Why Sudbury is the Perfect Weekend Getaway: A 3-Day Guide to the Nickel City

Just a few hours north of the GTA lies Sudbury, Ontario. Weird, wonderful and packed with festivals, outdoor activities, and fun for the whole family—here's your perfect weekend itinerary.
two kids walking into cave-like place

When the summer heat hits, Bramptonians are often looking for an escape. Days spent splashing in Professor’s Lake or cycling around Heart Lake Conservation Area are awesome, but we all need a change of scenery once in a while.

There are some amazing road trips from Brampton that families should include in their summer plans, from awesome parks like Killarney to dinner cruises across Lake Huron. And all of these awesome road trips have something in common.

They go north.

And all roads north lead to the dynamic city of Sudbury, Ontario. Where the landscapes make a dramatic shift and the adventures go from casual to epic.

Sudbury isn’t just a destination. It’s an experience that will give you a taste of the outdoors that simply can’t be experienced further south.

Here’s how to plan your journey.

Your Sudbury Road Trip: A 3-Day Itinerary

The first step to an amazing (in my case) Brampton to Sudbury weekend trip is to get the heck out of town. Let’s face it, the 400 North is not a fun place to be on a Friday, so if you can leave early in the day (or better yet, on Thursday), you’re going to be there faster and have more time for sightseeing before your return on Sunday. 

Once you’ve cleared the traffic from the big city, it’s clear sailing. The drive between Brampton and Sudbury is about three and a half hours, and if you spend your first day seeing the incredible places on the way, I don’t blame you.

Make a stop at Grundy Provincial Park along the way and stretch your legs with the park's incredible fishing. The park has one of the province’s best jumping rocks too, so you can cool off while enjoying a taste of the beautiful scenery.

kids at shoreline

Day 1 in Sudbury: Diners, Canada's Largest Mural, and Science North 

Once you’ve arrived in Sudbury, the fun really begins. After that drive, I’ll bet that you’re hungry, so head across town to Lorne Street and make a stop at Cara’s Convenience. This little roadside diner may not look like much from the outside, but it’s the go-to place in Sudbury for absolutely mouthwatering sandwiches. Do yourself a favor (if you have the appetite) and order the Paul Bunyan. Layered with ham, turkey, roast beef, pastrami, capicola, and salami and topped with lettuce, onions, and cheese, it’s a feast that you can hold in your hands.

Once your belly is full, make your way to Bell Park to see Canada’s largest mural. This massive 74,000-square-foot painting covers the entire facade of the former St. Joseph's hospital. It’s part of an ever-growing collection of murals that are part of the yearly Up Here art festival in Sudbury.

entire hospital covered in very colourful mural

From Bell Park, you’re within walking distance of one of the best science museums in the country. Science North and its sister location, Dynamic Earth are two of the coolest stops in Sudbury.

Spread across several floors, and having one of the coolest entrances of any museum, you’ll find interactive exhibits covering millions of years of Earth’s history right up to the modern space age.

Dynamic Earth is located at one of Sudbury’s largest nickel mines, and it’s where you’ll find the iconic Big Nickel that helped the city gain its nickname. This incredible museum not only lets visitors explore the wild mining history of Sudbury, but you can even sign up for a tour of the actual mine that lies beneath the building.

Where to Eat in Sudbury

Now that is one heck of a day, and you must be hungry. Head downtown to Respect is Burning Kitchen and Bar. Oozing with character, good-natured staff, and absolutely scrumptious Italian cuisine, this is the perfect place to end your day before resting up. Because your second day in Sudbury is going to be even better than the first.

Where to Sleep in Sudbury 

Grab a room at the Hilton Garden Inn for a central stay, or enjoy a cozy night at the Hacienda B&B, a unique property with 5-acres of privacy and luxury. The Mexican-inspired decor and seasonal activities make it one of the city’s coolest properties. For accommodations with a more outdoorsy twist, check out this list of 11 incredible places to stay—including yurts, campgrounds, and more!

Day 2 in Sudbury: French Toast Wraps, Kivi Park, and Fresh Blueberries

The next morning, get up and head over to Gloria’s Restaurant for some of Sudbury’s most hearty breakfasts, you’ll need the energy to fuel your day of adventure. Treat yourself to one of their french toast wraps or go for the steak and eggs if you want some protein.

deluxe french toast at restaurant
The French Toast Wrap at Gloria's // Photo credit: Kevin Wagar

After breakfast, make your way over to the Downtown Sudbury Market at the Via Rail Station. From June to September local growers and producers set up shops selling farm-fresh produce, homemade baked goods, hand-made products, and much more.

Your next stop could be Urban Air Adventure Park. This 25,000-square-foot park is an adventure-lover's dream with rock climbing, ropes courses, and trampolines. It’s a perfect adventure spot for families with young kids to teenagers who love to stay active.

For lunch, head into town and make a stop at The Kouzzina on Lasalle Blvd near the New Sudbury Centre. Serving up an incredible range of Mediterranean classics, this family-owned business offers Aegean delights with a Canadian twist. The perfect light meal to power you through your Sudbury explorations. The Kouzzina is just one of the many great restaurants in Sudbury. There’s something for every taste.

Once you’re fueled up, head to the edge of town. Kivi Park is your destination. This incredible park is a four-season destination with snowshoeing and cross-country ski trails in the winter and a vast network of hiking and mountain bike trails in the summer. For more ways to have fun in Kivi Park check out this daytripper's guide

two people sitting in chairs at vast lookout
Relax and enjoy the views on one of the park's Muskoka chairs. // Photo credit: Kevin Wagar

Kivi Park has an amazing playground and pump track for kids, and bike rentals for all ages for those who want to get out into the wilderness.

If you visit Sudbury in July and August, don’t miss the loads of wild blueberries that grow throughout the park.

After an afternoon of exploring you’re going to be hungry. Stop into Tucos Taco Lounge. Sudbury’s best vegan restaurants aren’t just for those on a vegan diet, Tucos Taco Lounge serves up the best Mexican cuisine in Sudbury. It just happens to be vegan. Grab yourself a meal and wash it down with some local beer from 46 North Brewing Company. You can finish on a sweet note by visiting Flurples Ice Cream shop right across the street.

plate of tacos
Tucos Taco Lounge is a favourite local spot for fresh vegan fare. // Photo credit: Kevin Wagar

Day 3 in Sudbury: Waterfalls and The Group of Seven

After you rest up from a day of adventure, you’ll have to tear yourself away from the city of Sudbury. But don’t worry, there are still some adventures to be had. As you make your way out of town stop by AY Jackson Lookout and Onaping Falls. This magical spot provided inspiration for one of the famed Group of Seven’s most notable painters. At the visitors centre you can explore some of Sudbury’s geology followed by a short but rugged hike that takes you to an outstanding overlook of the waterfall.

Make sure to bring some grippy shoes, as the rocks can get a bit slippery, especially if it’s wet.

3 people at waterfalls
Add Onaping Falls to your weekend itinerary. // Photo credit: Kevin Wagar

Plan Your Next Weekend Trip To Sudbury

A weekend trip from Brampton to Sudbury offers just a taste of the incredible experiences on offer in this vibrant Northern Ontario city. But it’s enough to light a spark that's sure to draw you north time and time again.

There’s so much more to discover in Sudbury that you may need to extend your trip! 

About Kevin Wagar

Kevin Wagar is a family travel expert and award-winning travel writer and photographer. He explores the world with his wife and children seeking out adventurous experiences, cultural immersion, and opportunities to learn from the local people that he visits, and shares his stories on his website Wandering Wagars - Adventure Family Travel. Kevin is also a co-founder of Ultimate Ontario, a digital publication with a passion for sharing the stories of Ontario's travel, food, and beverage experiences.

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