View of market stalls and the front of the ByWard Market buildings.

The ByWard Market

The local's guide to Ottawa's ByWard Market 

View of market stalls and the front of the ByWard Market buildings.

The ByWard Market

Not surprisingly, the Market is one of the most frequently visited spots in the city — from boutique shops and market stalls, cafes, patisseries, restaurants and bars to live music and special events, there’s so much to take in, and always something new to experience.

But it’s also a local favourite and has been for almost two centuries.

Originally established in 1826 as a gathering place and public market for farmers, vendors and craft merchants to sell their products, the ByWard Market has grown into a neighbourhood of indoor and outdoor shopping, dining and entertainment.

The ByWard Market District spans roughly four city blocks along George Street, York Street, ByWard Street and William Street, making it not only one of the oldest, but also the largest public markets in Canada today.


Whether you’re on the hunt for a unique garment, a gift or a keepsake, there’s no shortage of shopping delights in the ByWard Market.

Clothing and jewellery

  • Visit Disegno for unique, custom and signature jewellery
  • Buy sustainable, eco fashion by Canadian designers at Adorit Boutique
  • Kaliyana has contemporary Canadian designer fashion
  • Browse showstopping gowns at Sukhoo Sukhoo Khooture or suits, tuxedos, jackets and casual menswear at l’HEXAGONE
  • Schad Boutique offers a curated collection of upscale accessories, clothing and footwear or choose from the timeless cotton, wool and cashmere pieces at ça va de soi
  • Discover the eclectic collection at Milk Shop, from jumpsuits and jewelry to fancy pens, fun puzzles and decorative pillow covers

Stationery and supplies

Food and drink

Bring your appetite to the ByWard Market, from breakfast burritos to late night kababs and cappuccinos to cocktails, there’s something for every taste and time of day.

Cafes and bakeries

  • Fuel up with a smoothie from Pure Power Juice Bar
  • Grab a cup of freshly brewed coffee, along with homemade soups & and sandwiches or the famous sweet &  and savoury scones at I Deal Coffee
  • For God Shakes is Ottawa’s first milk shake bar, serving a range of must-try milk shakes that are available in lactose free and vegan varieties as well
  • Le Moulin de Provence is a local favourite for freshly baked French pastries, artisan bread and bistro fare
  • Elina Patisseria is another popular location for fresh pastry, bread and a host of other European delicacies
  • If you’re in the mood for churros or other Mexican specialities LA Catrina is the place to be

Savour tasty main dish menus

  • 98 La La Noodles is a cozy spot for soul-warming Chinese noodles.
  • The Senate features a daily burger special. and 
  • Sidedoor is a swanky Asian inspired eatery that always draws a crowd. 
  • Social Restaurant + Lounge delivers a delicious modern twist on French and Canadian cuisine.
  • The small-plate format at Play Food + Wine is the perfect spot for adventurous (or indecisive) diners, inviting you to try several different dishes instead of one main course

Best spots for to get wine, brews and cocktails

  • Explore pre-prohibition beverages at Lowertown Brewery
  • Enjoy creative cocktails at Atari invites you to get creative with cocktails
  • Grab a drink at Ottawa’s ‘original dive bar’ at Chateau Lafayette (or the Laff), a pub that's been around for over 167 years

Gelato and sorbet hotspots

Treat yourself to delicious gelato or sorbet at these dessert shops:

Get all the local tips and insights of the ByWard Market with one of Ottawa’s guided walking foodie tours, like C’est Bon Gourmet Food Tours or Ottawa Tasting Tours

Things to do

A selfie in front of the colourful Ottawa sign is an Insta must.

Tour around the District and admire the heritage architecture that have made the market what it is today, from the U.S. Embassy to the Connaught Building on Sussex Drive.

One lesser-known gem is the Former Geological Survey of Canada Building, which feels a bit like stepping into Harry Potter’s Hogwarts.

And check out the views at Major’s Hill Park, overlooking the Ottawa River and Rideau Canal. This city park is off Mackenzie Avenue alongside the ByWard Market and features lovely gardens and winding paths to explore.

Places to stay

A relatively recent addition to the ByWard Market District, the Andaz Ottawa on Dalhousie Street is an up-scale, contemporary hotel featuring suites with floor-to-ceiling windows to take full advantage of the urban views.

If that’s not enough, head upstairs to the 16th floor Copper Spirits & Sights lounge boasting the highest rooftop views of the city. Simply splendid.

More accommodation options within walking distance from the market include:

The Byward Market is a must-visit destination for anyone seeking an unforgettable and entertaining experience in Ottawa.

Last updated: May 7, 2024

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