December is one of the richest months when it comes to looking for family activities to do together. Between the holiday and winter events, live shows, one-day-only events, and ongoing exhibits, there is a world of merriment waiting to be discovered in our own back yard.
It’s a busy month for many families already, but we’ve rounded up a few highlights to make it easier for you to pull out your calendars and make some plans. We’ve also included a few links to some of our other posts to help you coordinate all of the activities you want to try and get done this month. Have fun!
Family Activities to do in Ottawa in December
Visit Santa before he heads back to the North Pole
Don’t miss out on these opportunities to see Santa! Malls offer visits with Santa of course (and photos and gorgeous, elaborate sets), but there are many other activities taking place where you can meet Santa in a different setting, all included in our list. In addition, mark the calendar for December 1 and the special Breakfast with Santa event at Place d’Orleans. They’ll be hosting a pancake breakfast (while quantities last) in their new food court.
Check out a museum
This is the time of year when the weather turns colder, and it can be more difficult to get the kids outside to burn off their energy. Instead, pack them up and head to one of the many Ottawa-area museums. You can learn about science at the Museum of Science and Technology, take them to the Daniel Tiger exhibit at the Children’s Museum or the Canada Food and Agriculture Museum to participate in a family gingerbread house competition until December 22. Also, at the National Gallery of Canada, enjoy Family Sundays and, on December 8th, participate in a holiday PJ party between 10 am and 4 pm. Enjoy crafts, learn about snowflakes and meet Santa.
Take in a live performance
Special live musical and theatre performances are taking place across the city this month. From holiday classics like the Nutcracker to Christmas carols, the entire family will find live entertainment a welcome alternative to the usual hustle and bustle of the season. Not sure where to begin? Start by marking your calendars for December 11 and 18th and support Orkidstra at their Holiday Concert! For more shows, read our list with some upcoming performances.
Enjoy Holidays at the Park
Wesley Clover Park invites families on December 8th to enjoy their Holidays in the Park with horse-drawn wagon rides, crafts for kids and more. Meet Zack the Donkey and stay warm in the heated indoor arena. The event is from 12 pm until 4 pm and admission is by donation.
Go to Parliament Hill to see the Christmas lights
There are many ways to see Christmas lights in the Ottawa area, but few are as unique as Christmas Lights Across Canada beginning on December 4. These bright, twinkling lights are being launched at Confederation Park and will be seen up to Parliament Hill. Join in the opening night fun as there will be live music, Beavertails, hot chocolate and the opportunity to interact with sound and light.
Take a Drive to a nearby town
Explore holiday décor, delightful events, and delectable bites to eat just by taking a bit of a drive outside of the Ottawa area. You can head to Wakefield (where you’ll find shopping, great eats and a market), or Almonte to find the perfect gift, stroll the twinkle-light filled street and try to spot where a recent holiday movie was filmed, or head south to Merrickville for their Christmas in Merrickville event on December 7.