Don’t feel trapped by the confines of the city. There are a myriad of outdoor activities coming soon to the Ottawa area — and they’re all free ... or close to it.

Centretown Movies

Escape into cinematic fantasy with the Centretown Movies Outdoor Film Festival. Starting Friday and running every weekend until Aug. 13, the festival screens family-friendly films, beginning at 9 on Friday and Saturday evenings.

Located in the heart of downtown at Dundonald Park (512 Somerset St. W.), the event is free. Bring your own lawn chairs and blankets. But take note: Refreshments are self-supplied, so make sure you come prepared. The season kicks off Friday with Eat, Pray, Love starring Julia Roberts. Despicable Me, a funny, computer-animated flick featuring the voices of Steve Carell and other stars, screens Saturday. For more, visit

Turkish Festival

For more free fun and thrills, visit the Ottawa Turkish Festival.

Enjoy authentic food, original dance and music, plus beautiful Turkish artwork. As a bonus, it’s geared to families and offers activities that children of all ages can enjoy, including face painting, games, and even an inflatable village. It’s already underway, but the bulk of events run this weekend in Confederation Park from noon to 9 p.m.

Watch the Turkish parade, starting at noon Friday at the Sparks Street Mall, then take part in the festival opening gala at city hall that begins at 5 p.m. For more, visit

Music Under The Stars

With only a few days left, don’t miss out on the Music Under The Stars concert series presented by the Richelieu-Vanier Community Centre.

Enjoy a beautiful summer evening listening to French jazz music and don’t pay a cent. The event runs until tomorrow from 7-9 p.m. at Richelieu-Vanier Park (300 des Pères-Blancs Ave.) Bring a few lawn chairs, open ears and the kids — this concert is sure to please music lovers of all ages. The event will be held indoors if the weather turns sour. For more, see

Antony and Cleopatra

While this next event isn’t exactly free (it’s “pass the hat,” pay what you can with a suggested donation starting at $10), it’s definitively worth catching. It’s a version of Antony and Cleopatra that is possibly one of Shakespeare’s funniest tragedies.

Performed by A Company of Fools, Ottawa’s only professional Shakespeare company, it runs at various theatres and outdoor venues around the national capital region until Aug. 20. All performances begin at 7 p.m. Visit for a list of dates and locations.

Gatineau Park

For another free outdoor activity, pack the family into the car (take your bikes if you want) and drive up to Gatineau Park, a stunning 361-acre park and nature reserve that’s just 15 minutes from downtown Ottawa.

And don’t forget the swimsuits; there are lots of crystal-clear lakes throughout the park.