Minnesota (MN)

15 Best Things to Do in Duluth, MN

If you find yourself in the Midwest, then you’re most likely in Minnesota or will pass through it. Either way, you might be wondering about the things to do in this fabulous state, especially if you’ve never been there before.

For a scenic city, you’ll want to visit Duluth, MN. Duluth is a port city and has many outdoor attractions that are sure to make unforgettable memories.

Curious about Duluth? Then keep reading. In this article, we’ll go over the 15 best things to do in Duluth, MN so you’ll have a great time!

1. Canal Park

The first thing you should know is that Duluth is located along Lake Superior, so of course that should be on your list of things to see! The good news is, you’ll be able to go to Canal Park and take an 8-mile paved trail walk called Lakewalk.

Photo Credit: John Brueske / Shutterstock

This trail puts you right up front and center to Lake Superior, where you’ll get amazing waterside views. While the trail is 8 miles long, you certainly don’t have to walk the whole thing. Instead, make it a romantic outing with your significant other and take a slow stroll for a few miles and maybe catch the sun setting over the water.

2. Aerial Lift Bridge

While you’re at Canal Park, you should consider taking a look at the Aerial Lift Bridge. This bridge was constructed in the early 1900s and allows ships to cross Lake Superior by lifting up and giving them good clearance. It’s been through several rehabilitation projects, so make sure you appreciate what good condition it’s in nowadays.

Photo Credit: David Wipf / Flickr

It can be a good idea to pack a small picnic and settle down to eat in Canal Park. As you’re having a good time with your significant other or family, you can then catch the Aerial Lift Bridge opening up slowly to let majestic ships through.

3. Positive Energy Outdoors

This one’s for the people who love to do outdoor activities! What we love about Positive Energy Outdoors is not only do they show visitors what excellent outdoor activities there are in Duluth, but they’re also passionate about educating people too.

Photo Credit: Positive Energy Outdoors

They’ve got a number of adventure tours available, such as dog sledding, sleigh and wagon rides, rock climbing, ice climbing, kayaking, and canoeing. Booking with them is an outstanding way to get your heart rate going while learning all about Duluth.

4. North Shore Scenic Drive

If you want to take it easy and see the sights in a vehicle instead of walking around, then you need to pack up and experience the North Shore Scenic Drive. This 1489-mile drive is on the Minnesota State Highway 61 and takes you all the way from Duluth to the very edge of the Canadian border.

Photo Credit: Duluth Council

While you’re cruising along, you’ll see tons of beautiful trees and fantastic waterside views. You can always take a break to stretch your legs and go hiking along this drive. Other activities include mountain biking and skiing.

5. Lake Superior Railroad Museum

Out of all the museums in Duluth, this is one of the most interesting ones around. The Lake Superior Railroad Museum is open 7 days a week and is lots of fun for the entire family.

Photo Credit: Lake Superior Railroad Museum

You’ll get to gaze upon some old trains that have that old-time feel. Look into cabooses, cars, locomotives, and more of the museum’s collection to get a feel for how people used to get around back in the day. And needless to say, the Lake Superior Railroad Museum will provide ample gorgeous photo opportunities that you’ll look back fondly on.

6. Lake Superior Maritime Visitor Center

Here’s another museum in Duluth to visit if you’re into them. It’s good to combine your visit to the Lake Superior Maritime Visitor Center with a view of the Aerial Lift Bridge since they’re located next to one another.

What’s great is it’s free to go in, so you won’t have to spend a dime! However, donations are always welcome, so if you want to show your appreciation, make sure to drop off some cash.

Photo Credit: Lake Superior Maritime Visitor Center

At this museum, you’ll get to learn all about the history of the Great Lakes. You’ll also get to see information about shipwrecks and the artifacts found.

Before you leave, don’t forget to hit up the gift shop. You just might find something excellent to purchase as a souvenir, reminding you of the amazing time you had in Duluth.

7. Great Lakes Aquarium

This is another activity that suits families of all sizes and people of all ages. Whether you’re with your significant other or you’ve got a few kids in tow, the Great Lakes Aquarium is a fun, educational, and even romantic experience.

Photo Credit: Great Lakes Aquarium

This is a non-profit and private aquarium that’s located on the waterfront, so you’ll enjoy a great view outside before you head in. Once inside, you’ll get to see all the fish that live in the Great Lakes, as well as in more exotic places, such as the Amazon River.

You can easily spend an entire afternoon here just gazing at the fish in their beautiful and calming tanks.

8. Glensheen

Want a glimpse of how the rich used to live? Then go visit Glensheen.

This is a 20,000-square foot mansion located on Lake Superior. It was built back in 1905, so the property is over 100 years old!

Photo Credit: J_berg / Flickr

The tours here will give you a close look at the 39 rooms inside the mansion. But if you’re not a fan of guided tours, then you can walk around the property on your own.

And it’s not just the inside of the mansion that’s impressive. Outside, there are bridges and gardens that are so gorgeous, you’ll feel like you’re in a fairytale.

9. Split Rock Lighthouse

This attraction isn’t actually located in Duluth. It’s just a 54-minute drive away in Two Harbors, but we think it’s worth it to make a trip out here!

Photo Credit: Dennis O’Hara / Shutterstock

This historic landmark located on Silver Bay was built in 1909, so it’s another piece of history in the Lake Superior area.

Not only will you get a breathtaking view out here, but you’ll also get the chance to take a tour inside the Split Rock Lighthouse. You can also go inside the visitor centre next to the lighthouse to view some more exhibits.

10. Park Point

This is yet another attraction in Duluth that’ll give you a stunning view of Lake Superior. Park Point has a sandy waterfront that’s perfect for slow walks, as well as sand volleyball. There are pavillions and grills you can reserve to have yourself a BBQ or a nice picnic with your friends and family.

Photo Credit: Edgar Lee Espe / Shutterstock

You can even take to the waters with the newly-installed boat launch, which was installed near the Duluth-Superior Sailing Association in the summer of 2019. The waters are also great for swimming.

For those of you who enjoy birdwatching, you’ll be pleased to know that migrating birds pass by Park Point. So keep your eyes skyward when picnicing here!

11. Spirit Mountain Adventure Park

Spirit Mountain Adventure Park isn’t for the faint of heart, as its name suggests. This adventure park is one of the most popular Duluth attractions and combines the great outdoors with fun activities and rides to offer you a truly unique experience.

Photo Credit: Spirit Mountain Adventure Park

One of their most famous attractions is their Timber Twister alpine coaster, which is like a rollercoaster that takes you through some gorgeous greenery along a 3,200-foot elevated track. These coasters go up to 26 mph!

Other attractions include the Timber Flyer zip ride, the Spirit Express II (a scenic chair ride), Jumping Pillow, putt-putt golf, and disc golf. You can also go hiking at Spirit Mountain.

12. Enger Park/Enger Tower

Are you looking for a leisurely stroll through tons of gardens? Then you need to head over to Enger Park. You’ll know you’re there when you see the huge 80-foot tall Enger Tower, which looks a little bit like a lighthouse.

Photo Credit: Andy Langager / Flickr

This park is located on the West End of Duluth and offers you free entry to view the many beautiful gardens here, including the American-Japanese Peace Bell in the Japanese garden.

As for the tower itself, make the climb up its stairs and you’ll be rewarded with a fantastic view of both Duluth and Lake Superior.

13. Leif Erikson Park

This is yet another park that’s located right on Lake Superior. Leif Erikson Park is great for those who love roses, as there are over 3,000 rose bushes! You’ll definitely want to stop off at Duluth’s Rose Garden. Not only that, but there are also plenty of other flowers and plants for you to take in throughout the park.

Photo Credit: Sharon Mollerus / Flickr

If you feel like tackling something more challenging, then you’ll be pleased to know that the Lakewalk trail cuts through part of this park. So if you’ve got your hiking shoes on and you want to get moving, you can always set off from here after you’ve stopped and smelled the roses, literally.

14. Tweed Museum of Art

The Tweed Museum of Art is actually located at the University of Minnesota Duluth. Art history buffs will have an outstanding time here, as there are over 10,000 arts at this museum!

Photo Credit: Tweed Museum of Art

This large collection has things like American, European, and indigenous art. And these pieces come from all time periods, so you can gaze at how art’s changed throughout time.

The Tweed Museum of Art has just recently reopened on November 2, 2021, so it’s a fantastic time to go see what they have on display.

15. Bent Paddle Brewing Company

If you want to rest your weary feet and recharge with some cold beer, then Bent Paddle Brewing Company is waiting for you. They’ve got plenty of cold beers on tap, including pale ales, nitro beers, and what they’re most famous for: pilsner and black ale. You can always count on them to have over 10 beers on tap!

Photo Credit: Bent Paddle Brewing Company

For the beer enthusiasts, you can book several different tours here, from normal brewery tours to sensory and yoga tours.

Not only that, but they’ve also got an outdoor patio that has an amazing view of the water and the surrounding areas. The patio’s even pet-friendly!

FAQs on Duluth, MN

Are you still curious about Duluth and need some questions answered before you book your trip? No problem! Here’s a short FAQ section that’ll hopefully address your concerns.

What’s Duluth, MN Known For?

Duluth is actually the second-largest city on Lake Superior; the first is Thunder Bay. Duluth has many things to offer, but it’s got the nation’s only all-freshwater aquarium. It’s also well-known for the Aerial Lift Bridge.

Is Duluth, MN Worth Visiting?

We certainly think so! It’s a beautiful city surrounded by lots of greenery and nature, as well as Lake Superior’s dazzling waters. You can shop, dine, do outdoor activities, and more, which makes it a very versatile city that accommodates visitors of all sorts.

Why Is Duluth, MN Called the “Zenity City”?

This nickname comes from the city’s first newspaper’s founder, Thomas Preston Foster. In one of the articles he penned, he called it “The Zenith City of the Unsalted Seas”. Throughout the years, Duluth’s had some importance in the nation’s history, which has rightfully earned its title as a “zenith” city, or “high point”.

Try Out the Best Things to Do in Duluth, MN

As you can see, there are plenty of things to do in Duluth, MN to keep you busy on your visit. Not only is there plenty of nature to see, but there are also many museums and aquariums to go to, as well as breweries and other attractions.

There’s no doubt that Lake Superior is a Great Lake you need to visit. And on that trip, you’ve definitely got to experience what Duluth has to offer!

Keep reading the rest of our website for more things to do in various parts of the world!

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