Lined along the Lake Superior, resting peacefully amidst lofty forests and craggy cliffs is the Metropolitan city of Duluth; a westernmost part of the US located in the state of Minnesota. Home to the only all-freshwater aquarium of the US, this heavenly piece of the planet has something for every kind of person.
Art Studio for the deeply creative souls, delectable cafés for the food lovers, catchy seaside views for families, pubs for the fun-loving people and artistic museums meant for tourists who want to connect with the history of the city; it has got it all and a lot more.
Planning an itinerary can be hectic but not with us. If you are planning to visit Duluth, make sure you read this guide of the things to do so that your trip becomes memorable.
From food enthusiasts to outdoor activities freaks, from history nerds to honeymoon couples, we would discuss everything precisely. So, let’s get on with exploring the city together.
1. Top things to do in Duluth for adventure lovers
A trip is meant for adventure and exploration; if you don’t do that, you are not worthy of being called a tourist. Outdoor activities refresh your souls and make you independent. These are some of our favorite picks for this category.
Lining the shores of Lake Superior, this park offers a wholesome experience to tourists. If you have only one day, visiting only this park could be one of the best things to do in Duluth, Minnesota because of the number of activities it offers.
With LakeWalk that is a 7.5-mile pathway meant for walking and biking to the historic model of Erikson’s Viking Ship, from the playful Playfront park to visualizing the enormous ships leaving the harbor, it could easily be an all-day adventure for you.
You can also satisfy your love for water sports here as it offers you commutes on electric boats, canoes, and kayaks through the lake.
One tip: Morning humidity in the region can reach up to 80% in summers so make sure you have oil-free moisturizers in your travel bottle.
Spirit Mountain Adventure Park
Whether you are traveling solo, with friends or family, paying a visit to this Adventure land is nothing less than a necessity. The Alpine Coaster takes you on a thrilling ride on the 3200-feet long track during which you will whiz through lofted pine trees and gaze the Lake Superior. Then, there is the Zip Line that submerges you 700 feet in the air within 90 seconds, a Mini 9-hole Golf course for your family, a Hiking trail, and a skiing course in winter.
Location: 9500 Spirit Mountain Pl,
Hiking trails in Duluth
Hello to all the hiking freaks there! There are at least 8-10 hiking trails that you can take in Duluth, Minnesota. Depending on the level of difficulty and the time you have, you can choose from Grassy Point Trail which is the easiest, to the 4.2-mile Chester Park Trail.
Make sure you have a portable blender bottle with you because climbing craggy hilltops can easily exhaust you.
Take breaks, capture the picturesque views in your portable camera, take a quick snack bite and continue. We recommend starting the hiking trip in the morning as the weather is cooler then. Be wary of wriggling creatures and flying insects.
Mountain biking in Duluth, MN
Characterized by unique and challenging trails, Duluth is regarded as one of the top mountain bike destinations in the Midwest. Mission Creek is a track saturated with herb-filled plantations and shady trees. These 7 miles of highs and lows will not only test your biking skills but will also bring you closer to nature.
The Spirit Mountain trail lets you experience a mixture of tough and easy b-lines. Some jump gaps are as high as 6-8 feet here and you would never know if you would be landing at the soft ground or hard rock. Adventure seekers will love the gliding sound of their bike’s tires and the creaking of the shocks while they anchor the course of their journey with expertise and precision.
Another trail; the Piedmont track is divided into 13 sections and is accompanied by tricky turns, twirling muddy pathways, and rock-solid beds. It’s better if you lower the tire pressure of your bikes to provide you with an enhanced ground grip.
Ensure that you visit Duluth Biking tracks even if you are not that big of a cycling freak and we are confident that you would become one; they are that heart throbbing.
2. For the history admirers
Duluth Minnesota takes high pride in its historical landmarks because there are just so many of them. Usually, people find history to be tedious but with the monuments of Duluth, you are never going down that lane.
Aerial Lift Bridge
The List of Duluth attractions is incomplete without the mention of Aerial Lift Bridge. Constructed in 1905, this movable lift bridge is an architectural marvel, embarked exquisitely on the Lake Avenue and connects Duluth with Minnesota Point. Fabulously designed with triangular trusses and steel extensions, this is “the” most photograph-favored spot for the tourists.
Want to know the best time to visit the bridge? It is when barges and cargo ships are traversing from under it. The “lifting” and “dropping” action of the bridge to make way for the ships is enough to startle you. It’s great at day but we like it more in the dark when hundreds of LEDs illuminate it to jazz up the entire ambiance.
If you don’t visit it, it’s like going to France and not taking a tour of Eiffel tower. You got the importance, right?
Location: 601 S Lake Ave,
SS William A.Irwin
We haven’t seen many ships serving as many purposes like this one. Which was once the flagship of U.S. Steel’s Great Lakes fleet, has now transformed into a top tourist attraction and visiting it would be one of the top things to do in Duluth, MN. It contains a luxury dining room and restrooms that were populated by the company’s guests back in time. They are elegantly adorned with oak panes, brass, and walnuts.
The visitors can also explore the expansive engine room where the large pistons moved to-and-fro once. It also serves as a free museum and movie theatre.
Location: 2600, 350 Harbor Dr,
This majestic mansion is spanned over 27,000 sq.feet and was once the home of Chester Adgate Congdon. Immersed in a captivating Jacobean architecture, the house contains 39 rooms on a total of three floors and an attic.
The guided tour takes about 30 minutes in which, you come across airy dining rooms, decorated walls, majestic furnishings, artistic paintings, and traditionally-styled lighting fixtures. Although a lot of the historic color has been peeled off by the local authorities, it has surely stood the test of time.
The dignified mansion can be rented for a romantic honeymoon stay with your newly-wed wife or a destination wedding hall. The authorities also organize special events like candlelight Christmas decorations when the festival arrives and lakeside musical concert.
Location: 3300 London Rd,
Lake Superior Railroad Museum
Another of Duluth attractions, this Museum, located on the West Michigan Street, is a station for long-lived trains, cabooses, and passenger cars. It contains a collection of steam, diesel and electric locomotives which will surely take you in the time period when trains were the only mode of transport.
Add this place to your list of “Things to do in Duluth, MN” because you would seldom get so many models of trains in one place.
Rolling stock as old as 1807 has been parked here and just by visualizing the successive models parked there, can one realize how inventive a man can be.
Location: 506 W Michigan St,
3. For all the foodies
Rejoicing your taste buds with the local food ranging from sandwiches to burgers, cocktails, and beers is one of the best things to do in Duluth, Minnesota. But where to go?
Northern Waters Smokehaus
Known for its smoked fish, meats and dry-cured salumi, this gourmet restaurant is perched on Lake Superior. Ensure that you get your hands on their trademark Spring Tuning which is smoked on maple wood and can be complemented with cheese and egg salad.
The sandwiches are inculcated with the traditional saltiness which you shouldn’t miss at all especially the Cajun Finn that is stuffed with Cajun-inspired salmon and scallion cream. If you have some extra bucks, go for the smoked Berkshire Ham which is mottled with velvety fat.
Location: 394 S Lake Ave #106,
This jubilant Italian restaurant presents scenic views of Lake Superior from any table you wish to dine at. Either you sit at the balcony, inside the windowed hall or private Dining Hall, you can set your eyes on the sweeping waves of water.
The food served at Va Bene propagates true Italian flavors, is dressed with Italian ingredients like balsamic vinegar, roasted beets, and zesty pancetta. They serve mouth-watering wraps, pasta, paninis, and martinis.
Location: 734 E Superior St,
If you are a vehement beer drinker, this is the place for you, if you are not, this brewery has enough talent to make you one. With award-winning lagers and pilsners that are transported to your glass straight from the tanks, it is a true treat for the drinking tourists and can easily be called one of the most experienced Duluth activities for the tourists.
Saying “No” to this is like denying the Gouda cheese of the Netherlands.
From drinks having an ABV (Alcohol by volume) of 5% to as high as 11%, you would get everything. Frothy foam, fruity taste, and minty smell, you name it and they have it.
We are sure you would come across one which is so tasty, you would want to drink it through the entire trip. Get the flask bracelet which lets you sip small portions any time you like.
That’s not all. It’s also home to grilled burgers layered with seasoned patties, enriched with freshly picked spices of their own farms, and drizzled with olives and mushrooms that are irresistibly yummy.
If you are the kind of person who likes having blind dates, this would be a great romantic spot for you; light music, tasty snacks, and fresh beer to serve as the perfect ice-breaker. However, preparing flattering pick-up lines is totally your doing!
Location: 600 E Superior St,
4. Best things to do in Duluth for art lovers
What are some of the necessary things to do in Duluth, Minnesota if you are an art lover? Let’s find out.
“Art and love are the same things: It’s the process of seeing yourself in things that are not you.” – Chuck Klosterman.
Duluth Minnesota greatly respects the art fanatics and has a lot in store for them.
On the Rocks Art Studio
Are you missing your home paintbrush and palette after arriving at Duluth? Don’t worry, this Arts Studio will make you feel at home. Painting is one of the most anticipated Duluth activities. The Art Studio is situated in Central Park and the teacher will not only provide you all the supplies for portraying the scenic views of the city but give step-by-step tutoring as well.
Location: 307 Canal Park Dr,
Great Lakes Aquarium
You should be a swimmer to dive into deep water and explore the miraculous marine life but what if you not acquainted with swimming? This facility is a great replacement for it. Covering almost 62,000 sq.feet of area, it includes both permanent and rotating exhibits.
The permanent ones are Isle Royale, Saint Louis River, Amazing Amazon e.t.c. which includes species like trout, catfish, perch, electric eels and discus. The habitats are imitated genuinely by precise placement of igneous rocks, slow and fast-moving water, cascading waterfall and natural marine plants.
Great Lakes Aquarium is hoarded with almost 200 species of Amphibians, Fish, Mammals, Invertebrates, and Reptiles, each resonating the miracles of nature through their unique traits. We were personally inspired by the Baptism River exhibit which included a waterfall and fish like Kamloops and siscowet.
Location: 353 Harbor Dr,
Duluth Art institute
This art center works with the objective to enrich life with energetic visual arts and promote local participation. It just doesn’t manifest local talent but is home to assortments of international music, theater, and visual arts events. There is always something exciting happening inside the DAI, now it’s totally your fate if it happens to align with your interest or not while you are there.
Location: 506 W Michigan St # 2,
Bayfront Reggae & World Music Festival
This grand international Music Fiesta hits the land of Bayfront Festival Park each year in July. (In 2020, it would take place on July’18). If you can plan your trip around these days, don’t forget to participate in this nerve-throbbing event.
Location: 5477 McQuade Rd,
There you go; a category-wise list of things to do in Duluth. We hope it proves valuable to you.