Duluth has always been a shipping town: first for furs, later for iron ore, timber, and grain. As a shipping and milling town, Duluth once had the highest number of millionaires per capita in the United States. This is still reflected in the large number of mansions in the east end of town. Ocean-going vessels come up the St. Lawrence Seaway into the Great Lakes to Duluth Harbor. Since these "salties" go through the locks, they are smaller than the native "lakers" that stay within the Great Lakes. Ships under many flags, including Nigeria, Greece, and Denmark frequently dock in Duluth to pick up grain and coal for overseas markets. Iron-ore and taconite still go to Indiana, Ohio, and Pennsylvania for processing into steel.
Built largely on a 700-foot hill overlooking Lake Superior, Duluth also has a thriving tourism industry, with antique shops, excellent restaurants, cozy inns, and scenic views of the lake. There is a ski resort inside city limits. Canal Park and Superior Street have the highest concentrations of tourist destinations in the city. The famous Aerial Lift Bridge is on Lake Avenue, next to Canal Park. Particularly proud residents liken the city to San Francisco, which also has bridges, hills, a bay, and a thriving tourist business. The renowned Grandma's Marathon is held annually, named after Grandma's Saloon (restaurant) in Canal Park. The University of Minnesota-Duluth and St. Scholastica College are the two largest colleges in the city with over 12,000 students together.
Duluth is the western endpoint of the scenic North Shore Drive, which follows the rugged north coast of Lake Superior nearly 700 miles to Sault Ste Marie (Ontario). Across the bay is Superior, Wisconsin.
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Due to the close proximity of Lake Superior, a deep lake and the largest freshwater lake in the world by surface area, Duluth can be cool or cold anytime of year. The official temperatures are reported from the airport, over the hill, and can be ten or more degrees (Fahrenheit) above the downtown temperatures. Sixties (18'C +/-) for a high in August are not uncommon, but it can reach the 80's (about 28'C) just as easily. Bitter windchills can occur in the winter, although air temperatures generally do not go below -20'F (-29'C). Despite this, some people bike to work year-round.
Visit Duluth operates two visitor information centers:
- Visit Duluth Main Office, 21 W Superior St, ☎ , toll-free: . M-F 8:30AM-5PM.
- Waterfront Information Center, Harbor Dr (in the Vista Fleet office), ☎ . Summer: 9:30AM-7:30PM daily; closed rest of year.
Duluth is about a 2.5 hour drive north of the Twin Cities on Interstate 35. A driver approaching Duluth on I-35 from the Twin Cities will be rewarded by a spectacular view of Duluth laid bare in the valley, just after entering the Duluth city limits, with a stunning view of Lake Superior into the horizon. Travelers not familiar with Duluth may be surprised at how elevated the surrounding hills are. The international airport sits at an elevation of 1,427 feet. After long hours of relatively flat and urbane scenery, the view is a treat, especially during peak fall colors. The highway then descends at a steep grade just to the east of downtown; Exit 256B is the recommended exit for most downtown attractions.
Duluth International Airport (IATA: DLH). Offering daily non-stop service to Minneapolis/Saint Paul, Detroit and Chicago. In addition service is offered occasionally and sometimes seasonally to Las Vegas, Phoenix and Orlando.
Airlines serving Duluth International Airport:
- Allegiant Air
- Delta Airlines
- United Airlines
Duluth is served by both Greyhound and Jefferson Lines. The main bus terminal for both bus lines is located at 4426 Grand Ave; Jefferson Lines also stops at the College of St. Scholastica and the University of Minnesota-Duluth. Skyline shuttle runs 10 times a day between the Minneapolis-St Paul airport and Duluth downtown Radisson hotel.
Duluth-Superior (WI) is an international seaport, by way of the Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence Seaway, and while the taconite industry has dropped way off from the Iron Range, timber is still shipped by boat. Cruise ships that travel the Great Lakes have only recently begun adding Duluth as a stop on their itineraries.
Driving is probably the best option for getting around Duluth. The city generally does not have any traffic problems, although it can get congested in Canal Park. The city is built on a rather steep hill, so if you travel around anywhere other than downtown or I-35, make sure your brakes are in good order. It can be slushy in the winter as the road crews typically put down salt first, then plow the roads when traffic is lighter. However, being on the west side of the lake, Duluth doesn't normally receive the large lake-effect snowfalls, 2" to 6" is the normal snowstorm. US Highway 53 crosses from Wisconsin to the south to the Iron Range in the north, and will take you to Miller Hill Mall, on top of the hill on the west side. US Highway 2 runs east-west. Keep in mind that the majority of the city is laid out in a grid based on the Lake Superior shoreline. This is about 45 degrees off of true north, however the residents refer to east/west streets running parallel to the lake, and north/south avenues that are perpendicular to the lake. Lake Avenue is considered to be the dividing line between east and west.
If you don't have a car, you could use the public bus and trolley services operated by the Duluth Transit Authority (DTA). Allied Taxi (+1 218 722-3311) and Yellow Taxi (+1 218 727-1515) offer transportation within the city limits and into Wisconsin as well.
Parks and Gardens
- Enger Tower, off of Hank Jensen Dr in Enger Park. An observation tower at the top of the hill in Enger Park that provides panoramic views of Duluth and the Twin Ports area. The park boasts lovely and distinct gardens: shade hostas, over 200 perennials, 4,000 daffodils and an expanded Japanese garden.
- Leif Erickson Park, 12th Ave E and London Rd. Home to the Duluth Rose Garden and the Leif Erickson Viking Ship, all overlooking Lake Superior.
- Glensheen Mansion (Historic Congdon Estate), 3300 London Rd, ☎ , toll-free: . Summer: 9AM-5:30PM daily (first tour at 9:30AM, last tour at 4PM). Winter: Sa-Su 9:30AM-3:30PM (first tour at 10AM, last tour at 3PM), M-F by reservation only. Built in 1908 for the Congdon family. Standard one hour guided tour includes the basement, first floor, and second floor. The expanded 1.5 guided hour tour includes the above plus the third floor. The carriage house and the landscaped grounds can be explored unguided. Expanded tour $26 adults, $24 seniors, $15 children 6-12; standard tour $15 adults, $14 seniors, $9 children 6-12; grounds-only tour $5 for everyone; children 5 and under are free on any tour.
- Karpeles Manuscript Museum, 902 E 1st St, ☎ . Th-Su noon-4PM. Rotating exhibits. Free.
- Lake Superior Railroad Museum, 506 W Michigan St, ☎ . 9:30AM-6PM daily. One of the Midwest's largest and most diverse collections of railroad artifacts. The collection includes one of the world's largest steam locomotives (the Mallet), the first locomotive in Minnesota (the William Crooks), one of the nation's largest displays of dining car china, cabooses, freight cars, a railway post office and much more.
- S.S. William A. Irvin Boat Museum, 350 Harbor Dr., ☎ . 10AM-4PM daily. Summer: 9AM-6PM daily.. Open daily May-October, guided tours only. During the month of October the ship is transformed into a large haunted ship. $8-10.
- Aerial Lift Bridge, S Lake Ave at Canal Park. This vertical lift bridge is the signature landmark of Duluth.
- Great Lakes Aquarium, 353 Harbor Dr, ☎ . 10AM-6PM Daily. Hands-on discovery center encourages guests to explore animals and ecosystems found in the Great Lakes and beyond. Visitors experience the geologic forces that shaped Lake Superior, watch as divers feed fish in a massive two-story tank, raise and lower locks on a scale model of the Great Lakes, pilot a virtual ore boat under the Aerial Lift Bridge and pet young sturgeon and freshwater stingrays. Exhibits showcase over 70 different species of fish, birds, reptiles, amphibians and mammals providing a unique window into watery worlds. $9-$15.50.
- Lake Superior Zoo, 7210 Fremont St (72nd Ave W & Grand Ave), ☎ . 10AM-5PM. You’ll find hundreds of animals and exotic species at the Lake Superior Zoo. Located just 10 minutes from Downtown Duluth, the zoo offers year-round recreational opportunities for animal lovers of all ages.
Duluth is filled with plenty of activities for people of all ages. Canal Park is a tourist district located on the lakefront filled with restaurants, cafes, shops and hotels. Some of Canal Park's attractions include a 4.2 mile long lakewalk, a lighthouse pier, the Lake Superior Maritime Visitor Center, the Great Lakes Aquarium, and the William A. Irvin floating ship museum. Those interested in boats will also enjoy watching vessels from around the world enter Duluth's port. Travel the bricked streets in Downtown Duluth and enjoy the historic architecture that defines the city. Walk down Bob Dylan Way (Michigan St, Superior St and London Rd) and celebrate the continuing commitment to supporting local art and local artists.
- The Edge (Edgewater Resort & Waterpark), 2400 London Rd, ☎ . 8AM-10PM Daily. 30,000 square feet Polynesian indoor waterpark. The Edge takes guests far away to a tropical island–with an exploding volcano and Polynesian-themed water adventures all around. Eat, drink and relax at Tiki Tom’s Oasis & Grill.
- Fond-du-Luth Casino, 129 E Superior St, ☎ . 24 Hours. Over 750 of video slot machines ranging from penny, two cent, nickel, quarter and dollar with all slot machines ticket in/ticket out. Blackjack tables with betting limits from $3-$1,000. Concessions with a full-service lounge and beverages. All customers must be at least 21 years of age to game.
Sports & Recreation
- Adventure Zone, 329 S Lake Ave, ☎ . Memoral Day-Labor Day: Su-Th 11AM-10PM, F-Sa 11AM-midnight; rest of year: M-Th 2PM-10PM, F-Sa 11AM-midnight, Su 11AM-10PM. 50,000-square-foot entertainment center featuring multi-level laser tag, batting cages, mini golf, virtual sports challenge, and more. This is the largest video/redemption arcade in the area.
- Vertical Endeavors (inside the Adventure Zone), ☎ . M-Th 11AM-9PM, F-Sa 11AM-10PM, Su 11AM-6PM. 14,000-square-feet of climbing surface, on walls up to 42 feet tall, making it one of the best-rounded facilities in the Midwest. Scattered throughout the facility are 30 top ropes, lead climbing, 12 auto belays, and a large bouldering cave. $110+.
- Duluth Huskies Baseball (Historic Wade Stadium), 101 N 35th Ave W, ☎ . May-August. Playing in the Northwoods League, the Huskies have established themselves as perennial contenders by bringing in the best college players from the strongest baseball programs in the country. $6-30.
- Positive Energy Outdoors, 15 Miles of Duluth (Detailed directions are provided for individual program locations), ☎ . Draft Horses Sleigh and wagon rides, learn to harness and drive or just enjoy the ride. Rock Climbing In Duluth and up the shore, climbing for all ages and abilities. Kayaking Private inland lake just north of Duluth or Lake Superior at Two Harbors, Split Rock Lighthouse or the fantastic sea cliffs off Shovel Point or Palisade Head.
- Spirit Mountain, 9500 Spirit Mountain Pl, ☎ . Su-Th 9AM-8PM F-Sa 9AM-9PM. Over 175 skiable acres on 22 runs, a Big Air Terrain Park with Super Pipe, 22km of cross-country ski trails, and the best snowmaking and grooming equipment available.
- North Shore Scenic Railroad, 506 W Michigan St, ☎ . Scenic old fashioned train rides. Trains run along the rugged shoreline of Lake Superior and deep into the majestic Northwoods. Tours range from 90 minutes to 6 hours. Seven days a week during the summer, weekends in the spring and fall.
- Superior Whitewater Raft Tours, 950 Chestnut Ave, ☎ . Daily May-September. Professionally guided raft tours. On-water trip time is 2 to 3 hours. Everything is supplied—equipment, shuttle service and the friendliest, most experienced guides you’ll find on any river trip. No experience required. Trips are ideal for both beginners and seasoned paddlers. To participate in our Raft Tours you must be in good health and meet the minimum age of 12 years. $40+.
- Top Hat Carriage Service, 408 1/2 Canal Park Dr (corner of Canal Park Dr and Morse St), ☎ . May-October. Horse-drawn rides give you a tour of Canal Park’s many sights and take you along the shore of Lake Superior. Rides begin in the Marine Museum parking lot next to the canal where the huge oceangoing ships enter the harbor. No reservations needed. Operating from early afternoon until after dark
- Vista Fleet Sightseeing & Dining Cruise, 323 Harbor Dr (Waterfront side of the DECC), ☎ . Daily May-October. Sunset Dinner cruises, exciting narrated sightseeing tours, relaxing moonlight cruises, and delightful ice cream and pizza cruises with entertainment for the whole family. See lighthouses, ships, beautiful waters and more.
Canal Park is an excellent place to kick off a shopping trip. Plenty of stores line the streets and are close together and easy to walk between. Other great shops can be found throughout downtown Duluth and scattered throughout local shopping centers.
- DeWitt-Seitz Marketplace, 394 S Lake Ave. M-F 10AM-9PM, Sa 10AM-8PM, Su 10AM-5PM. Built in 1909 as a warehouse and factory for the DeWitt-Seitz Company, a manufacturer of mattresses. In the 1980s the building was converted to its current use as a marketplace filled with shops and restaurants.
- Blue Heron Trading Co. (Suite 102 inside DeWitt-Seitz), ☎ . Known for its unique selection of housewares and gourmet kitchen tools. Carries top brands like Le Creuset, Zyliss, and Chantal, as well as carefully chosen local and imported specialty foods, Colorful home decor accessories, and a full assortment of kitchen gadgets to outfit any kitchen.
- Hebzibahs (Suite 104 inside DeWitt-Seitz), ☎ . This olde-fashioned candy shoppe is named for Hepzibah J. Merritt. Fulfill your sweetest dreams with chocolates, fudge, licorice and many imported items.
- J Skylark Company (Suite 201 inside DeWitt-Seitz), ☎ . Toys, games puzzles, kites, stuffed animals, rubber stamps, gifts & keepsakes.
- Minnesota Gifts by Sandra Dee (Suite 103 inside DeWitt-Seitz), ☎ . Northwoods clothing, decor and gifts and souvenirs of Duluth and greater Minnesota.
- Northern Waters Smokehaus (Suite 106 inside DeWitt-Seitz), ☎ . Smoked fish, meats and sausages, artisan cheese, unique deli sandwiches, gourmet sundries, gift boxes and catering.
- Two & Co. (Suite 204 inside DeWitt-Seitz), ☎ . Jewelry and hair accessories, body care, clothing for women, childeren and even some for your favorite pet! You'll find books, magnets, household cleaners and more.
- Duluth Pack Store, 365 Canal Park Dr, ☎ . Canoes, clothing & gear. Duluth-made luggage & packs. Unique north woods gifts.
- I Love Duluth, 345 Canal Park Dr, ☎ . Gift, novelty and souvenir store. Filled with fun Duluth and Minnesota novelties.
- Siiviis, 361 Canal Park Dr, ☎ . Siiviis of Sivertson Gallery: A fresh new store offering exceptional gifts, jewelry, and artwork from across the globe. Trollbead retailer.
- Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory, 395 S Lake Ave, ☎ . Su-Th 10AM-9PM F-Sa 10AM-10PM. Watch them make fudge and caramel apples along with other storemade treats. Offers over 40 varieties of gourmet chocolates, gift baskets, party trays and corporate/wedding programs.
- Waters of Superior, 395 S Lake Ave, ☎ . Unique women’s clothing and handmade jewelry, regional fine arts, and Blacklock photography gallery.
There are plenty of restaurants throughout Duluth. Canal Park is home to many popular chains such as Famous Dave's, Old Chicago and Red Lobster. In addition to the well known chains Canal Park contains restaurants and cafes you wouldn't find anywhere else in the world.
- Amazing Grace Bakery Cafe, 394 S Lake Ave (basement level of the DeWitt-Seitz Marketplace), ☎ . Su-Th 7AM-9PM F-Sa 7AM-10PM. Great sandwiches and soup. Delicious homemade bread. Live music and relaxing atmosphere. $8-13.
- Bellisio's, 405 S Lake Ave, ☎ . Su-Th 11:30AM-9PM F-Sa 11:30AM-10PM. An upscale but not overly expensive Italian restaurant with great pastas and gnocchi.
- Grandma's, 522 S Lake Ave, ☎ . Memorial Day-Labor Day: 11AM-2AM daily; rest of year: M-F 11:30AM-2AM, Sa-Su 11AM-2AM. Good Italian and American food. Probably Duluth's most famous local restaurant.
- Lake Avenue Restaurant & Bar, 394 S Lake Ave, ☎ . Su-W 11AM-11PM Th-Sa 11AM-midnight. International restaurant serving seafood, sandwiches, and soups. Great outdoor patio during the warm months. $15-30.
- Little Angies Cantina & Grill, 11 E Buchanan St, ☎ . Memorial Day-Labor Day: 11AM-2AM daily; rest of year: 11:30AM-2AM daily. American Southwestern flair for food. Loaded with original Tex Mex artifacts and hand-carved ornate pillars. The menu features delicious sizzling fajitas, Southwest salads, cowboy burgers, and other original recipe favorites. The bar is highlighted by a Wall of Tequila and a whole menu full of margarita selections. Full wine, beer, and beverage selections also available.
- Taste of Saigon, 394 S Lake Ave (inside the DeWitt-Seitz Marketplace facing Buchanan St next to the alley), ☎ . Su-Th 11AM-8:30PM, F-Sa 11AM-9:30PM. The name of the restaurant would seem to indicate that they serve Vietnamese food, but the majority of the menu appears to be of the Americanized-Chinese variety.
- India Palace, 319 W Superior St, ☎ . Lunch: M-F 11AM-3PM, Sa-Su noon-3PM; dinner: Su-Th 5PM-9PM, F-Sa 5PM-10PM. The lunch buffet (on weekdays around noon) is an excellent sampler of East Indian food.
- The Maya Family Restaurant, 4702 Miller Trunk Hwy, ☎ . A good Mexican restaurant up the hill past the mall area.
- Hacienda del Sol, 319 E Superior St, ☎ . Another local Mexican restaurant; considered by some to be a Duluth staple.
- Pizza Lucé, 11 E Superior St, ☎ . Su-Th 8AM-1:30AM, F-Sa 8AM-2:30AM. Good pizza, live music, and a variety of vegan options.
- New Scenic Café, 5461 N Shore Dr, ☎ . 11AM-9PM daily. Creative menu based on fresh, local ingredients. Vegetarian friendly. On Lake Superior's North Shore (13 miles north of downtown) with a view of the lake.
- The Brewhouse Brewery and Grille, 600 E Superior St, ☎ . Su-Th 11AM-10PM, F-Sa 11AM-11PM. Not just for those looking for a drink; they also have an excellent menu featuring local favorites, including the veggie-friendly Wild Rice Burger. (Try the chocolate cake cold).
- Va Bene, 734 E Superior St, ☎ . Su-Th 10AM-9PM, F-Sa 10AM-10PM. A hip, casual Italian restaurant with a wonderful selection of wines, cocktails, liqueurs, and Italian sodas. An outdoor patio (partially covered for rainy days) affords a great view of Lake Superior.
- Duluth Grill, 118 S 27th Ave W (27th Ave W exit off I-35), ☎ . 7AM-9PM daily. Casual family dining with smart, healthy menu options including gluten-free and vegetarian dining. Breakfast at any time of the day.
- Hanabi, 110 N 1st Ave W, ☎ . M-Sa 11AM-11PM, Su noon-10PM. Sushi and other Japanese cuisine and a full bar in a beautiful new space that manages to be family friendly in the early hours and romantic late into the night. Vegan friendly.
- Fitger's Brewhouse, 600 E Superior St (in the Fitgers complex), ☎ . Unique microbrewery serving an wide selection of beers, ales, lagers, and other beverages; many brewed on site.
- Carmody Irish Pub, 308 E Superior St, ☎ .
- Blackwoods Grill & Bar, 2525 London Rd, ☎ . Local favorite with excellent two happy hours, 3-6 and 9-12. 22 beers on tap including Midwest brews such as South Shore and Goose Island and eco-friendly (keeping with the city's culture) brews like Fat Tire.
- Chalet Lounge, 4833 Miller Trunk Hwy (Up the hill, past the mall), ☎ . Open till 1AM. The only place you can eat, drink, and do your laundry. Great breakfasts and large mugs of beer. If you are traveling and need to do laundry this is the place.
- Firelight Inn, 2211 E 3rd St, ☎ , toll-free: . Bed and Breakfast.
- The Suites Hotel, 325 S Lake Ave, ☎ , toll-free: , fax: +1 218 722-0572, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Mathew S. Burrows 1890 Inn, 1632 E 1st St, ☎ , toll-free: . Bed and Breakfast.
- Solglimt Inn Bed and Breakfast, 828 S Lake Ave, ☎ , toll-free: . In Canal Park, on a sandy beach. Solglimt was awarded a Green Designation from Green Routes for using environmentally friendly and locally produced products.
Dial 911 for emergencies.
Duluth has crimes in all parts of the town including, but are not limited to, home invasion, auto break-ins and destruction, arson, gang violence, sex trade, drugs (including what was once known as "legal alternatives", they are illegal in Duluth and a major problem), and drunken disorderly conduct. Duluth has growing reports of all of preceding issues. Females are in better safety when walking with someone they trust completely. It is highly recommended that nobody follows people they do not know in any city including Duluth. Use common sense. Do not take food, drinks (including alcohol) or drugs from a stranger or from anyone you have not known for very long. When traveling, do not leave any items that can be quickly converted to cash in plain view in cars or unattended at restaurants and other public areas. These crimes can and do occur in all areas, especially where you would have your guard down.
Duluth, along with the airport and all surrounding towns and suburbs (with the exception of Superior) are in the 218 area code.
- Duluth News Tribune. Duluth's daily newspaper.
- BusinessNorth. Business newspaper for northeastern Minnesota.
- Perfect Duluth Day. Alternative Duluth blog.
St. Luke's, 915 E 1st St. For more than 25 years, St. Luke's has provided advanced trauma and emergency care to people in a 17-county region.
St. Mary's Medical Center, 407 E 3rd St. St. Mary’s Medical Center is the largest hospital in northern Minnesota and is nationally recognized for clinical excellence and Top 100 heart care
- Pine City is just a little over an hour's drive south on I-35. Great small town!
- Set off for a camping/canoe trip to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area
- Drive up the North Shore of Lake Superior along 'Scenic 61'
- Bike the Willard Munger trail (over 100 km / 70 miles between Duluth and Hinckley)
- Across the bay is Superior, Wisconsin.
- Travel south on I-35 to the Twin Cities metropolitan area
- Split Rock Lighthouse (40 miles north). Wonderful lighthouse built around 1910. There were no roads at the time so they hauled all material by boat and lifted it to the top of the cliff.
|Routes through Duluth|
|END ←||N S||→ Cloquet → Minneapolis/Saint Paul|
|Bemidji ← Hermantown ←||W E||→ Superior → Ashland|
|Virginia ← Hermantown ←||N S||→ Superior → Eau Claire|
|Saint Cloud ← Hinckley ←||SW NE||→ END|
|Thunder Bay ← Two Harbors ←||N S||→ END|
|Brainerd ← Aitkin ←||W E||→ END|