the love and passion, despair and anguish, betrayal and excitement of their characters. Enjoy a wonderful evening of entertainment and join a thriving community of theater lovers and arts supporters when you see a play at the Kanata Theater.

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About the Author: Annie Albrecht

Annie Albrecht is a freelance writer, editor, and content marketing strategist from Austin, TX. Currently based in Madrid, she spends most of her time trotting around Europe, hiking mountains, and facetiming her dog while sipping a glass of red wine. Besides travel, Annie loves discovering new music, lively political discussions, and being outside.

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