Did you know that there are lots of unique and fun things to do in Sudbury, Ontario that make it a great place to visit? Sudbury is known as the “Nickel City” for its mining history and the “City of Lakes” for its 330 lakes. In fact, Sudbury has more lakes than any other city in Canada.
Sudbury is the perfect place for outdoor adventures, visiting unique and popular tourist attractions, and wandering around a bustling city centre. It’s northern Ontario’s largest city and there’s no shortage of awesome attractions and activities. There are so many amazing things to do in Sudbury that will make you want to visit as soon as possible.
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I’m going to show you how to plan the best trip to Sudbury. Pick and choose your favourite Sudbury attractions and activities from this list. I managed to do almost all of them, and I spent three full days in Sudbury (I arrived midday on Thursday and left in the middle of the day on Sunday). You’ll learn more about:
- The best place to stay in Sudbury
- Hiking trails and waterfalls in Sudbury
- The most popular tourist attractions, like Science North and Dynamic Earth
- What to do in downtown Sudbury
- The best vegan food in Sudbury
- Top breweries, distilleries, coffee shops
- And many more things to do in Sudbury for a memorable trip
Where to Stay in Sudbury
While there are many wonderful hotels and accommodations in Sudbury, I happily spent three nights at the Hilton Garden Inn Sudbury. It’s a brand new property that’s situated near many restaurants and shops. It’s the perfect place to call home during your trip to Sudbury.
The staff at the Hilton Garden Inn are very friendly, and checking in was a total breeze. The rooms are incredibly spacious, modern, and clean. There’s a large, comfortable bed, a flatscreen TV with lots of channels, a Keurig coffee maker, and a small kitchenette (with fridge, microwave and sink).
I love the open concept closet with ample storage space for your clothes and shoes. The bathroom is also very roomy with lots of counter space and a large shower/bathtub combo. Please note that I was provided with an accessible room, so it might be a little bigger than the regular rooms.
More Hotels in Sudbury
Want to compare more properties in Sudbury? You can see all hotels and vacation rentals in one handy map below. Click on each hotel to learn more, compare rates, and book your stay.
Best Things to Do in Sudbury Ontario: Outdoor Adventures
As the “City of Lakes”, Sudbury is a wonderland when it comes to nature and outdoor activities. There are so many opportunities to go hiking, cycling, kayaking, canoeing, standup paddle boarding, and much more. If you love to hike, here’s a list of the best hiking trails in Sudbury.
In the winter, you can take your pick of downhill skiing, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, snowboarding, skating, and fat biking. Here are a few places to enjoy those outdoor adventures in Sudbury.
Lake Laurentian Conservation Area
Lake Laurentian Conservation Area is only a short drive from downtown Sudbury, and it offers 2,415 acres of protected green space to explore. Some popular activities at Lake Laurentian Conservation Area include hiking, biking, and birdwatching. In the winter, there are trails for snowshoeing and cross-country skiing.
I went hiking at Lake Laurentian Conservation Area. With 23km of hiking trails, it was difficult to narrow it down to just one or two for the morning. I ventured from the main parking lot (P1) to the Beaver Pond Loop and the Mount Ramsey Trail. I chose these trails for their scenic lookout points, and those views did not disappoint.
At the beginning of the hike, I came across a few visitors on the trails. When I got to the P2 parking area, there was even a man playing a hand drum, and visitors to the park gathered around him to listen. As I continued walking on the Beaver Pond Loop and Mount Ramsey Trail, I didn’t come across a single other person (even on a Saturday!). This conservation area is enjoyed by many, but it’s also a tranquil place in the wilderness where you can enjoy the sounds and sights of nature.
Kivi Park is a large recreation area, situated on 480+ acres of Cambrian Shield. In the summer, you can explore the trails by bike or on foot. And in the winter, the trails are perfect for snowshoeing, fat biking, and cross-country skiing. The trail network is expansive. There are five trails at the moment, but the eventual plan is to keep expanding the trail system until it reaches Killarney.
You can also rent kayaks, canoes, and standup paddle boards to take out onto Crowley Lake. There is a day pass to visit Kivi Park that you can purchase online in advance. For an additional cost, you can rent water sports gear from Ramakko’s Source for Adventure at the Crowley Lake office at the back of the park.
All of the hiking trails at Kivi Park start from the main parking lot, and then split off into different directions. The red trail wraps around the perimetre of the park, and you’ll have a chance to visit the Wishing Tree from this trail.
If you continue hiking on the red trail, you’ll be treated to some spectacular views as you ascend up the massive, flat rocks of the Canadian Shield. There are even some Muskoka chairs on the way so you can sit and admire the view. Plus, if you don’t feel like hiking the entire way, there are several parking lots around the park, so you can make a quick jaunt to some of these lookout points.
The yellow trail is a shorter loop trail at Kivi Park, perfect for kids and families. It’s also a story book trail where pages from a picture book are spaced out along the path. Children can read the stories on the way, which provides a fun activity to do while appreciating nature.
Onaping Falls / A.Y. Jackson Lookout
The A.Y. Jackson Lookout and Onaping Falls is a must visit place when you travel to Sudbury. It’s located in the Greater Sudbury area, just a short drive outside of the city of Sudbury. There’s a nature trail along the water with several viewpoints of the falls as you walk.
From the A.Y. Jackson Welcome Centre, walk to the AY Jackson Lookout. This is precisely the spot where this Group of Seven artist was inspired to create his art. I can see why A.Y. Jackson was so moved by Onaping Falls. It’s magnificent!
Onaping Falls is one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Ontario. It’s also very easy to visit as you can see it practically from the parking lot. Then, walk along the water to view Onaping Falls (also known as Onaping High Falls or High Falls) from many vantage points.
It’s several waterfalls in one. There are a series of drops and cascades that you’ll see as you hike the trail. The rocks themselves are fascinating, too. This waterfall is right at the edge of the Sudbury Basin, formed by a meteorite impact over 2 billion years ago.
You’ll eventually reach a bridge where you can enjoy scenery of Onaping Falls from up above on both sides. If you’d like to keep hiking, there’s a loop trail beyond the bridge. The entire hiking trail is about 2km in length, so it’s isn’t a terribly long trek. Definitely add this one to your Sudbury travel plans.
Bell Park and Ramsey Lake
Bell Park and Ramsey Lake are popular places in town to go for a walk, relax at the beach, or even go boating or water skiing. The Bell Park Walkway is part of the Trans Canada Trail and the Waterfront Trail. Your walk takes you from Science North to a blue flag beach. Popular activities at Ramsey Lake include swimming, canoeing and kayaking.
The boardwalk stretches alongside Ramsey Lake, and it’s approximately 1km long. There’s ample room to stop for a picnic lunch, and even a pretty gazebo if you’re looking for a shady spot with scenic views. I suggest visiting Science North, then going for a walk on the boardwalk to Bell Park. Then, walk up the hill to see Canada’s Largest Mural (more on this in a bit!).
Popular Tourist Attractions in Sudbury
As northern Ontario’s largest city, Sudbury has many major attractions that the entire family will love. These Sudbury attractions are definitely family friendly, but they’re also great for couples or groups of friends. These Sudbury points of interest are an absolute must for fans of science, history, and quirky roadside attractions.
Science North is a major attraction that tops the list of many Sudbury itineraries. It’s the most popular attraction in northern Ontario! Science North is an interactive science museum with a lot of wonderful features: an IMAX theatre, a planetarium, butterfly gallery, and several floors with displays. Science North is a premiere family-friendly attraction for kids and kids at heart.
The first floor of Science North features an exhibition called Indigenous Ingenuity. It showcases how Indigenous people have taken innovative approaches to science over the centuries. Indigenous Ingenuity highlights First People’s ancestral values and knowledge through the lens of modern science, showing traditional Indigenous techniques as complementary to modern science.
You’ll use an RFID bracelet to interact with the displays and challenges. There are 26 Indigenous innovations at the exhibit with 62 challenges in total. Some of the games are collaborative in nature, so grab your friends and family to explore this one!
There are many more floors of Science North to discover. The second floor has interactive exhibits with minerals, natural artifacts, and a butterfly gallery. The third floor is a journey through Ontario’s northern ecosystems, and the fourth floor is a place to enlighten and play. There are outer space themes, biological themes, and more.
The Big Nickel
The Big Nickel is a famous landmark and popular tourist attraction, located at Dynamic Earth. Before you visit Dynamic Earth, stop by the Big Nickel to capture a selfie! The Big Nickel is a 9 metre (30 foot) tall replica of a 1951 Canadian nickel coin. It also happens to be the world’s largest coin. This iconic roadside attraction celebrates Sudbury’s history of nickel mining.
Did you know that there used to be four other giant coin monuments here back in the 1960s? The Big Nickel shared the stage with The Fantasy Penny, The Lincoln Penny, The Kennedy Half Dollar and The Twenty Dollar Gold Piece. The other coins were dismantled in 1984.
The heads side of the coin shows King George VI, while the tails side shows a nickel refinery with a large stack (that isn’t the Inco superstack). The Big Nickel is 64,607,747 times the size of an actual nickel.
Once you’ve seen the Big Nickel, it’s time to check out one of the best places to visit in Sudbury: Dynamic Earth. It’s another science centre under the umbrella of Science North that focuses on earth science and mining experiences. There are multimedia theatres and interactive exhibits here, too.
The main attraction at Dynamic Earth is the underground mining tour. Descend seven stories underground to walk through an actual nickel mine. You’ll need to wear a hardhat (it’s the law!), but I think that this accessory really makes you feel the part. When you take the underground mining tour, be sure to wear a sweater (it gets chilly down there!) and appropriate footwear.
You’ll learn all about the early days of mining by walking through the turn of the century mine, the 1950s-era mine, and more modern mines. Learn about the hardships that early miners faced and how technology has really advanced and progressed this industry. The tour is interactive and engaging, and it’s perfect for people of all ages.
Visiting Sudbury in the winter months? Covered in snow and ice, there’s still so much to see and do in Sudbury. Not only are these major attractions still open, but you can also go skiing, snowboarding, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and more. You might even have the chance to witness the spectacular northern lights in the winter from Sudbury.
Things to Do in Downtown Sudbury
While Sudbury has the great outdoors to explore, as well as fantastic indoor attractions, there’s also an interesting food, music, and arts scene in downtown Sudbury. In the city centre, enjoy urban comforts like cozy coffee shops and restaurants for every taste. In between meals, roam around the downtown core to discover colourful murals splashed onto the sides of walls and buildings.
Visit Sudbury’s Outdoor Mural and Public Art Gallery
Love street art? You need to visit Sudbury! There are dozens of murals and painted power boxes all over downtown Sudbury. These beautiful works of art are vibrant, meaningful and brighten up the city. Plus, they’re always available for everyone to enjoy at no cost.
If you love street art, public art, outdoor murals and music, you should plan your trip to Sudbury during the Up Here festival. It’s an independent art and music festival in downtown Sudbury where dozens of muralists, local artists and musicians gather to transform downtown Sudbury into a public art gallery. There are also pop-up concerts by musicians throughout the festival, too.
Not visiting during Up Here? No worries! These murals live on for many years. The beauty of the event is that you can see the street art any time you’d like. Here is a Google map where you can see all of the Up Here murals in one place. Wander around downtown Sudbury to find all of the street art curated by Up Here.
Get Caffeinated at a Local Coffee Shop
In addition to downtown restaurants (which I’ll mention later in the article), there are great cafes in downtown Sudbury, too. I had the opportunity to visit two coffee shops in downtown Sudbury: Kuppajo Espresso Bar and Old Rock Coffee.
Kuppajo Espresso Bar is artfully designed with murals adorning the walls and greenery all over the cafe. There’s a vast menu of caffeinated delights, as well as sweet treats, too. They always have a couple of vegan baked goods on hand. My iced coffee was refreshing and extra delicious with a vanilla flavour shot.
Old Rock Coffee is another great cafe in downtown Sudbury. There’s a colourful mural on the side of Old Rock Coffee, so you can’t miss it. There’s a little patio outdoors and more seating indoors. Old Rock Coffee carefully roasts their own coffee beans, so you’ll enjoy fresh and high quality beverages.
Tour Sudbury’s Breweries and Distilleries
Love the craft beverage scene? Sudbury has numerous breweries to visit, as well as Crosscut Distillery, a craft distillery. Crosscut Distillery makes their own vodka, gin, whisky, and an assortment of intriguing liqueurs. You can buy bottles, premixed cocktails, and many more innovative products to create the perfect cocktail. Speaking of perfect cocktail, I encourage you to enjoy one or two of them on their spacious patio.
46 North Brewing is a craft brewery that also creates hard seltzers. I tried a flight at 46 North Brewing, which included two beers and two seltzers. Everything was very refreshing on a hot day. While I love drinking beer, those seltzers were super delicious! The peach seltzer was my favourite of them all.
Spacecraft Brewery is a craft brewery inside an old Greyhound bus station that’s converted into a brewery, restaurant, and community space. They have many exciting and innovative kinds of beer, including an avocado ale and a raspberry-vanilla-peach beer. The space is quirky and a feast for the senses, and the bottles of beer are artfully designed. It’s a must visit brewery in Sudbury.
There are two more breweries that I didn’t have the chance to visit: Optimist Brewery and Kitchen and Stack Brewing. These ones are on my list for next time!
More Great Places to Visit in Sudbury
In addition to the popular Sudbury attractions, conservation areas and parks, and places in downtown Sudbury, here are even more fun things to do in Sudbury that you should consider adding to your Sudbury itinerary.
Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes
The Grotto Lady of Lourdes is a hidden gem in Sudbury that offers beautiful views while celebrating the world’s religions. Known as “The Grotto” by locals, it’s a peaceful place to relax and reflect. You’ll walk past statues, monuments, and plaques. Most notably, there’s a large fountain surrounded by a structure with Greek columns that looks straight out of Europe.
Canada’s Largest Mural
Sudbury is home to Canada’s largest mural. The graffiti artist, RISK, painted a 74,000 square foot mural on the walls of an abandoned hospital, St. Joseph’s Hospital. It took 860 gallons of paint, five people on RISK’s crew, 24 people on the local crew, three lifts, one crane, and 1500 hours to create this artistic marvel.
You can visit Canada’s Largest Mural from Bell Park and you’ll definitely notice it as you drive down Paris Street in Sudbury. It’s one of the most bright and colourful creations I’ve ever seen. Even though the old structure was rundown and dilapidated, many people in Sudbury have a connection to the old hospital. The artist brought new life to this old building with splashes of colour and detailed butterflies on its walls.
The Sudbury Market is a local farmer’s market featuring fresh produce, culinary delights, and handicrafts by local makers. It’s open from the middle of May until the end of October every Thursday and Saturday. You can find the Sudbury Market across the road from Bell Park and Science North.
Art Gallery of Sudbury
The Art Gallery of Sudbury is an art gallery devoted to local history and contemporary works of art. There are always new and exciting exhibitions, lecture series, art classes and special events for the local community. This public art gallery is open from Tuesday to Sunday, and admission is by donation.
Northern Ontario Railroad Museum and Heritage Centre
The Northern Ontario Railroad Museum and Heritage Centre is a rail transport museum, and you’ll find it in the community of Capreol in Greater Sudbury. It pays tribute to the history of the local mining, lumber, and railroading industries. Notably, there’s a 1000 square foot model railroad that’s thought to be the largest in northern Ontario.
Where to Eat in Sudbury: Top Sudbury Restaurants
Here’s one of the best reasons to visit Sudbury: the amazing food! As I follow a vegan diet, I was excited to see so many vegan meals at restaurants around the city. There are a few exclusively vegan restaurants in Sudbury, too. Here’s where I ate when I visited Sudbury.
Tucos Tacos Lounge
Tucos Tacos Lounge is an amazing Mexican restaurant in Sudbury that also happens to be 100% vegan. Choose from tacos, burritos, nachos, and many more of your Mexican food favourites. I opted for the mac n cheese burrito, which was absolutely delicious. I’d eat this every single day if I could!
Laughing Buddha doesn’t only have delectable eats, but it also has a charming patio, too. This pretty space features a lot of vegetarian and vegan items on the menu, like their stone baked pizza and homemade hummus. There are also many gluten-free offerings, too. I highly recommend trying the hummus and the tempeh miso bowl.
Sapporo Ichibang is a Japanese restaurant in downtown Sudbury, and it’s the first restaurant in Sudbury to serve traditional Japanese cuisine. There are many veg-friendly selections on the menu. I recommend trying the tofu bi-bim-bap (tofu and rice, topped with sauteed vegetables and Kochujang sauce) and any of the veggie sushi rolls.
Verdicchio Ristorante is an Italian fine dining establishment in Sudbury with the vegan items clearly marked on the menu. There are vegan pizzas, pasta and sides. The Spaghetti Cacio e Pepe is divine. The sauce is a puree of roasted cashews, miso paste and extra virgin olive oil.
Green Leaf Cafe at Ezentials Wellness Escape
Ezentials Wellness Escape is an eco-luxury spa that has a small cafe called the Green Leaf Cafe. Even if you don’t have a spa treatment booked, you’re welcome to stop in for a quick bite anytime. There are many vegan pre-packed meals for takeaway, and there’s also a small indoor dining area. I savoured my vegan Caesar wrap, a vegan scone, and a yummy kombucha (they have several flavours of kombucha on tap).
Salty Dog Bagels
Do you love bagels as much as I do? I love bagels…a lot. So, I had to try Salty Dog Bagels in downtown Sudbury one morning. They have a variety of bagels and sandwiches, including vegan cream cheese. Be sure to ask the employees which bagels are vegan (a couple of them aren’t). Pair your bagel with vegan cream cheese with a cup of coffee, and you’ve got a delish breakfast!
The Peach Pit
The Peach Pit is a brand new, adorable food truck serving up fresh fruit smoothies and smoothie bowls. You’ll find this delightful little peach coloured smoothie truck on your way into Sudbury (if you’re coming from the south). The Peach Pit is 100% vegan and dairy-free. The Blue Moon smoothie bowl is pictured above.
Gloria’s Restaurant is a favourite breakfast and brunch spot among the Sudbury locals, and they have a separate vegan menu. There are waffles, strawberry banana pancakes, breakfast skillets, yogurt parfaits, French toast, and even burgers for later in the day. I couldn’t resist ordering the waffles topped with strawberries, bananas, and maple syrup.
The Motley Kitchen
The Motley Kitchen is another favourite brunch spot in Sudbury. While the vegan options aren’t quite as expansive as Gloria’s Kitchen, there are a couple of things to order: the Cottage Breakfast made with tofu scramble (pictured above), the Neato Burrito (substituted with tofu scramble), and an assortment of side dishes.
Flurples is right across the road from Tucos Tacos (and next door to Beards Coffee Bar), which is Sudbury’s own little vegan area of town. It’s an all vegan and dairy-free ice cream bar with ice cream cones, sundaes and milkshakes. This birthday cake ice cream was such a treat!
Papaya Pops is a favourite spot at the Sudbury Market, but they also have their own location in Chelmsford now, too. Most of the flavours are vegan (the ones that aren’t are marked as such), and they’re made with fresh fruit. I enjoyed a watermelon kiwi popsicle that was so refreshing on a hot day.
More Awesome Coffee Shops in Sudbury
And if you know me, you know that I’m a massive fan of drinking coffee! I’m always looking for the best coffee when I travel anywhere. I mentioned a couple of places to find a rich cup of joe in downtown Sudbury already. Here are a few more of my favourite coffee shops in Sudbury.
Beard’s Coffee Bar and Bakery
Beards Coffee Bar and Bakery is my favourite coffee shop in town, and it’s because all of their baked goods are 100% vegan. They’re most famous for their cinnamon buns and donuts, although they have rotating specials throughout the week. Everything is baked from scratch daily. Don’t visit Sudbury without stopping here!
Salute Coffee Company
Salute Coffee Company is a premium, locally owned coffee shop in Sudbury that even has its own drive thru. They serve fresh and delicious coffee, as well as a variety of snacks and baked goods (many are vegan!). Salute Coffee Company has two locations in Sudbury.
Twiggs Coffee Roasters
Twiggs Coffee Roasters is a small chain of coffee shops, starting in North Bay and expanding to Sudbury, Sturgeon Falls and Parry Sound. In addition to an espresso bar, they also have a larger cafe menu of sandwiches, soups, pizza, flatbread, and baked goods. I’d love to see more vegan food items on the menu, although I am happy to order a coffee with plant-based milk.
Day Trips From Sudbury
It’s easy to make Sudbury your home base in order to explore the region. Many people stop over in Sudbury as they heard farther north in Ontario towards Sault Ste Marie and Thunder Bay. But, you might end up devoting your entire trip to exploring all of the best things to do in Sudbury (as I did!).
If you find yourself with some extra time, these are the best day trips from Sudbury (or spend a few days in each place, added on to a Sudbury trip).
Killarney Provincial Park
Killarney Provincial Park is one of my favourite provincial parks in Ontario. It’s most known for “the Crack” hiking trail where you’ll witness some of the most brilliant views in the province. The town of Killarney is quite cute, and a stay at the Killarney Mountain Lodge offers a luxurious retreat. Killarney Provincial Park is about an hour’s drive from Sudbury.
Manitoulin Island is a wondrous place, located in the middle of Lake Huron, about 1.5 hours from Sudbury. There are many opportunities to go hiking, see gorgeous waterfalls, and observe the night sky without light pollution. You might even be able to spot the northern lights from here! While it’s possible to make a day trip to Manitoulin Island from Sudbury, I recommend spending another three days on Manitoulin Island for the full experience without rushing around.