Country Guides December 7, 2020

List of the Best Ottawa Neighborhoods for Newcomers

Kate Holland

A true grunge and rock music fan born in Seattle, Kate has moved across the country and started writing about her experience.

If you plan to move to Canada’s capital but don’t know much about Ottawa neighborhoods, you came to the right place. Here you will learn about the best area for your liking. Ottawa is a place where you can have a comfortable family life or vibrant nightlife, and what kind of experience from this city you will get depends on where you will settle.

About Canada’s Capital

This fantastic place is the second-largest metropolitan area in Ontario. It has a very young population, with an average age of about 35 years, a lot of green spaces and a beautiful nature surrounding it. Ottawa is also called “Government District” because all Government institutions and civil services are located here. The majority of people who live here are working in public service. It is also a cultural center of Canada, with over 80 neighborhoods, and it consists of 11 historical townships.

Downtown is dense, urban, and vibrant, but fast-growing suburban and rural areas of Ottawa lack nothing in the quality of life. Before you hire international moving services, find out more about Ottawa neighborhoods and pick a place for your new home.

Ottawa is the home of Canada’s Parliament

Best Neighborhoods for Young Professionals

Did you know that Canada has immigration politics for employing professionals from around the world? In fact, Canada is considered one of the best places to live abroad. If you are one of these professionals, you will probably end up working or living in one of these areas, depending on whether you’re moving abroad alone or with a family, and whether you’re looking to buy a house or rent an apartment. Living in Ottawa has its pros and cons but choosing the right neighborhood is the first step to stress-free international moving.  If you are moving because of the job opportunity there are certainly a lot of relocation questions you have for your employer. Ask this question before moving so you don’t have any doubts on a big day.

Downtown Is Where Things Happen

Downtown is the core of the city. If you buy a home here you will be in the center of all happenings. Even if you choose to live in another part of the town you will probably end up working here. This part of the city is also called a Government District, and all the public services are provided here. There are also a lot of restaurants, hotels, pubs, and other businesses. And on top of all else, the cost of living is affordable for a capital city.

Sandy Hill

If you moved to Canada because of the education you would like this neighborhood. Why? Well, the University of Canada is located here, of course. It might please you to learn (or not) that a lot of people moved out from Sandy Hill so they could rent houses to students. For that reason, Sandy Hill is also called “a student ghetto”. Good restaurants, cafe bars, parks, affordable prices, and easy access to the downtown make this neighborhood lively day and night.

The Glebe

This area has the most beautiful nature in the central part of the town – the famous Rideau Canal flows right through this area. Glebe is located south of downtown, and it has a lot of good restaurants and pubs, but also a lot of parks and promenades. It is famous for its wealthy residents and its fusion of urban and historical architecture. In this neighborhood, you can buy and live in a well-preserved house from the 1920’s or even older.

busy day at work
After hard work, there’s no better thing than to share a cup of coffee in a beautiful park with your colleagues

Suburban Places in Canada’s Capital You Can Live in

All of the major suburban neighborhoods in Ottawa were formed by the merging of townships to the capitol. These suburban areas are really fast-growing, and home prices are generally more favorable than in the center. So maybe now is a good opportunity to buy a house in suburbia if you plan to start your new life in Canada.

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This is one of the fastest-growing and largest suburbs in O-Town, located 13 miles from the center of the city. A lot of young professionals are choosing this suburb to call their home since it has a large IT business community – hence the nickname North Silicon Valley.

If you come to live here, you will find out what it’s like to live in a tight-knit community. Furthermore, coming from the USA, you will be pleased to hear that this is mostly English speaking area. And, importantly, families have a lot to look forward to, since there is a lot of content for children, playgrounds, parks, and many social events organized by the community.

Happy child on a swing
Outdoor activities are very important for the healthy growth of your child

Experience the Charm of the Ottawa’s Old Towns

Are you tired of living in a giant hive and want to have some peace and quiet? Or maybe you are planning to retire and want to enjoy the simplicity of life but still to be close to major activities? If so, moving to the Old Towns of Ottawa is the best choice.


Located in the western part of the city, this place presents a mixture of rural and suburban neighborhoods. Nepean is very family-friendly with a lot of malls, restaurants, and grocery stores. With only a 20 minutes ride to downtown, this is the ideal place for living with family in a larger home. House prices are lower than downtown and you can choose a variety of houses to live in – from single-family dwellings to apartments and townhomes. There are also many good secondary schools, parks for children, and an amazing green belt for hiking or walking. If you’re moving with a dog, this place will definitely make the transition for your pet a lot easier.

West Carleton-March

West Carleton sits on the far west of Ottawa’s metropolitan area. It’s mostly made of spread-out small villages and communities and also has the lowest crime rate in all of Ottawa. The trouble is that living here may make you feel a little detached from the rest of the city since public transportation doesn’t go there. The closest connection residents of West Carleton have to the bus is through Kanata. On the other hand, if you plan to buy a house here, it will be cheaper, and you will enjoy amazing countryside benefits like Carps farmers market – the largest producer market in eastern Ontario.

And if your job is downtown, the fastest way to get there is with your car – it’s a 35 minutes ride. So if you plan to ship your car to Canada, start making arrangements now.

bike in a park
If you choose to live in these neighborhoods every day will be a weekend getaway for you

What are the Most Vibrant Ottawa Neighborhoods

The most vibrant neighborhoods are around or near Centertown. In just walking distance, you can experience all kinds of diverse neighborhoods and their charms. For example, Byward Market is an area filled with unique shops, bars, and restaurants, with rich nightlife. It is also a neighborhood with the oldest farmer market in Canada. You can be sure that here you will find all the fresh ingredients that you need.

Next – Westboro. Westboro is famous for its old houses and street art, among which are nestled bars and restaurants, fashion stores, and jewelry stores. No wonder that it has become the most trendy place to live in Ottawa. There are a lot of fantastic things to do in Ottawa, so don’t worry living here will not be boring. You should also check Chinatown, Little Italy, Wellington, and West Elgin Street, or simply take a look at this video and get a better picture of life in Ottawa’s downtown.

YouTube video

What are the Bad Areas of Ottawa?

Now you must be wondering “Where should I not live in Ottawa?” Are there bad parts of the city? Unfortunately, yes. Downtown is famous for its nightlife and entertainment, but the crime rates are also higher. That especially goes for Centretown and Rideau Street and pretty much answers the question Is Downtown Ottawa safe at night.” But, there is a useful digital map where you can report and monitor crimes in the city.

Although Canada generally has a lower crime rate than the United States, violent crimes do occur, too, especially in denser urban areas.

man trying to get to his suitcase
Don’t leave any valuable items in your car, for it will increase the odds of thefts

So, What is the Best Area to Live in Ottawa?

You know that saying that all Canadians are polite? That is not an exaggeration. Canada is among the friendliest countries in the world and Ottawa itself is a very safe place to live. So, in that regard, you can’t go wrong with any neighborhood. Of course, the best area depends on your preferences and, well, how much money you have. The average cost of living in Ottawa is pretty affordable for capital and lower than in other Canadian metropolises. So prepare documents needed to travel abroad and start packing. And if you are in doubt about what to pack when moving abroad, contact professional movers. They can give you an advice or two.

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