Ottawa Neighbourhoods: Where to Live in Ottawa

Ottawa, being the Capital of Canada, is the political hub of the country and offers both suburban areas and beautiful rural landscapes.

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The city of Ottawa is known to be a vibrant, safe and youthful city, containing various and wide ranges of neighbourhoods.

Ottawa provides its residents with excellent access to restaurants, sporting events, many green spaces, and bumping nightlife.

Above all, Ottawa offers all of this at a small cost when compared to many other Canadian cities.

Most of the popular neighbourhoods in Ottawa will be outlined in this article for those with the intent of moving to the capital of Canada.

Note that deciding which part of Ottawa is best for you might take a short time, so you might want to cancel the idea of a long-term commitment until you have made your arrival into Ottawa and seen more of the town.

Life in Ottawa Canada

Find out which neighbourhoods in Canada are cheaper, how far they’re from the downtown core, and who you would possibly find as new neighbours, plus a landmark and hidden gem for every profiled neighbourhood of Ottawa!

NeighbourhoodRent (out of three $$$)Distance from Parliament HillLandmarkHidden GemTypical residents
Downtown$$$0 kmPeace TowerSparks StreetGovernment workers, professionals
Centretown$1.54 kmCanadian Museum of NatureElgin Street DinerGovernment workers, young professionals, students
ByWard Market$$1.05 kmByWard Market SquareSt Brigid’s Centre for the ArtsAffluent young professionals
Lower Town$$1.59 kmNotre Dame Cathedral BasilicaMacDonald Gardens ParkYoung singles
Sandy Hill$1.5 kmUniversity of OttawaStrathcona ParkStudents
Old Ottawa South$$3.5 kmRideau CanalMayfair TheatreProfessors, hipsters
The Glebe$$$2.5 kmLansdowne ParkDow’s LakeYuppies and progressives
Vanier$3.5 kmNational Military Cemetery of the Canadian ForcesSugar FestivalYoung people on a budget
Somerset Street West$1.5 kmChinatown Royal GatewayPlant Recreation CentreBohemians, transients, students
Westboro$$4.9 kmOttawa River ParkwayWestboro BeachQuirky families and professionals
Hintonburg$2.8 kmGreat Canadian Theatre CompanyRemic RapidsArtists, musicians, hipsters
New Edinburgh and Rockcliffe Park$$$2.7 km24 Sussex DriveMcKay LakeLawyers, doctors, politicians
Alta Vista$$5.1 kmBillings Bridge Shopping CentreBillings Estate National Historic SiteFamilies of all ages
Orleans$$17 kmPlace d’Orleans MallPrincess Louise FallsBilingual suburbanites
South Keys and Gloucester$$8.3 kmSouth Keys Shopping CentreConroy PitMiddle-aged parents with kids
Kanata$$19.8 kmCanadian Tire CentreSouth March Highlands Conservation ForestTech workers, government workers
Barrhaven$16.7 kmStrandherd CrossingBarrhaven LegionMature adults with cars
Nepean$$10.1 kmAlgonquin CollegeAndrew Haydon ParkHockey families, immigrants
Gatineau and Hull$1.2 kmCanadian Museum of HistoryPapa (sculpture)Thrifty anglophones and French speakers

Downtown Ottawa

One of the many benefits of settling in Ottawa is the affordability of the cost of living downtown, giving residents quick access to the city’s economic centre, including access to places where people go in order to socialize.

Ottawa’s downtown is dominated by government buildings, and lots of the buildings here are dedicated to government officials.

Other commercial activities are also in vogue in this area and you can find many hotels, apartments, and condominiums.

Living in downtown Ottawa cannot be compared to living in the downtown of a bigger city.

At the close of work for the day, the 100,000 people that work downtown will have headed home, leaving those who are in the mood for culture or excitement having to look to other Ottawa neighbourhoods for a more vibrant scene.

Centretown

Centretown is located Just next to the south of the downtown and is the central hub of Downtown.

Centretown is one of the most important neighbourhoods in Ottawa as it contains a mixture of economic and residential properties, including low- and high-rises, condominiums, townhouse developments, and traditional single-family homes.

The neighbourhood of Centretown is known to be historic and home to several landmarks, including the famous Canadian Museum of Nature.

It offers the best access to the Rideau Canal, the CF Rideau Centre (Ottawa’s biggest mall), and cross-town bus transit, and is within walking distance from the Byward Market. Also, Ottawa’s Gay Village is located in Centretown.

Here you’ll find many restaurants, bars and nightclubs, and in contrast to the downtown it doesn’t completely shut down in the dark.

Centretown is a desirable location for both the young as well as the old, which is why it is a bit costlier than many other neighbourhoods you will find in Ottawa.

ByWard Market and Lower Town

Famous for having the historic Bazaar where any resident can find many of the city’s famous bars and eateries make ByWard Market the centrepiece of downtown Ottawa.

During the day, this place is usually an ideal area for strolling or gabbing some fresh produce from a farmers’ market, however, by night the market takes on a special character, revealing itself to be the nucleus of Ottawa’s nightlife.

A little north of the ByWard Market is the Lower Town, where the joining of French and English cultures is at its most prominent.

Both English and French are heard and spoken interchangeably within this diverse neighbourhood. 

Provided you desire the liberty to maintain an active social life without constantly having to board a taxi home is a priority, this Neighborhood is the perfect fit for you.

Nonetheless, as both of those Ottawa neighbourhoods tend to be sort of rougher and noisier, it’s much more common to see professionals, students, and couples living here than families.

Sandy Hill

Sandy Hill’s proximity to the University of Ottawa has tendered a lot of definition to its character.

Many of its previous residents have relocated to the suburbs and leased their former homes to students, transforming Sandy Hill into what we can refer to as a student ghetto.

However, with the availability of many ethnic restaurants, bars offering student-friendly prices, quick access to the amenities of downtown, and the presence of just about any activity any night of the week, Sandy Hill remains a superb choice for young individuals looking to make the decision of making Ottawa their home.

Old Ottawa South and the Glebe

The Glebe and Old Ottawa South are two of the most prosperous residential areas of Ottawa’s downtown.

Sited within this neighbourhood are colonial-era buildings, extensive parks and gardens, and tree-lined streets, including chic cafes, brunch spots, and organic food shops.

Both neighbourhoods are granted the liberty to enjoy unrestricted access to the Rideau Canal, which is a great place for running or cycling along during warmer months before it transforms into one of the world’s best places to ice skate during the winter.

Individuals who are residents in this neighbourhood are wealthy and well to do, so finding and trying to secure an apartment in this area with a little budget can prove to be difficult.

Due to the proximity to both Carleton University and the University of Ottawa, these two Ottawa neighbourhoods are home to a significant student population, and affordable accommodations are usually found if you’re persistent.

Vanier

Vanier is another important Ottawa neighbourhood that has its grounds on the east bank of the Rideau River.

Historically, it is one of the most francophone areas within the city, the demographics have shifted in recent years and French speakers have reduced thereby no longer comprise a majority population.

The cost of living in Vanier is relatively the least expensive when compared to other neighbourhoods bordering the city’s downtown.

So, for those who are hoping to cut down the budget on cut and still stay near downtown Ottawa, Vanier is worth the consideration.

Somerset Street West

Somerset Street West isn’t as clearly established a neighbourhood as a number of the others on this list, but it could still be an ideal place for newcomers to Ottawa.

Nearly surrounded by Bank Street to the east, Preston Street to west, Somerset to the north and Carling to the south, this area contains both Ottawa’s Chinatown and its Little Italy.

This results to a vibrant community with no inadequacy of quality and affordable places to eat.

Somerset Street West is a densely populated part of Ottawa containing a variety of homeless shelters and fewer green spaces than you would possibly find in other Ottawa neighbourhoods.

Various types of apartments here are less cared for than those in surrounding neighbourhoods, like the Glebe.

While rents could also be a little cheaper, Somerset Street West might still be a far better choice for young individuals than for those trying to find an area to raise children.

Westboro and Hintonburg

To the west of Ottawa, we have Westboro and Hintonburg. Both of those Ottawa neighbourhoods go back to the 19th century and boast of good proximity to the downtown.

Even better, both of those Ottawa neighbourhoods have a reputation for being quirkier and more interesting.

Westboro is more established when compared to Hintonburg. Within the vicinity of this neighbourhood, you will come across beautiful tree-lined streets, excellent schools, bars and restaurants, boutique shops, and spacious, eccentric homes.

You may set your expectation to pay a considerable high amount to reside here in Westboro as it is extremely safe, central, and very desirable.

While Westboro primarily houses wealthy families, Hintonburg in Ottawa is a centre for hipsters.

Once famed for its prostitutes and biker gangs, Hintonburg has, for better or for worse, experienced extensive gentrification over the past ten years more or less.

Today it’s home to artists and musicians, including the Great Canadian Theatre Company. Rents in Hintonburg are cheaper but rising.

New Edinburgh and Rockcliffe Park

Situated back east just across the Rideau River is New Edinburgh and Rockcliffe Park. Located to the north of Vanier, these Ottawa neighbourhoods are extremely affluent and are home to many embassies and consulates, including a number of Ottawa’s wealthiest and influential residents, including the Prime Minister.

Characterized by picturesque mansions and extensive green space, these are quiet Ottawa neighbourhoods that will be out of the worth range for many.

Alta Vista

For those trying to find a quiet, more residential experience, Alta Visa could be an ideal option.

Houses here are a little bit cheaper when put under comparison with the Glebe or Old Ottawa South, but there are still many amenities, including schools and access to bicycle paths.

Located in Alta Vista is two of Ottawa’s hospitals: The Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario and the General Campus of the Ottawa Hospital.

While the available transit system having its routes run through Alta Vista help residents get around, those without cars may find it a bit inconvenient to access the downtown.

Due to this, Alta Vista might also be a better fit for those looking to lay down roots than for those looking to keep a faster pace in life.

Orleans

On the eastern side of Ottawa is Orleans, the neighbourhood on this list that really qualifies as a suburb.

Orleans is a huge and sprawling area of the town containing several subdivisions, residential developments, and high schools, including a major mall. There’s a notable francophone minority in Orleans.

Residents of Orleans enjoy the freedom of quick access to Petrie Island, a parkland containing a beach.

However, let it be noted that life in Orleans is extremely suburban in nature, without much in its way of nightlife, and owning a car is practically a requirement.

South Keys and Gloucester

To the south of Ottawa, we have the neighbourhood of South Keys and the former township of Gloucester.

These areas are clear-cut suburban in nature and have within its vicinity many new residential developments, strip malls, and chain stores.

While possibly lacking the attractiveness of older Ottawa neighbourhoods, they nonetheless remain options for those seeking to have plenty of houses for their dollar.

Kanata, Barrhaven, and Nepean

In recent years Ottawa has expanded its city boundaries and amalgamated a variety of towns that were once independent.

Kanata, Barrhaven and Nepean are three samples of Ottawa neighbourhoods that are no longer referred to as towns in their title and are now generally considered Ottawa suburbs.

These areas are very safe and family-friendly, with the provision of access to malls, schools, doctors, sports facilities, and other useful amenities and services.

They’re still generally cheaper than those closer to the downtown, and therefore the lower cost point means families are usually able to acquire larger accommodations than they might be able to afford elsewhere.

But despite the commute, which may be an hour or more down the Queensway at hasty moments, some houses in these areas can still be quite expensive.

Gatineau and Hull

For a considerably more francophone experience, Gatineau, Quebec could be the place for you.

Rent here is usually less considerate compared to what it is on the Ontario side of the Ottawa River.

Knowledge of French, however, is going to be an asset, as many administrative facilities are available primarily in French.

However, many anglophones do reside here. Fairly, access to Ottawa is easy, with bus systems running regularly throughout the week.

Some venues of attraction for tourists on the Gatineau side include the Museum of History and Gatineau Park.

Gatineau also offers a number of the foremost scenic locales within the Capital Region, including Le Nordique Spa in Chelsea and Wakefield, a gorgeous country with impressive views of Gatineau’s park.

Rents are considerably cheaper than those you’ll find on the Ontario side, but be warned: Quebec’s taxes are above those in Ontario.

Finally

In no particular order, Immigly has listed the neighbourhoods of the capital of Canada, Ottawa.

If you are looking to travel to Canada for vacation, you might want to consider Ottawa as it has a lot of qualifying features that make it a great place for vacation.

The most enticing reason is that as the capital of Canada, it possesses many things within the city that are beautiful, full of creativity, entertaining and free in some instances.

The city of Ottawa also happens to feature as part of the top 10 best places for Canadians who are about to retire to settle in.

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