Home Canada 10 Best Things To Do in Sudbury Ontario

10 Best Things To Do in Sudbury Ontario

by Valerie Vanr

See Sudbury’s famous Big Nickel monument beside Dynamic Earth, one of its two world-class science centres. Science North, the other, is a great place to start a walk around Lake Ramsey, visiting Bell Park and its sandy beach.

We have the perfect one-day plan so you see all the best things in this amazing northeastern Ontario city!

One-Day Sudbury Itinerary

Greater Sudbury is the perfect place to spend a day or two.

On a second day, explore the area outside the city. Visit the A.Y. Jackson Lookout at Onaphing Falls and hike the local trails. Learn about the railroad role in local development at the Northern Ontario Railroad Museum.

Sudbury Attractions Map

Click on the map for an interactive version.

10 Best Things To Do in Sudbury

  1. The Big Nickel
  2. Dynamic Earth
  3. Science North
  4. Bell Park
  5. Sudbury’s Outdoor Art Murals
  6. Art Gallery of Sudbury
  7. Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes
  8. Sudbury Hiking
  9. A.Y. Jackson Lookout
  10. 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.  

Valerie and Andy foreground Big Nickel background
Behind us is Sudbury’s huge Big Nickel. It’s 9 metres across and weighs 13,000 kilograms.

Dynamic Earth

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.

The Dynamic Earth webpage has hours, ticket and exhibit information.

Andy foreground paths rocks building background
Dynamic Earth is dedicated to the earth sciences. Visit the demonstration mine, 7 storeys underground. Information panels, like the one behind Andy, are around the museum and explain the local geology.

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 millennia.

Science North

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.

Large arches sundial building background
This structure, in front of Science North, is a sundial. The local time is the location of the pipe’s shadow on the numerals on the concrete.

Bell Park

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.

Andy walking curving path by trees along lakeside
We enjoyed the walking paths along the shore of Ramsay Lake from Science North to Bell Park’s public beach at the park’s north end. It’s a lovely 2-kilometre walk.

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.

Multi-coloured building with lake background
For Sudbury’s 2019 “Up Here” mural festival, the abandoned St. Joseph’s Hospital building became Canada’s largest mural.
3 photos wall murals bear firewoman Indigenous woman
The Up Here mural festival has left a beautiful legacy local buildings.

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.

Grey stone 2.5 storey mansion Sudbury Art Gallery
In this early 1900’s mansion, the Art Gallery of Sudbury displays contemporary art.

UPDATE 2024: The Art Gallery is closed temporarily for structural repairs. Temporary exhibits have been set up around the city. Consult the Art Gallery website for more details.

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.

Stonework structure niche with sculpture
Many come to the Grotto to meditate.
Fountain surrounded by column-lined circular walkway
Concerts are often held at the grotto.

Sudbury Hiking

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 more information, hours and directions, visit the Northern Ontario Railroad Museum website.

Sudbury Breweries

After a day of sight-seeing, enjoy a locally-brewed beverage.  Great options include, 46 North Brewing and Stack Brewing.

Val in middle flat labyrinth paths trees behind
I made it to the flowery centre of the meditation labyrinth at the Grotto.

Sudbury History

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.

River falls cutting forested granite rocks

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