What are the best Ottawa neighbourhoods? What is the best place to live in Ottawa for young singles or young families? Where to live in Ottawa depends on your preferences and particular needs. We outline the various Ottawa neighbourhoods and suburbs for newcomers to the city.
This section offers a brief description of the different neighbourhoods of Ottawa, aimed at giving you an idea as to where to live in Ottawa. This decision may take a while, so you may consider not committing to a long-term location until you have arrived in Ottawa and seen more of the city. There is a steady flow of rented accommodation in Ottawa.
Ottawa is a vibrant and youthful city, offering a diverse and eclectic mix of neighbourhoods, each steeped in history and culture.
Learn more about Ottawa neighbourhoods, culture, and settlement across our other guides and resources:
- Living in Ottawa
- About Ottawa
- Things to do in Ottawa
- Sport and recreation in Ottawa
- New to Ottawa Facebook community
One of the main advantages of living in Ottawa is the relative affordability of living downtown, with easy access to the downtown core and the main social quarters. Ottawa’s downtown is the centre of Canada’s government, and many of the main high-rises are devoted to the civil service and other businesses associated with this. Nevertheless, downtown offers almost every amenity and a plethora of beautiful restaurants and pubs. The centrepiece of downtown Ottawa is the Byward Market, where one finds many of the bars and eateries that make the city famous. Should you wish to have an active social life without having to take a taxi home, this may be the perfect Ottawa neighbourhood for you.
The mixture of French and English cultures is at its most prominent in Lowertown, the traditional French-Canadian area where French and English are heard and spoken interchangeably. There are a handful of more family-orientated locations, with easy access to schools and daycare, but most inhabitants of the downtown core are young professionals and couples. That being said, prices can be surprisingly affordable, with a one-bed apartment available from $800–1200 per month.
Any prospective student of Ottawa’s main universities may find find themselves at their most comfortable in Sandy Hill, one of the main Ottawa neighbourhoods since its designation as the nation’s capital. More and more in recent years, established residents have found themselves moving out to the suburbs and leasing their residences to students, which gives Sandy Hill a relaxed and fun vibe. There are numerous ethnic restaurants and bars with student friendly prices, and one can find almost any activity any night of the week. The residents are most definitely younger in this area, and apartments can be rented from $600–1000 per month.
Old Ottawa South/The Glebe/New Edinburgh/Beechwood
The Glebe and Old Ottawa South are the more prosperous areas of Ottawa’s downtown, offering beautiful colonial houses and gardens in the middle of the city. Many residents are affluent, and the development of high-rise condominium apartments bears testament to this. Chic coffee shops, brunch restaurants, and organic food shops abound. These areas are also very close to downtown, and offer easy access to the central business district. Prices are rising in these areas, with an apartment available from $1000–1600 per month, but could be more should you choose to live in a condo with associated fees adding to the monthly cost.
Fast becoming associated with the “hipster” lifestyle, Westboro and Hintonburg are often described as quirky and eccentric. Nevertheless, the amenities close at hand are numerous. Prices are also lower here, from $500–1000 per month for an apartment, and it is a given that development in this area will continue.
These areas are generally regarded as Ottawa surburbs, having only recently joined the city — no longer considered towns in their own right as Ottawa expands at a rapid pace. These neighbourhoods are much more family friendly, with access to malls, schools, doctors, and other handy amenities and services. Prices range upwards of $1,000 per month.
For a considerably more francophone and cheaper experience, Gatineau is the place for you. Once you cross the bridge from Ontario to Quebec, rents plummet. Knowledge of French, however, is a definite advantage, as many administrative facilities are available primarily in French. Nonetheless, many anglophones also reside here. Access to Ottawa is easy, with bus systems running regularly throughout the week.
Some tourist attractions on the Gatineau side include the Museum of History and Gatineau Park. Gatineau can offer the most scenic of all Ottawa’s areas, including Le Nordique Spa in Chelsea and Wakefield, a beautiful rural area with impressive views of Gatineau’s National Park. Rent can range from $400–900 per month, considerably cheaper than on the Ontario side, but be warned: Quebec’s taxes are higher than those of Ontario.