As the largest city in northern Ontario, Greater Sudbury is a multicultural city with vibrant Italian, French, Ukrainian, Finnish, Polish and Aboriginal communities. Its core is fully urbanized, with smaller communities scattered around the numerous lakes surrounding the city center.
This former mining town is a major retail and commercial centre and the gateway to northeastern Ontario. It’s a city known for art, music and outdoor recreation, making it a gem for tourists.
Thanks to its friendly residents and thriving culture, visitors will feel at home in Greater Sudbury. There’s plenty to see and do both indoors and out, but these are by far the 15 best things to do in Greater Sudbury:
1. Stare at the giant nickels
The nine-meter-tall Big Nickel is the city’s most famous landmark. It is a replica of a 1952 Canadian Nickel on the grounds of the Museum of Dynamic Geosciences.
It won’t take long to stare at the nickels, and a visit to Dynamic Earth should be next. This interactive science museum focuses on the mining history of the city.
There are many exhibits in the museum where children can learn how to mine, climb mineral walls, observe diamonds and identify different minerals. They can also take underground tours of the mine.
2. Embrace science
Dynamic Earth is operated by Science North, the city’s top attraction. This science museum is famous for its two snowflake-shaped buildings connected by a rock tunnel.
Visit a museum and fully embrace science for a day. This family-friendly spot has some amazing exhibits, including Space Place, TechLab, and the F. Jean MacLeod Butterfly Gallery.
There is also a 3D IMAX theater, various wildlife, outdoor gardens and an eight-meter dome planetarium. They also have numerous programs for visitors of all ages.
3. Taking time is a park
Greater Sudbury has several, although Bell Park is the most visited of them. This large park is located on the edge of Lake Ramsay near downtown Sudbury.
Bell Park has an amphitheater, children’s playground, numerous flower beds and two gazebos. It also has a beach supervised by lifeguards in summer.
The park also features numerous sculptures to showcase the city’s mining history. It also hosts many of the city’s top cultural events.
4. Visit some museums
The city has four small heritage museums that are a must for anyone interested in learning about the history of the area. Three of them are located in historic buildings and the fourth is located in the library.
The Anderson Farm Museum is a 57,000-square-meter historic dairy farm once owned by Finnish immigrants Frank Anderson and Gretta Anderson. The Copper Cliffs Museum is housed in a log cabin and depicts the lifestyle of a family of miners.
Since 1974, the Flour Mill Museum has been dedicated to the history of the city’s Franco-Ontario community. Visit the Rayside-Balfour Museum to learn about the area’s agricultural history.
5. Take a photo of the tallest chimney in the country
Not only is the Inco Superstack the tallest chimney in the country, it’s also the second tallest freestanding chimney on the planet! Take a photo of this incredible city icon.
Superstack sits on top of the world’s largest nickel smelter to disperse sour gases. It is no longer in use, but has become a major attraction.
The chimney is 380 meters high, the same height as the roof of the Empire State Building.
6. Look at art
Greater Sudbury has a very active artist community, so it’s no surprise that there are several good art galleries to visit. Both galleries focus on local or regional art.
La Galerie du Nouvel-Ontario focuses primarily on contemporary art by French-Ontario artists. It is entirely run by the artists themselves, with permanent and special exhibitions.
The Sudbury Art Gallery is housed in a beautiful turn-of-the-century Arts and Crafts movement building. Inside the gallery, you’ll see works by local artists.
7. Surround yourself with nature
The 970-hectare Lake Laurentian Preserve is located at the southern end of the city and stretches from Lake Ramsay to the Southeast Bypass. This is a fantastic reserve full of lakes, trails and wildlife.
The reserve is a nature lover’s dream because of its varied terrain. Hiking or cross-country skiing along one of the trails puts you in complete immersion in nature.
From bird watching areas to open green spaces, there is something for everyone at the Laurentian Lake Reserve. Plus, there are trails for all fitness levels.
8. Enjoy the view
These are all over the place, but the most impressive is the AY Jackson Lookout. This spectacular lookout offers views of the 55-meter cascading Hall Falls.
Hike along one of the three trails to the viewing platform. It is also accessible by car, and there is a welcome center at the entrance.
AY Jackson Lookout is located approximately 43 kilometres northwest of the city centre. Bring a picnic lunch and enjoy the view and surrounding nature in the afternoon.
9. Go snowmobile
Sudbury has one of the largest snowmobile trail systems in the world. In fact, there are more than 1,200 kilometers of trails connecting the city with surrounding communities.
Go on a snowmobile and you will not only enjoy the thrill of it, but also the magnificent scenery. These are maintained trails with parking, restrooms and designated rest areas.
If you really want to have fun, spend a few days snowmobiling, staying in cabins along the way. There are also restaurants where you can relax and enjoy hot chocolate and meals.
10. Hike, bike or cross-country ski
All of this and more can be done on the longest trans-Canada trail in the world! The trail runs through the country, with a portion of it going directly through Greater Sudbury.
Hike, bike or cross-country ski along the trails along the shores of Junction Creek and Ramsey Lake. Part of the trail is on the road, so caution should be exercised, although motorists are used to seeing people driving along it.
There are several trails to choose from in town, all of which are connected. The eastern end of the city is 28.91 kilometers of Greater Sudbury Trail East, 1.42 kilometers of Bethel Lake Trail, 3.09 kilometers of Ramsey Lake Trail, 2 kilometers of Bell Park Walkway, 5.66 kilometers of Junction Creek Waterway park and 12.36 kilometers of Greater Sudbury Are West.
11. Relax by the lake
Head northeast of the city for a weekend at Lake Kukagami. There are two cottages on the lake shore where you can relax and enjoy the tranquility.
Find a cabin for a night and enjoy canoeing, sailing, kayaking, fishing, water skiing and more. You can even head to the lake in winter for ice fishing, snowmobiling, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing.
Both lodges offer home-cooked meals served in the main hall. This is a great way to meet other guests and the families who run the resort.
12. Go to the game
During game season, head to the Sudbury Downs on a Wednesday or Saturday night. The harness track has been hosting races since 1974.
Off-season you can still visit the racetrack and try your luck at the slot machines. Sudbury Downs is home to OLG Slots with over 400 machines to choose from.
Special events are also held here throughout the year, such as outdoor racing shows and car shows. End the day with a meal at the on-site restaurant.
13. Eat and drink
Of course, Greater Sudbury has many restaurants and bars to choose from, where you can enjoy a meal or snack, as well as a cold pint or elegant cocktail. Whatever you crave, chances are you’ll find it here.
Eat cheap food at fancy restaurants or feel like royalty. Satisfy your taste buds with Indian, Italian, Chinese or Greek cuisine.
Afterwards, head to one of the city’s bars, lounges, clubs or pubs. Sip on a craft beer, martini or glass of wine, or have a pint or imported beer.
14. Go skiing
If you’re visiting in winter, Greater Sudbury is a great place to ski. In fact, there are four downhill skiing facilities in the area.
All four ski centers offer ski rentals, so you don’t have to worry about lugging your skis all the way there. The pistes are well maintained and well lit for night skiing.
If cross-country skiing is more your thing, there are many trails in and around the city. There is also the 10km Naughton ski run through beautiful forest.
15. Stare at a series of trains
This can be done at the Northern Ontario Railway Museum and Heritage Centre. The museum preserves and displays a few things to showcase the railroad history of the city.
With indoor and outdoor displays, the indoor areas are housed in a lovely Victorian house. Items on display showcase not only the city’s railroad heritage, but also its history in the mining and lumber industries.
The outdoor area is where most people are interested as a unique collection of rolling stock and locomotives can be found here. On display are the 1919 Westinghouse electric locomotive, the 1944 U-1-f class MLW 4-8-4 steam locomotive, and the 1899 caboose and slag tanker.
Where to Stay: Best Hotels in Greater Sudbury, Canada
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