Traditionally, Centretown real estate included all of Ottawa west of the Rideau Canal, while Lower Town was everything to the east. The area is now considered to be bound on the west by Bronson avenue with the Canal still serving as its eastern boundary.

Centretown is marked by a mix of residential and commercial properties. The main streets such as Bank and Elgin are largely commercial, while the smaller ones, notably Maclaren and Gladstone are more residential. 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 that began in the late nineties significantly increased the number of Ottawa condos and other residential and commercial real estate north of Cooper Street.

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