The downtown core is mostly office towers, for various government departments and the businesses that service them. These towers are concentrated between Laurier Ave and Wellington Street, with Parliament Hill on the north side of Wellington. There are lots of restaurants and shops in this area (especially along Bank Street and Sparks Street) catering to the office workers, tourists, and area residents.
The Golden Triangle is the area east of Elgin to the Rideau Canal. Elgin Street (nicknamed "Sens Mile" for the city's hockey team) has many boutiques, art galleries, along with restaurants, bars and nightclubs. Along The Driveway are a number of high-rise condo buildings offering great views of the Rideau Canal. Adjacent the Rideau Canal is scenic Queen Elizabeth Driveway which has miles of multi-use recreational trail that is part of the Capital Pathway system.
Centretown is marked by a mix of residential and commercial properties. Retail and commercial streets include Bank Street and Elgin Street, while the cross -streets like MacLaren and Gladstone are more residential. Centretown has a good mix of single-family homes close to Dundonald and McNabb parks. To the north, along Albert and Laurier streets are high rise condos. Centretown is also home to the New City Hall and a dozen embassies.
Much of the area still consists of original single family homes, but there are newer infill and town house developments and low-rise and high-rise apartment buildings. A construction boom began in the late nineties significantly increased the number of condominiums and other residential and commercial high-rise buildings north of Cooper Street.
Centretown is a relatively old neighbourhood, but has been undergoing recent development resurgence. Many of the homes (30%) pre-date 1946, 12% built from 1946 - 1960, 38% built between 1961 and 1980, and 20% were built after 1980. Of the community's 15,000 dwellings: 4% were single detached, 2% are semi-detached, 5% are row houses, 52% were apartments in buildings with over 5 stories, 34% are low-rise apartments, and 3% were other types of dwellings. The great majority of residents (78%) rented and 22% were home owners
The area is close to the University of Ottawa campus, across the Rideau Canal, as well as Carleton University, south via Bronson, and St Paul University and Algonquin College Rideau Campus, just south of the Queensway/417.
There is much shopping along Bank Street, along the Sparks Street Mall, and in several downtown office towers, and the nearby Rideau Centre.
The area has several movie theatres, the National Arts Centre, as well as on-campus activities at the University of Ottawa, and the outdoor theatre at Nepean Point. There are a number of national museums in the area, and of course Parliament Hill.