When you walk down the streets of Sudbury Ontario, the outside of most establishments are plain. The diner looks like a typical diner, and the bakery looks like a bakery – nothing fancy, nothing chic, simply unassuming. So, what about this destination keeps us coming back time and time again?
It’s the history! You see and hear it in the way the locals greet each other – generations of families who have lived, worked, and played together. It’s that all-important community feeling that is often missing from big cities.
In fact, it is the leading cause of Boomerang Syndrome, a term coined by Sudbury locals. When a “Sudburian” decides to leave for greener pastors or the bright lights of a mega-city, they always inevitably come back home. One local told us she had a magnet on her fridge, stating, “I tried to leave.”
So, with that in mind, prepare for a memorable weekend getaway with this comprehensive guide. Here, you will discover some of the city’s most iconic attractions, must-see festivals, relaxing accommodations, and all the best places to visit in Sudbury.
History of Sudbury, Ontario
- Sudbury began as a small railroad settlement initially designed as a dept for the Canadian Pacific Railway.
- The city was originally named after Sudbury, Suffolk, England, the birthplace of a prominent railway executive’s wife.
- Mining began in 1886 with the founding of Canadian Copper. Smelting operations soon followed in 1888.
- It is recognized as one of Canada’s most important mining cities, with some even referring to it as the “hard rock mining capital of the world.”
How to Get to Sudbury
If you’re interested in planning an Ontario road trip to explore places in close driving distance to Toronto, Sudbury, Ontario, is a great option. The drive from Toronto to Sudbury is only 4 hours, following ON-400 N and ON-69. The drive will take you through the picturesque “cottage country,” providing many incredible views. For those who prefer public transit or don’t have access to a vehicle, Ontario Northland offers a bus route from Toronto’s Union Station Bus Terminal to Sudbury for $72.80 per person. This trip takes approximately 6 hours and 45 minutes.
Hotels in Sudbury, Ontario
Choosing the right accommodation can have a significant impact on any trip experience. Luckily, there are some great Sudbury, Ontario hotels and motels to consider. If you’d prefer a more nature-focused adventure, you can stay at one of the beautiful campgrounds or lodges a short drive from the city. We’re sure you’ll be happy with the results, whichever you decide.
2270 Regent St
We stayed at this hotel during our most recent visit to the city. The location was convenient; it was just a short walk to nearby restaurants and attractions. In addition to cozy rooms, the hotel also offers a pool, business center, fitness center, and complimentary breakfast. There are pet-friendly rooms available for those who enjoy road-tripping with their pets by their side.
1696 Regent St
Another Sudbury, Ontario hotel we have previously stayed at (during the Travel Media Association of Canada Conference), the Holiday Inn Sudbury, offers rooms with a modern vibe. Four Corners Restaurant is located just off the lobby and is open for both breakfast and dinner. There is also a pool and business center available. For those travelling with young children, the restaurant allows children ages 11 and under to eat free with an accompanying adult order.
696 Park Rd, Worthington, ON
While it isn’t located directly in the city, this provincial park is a great option for those searching for campgrounds near Sudbury, Ontario. The park offers many waterfront campsites with a beautiful view of Fairbank Lake and a selection of sites with electrical hookups. In addition to camping, you will find a long sandy beach and a short 0.5 km hiking trail. The lake is a popular spot for canoeing, kayaking, and fishing.
Best Places to Eat in Sudbury
Of course, we can’t share a guide without including the many incredible bars, breweries, and restaurants in Sudbury, Ontario. Don’t let the traditional exterior of most of these businesses fool you! This city has options for every taste and flavour palette, from traditional diner food to more unique and creative menus. Here are a few of our favourite locations we encourage you to explore:
469 Bouchard St
A staple in the city of Sudbury, ON, Gloria’s Restaurant just celebrated their 70th anniversary in 2022. This traditional diner prides itself in being a welcoming and family-like environment, where visitors are greeted with a “friendly smile and a big hello.” In addition to their classic diner menu, including an extensive list of breakfast options, they also offer a vegan menu for those with dietary restrictions.
Leinala’s Scandinavian Bakery
1769 Regent St
Another piece of Sudbury, Ontario history, Leinala’s Bakery has been operating for over 60 years. They are best known for their famous jelly pig donuts. The bakery opened in 1959 when Elli Leinala moved to Sudbury after having fed Finnish soldiers throughout WWII. Today, the family continues to use Elli’s original recipes to offer traditional baked goods as a cornerstone of the city’s Finnish community.
Eddie’s Restaurant + Sports Bar
1769 Regent Street
Eddie’s is a popular eatery among the locals in Sudbury. It’s the kind of place where generations of miners grab a satisfying breakfast before heading off to work. The cozy and welcoming atmosphere makes it a great spot to relax and enjoy a meal with friends or family.
Their menu offers an extensive selection of classic pub fare, including burgers, wings, nachos, sandwiches, and a great selection of beers on tap.
66 Cedar St
Are you searching for a sweet treat? While Raven Rising Global Indigenous Chocolate isn’t technically a bar or restaurant, we had to include it on this list. Chef Tammy is globally recognized for her prize-winning chocolates, featuring ingredients sourced from Indigenous people and businesses in Canada and worldwide. A portion of the proceeds from each sale are donated to support organizations supporting Residential School survivors and fighting to bring awareness to missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls, 2 spirt, and gender-diverse people.
194 Elgin St.
The Laughing Buddha started in 2005 with a simple concept – to provide great pizza, unique beer, and an amazing ambiance. The family that owns and operates the Laughing Buddha has also been running the Townehouse Tavern since 1987.
They take pride in using the finest ingredients, which are freshly prepared every day. Their menu offers various options, including fresh hummus, soups, salads, sandwiches, and many vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options. And, of course, they serve delicious pizza.
1275 Kelly Lake Rd
If you want to enjoy a cold beer or hard seltzer with friends, this is just the place! The brewery opened in April 2019, quickly earning a reputation in the local craft beer scene. The taproom’s rustic décor, welcoming atmosphere, and friendly staff make it the perfect stop for a relaxing afternoon. They also offer a snack menu, including a fun assortment of premium hotdogs. Plus, it’s dog-friendly!
1347 Kelly Lake Rd
This 100% grain-to-glass distillery is an excellent option for those interested in supporting local, as it sources grains and botanicals from across Northern Ontario. You can enjoy their one-of-a-kind vodka, gin, and whisky in a tasting or by purchasing one of their many creative cocktails. In addition to a gin taste testing, we also had the opportunity to interview head bartender Jay McGraw, who explained all the flavours and what makes each of their products unique.
493 Kathleen St
This family-owned and operated business offers an incredible fine dining experience for those planning a date night or celebratory dinner while in town. They are open for lunch and dinner, with menus featuring upscale Italian cuisine. Owner and chef Filippo Rocca immigrated to Canada from Italy at the age of 19, bringing a passion for Italian food, including fresh pasta, seafood dishes, and gnocchi.
Alexandria’s Restaurant and Lounge
211 Shaughnessy St
Conveniently located in downtown Sudbury, Alexandria’s Restaurant and Lounge is an elegant yet cozy restaurant with a beautiful outdoor seating area. The menu features creative and upscale Mediterranean cuisine. Their drink list offers classic cocktails as well as some fun and unique options, like the jalapeno margarita.
Respect is Burning Kitchen and Bar
A popular restaurant in Sudbury, one of our favourites, is known for its exceptional food, great atmosphere, and friendly staff. The restaurant offers a diverse and authentic, Nonna-approved Italian menu that caters to a range of tastes and preferences.
As part of the Travel Media Association of Canada conference, we got to try several menu options, and when the waiter came out with the massive lamb chops, we almost fell out of our chairs. Delicious.
206 Elgin St
A well-known Canadian live music venue, The Townhouse Tavern was the spot where Stompin’ Tim spent a lot of his time while in Sudbury. They have been operating for over 30 years, providing a stage for musicians across the country to perform. In addition to music, you can expect to enjoy a quality pub menu, including some of the best burgers in the city.
158 Elgin St, Enter at the side of the building! 😉
One of the most unique experiences you will enjoy in the city is The Night Owl, a 1920s speakeasy. These outlawed establishments sold alcohol during the prohibition, meaning they had to be secretive with their operation. To gain access, you must pick up the phone around the side of the building to confirm your arrival before being escorted through a secret doorway. Reservations are encouraged. Check out their live jazz nights if you’re in town for a Thursday night!
During the Travel Media Association of Canada Conference, during a downtown walking tour, we popped into Books & Beans for sandwiches and Kuppajo for coffee, so we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention:
- Books and Beans Cafe – a cozy coffee shop with an artistic vibe that offers a variety of espresso drinks, signature sandwiches, local pastries, and a diverse selection of books to read.
- Kuppajo – a café with a cool name serving outstanding coffee and in-house baking.
- Wacky’s – an absolutely fun place with an unbelievable amount of dry and sauce wing combinations.
- Rosy’s Corner – If sipping margaritas on their patio or enjoying tacos and quesadillas is what you’re after, Rosy’s Corner brings that authentic Mexican experience with a side of late-night karaoke. Suppose you are up for it!
Things To Do In Sudbury, Ontario
While we could go on and on about the many amazing restaurants and breweries in the city, these aren’t the only attractions in Sudbury, Ontario, Canada. From attending the Urban Art & Music Festival to visiting the iconic Big Nickel, there is much to enjoy. Are you planning your trip and unsure where to start? There are things to do in Sudbury for all ages and interests.
Bell Park Walkway & Ramsey Lake
506 Elizabeth St
Located along the west shoreline of Ramsey Lake, the Bell Park Walkway offers a beautiful and accessible walk for all ages including a picturesque 2 km boardwalk. If you follow the path, it will take you behind the old St. Joseph’s Hospital, where you will see Old St. Tripple JOOO’s by RISK, Canada’s largest mural.
According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the lake is the second-largest lake located entirely within the boundaries of a single city, with Lake Wanapitei currently holding the record.
The park includes an amphitheatre, two gazebos, a monumental sculpture dedicated to the mining history of the city, a beach, and a children’s playground. This is the location of many festivals and cultural events during the summer, including the Sudbury Summerfest, the annual Dragonboat Races, the Northern Lights Festival Boreal, and the Bell Park Gazebo Concert Series.
100 Ramsey Lake Rd
Are you searching for the perfect place to spend the afternoon with the whole family? Science North is a popular tourist attraction. Here, you will find an assortment of exhibits and activities for all ages, including a rock tunnel, a 3D IMAX with Laser theatre, a planetarium, the F. Jean MacLeod Butterfly Gallery, and the TechLab.
While you are here, you can:
- Learn about DNA
- Build and race a race car
- Learn how to cut, grind, and polish rocks
- Experience the Wildfires! Exhibit, a firefighting adventure in 3D.
- Explore the Northern Garden
- Visit the microgravity drop tower
- And more…
You can easily spend the whole afternoon with so many attractions in one area. So, plan accordingly!
122 Big Nickel Rd
This hands-on earth sciences museum is owned and operated by Science North. Here you will find an underground mining tour, outdoor science park, Earth Gallery exhibit, Epiroc Theatre, MacLeod Rock Gallery, mineral wall, and the iconic Big Nickel – an oversized replica of the 1951 Canadian nickel. This is an incredible opportunity for visitors of all ages to learn about the mining history of the city.
If you visit Sudbury, Ontario, during the fall season, you should check out Pumpkinferno. This outdoor exhibit at Dynamic Earth features thousands of hand-carved pumpkins set along a 30-to-45-minute trail. This is an excellent opportunity to celebrate the spooky season with your family.
271 Van Horne St
Whether you’re looking for a beautiful photo background or are interested in the area’s religious history, the Grotto Lourdes Shrine is one of the most beautiful (and free) things to see in Sudbury. Commissioned in 1907 as a replica of a famous holy place in France, the Greek-styled columns and fountain make a popular spot for wedding and graduation photos. Paths found around the shrine will lead you to the many flower gardens, lookouts, and sightseeing benches.
Stompin Tom Statue
Created by Sudbury-based sculptor Tyler Fauvelle, a life-sized bronze statue of Stompin’ Tom Connors stands outside the Sudbury Community Arena. The sculpture pays tribute to the iconic Canadian folk/country artist, whose song ‘Sudbury Saturday Night’ holds a special place in the city’s history.
Sudbury Farmers Market
Sudbury Farmers Market is a vibrant hub of local produce and community spirit. Located in the heart of the city, the market brings together farmers, artisans, and food vendors from across the region to offer a diverse selection of fresh, healthy, and sustainably grown products.
170 Shaughnessy St
Officially incorporated in 1971, the Sudbury Theatre Centre is dedicated to developing awareness and appreciation of the arts. Here, you can enjoy the Sudbury Symphony Orchestra, musical acts, and live theatre performances. They also run a youth program to encourage children ages 6 and older of all skill levels to experience the magic of the theatre.
Places des Arts
Sudbury is home to Places des Arts, a cultural center that promotes local artists and performers by serving as a hub for art, music, and theatre events. The center boasts multiple performance spaces, galleries, and studios, providing a diverse range of opportunities for both artists and audiences.
Art Gallery of Sudbury
The Art Gallery of Sudbury has a diverse collection of contemporary artwork, exhibitions, educational programs, and events for all ages. Founded in 1967, the gallery is located in the historic Belrock Mansion and was previously known as LUMAC.
When we asked the receptionist at the hotel what makes Sudbury special, she answered without hesitation: Arts and science. Well with its large mining history, the latter makes sense. After confessing to how much she was a science nerd, she also said she loves the Up Here Festival.
The largest art festival in Northern Ontario, Up Here, is a unique experience for art and music lovers. Each summer, the festival brings muralists, installation artists and musicians together to transform Sudbury’s downtown into an immersive urban art gallery. New public murals are unveiled each year, and emerging artists are given the spotlight.
There are currently over 30 murals found throughout Greater Sudbury, Ontario, created and maintained as part of the festival. They range from bright, bold colours and imaginative designs to ultra-realistic depictions like the portrait of Alex Trebek located on his former high school. You can find a complete map of the murals around the city and the stories behind them as part of the Up Here Festival app.
The festival is just one of many projects run by We Live Up Here, a volunteer-run non-profit dedicated to the idea that “art can inspire, transform and help build a better community.”
The crown jewel, of course, is Canada’s Largest Mural, a piece in Kelly “RISK” Graval’s Triple O series based on object-oriented ontology and the theory of unified realities. Canada Largest Mural’s which was once Old St. Joseph’s Hospital is officially named “Old St. Triple JOOO’s”
4472 Long Lake Rd
Over 450 acres in size, Kivi Park is a multi-use sports and outdoor park. This is the perfect location if you want to spend some quality time outdoors during your trip to Sudbury. During the warmer months, you can explore the trial network, play on the disc golf course, or hit the lake, swimming, canoeing, kayaking, or paddle boarding. They offer snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, and ice skating in the winter. Gear rentals are available on-site.
Another must-see location for outdoor travel lovers, Onaping Falls (also known as High Falls) is a beautiful, cascading waterfall. Wheelchair-accessible lookouts are available just a short distance from the parking lot, allowing everyone to enjoy the view. The A.Y. Jackson Lookout is named after Group of Seven artist A.Y. Jackson, who visited the location and was inspired to paint the waterfall in 1953.
For those interested in hiking, a trail extends from the lookout to a bridge and observation platform. From there, you can explore the woods on a 2 km loop.
Less than 1km North of A.Y. Jackson Lookout, look for this open area on your right.
Follow this path this path to the Bridge over High Falls.
Plan Your Next Weekend Getaway in Sudbury, ON
Just a short drive from Toronto, Sudbury, Ontario is a hidden gem with plenty to explore. Whether you’re travelling solo, taking a romantic weekend trip, or going on vacation with the whole family, there are many attractions to choose from.
Tap into your inner geek by spending the day at Science North or Dynamic Earth, tap into your artsy side with the Up Here urban art and music festival, or enjoy the beauty of the great outdoors by exploring Kivi Park. Whatever your travel style, you won’t be disappointed!