Sudbury, famous for its Big Nickel monument, is surrounded by boreal forests and the beauty of the Canadian Shield. There are lots of things to do in the city.
See its two world-class science centres, Dynamic Earth and Science North. Walk the path around Lake Ramsey, enjoying Bell Park and its sandy beach. More stunning nature is on display at Onaping Falls. Learn about the importance of the railroad to the local mining industry.
Spend a day exploring this northeastern Ontario city!
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One-Day Sudbury Itinerary
Greater Sudbury is the perfect place to spend a day or two.
- Get a picture with the Big Nickel and explore the area.
- Visit Dynamic Earth OR Science North.
- Walk the Jim Gordon Walkway in Bell Park around Lake Ramsey and enjoy the beach.
- Visit the Art Gallery or some of Sudbury’s Murals painted on local buildings.
On a second day, travel to the A.Y. Jackson Lookout at Onaphing Falls and hike the trails. Visit the Northern Ontario Railroad Museum and Heritage Centre.
Sudbury Attractions Map
10 Best Things To Do in Sudbury
- The Big Nickel
- Dynamic Earth
- Science North
- Bell Park
- Sudbury’s Outdoor Art Murals
- Art Gallery of Sudbury
- Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes
- Sudbury Hiking
- A.Y. Jackson Lookout
- Northern Ontario Railroad Museum and Heritage Centre
The Big Nickel
Completed in 1964, the Big Nickel is a 9-metre diameter replica of a 1951 Canadian nickel, reportedly the world’s largest coin. It weighs 13,000 kilograms.
Mining is a key industry in Sudbury. Nickel continues to be Sudbury’s most produced metal.
Dynamic Earth, a hands-on science museum, highlights the earth sciences and the evolution of mining industry.
Learn about rock, mineral and fossil identification and much more. Discover the importance of a meteorite impact in this area 2 billion years ago.
Take a tour of Dynamic Earth’s demonstration mine, located 7 storeys underground. Find out about the conditions that the miners had to face in Sudbury’s first mines and what has changed in the mining industry over the years since.
Dynamic Earth closes in the fall, reopening to the public in mid-February.
Be sure to walk on the paths around the Big Nickel and Dynamic Earth. There are information panels with details about the local rocks and the geologic processes that have left their marks over the millennia.
One of the top destinations in Sudbury, Science North is the second largest science centre in Canada. The impressive complex covers four floors in two snowflake-shaped buildings at the southwest corner of Ramsay Lake.
Enjoy the IMAX with Laser theatre, digital planetarium, and the F. Jean MacLeod Butterfly Gallery. Learn about northern Ontario’s natural ecosystems. Visit the Science North webpage for a full schedule of shows and exhibits.
The top floor is the place to play and have fun building all manner of things. Get strapped into the gyroscope and learn about how astronauts train for space exploration.
Spend at least 2 hours.
Bell Park, on the western shore of Lake Ramsey is named in honour of William Joseph Bell, a local lumber baron. Bell Park, Sudbury’s largest park, has are more multi-use paths, an amphitheatre, playground facilities, two gazebos and a beach.
Walk the 2-kilometre Jim Gordon Walkway. The boardwalk stretches from Science North to Elizabeth Street along the edge of Ramsay Lake.
Sudbury’s Outdoor Art Murals
The abandoned St. Joseph’s Hospital building sits between Bell Park and Paris Street. In 2019, it became Canada’s largest mural as part of Up Here, the city’s annual mural festival. Since 2013, interesting murals have been painted around town. See a list of the murals at the festival website.
Art Gallery of Sudbury
The gallery is in the 6000-square-foot former residence of William Bell. The Arts and Crafts style home was constructed from local stone in 1907. It sits at the top of the hill north of Bell Park, a beautiful setting for displaying contemporary artwork, both inside and out. The gallery provides art education and engages its visitors with its permanent collection and temporary exhibits.
Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes
The Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes is a bit of quiet nature in the heart of Sudbury. Pathways meander through its five acres filled with flower gardens, benches, statues and plaques celebrating the world’s religions. Photographers enjoy the many different areas and the panoramic view of Ramsey Lake.
Walk the mediation labyrinth to the daisy in the centre. Outdoor concerts are often held regularly at the Grotto.
Sudbury is surrounded by nature. Enjoy a great hike with amazing scenery on any of a number of hiking trails covering all levels of ability. The local trail network webpage has hike details and maps.
Kivi Park, 11 kilometres south of Sudbury, has a 55-kilometre network of maintained hiking, mountain biking, fat biking, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing trails for all levels.
A.Y. Jackson Lookout
The A.Y. Jackson Lookout is located just 30 minutes west of Sudbury. Enjoy views of the impressive High Falls on the Onaping River. This cascade plunges 55 metres and is a favourite of locals. Hike the 1-km riverside trail to the bridge over the falls. A 2-km loop trail begins at the bridge. It is challenging, rugged terraine.
A.Y. Jackson, a founding member of the Canadian “Group of Seven” painters, visited the Onaping River to paint in 1953. There is a visitor centre and a picnic area as well as the lookout and trails.
Northern Ontario Railroad Museum and Heritage Centre
The railroad was an important part Sudbury’s lumbering and mining history. This museum, located 30 minutes north of Sudbury, has a number of exhibits about this time in Sudbury history and the role of the railroad.
Learn about tools and equipment used. There is a model train layout and a locomotive simulator to experience. Visit the 1916 museum house and enjoy a treat in its tea room. In Prescott Park, see one of the last steam engines used.
For thousands of years, the Ojibwe People lived in the area of what is now Sudbury. When the transcontinental railway was built through the area in the 1880’s, nickel ore was discovered. Sudbury prospered as a major centre for both the lumber and nickel mining industries.
Today the city is Northeastern Ontario’s retail, health, and educational hub. Mining is still an important industry with 8 active mines in the area.
For those interested in the geology of the area, a number of self-guided Geo Tours have been created by the Ontario government. To download detailed pdfs, visit the Greater Sudbury Geotours webpage.
Sudbury is a great starting point for a northern Ontario Road Trip. Check out our article, Places to Visit on a Road Trip from Sudbury to Sault Ste. Marie.
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