Thunder Bay is a charming city nestled on the northwestern shore of Lake Superior in Ontario, Canada. Known for its stunning natural beauty, rich cultural heritage, and plethora of outdoor activities, it offers a delightful blend of urban conveniences and wilderness adventures. Whether you’re a nature enthusiast, history buff, or simply looking for a relaxing getaway, Thunder Bay has something to offer everyone. Here are some of the best places and things to do in this picturesque Canadian city:
1. Kakabeka Falls
Start your Thunder Bay journey with a visit to Kakabeka Falls, often called the “Niagara of the North.” This breathtaking waterfall is surrounded by hiking trails, picnic spots, and observation areas, allowing visitors to take in the majestic scenery and immerse themselves in nature’s splendor.
2. Sleeping Giant Provincial Park
A short drive east of Thunder Bay lies Sleeping Giant Provincial Park, named after the prominent Sleeping Giant rock formation on Sibley Peninsula. The park offers a wide range of outdoor activities, including hiking, camping, birdwatching, and kayaking. The panoramic views of Lake Superior from the Top of the Giant Trail are not to be missed.
3. Fort William Historical Park
Step back in time and experience the fur trade era at Fort William Historical Park. This living history attraction replicates an 1815 North West Company fur trading post and offers interactive exhibits, demonstrations, and engaging activities for all ages.
4. Terry Fox Monument
Pay tribute to one of Canada’s greatest heroes at the Terry Fox Monument. This iconic landmark overlooks Lake Superior and commemorates Terry Fox’s inspiring Marathon of Hope, where he ran across the country to raise funds for cancer research.
5. Thunder Bay Art Gallery
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If you’re interested in art and culture, head to the Thunder Bay Art Gallery. It showcases works by local and Indigenous artists, providing insight into the region’s artistic heritage and contemporary creativity.
6. Marina Park
Relax by the waterfront at Marina Park, a picturesque location perfect for a leisurely stroll, family picnics, or enjoying a beautiful Lake Superior sunset. During the summer, various events and festivals take place here, adding to the lively atmosphere.
7. Centennial Botanical Conservatory
Experience the serenity of the Centennial Botanical Conservatory, where you can explore lush greenhouses filled with exotic plants and flowers. It’s an ideal escape during the colder months.
8. Mount McKay
For panoramic views of Thunder Bay and Lake Superior, hike or drive up to Mount McKay. The lookout provides a stunning vantage point to appreciate the city’s natural surroundings.
9. Thunder Bay Museum
Delve into the city’s history at the Thunder Bay Museum, which houses a diverse collection of artifacts, photographs, and exhibits that depict the region’s past and cultural heritage.
10. Local Cuisine
Don’t miss the opportunity to savor Thunder Bay’s delicious culinary offerings. Try some traditional Canadian dishes, regional specialties, and fresh fish from Lake Superior at one of the city’s many restaurants and eateries.
11. Prince Arthur’s Landing
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Located on the waterfront, Prince Arthur’s Landing is a vibrant hub featuring shops, cafes, restaurants, and a scenic boardwalk. It’s an excellent place to take a leisurely stroll, enjoy a meal with a view, or even rent a kayak or paddleboard to explore the calm waters of the marina.
12. Chippewa Park
For a fun family outing, head to Chippewa Park. This expansive green space offers playgrounds, a sandy beach, picnic areas, and a zoo with a variety of animals, including bears and bison. The park also hosts events and concerts during the summer months.
13. Thunder Bay Symphony Orchestra
If you’re a fan of classical music, check out a performance by the Thunder Bay Symphony Orchestra. This talented group of musicians regularly hosts concerts showcasing a diverse repertoire of symphonic masterpieces.
14. Amethyst Mine Panorama
Thunder Bay is renowned for its amethyst deposits, and visiting the Amethyst Mine Panorama allows you to dig for your own gemstones. It’s a unique and exciting experience, and you can take home some beautiful souvenirs from your mining adventure.
15. Waverley Park
Enjoy a peaceful afternoon at Waverley Park, a picturesque green space known for its meticulously maintained gardens and scenic views. It’s a great spot for a relaxing picnic or leisurely read.
16. Thunder Bay Lookout
For a spectacular view of the Sleeping Giant and Lake Superior, make your way to the Thunder Bay Lookout. This easily accessible viewing platform provides breathtaking vistas and is an ideal spot for photography enthusiasts.
17. Whitewater rafting
If you crave adrenaline-pumping adventures, consider embarking on a whitewater rafting trip on the nearby rivers, such as the Kaministiquia or White River. Experienced guides lead thrilling rafting excursions through scenic canyons and rapids.
18. Magnus Theatre
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Catch a live performance at the Magnus Theatre, a local professional theater company that stages a wide range of productions, from classic plays to contemporary works.
19. Marina Park Splash Pad
If you’re visiting Thunder Bay with kids, the Marina Park Splash Pad is a fun and refreshing spot for them to cool off and have some water play during the warm months.
20. Trowbridge Falls and Centennial Park
Enjoy the natural beauty and serene atmosphere at Trowbridge Falls and Centennial Park. These interconnected parks offer hiking trails, waterfalls, and quiet spots for relaxation, making them an ideal escape from the city’s hustle and bustle.
21. Ojibway Park and Conservatory
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Discover a tranquil oasis at Ojibway Park and Conservatory. This botanical garden features a wide variety of plants, including tropical species, cacti, and colorful blooms. It’s a delightful place to unwind and appreciate the wonders of nature.
22. Bay and Algoma Neighborhood
Wander through the charming Bay and Algoma Neighborhood, which is renowned for its vibrant arts and culture scene. Here, you’ll find art galleries, boutique shops, cozy cafes, and a lively atmosphere, making it an ideal area to explore on foot.
23. ATV and Snowmobile Trails
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During the appropriate seasons, outdoor enthusiasts can explore Thunder Bay’s vast network of ATV and snowmobile trails. These well-maintained paths take you through picturesque landscapes and offer a thrilling way to experience the region’s natural beauty.
24. Thunder Oak Cheese Farm
Take a short drive to Thunder Oak Cheese Farm and savor some of the finest locally produced cheeses. Sample a variety of cheese flavors and learn about the cheese-making process during an informative tour.
25. International Friendship Garden
Located near Centennial Park, the International Friendship Garden is a lovely spot to enjoy a quiet walk amidst a beautiful collection of flowers and plants from around the world. Each section represents different countries, symbolizing the city’s diverse cultural connections.
26. Thunder Bay Roller Derby
For a unique and action-packed experience, attend a Thunder Bay Roller Derby match. Cheer on the local teams as they showcase their skills and athleticism in this fast-paced sport.
27. Lakehead Transportation Museum
History buffs will appreciate the Lakehead Transportation Museum, which exhibits various modes of transportation used throughout Thunder Bay’s history, including vintage automobiles, railway equipment, and more.
28. Thunder Bay Blues Festival
If you happen to visit Thunder Bay in the summertime, don’t miss the Thunder Bay Blues Festival, a highly anticipated annual event featuring renowned blues musicians from around the world. Enjoy soulful performances and a lively atmosphere by the shores of Lake Superior.
29. Prince Arthur Waterfront Hotel & Suites
Treat yourself to a luxurious stay at the Prince Arthur Waterfront Hotel & Suites. This historic hotel offers modern comforts and breathtaking views of the lake. It’s an excellent base to explore the city’s attractions and enjoy the waterfront.
30. Thunder Bay Art Walk
Wander through the city’s downtown core during the Thunder Bay Art Walk. This outdoor art gallery showcases a rotating display of vibrant murals, sculptures, and installations, adding a splash of creativity to the urban landscape.
31. LuLu’s Bar and Grill
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Sample some of the best local cuisine at LuLu’s Bar and Grill, a popular eatery known for its delicious burgers, poutine, and other Canadian comfort foods. It’s a great spot to experience the city’s culinary delights in a casual and friendly environment.
32. Thunder Bay Hiking Trails
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Thunder Bay is a hiker’s paradise, with numerous trails catering to all skill levels. From short scenic hikes to challenging backcountry routes, explore places like Centennial Park, Boulevard Lake, and Mission Island Marsh for rewarding outdoor experiences.
33. Biking at Trowbridge Falls Park
For mountain biking enthusiasts, Trowbridge Falls Park offers thrilling trails amidst stunning natural surroundings. Rent a mountain bike and hit the trails for an exhilarating adventure.
34. Thunder Bay Wine & Food Festival
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If you’re a food and wine connoisseur, time your visit with the Thunder Bay Wine & Food Festival. Sample local wines, craft beers, and culinary delights from the region’s top chefs in a festive and social atmosphere.
35. Lake Superior Art Gallery
Discover local artistic talent at the Lake Superior Art Gallery. The gallery showcases a diverse selection of art, including paintings, sculptures, jewelry, and more, providing a glimpse into Thunder Bay’s vibrant arts community.
36. Thunder Bay Symphony Chorus
Experience the power of music by attending a performance by the Thunder Bay Symphony Chorus. Their concerts feature an array of choral masterpieces that captivate audiences with their harmonies and melodies.
37. Waverley Park Disc Golf Course
Test your skills at the Waverley Park Disc Golf Course, a fun and challenging 18-hole disc golf course set in a beautiful park setting. It’s a great activity for friends and families alike.
Places and Things To Do