Ottawa Festivals logo
Ottawa, the picturesque capital of Canada, is not only known for its historic landmarks and political significance but also for its vibrant festival scene. The city offers a plethora of family-friendly festivals throughout the year, ensuring that children of all ages can have a blast while making lasting memories. From cultural celebrations to outdoor extravaganzas, Ottawa has something for every family. In this article, we’ll explore some of the best kid-friendly festivals in Ottawa that promise fun and excitement for your little ones.

The Canadian Tulip Festival

Every May, the Canadian Tulip Festival paints Ottawa in a riot of colors, showcasing over a million tulips in bloom. This event is not only a feast for the eyes but also a perfect family outing. Kids will marvel at the stunning displays of flowers while learning about the historical significance of the tulip as a symbol of friendship between Canada and the Netherlands. Be sure to visit the Kids’ Zone, where children can enjoy interactive activities and entertainment tailored just for them.


When winter arrives, Ottawa transforms into a winter wonderland, and the Winterlude festival takes center stage. This frosty celebration, usually held in February, offers an array of family-friendly activities, including ice sculptures, ice skating on the Rideau Canal Skateway (the world’s largest naturally frozen skating rink), and snow slides. Children can participate in snowman-building contests and enjoy piping hot beavertails – a Canadian pastry treat. Bundle up and embrace the magic of a Canadian winter with your little ones!

Canadian Museum of Nature’s Nature Nocturne

For families with older kids who are curious about the natural world, the Nature Nocturne series at the Canadian Museum of Nature is a must-attend event. While not exactly a festival, these monthly late-night events are designed to be kid-friendly and engaging. Families can explore the museum’s exhibits after hours, participate in hands-on activities, and even enjoy a dance party in the museum’s breathtaking atrium. It’s a unique and educational experience that’s sure to spark your child’s interest in science and nature.

The Ottawa Children’s Festival

Designed specifically for young audiences, the Ottawa Children’s Festival is a multi-day extravaganza of theater, music, dance, and more. Held in May, this festival features a wide variety of performances from local and international artists that are sure to captivate the imaginations of children. From puppetry to acrobatics, there’s always something entertaining happening on the festival grounds. Don’t forget to visit the Creative Zone, where kids can participate in hands-on arts and crafts activities.

Canada Day Celebrations

Canada Day, celebrated on July 1st, is a national holiday and one of the biggest festivals in Ottawa. While the entire city comes alive with festivities, Parliament Hill is the epicenter of the action. Families can enjoy live music, impressive fireworks, and a vibrant atmosphere. Be sure to arrive early to secure a good spot, and consider bringing a picnic to enjoy on the grounds. With face painting, entertainment, and a strong sense of patriotism, Canada Day is an unforgettable experience for kids and adults alike.

The Ottawa International Animation Festival

For families with budding animators and film enthusiasts, the Ottawa International Animation Festival is a unique and exciting event. Held in September, this festival showcases the best in animated films from around the world. While it may not be exclusively for kids, it offers a wonderful opportunity to introduce children to the art of animation through screenings of family-friendly films and interactive workshops where they can create their own animations. It’s a perfect blend of entertainment and education for young and old alike.

The Sound and Light Show on Parliament Hill

Although not a traditional festival, the Sound and Light Show on Parliament Hill is a summer tradition in Ottawa that’s perfect for families. Starting in July and running through September, this multimedia show uses dazzling lights and sound to tell the story of Canada and its history. It’s a free event that takes place in the evening, making it an excellent way to end a day of exploration in the city with your kids. Find a comfortable spot on the lawn, sit back, and enjoy this spectacular display of Canadian history.


Ottawa’s kid-friendly festivals offer families an array of experiences that cater to all interests. Whether your children are budding artists, nature enthusiasts, or simply looking for a good time, Ottawa has a festival to ignite their passions and create cherished memories. Plan your visit to this beautiful Canadian city around one of these festivals, and you’re guaranteed to have a fantastic family adventure.