What To Do During Winter Break with Kids in Ottawa

HolidaysFamily Fun
Photo courtesy Wesley Clover Park

Once all the holiday festivities are over you can all be left feeling a little flat—and yet there are still 12 days of winter break after Christmas before kids go back to school!

Take a look at these fun winter break activities for kids in Ottawa to fill the time with interesting days out and stave off the winter blahs before a brand-new year begins.

Wesley Clover Parks Magic of Lights Show

This drive-through light show features a million LED lights and is open until January 5. You’ll make your way slowly around the 2 km route where you’ll see dazzling light displays, some of which are animated. It’s a great pre-bedtime treat to get everyone bundled up in the car and take a ride through the 200-foot light tunnel which feels like you have blasted off in a rocket through space!

Ottawa Farmers’ Market

At the Aberdeen Pavilion at Lansdowne Park, every weekend in December you’ll find more than 120 vendors selling gifts, treats and food products fit for the season as well as the chance to enjoy horse and wagon rides and listen to live music. For a donation, you can get a balloon creation made for the kids in the shape of their favourite animal, princess, or superhero.

The Haunted Walk – Nightmare Before/After X-mas

Older kids will enjoy taking a slightly spooky look at Christmas on this tour by the Haunted Walks company. On select dates throughout December and January, you will be led around the Bytown museum, one of the most haunted places in the whole city! You’ll also hear frightening seasonal traditions from around the world and ghostly tales featuring our own local history.

Christmas Lights Across Canada

Get into the magic of the season by seeing the downtown core all lit up with thousands of lights from early December to early January. Stop by Parliament Hill to see the light show projected onto the historic building which plays in a loop from 5.30 pm until late.

Music of Star Wars Show

If you feel like getting out of the house but the weather is making outdoor activities unappealing head to the theatre for this show by the Ottawa Pops Orchestra, featuring selections from John Williams’ epic Star Wars soundtrack at the Meridian Centrepoint Theatre (December 21–23). Or check out the other shows on offer including The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe (December 19–23) and give your children a taste of live theatre and music.

Rideau Canal Skateway

The ice quality and opening times of the frozen canal depend, of course, on the weather but you can usually expect to be able to skate on the world’s largest ice rink sometimes over the winter break. You can bring your own skates or hire some at one of the huts before covering as much of the 7.8 km as you can handle. Don’t forget to grab a Beaver Tail to share on the way home.

Rink of Dreams

Get out of the house and give all those new toys a break by getting some fresh air and exercise. While you have your skates at the ready why not go for a spin around the Rink of Dreams? Open daily from 6 am to 11 pm at Ottawa’s downtown City Hall this rink has a heated changing area, so little ones will stay warm while they wait for their turn on the ice.

Christmas Craft-ernoons at the Bytown Museum

On Saturdays and Sundays until December 23rd kids can learn all about what Christmas long ago was like and the different ways it was celebrated while they make a craft. They will be instructed on how to make their very own Christmas crackers which you can use around the table on the big day.


Once all the festivities are over you may well want to get outside and work off all of that holiday food by taking part in some winter sports. Take the kids snowshoeing, cross-country skiing or for real thrills find one of the city’s many tobogganing hills and have fun!

We recommend Bruce Pit, Conroy Pit, or Green’s Creek.

Monkey Around

If you have to get back to work or just need a break, book the kids into an organized winter break camp at an indoor play centre like Monkey Around. Then you can be sure that they are safe and entertained while you try and get everything back to normal before a whole new year begins!

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