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The Best Things to Do in Sudbury, Ontario

With easy access to the outdoors, great restaurants, and museums you won’t find anywhere else in the province, there is no shortage of incredible things to do in Sudbury, Ontario.

Things to do in Sudbury

I’ve had the opportunity to visit Sudbury, Ontario many times over the years. Whenever I visit, I’m reminded of how vast and beautiful our province is, and just how many places there are worth visiting in Northern Ontario. Sudbury is absolutely one of these places.

I’ve spent time in Sudbury in both the summer and the winter time, and I’m happy to report that there is no shortage of exciting things to do, regardless of the time of year you visit. On my most recent trip to Sudbury, Bri was able to join me on her first trip to the city, and it was so exciting to experience this beautiful destination together.

Sudbury’s quick access to pristine nature is remarkable and, not unlike Thunder Bay, Barrie, or London, you get the sense that those who live there know what a well-kept secret it really is.

A Bit About Sudbury

Sudbury is filled with city comforts and nature escapes. Photo Credit: Chris Mitchell

The Sudbury region was inhabited by the Ojibwe people of the Algonquins for thousands of years prior to its settlement and formation as the city we know today. The discovery of nickel ore in 1883 is what ultimately led to the city being founded and settled in its more recent years.

Its rich mining history is what Sudbury is primarily known for today. That becomes pretty clear when you look at Subdury’s list of nicknames and see that the three most popular are “Nickel Capital,” “Nickel City,” and “The Big Nickel.”

Sudbury is also the largest city in Northern Ontario by both population and land area. In fact, by land area, Sudbury is the largest city in the whole province, and the fifth largest in Canada. How’s that for a fun fact?

The city is known across the province by lovers of the outdoors and outdoor adventure. Many tourist attractions in Sudbury and lists of things to do in Sudbury are heavily influenced by the outdoors.

Part of the reason for this is because the climate in Sudbury Ontario is very seasonal. That means that in winter you’ve got the low lows (which makes it a nice Ontario winter getaway) and in summer you’ve got the high highs (ideal for an Ontario staycation).

In fact, on average, in January you’re likely to see around -20 degrees celcius, and in July you’re likely to see around +25.

This was exactly the case for my past two visits to Sudbury. When I was here in the winter a few short weeks ago, it was an especially cold week, with temperatures in the -20 to -30 range. But when I was here last year in the summer, temperatures were a beautiful 22 to 28 degrees celcius.

What to Do in Sudbury on Your Next Visit

With cold winters and hot summers, Sudbury is perfect for Ontario outdoor enthusiasts. Photo Credit: Pixabay

The list of top tourist attractions in Sudbury is quite lengthy. Here’s our list of the most fun things to do in Sudbury when you’re able to go next. There are plenty of sights to see in this city that you simply won’t find anywhere else, and that’s something we always love here at Ultimate Ontario.

If you plan on visiting Sudbury in winter specifically, keep reading to find my dedicated round-up of things to do in Sudbury in winter at the end of this post!

Set Eyes on the Big Nickel

The Big Nickel is bigger than you might think! Photo Credit: Chris Mitchell

“The Big Nickel” is probably the most well recognized tourist attraction in the city. It’s a 30 foot replica of the 1951 Canadian nickel, which is located on the grounds of the Dynamic Earth Science Museum (which we’ll mention later).

Interestingly enough, it’s the 1951 nickel that was chosen to be displayed because it marked the bicentennial of the chemical isolation of nickel by the chemist Baron Axel Frederic Cronstedt.

It’s meant to serve as a tribute to the roots of Sudbury, and especially to the men and women who mined and processed the mineral. It’s worth making time to snap a photo at the Big Nickel during your visit. My pro-tip here is to get a photo at sunset or sunrise, as the nickel really shines during those times.

Visit Science North

Science North is filled with countless exhibits, with something everyone will enjoy. Photo Credit: Chris Mitchell

Science North describes itself, rightly, as “Northern Ontario’s most popular attraction.” That alone means it probably needs to make your list of things to do in Sudbury, Ontario.

You can find Science North by locating the two snowflake-shaped buildings on the south shore of Ramsey Lake. For reference, it’s less than a ten minute drive from downtown Sudbury.

We don’t know how else to say this–Science North is amazing. You’ve got an IMAX theatre, Planetarium, a hands-on lab to learn how to cut, grind, and polish stones, a butterfly gallery, and the list goes on and on.

My favourite fun fact about Science North is that when they were building the rock tunnel to connect the two buildings, they just happened upon a billion-year-old geologic fault. How fitting is that, right?

If you’re visiting Sudbury, you can’t miss Science North–there’s just no other way to say it.

Stroll Down the Bell Park Walkway/Boardwalk

Greater Sudbury has an ingenious trail system known as “The Rainbow Routes“. It’s run by the Rainbow Routes Association, a not-for-profit in Greater Sudbury that aims to encourage healthy living by getting people out into nature and being active.

Sudbury’s Bell Park Walkway is one of the most popular of the “Rainbow Routes” in the city. It’s a well-maintained urban walkway that hugs the shoreline of Ramsey Lake.

The route will give you beautiful unobstructed views of Ramsey Lake, and you’ll encounter local urban wildlife, gardens, beaches, and even restrooms. Not to mention, there’s the rowing club, as well as an amphitheatre.

The Bell Park Walkway is also a popular place to watch some of Sudbury’s popular festivals, including the Northern Lights Festival Boreal.

Check Out the Northern Ontario Railroad Museum and Heritage Centre

Northern Ontario Railroad and Heritage Museum
The railroad has played a important part in the development of Northern Ontario. Photo Credit: Unsplash

This museum needs to be near the top of your “what to do in Sudbury” list for both train and history buffs. The Northern Ontario Railroad Museum and Heritage Centre is focused on preserving historical artifacts and sharing stories that pay tribute to Northern Ontario, specifically the history around lumber, mining, and the railroad.

If you want to find the museum, just look for the over 100-year-old Victorian-style house! However, it should be noted that this isn’t in downtown Sudbury but is actually about a 30-minute drive from the city centre. Hey, it’s still less than a normal bout of rush-hour traffic in Toronto!

The adjoining Prescott Park holds all the museum’s outdoor locomotives, and families should note that there’s also a little children’s play structure and small garden. It’s not a huge museum by any means, but they’ve done a nice job with it.

Go Deep at Dynamic Earth

Dynamic Earth is a top attraction in the Nickel City. Photo Credit: Chris Mitchell

Not far from the Big Nickel, owned and operated by Science North, is Dynamic Earth. As you might imagine, it’s an earth sciences museum which focuses on geology. More specifically, it focuses on Sudbury’s storied mining heritage.

In fact, you can get a tour of the mine and kick things off by going seven stories underground in their elevator. The tour focuses on the evolution of mining over the years, as well as showing an educational film at the end with a focus on Sudbury’s history and mining history, which are inextricably linked.

The science park is what brings families from far and wide. It’s a hugely interactive experience, which makes it a popular spot for students as well.

They are open year-round, but before planning your visit, please double check to see if they’re currently open and, if so, what their operating hours are during the time you want to go.

Pop in for Live Jazz and a Cocktail at The Night Owl Speakeasy

These crafted cocktails at The Night Owl are a highlight on a trip to Sudbury! Photo Credit: Bri Mitchell

The Night Owl is an exciting speakeasy, restaurant and cocktail bar located in downtown Sudbury. Its entrance isn’t very obvious, and you have to use the old school phone booth located at the rear of the building to gain access to this spot.

Once you enter The Night Owl, you’re instantly transported to a turn-of-the century style cocktail bar, draped in deep reds and rich, cozy tones. They have an excellent dinner menu, topped only by their expertly crafted cocktail list.

If you’re a fan of live jazz, they offer live jazz every Thursday night, with artists who come from all over as they make their way on tours across Ontario, Canada, and North America.

Take a Deep Breath at the Lake Laurentian Conservation Area

It’s difficult to believe how close the Lake Laurentian Conservation Area is to downtown Sudbury. Its proximity is one of the reasons it’s one of the top tourist attractions in Sudbury, but its beauty certainly doesn’t hurt either.

The Lake Laurentian Conservation Area encompasses nearly 2500 acres, which is remarkable considering it’s more or less part of an Ontario urban centre. There’s an enormous green space, a handful of lakes, a nature trail which is easy to navigate, hiking trails, wetland areas, and birdwatching areas as well.

This area isn’t only wonderful for outdoor activities in the warmer months–it’s also fantastic in the winter. There’s plenty of opportunity for both snowshoeing and cross-country skiing.

Cheer on the Sudbury Wolves

Sudbury Wolves OHL
There’s been a team in Sudbury known as the “Wolves” every year since WWI! Photo Credit: Pixabay

The Sudbury Wolves are one of the most storied franchises in the Ontario Hockey League, and attending a game is one of the top things to do in Sudbury if you’re a sports fan.

Former players include the likes of Randy Carlyle, Dale Hunter, Mike Foligno, Marc Staal, and the list goes on and on.

There’s even a Sudbury Wolves podcast called “Wolf Tracks,” which is popular among local fans. They’re currently playing at the Sudbury Community Arena, but we’re told they’re working on plans to build a brand-new arena in the near future.

You can check their website to see when and if fans can come and cheer them on!

Pop by the Art Gallery of Sudbury

The Art Gallery of Sudbury was actually one of the many Canadian Centennial projects that came to fruition across the country in 1967. It’s housed in historic Belrock Mansion, which was the former home of famed lumber baron and philanthropist William J. Bell.

The gallery has plans to expand, and word on the street is that they may even take over the Sudbury Arena.

They have a permanent collection of over 2000 pieces from both Canadian and international artists. They even have pieces from Franklin Carmichael, which you’ll likely know was one of the founding members of the Group of Seven.

Please note, at the time this article was updated I was informed that the Art Gallery of Sudbury has been temporarily closed due to structural analysis and repair of the Bell Mansion. The are currently operating out a space at 174 Elgin St. Make sure you visit their website for the most up-to-date information about alternate gallery locations that are being used in the interim.

Get Out on the Trails at Kivi Park

Fat biking on the winter trails at Kivi Park in winter. Photo Credit: Chris Mitchell

Kivi Park is a 480 acre park located just outside of Downtown Sudbury. It’s a not-for-profit space, filled with exciting trails perfect for light walks, hiking, or mountain biking in the summer months, and cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and fat biking in the winter months.

“Kivi” is the Finnish name for “rock”, and it was chosen as the name for the park since it is located in the Canadian Shield.

You can purchase day- or seasonal passes at the park for your visit. We have a whole post dedicated to Kivi Park on our website, which you can read more about here before you visit.

Pay Your Respects at the Alex Trebek Mural

The 1970’s era Alex Trebek mural is a must-visit on a trip to Sudbury. Photo Credit: Chris Mitchell

This is a unique experience for those who are fans of the show Jeopardy!, or for those who have a special place in their heart for the show’s long-time host, Alex Trebek.

Alex Trebek is from Sudbury, and has been a source of pride and a local hero to the city for decades. After he passed away in November 2020 from Stage 4 pancreatic cancer, the city wanted to do something special to remember him by.

Artist Kevin Ledo painted this “retro” mural of Alex Trebek from when he was in his younger years and lived in Sudbury. It’s located on an outer wall of Sudbury Secondary School, as a nod to the school that Trebek attended in his youth, and to Trebek’s work of encourage lifelong learning and curiosity in his audiences.

I’d recommend being sensitive to the fact that this is a school when you visit the mural, and try to avoid taking pictures during school breaks or lunch time if you’re stopping by on a weekday outside of July and August.

Appreciate the Anderson Farm Museum

If anyone ever tells you there are not enough good museums in Sudbury, you can tell them they don’t know what they’re talking about. A little over a 15-minute drive from downtown Sudbury is where you’ll find the Anderson Farm Museum, and it’s a farm lover’s delight.

The museum aims to preserve what it would have been like to run one of the largest dairy farms in the Sudbury area in the 1920s and 1930s. Not to mention, the 14 acres of land that it sits on is quite picturesque unto itself.

You can come to learn about the history, or you can simply come to hang out on the property, and perhaps bring a picnic.

Hike the A.Y. Jackson Lookout Trail in Greater Sudbury

The famous view of Onaping Falls from A.Y. Jackson’s painting. Photo Credit: Chris Mitchell

This site will take you a fair distance out of the centre of Sudbury, but it is definitely worth the drive.

Whether you’re a fan of pure, natural beauty, or you have a keen interest in learning more about the Group of Seven, the view of Onaping Falls and the Onaping River is truly a beautiful sight to behold here.

The trail itself is a stunning hiking loop that will take you around to rocky viewpoints and mature forests along the Onaping River. The viewpoint on the trail is the exact view of A.Y. Jackson’s painting Spring on the Onaping River, which he painted in 1953.

We actually have a whole article on our site dedicated to visiting this trail, so if you’re planning on visiting, you can read all about it here.

This is a great activity to experience on a visit to Sudbury on a warm or dry day. While this trail is open all year-round, it isn’t maintained in the winter months, so it’s worth noting that the terrain can be a little slippery and tricky.

Dine at Some Fantastic Local Restaurants

Sudbury is full of some incredibly delicious places to eat. Photo Credit: Chris Mitchell

We did a deep dive into Sudbury’s restaurant scene in one of our Ontario Food and Drink Guides, which you should definitely check out if you’re planning on heading to Sudbury soon. In the meantime, here are a few of our favourites, but this is by no means an exhaustive list.

  • The Kouzzina (Our personal favourite)
  • Ripe Restaurant
  • The Night Owl (speakeasy)
  • Sizzle Mongolian Grill
  • Di Gusto Pizza & Pasta
  • Regency Bakery
  • Tucos Taco Lounge
  • Tommy’s Not Here
  • Mr. Prime Rib
  • M.I.C (Canadian Eatery and Whisky Pub)
  • Beni Breakfast and Lunch

What to Do in Sudbury in Winter

winter things to do in sudbury
Inviting fires in the forest near the skating trail in Kivi Park in winter. Photo Credit: Chris Mitchell

We’ve mentioned a few winter ideas throughout this post, but if you’re planning a trip to Sudbury in winter, then we have a few recommendations.

If a memorable winter trip is something you’re planning to take advantage of, then here are the activities we’d definitely recommend on your winter trip to Sudbury:

  • Go Cross Country Skiing at Walden Cross Country. This cross country ski club is located in Greater Sudbury, with beautiful trails stretching throughout its forests. If you don’t have your own skis, you’re in luck, as their rental office is equipped with everything you’ll need to enjoy the trails, and it’s affordably priced.
  • Dine in a Dome at The Daventry Kitchen and Bar. In the winter, The Daventry converts their patio to a winter dome wonderland. You can book your private dining dome in advance, and enjoy a memorable evening of drinks, appetizers and dinner in a dome with friends and loved ones. Note that a reservation fee is required in advance to secure your dome.
  • Dive into outdoor sports at Kivi Park. As I mentioned above, there are many ways to take advantage of winter at Kivi Park. On top of having fantastic trails to take advantage of, they also have a beautiful skating trail that weaves through some of their forest. If you’re on the hunt for rentals, they have fat bikes and snow shoes available to rent from their Adventure 365 Kivi Park depot at the entrance to the park.
  • Unwind at Ezentials Wellness Escape Nordic Lounge. A little time at the spa is always a welcomed activity, especially after a cold day filled with outdoor winter activities. On top of offering many different types of treatments, Ezentials has a Nordic Lounge. You can arrange for 90 minutes of access to the lounge, which includes access to their steam room, dry sauna and cold bucket in a relaxing, co-ed environment.

That’s a Wrap on the Top Attractions in Sudbury

I hope it’s clear now that there really are a ton of things to do in Sudbury, Ontario. It’s a common trope with a lot of the cities we write about, but we do feel like this city deserves more love. There are museums and stories here that you’re simply not going to find anywhere else, and that’s worth something.

Plus, if you get tired of being indoors at the museums, you’ve got no shortage of parks and outdoor areas to appreciate–not to mention restaurants and breweries.

We hope this guides you well on your future Sudbury and Northern Ontario travels!

Don’t forget that we’ve got a welcoming Ultimate Ontario Facebook Group, as well as a hugely popular Ultimate Ontario Newsletter.


Thursday 13th of May 2021

We also have 3 fantastic mountain biking locations. Lake Laurentian conservation is full of trails from Moonlight Beach all the way to Laurentian University. Kivi Park in the south end has many great bike trails shared with hikers. Then Walden Mountain Bike Club just 25 minutes from the city center. Its a dedicated bike only park in the summer.

Christopher Mitchell

Friday 14th of May 2021

Thanks for this, Andrew. Doesn't Kivi Park require a membership, though? Perhaps it's worth noting, but we didn't include it here because it's mostly geared towards casual visitors. But would you say it's a must and worth the day pass?