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Photo by Chelsey Cassidy

Best Of: Romantic first date spots

By Steffani Ruesga on August 13, 2015

So you’ve got yourself a date. Whether the Tinder gods found you a match or you’ve managed to manoeuvre your way though the Ottawa dating scene, kudos to you, it’s tough world out there! Now it’s time to decide where to go.

First dates are stressful, and where you decide to go for this new awkward encounter can make or break it. No pressure, my friend, Ottawa’s got your back. This city provides new daters with a plethora of unique places to share those adorably uncomfortable first moments. Not only does Ottawa have great bars and cafes to help you sip away the tension, its also filled with luscious outdoor spots where you and your date can loosen up and enjoy the scenery. Ottawa’s a beautiful city and in the right lighting, it’s pretty darn romantic.

Photo by Hayley Atkinson

Photo by Hayley Atkinson

Look no further than Pure Gelato on Elgin Street for a delectable first date. Featuring 48 different flavours each day, you and your date will have fun sampling the goods and pretending you’re in Italy. Pure Gelato offers cones, crepes and coffee, an ideal place for those with a sweet tooth. The atmosphere is enjoyable for a first date, the music is fun and there are cozy booths with dim lightning to snuggle up in. You can enjoy your gelato here, or take a stroll down to the Canadian Museum of Nature. It’s a magnificent building and on Thursdays it’s free to the public from 5pm to 8pm. The museum is a great place to walk around, nerd out, and have an easygoing conversation, i.e. “ What’s your favourite dinosaur?”

Looking for a more upbeat date night? Avant-Garde Bar on Besserer is the perfect location for a music-infused first date. This unique bar is small and quirky, covered in old Soviet memorabilia and contemporary art. Dimly lit, it’s romantic and will make you feel like you’ve traveled back in time. There’s live music throughout the week, featuring all types of genres. The bar offers traditional Russian food and a variety of drinks. Sample the food, share some cocktails, enjoy the artwork and groove to the music. Maybe get up and dance?
Assuming it’s one of those gorgeous Ottawa summer days, take your date to one of the city’s most gorgeous spots, Major’s Hill Park. Situated behind the Chateau Laurier, this spot is characterized by stunning viewpoints and immaculate gardens.
Major's Hill Park, photo by Steffani Ruesga

Major’s Hill Park, photo by Steffani Ruesga

Meet up with your date in the ByWard Market where you both can stroll the stalls in search for treats to take to the park. The options are endless: all different types of cuisine to tantalize you and your date’s palates. Once you’ve loaded up on snacks, grab a refreshing drink at the Tea Store on York Street. The shop is adorable and offers an immense array of distinctive teas to choose from.

Drink in hand, head over to Major’s Hill Park and find a romantic spot beneath a tree. The scenery in this area is breathtaking. The Chateau Laurier looms nearby, Parliament Hill soars in the distance and the Ottawa River surrounds you. But there’s more! Wander through the crooked trails heading towards the National Gallery of Canada. Once you’ve arrived there you will see a trail which leads up to a hill. The hill is Nepean Point and it is a must-do if you’re hoping to astound your date. At this spot you will find a statue of Samuel de Champlain, but he’s not the important part. What matters is that you and your date will feast your  eyes on a panoramic view of Parliament Hill and Ottawa’s tremendous skyline. Hopefully by this time its sunset. Settle down next to the statue and take it all in. Maybe lean in for a kiss?

Lastly, if you’re looking for a romantic setting to have a good dinner, Oz Kafe is oozing with the  amorous mood your date needs, offering an intimate, dark, candle-lit dinner with scrumptious plates you can share.  Oz Kafe takes ordinary appetizers and creates inventive cuisine that will leave you and your date truly satisfied. Along with exquisite drinks, including what is most likely the best Caesar in town. Oz is open late, so let yourselves get carried away. Maybe discuss tomorrow’s brunch options?
Ottawa is a romantic city. Get out there and enjoy it with someone. Hurry up, winter is coming.