Things to do in the Outaouais in May
May is a colourful month that’s full of firsts! The first bike ride. The first patios. The first fishing trip. The first leaves on the trees. The first spring flowers. The first warm days. Check out our suggestions for things to do to make the most of the month.
Admire the tulips
Every spring, Canada’s Capital Region comes alive with colour. Of course, we’re talking about the famous tulips that grace the flowerbeds of many iconic public places! Take a walk and explore the area one tulip at a time.
From May 13 to 23 at Commissioners Park in Ottawa, come celebrate the 70th anniversary of the Canadian Tulip Festival, one of the largest festivals of its kind in the world, and enjoy special programming. In addition to strolling among thousands of tulips of different varieties, you can take in Tulips at Night, a new initiative where the tulip beds will be illuminated by black light after dark.
And here’s the good news: admission to the festival is free!
Get out your bike
May is here, and if you haven’t already, it’s time to get out your road bike. With a vast network of internationally recognized cycling trails, the region is a favourite with cycling enthusiasts. Gatineau Park, the Véloroute des Draveurs, the Cycloparc PPJ and the City of Gatineau’s urban network offer a number of challenges, whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned cyclist!
Get inspired by our cycling routes for your next outing on two wheels.
Treat your mom
A friendly reminder: May 8 is Mother’s Day! Looking for the best way to treat your mom? Take a tour of the Outaouais’ unique boutiques to find the perfect gift. One of them is Habitude, which has everything you need to delight Mom with a unique gift proudly made here, including 100% Canadian items for the home, kitchen accessories, clothing, and much more. Choose a nice gift box filled with beautiful Quebec products or a beautiful bouquet of fresh flowers delivered directly to her home!
Explore Gatineau-Ottawa a different way
Take a bilingual guided tour with Lady Dive Tours and see more than 75 attractions in Canada’s Capital, on land … and on water! Hop aboard the amphibus and, from the road and from the Ottawa River, explore Parliament Hill, national museums, embassies, the ByWard Market and more. If you prefer to stay on land, they also offer guided tours by hop-on hop-off double-decker bus.
Lady Dive is the official shuttle service for the Canadian Tulip Festival. It’s a great way to avoid traffic jams in the downtown area.
Visit some waterfalls
The Outaouais is home to many beautiful waterfalls to discover in good company. And in spring, water levels are at their highest, so the falls are at their most spectacular. Lace up your hiking shoes and set off to discover the magnificent and little-known landscapes of the Outaouais.
Stay at an outfitter
A stay at an Outaouais outfitter is the stuff of unforgettable stories, wilderness adventures, heavenly shore lunches and good times with family and friends.
Get ready for the fishing season by booking your stay at an outfitter. In fact, it’s high season, and you know what that means: fish by the tonne, to everyone’s delight.
Take advantage of spring programs
The sun is out and the seasonal festivities are ramping up! For two weekends, May 27–28 and June 3–4, visit downtown Gatineau’s restaurants as part of the J’aime ma terrasse, j’aime mon downtown event organized by the Rendez-vous des saveurs. Come celebrate the opening of the patios in style, and enjoy performances by street artists and musicians, contests, and an exclusive summer menu.
Also at the end of the month, discover Arts-aux-Parcs, an annual visual arts and crafts exhibition to be held on May 28 and 29 at Du Sommet School in Val-des-Monts. This year’s theme is La rentrée au sommet (“back to the summit”). Admire original works by more than 40 creative exhibitors!
For even more suggestions, consult the full listings on our Events page.