Best Places to Visit in Duluth
For adventure lovers seeking outdoor fun, Duluth, Minnesota’s natural beauty and diverse seasonal attractions are unmatched. Located on the northern shore of Lake Superior, Duluth is known for its harbor settlement known as the land where water meets the sky. This port city has a long maritime history, tourists love to explore, and cargo ships still sail on transatlantic routes from here.
Duluth lies at the westernmost point of the Great Lakes and the panoramic views are mesmerizing. An extensive park system, fine dining, shopping and museums, and plenty of opportunities to enjoy the water.
Duluth also proudly claims to be the birthplace of iconic folk singer and national treasure Bob Dylan. Dylan was born in 1941 and lived the first six years of his life here—a connection celebrated every May during the week-long Duluth Dylan Festival, and the nearly two-mile Bob Dylan Trail. This is a fun walking route that includes: stellar landmarks as well as top cultural attractions. Be sure to check out our list of Duluth’s top attractions to learn more about other upcoming events and events.
Have a look at our list of the Best Places to Visit in Duluth and make your trip enjoyable.
10 Best Places to Visit in Duluth
Let’s explore the top 10 Most Beautiful and Best Places to Visit in Duluth:
1. North Shore Scenic Drive
The 148-mile drive along Highway 61 offers stunning views and breathtaking views of Lake Superior while giving visitors a great opportunity to experience life along the lake. Start at Duluth’s Waterfront Canal Park and walk northeast. The scenery along the way is breathtaking, with acres of aspen, majestic sawtooth mountains, waterfalls, cliffs, and beaches all vying for attention.
The real fun comes from stopping at charming North Shore towns along the way. Unique shops, restaurants and local delicacies make each a special gem.
Two harbors 27 miles north of Duluth are worth exploring. The Two Harbors Lighthouse has been lovingly restored to its 1891 glory, and visitors can take a close-up look at a variety of lighthouses, displays, and artifacts from Minnesota’s oldest continuously operating lighthouse. The nearby Split Rock Lighthouse sits majestically off Highway 61 and is a must-see.
Gooseberry Falls State Park is a true all-season playground, with hiking (winter tourism) trails, picnic areas, stunning scenery, and stunning waterfalls. Continuing north along the route, Luson is home to the Premium Trail, also known as the “Appalachian Trail of the Midwest.” Ski and snowboarding are winter essentials, with lifts and BMX bikes available spring through fall at the Midwest’s largest ski area.
The artist colony of the Grand Marais is at the northernmost end of the driveway, with trendy galleries, creative restaurants and boutiques. Here, kayaking and canoeing enthusiasts experience the crystal-clear glacial-shaped lakes along with the famous Boundary Waters Canoe Area.
2. Canal Park and Lake Walk
Located on the shores of Lake Superior, Canal Park is the epicenter of family fun in downtown Duluth. More than a traditional park, this popular Duluth recreation area is also home to the Lakewalk, a hiking and biking trail that runs through a waterfront area of shops and restaurants.
Sit back and watch the ships sailing through the harbor or cruise along the water for some great people watching. The eastern end of Lake Walk is linked to Leif Erickson Park and Duluth Rose Garden, with harbor views and a great place for a picnic. Note that Erickson’s replica of the Viking ship, a wooden sailing ship that traveled from Norway to Boston and then Duluth in 1927, is currently under off-site restoration.
Children of all ages can enjoy Playfront Park, the city’s largest playground, built in 1989 as a community project. Canal Park offers a variety of water sports such as electric boat rentals, Seadoos, paddle board, kayaking and canoeing. Bicycle rentals and carriage rides can also be easily arranged.
While in the area, check out the Karpeles Manuscript Library Museum. Just a few minutes’ walk from Canal Park at 902 East 1st Street, this former 1912 church (the original organ is still there) houses an impressive collection of old books and important historical documents.
3. Lake Superior Zoo and Zoological Society
Open year-round, the Lake Superior Zoo offers visitors the opportunity to see more than 140 animals from around the world. One of the most popular inhabitants is the nocturnal two-toed sloth, which is home to many unique species, including the great spotted sloth and the kinkajou. The Primate Conservation Center is one of the most visited exhibits at the zoo. This rainforest habitat is home to colobus monkeys, Callimico monkeys, cotton marmosets, and ring-tailed lemurs.
The Australia and Oceania region is another popular destination, and Australia has exotic animals such as kangaroos and wallabies. At the Asian Caravan, zoo guests can see endangered Amur tigers and snow leopards, as well as endangered Asian birds. Visitors can also see a herd of African lions in their habitat. The zoo is also home to a group of grizzly bears that live peacefully with the North American otters, as well as a variety of reptiles, amphibians, and other birds and mammals.
Visitors can book behind-the-scenes tours to learn more about their favorite animals, including feeding predators and nocturnal animals, and getting up close and personal with bears and otters. One of the most popular special events is Primate Painting, where visitors can watch Callimico monkeys create artwork on iPads; A print of the latest artwork is included in the price. All of these tours must be booked at least one week in advance.
Address: 7210 Fremont Avenue, Duluth, Minnesota
Official website: https://lszoodleluth.org
4. Glensheen, the Historic Congdon Estate
Rising atop a cliff with city and lake views, the 39-room Glensheen mansion is Minnesota’s most visited historic building. With more than 20,000 square feet of living space, this early 20th-century mansion was once the home of renowned Duluth industrialist and philanthropist Chester Congdon. Along with his wife, Clara, Congdon outfitted the house with cutting-edge modern amenities, notable for its time.
Plan some extra time to tour the 12 acres of beautifully designed grounds; The gardens were created by the famous landscape architect Charles Wellford Leavitt Jr. created by Featuring real furniture, clothing, photographs, well-preserved letters, and mayflies from Congdons, guided tours provide a glimpse into life at the turn of the century. A variety of tour options are available, including fun Christmas-themed options.
Address: 300 London Road, Duluth, Minnesota
Official website: http://glensheen.org/
5. Great Lakes Aquarium
Next to Duluth harbor and adjacent to Bayside Festival Park is the magnificent Great Lakes Aquarium, serving as an inspiring discovery center for visitors by presenting the habitats, animals and marine life that represent the Great Lakes Basin and beyond. Guests will learn about the geological forces that have shaped the mysteries of the region for centuries.
Amphibians, reptiles, mammals and invertebrates are on display – some in contact pools, allowing the creatures to mingle with friendlier species. The private two-story aquarium is particularly active during feeding times, so keep an eye on the schedule to see fish such as bullhead, black crab, and pufferfish in habitats that mirror those found in the wild.
For toddlers and travelers with toddlers, the Duluth Children’s Museum offers hours of entertainment, including hands-on exhibits and activities.
Address: 353 Harbor Drive, Duluth, Minnesota
Official website: http://glaquarium.org/
6. Lake Superior Maritime Visitor Center
The Lake Superior Maritime Visitor Center is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Duluth. One of the top things to do in Duluth for free, this informative museum in Canal Park pays homage to the lake’s maritime history and the important role the Port of Duluth played in shaping the early American steel industry and transporting goods in the Midwest. . globally. There is also an interesting exhibit on the fate of the cursed freighter Edmund Fitzgerald.
Artifacts that can be found here include the original 1905 Fresnel lens that illuminates the interior lights of the South Pier of the Duluth Ship Canal, cabin displays of early transports, and detailed route maps and maps. The museum’s gift shop sells one-of-a-kind Lake Superior-style memorabilia and history books at affordable prices.
Address: 600 Canal Park Avenue, Duluth, Minnesota
Official website: www.lsmma.com
7. Enger Park & Enger Tower
Built from local bluestone in 1939 as a tribute to Norwegian-American businessman and philanthropist Bert Enger, the 80-foot Enger Tower rises above the Duluth cliffs. Located in Enger Park, Enger Tower is decorated with green lighthouses and rises 531 feet above the lake, offering breathtaking views of the city and Duluth Harbor. Visitors can climb a narrow staircase where biting breezes blow and the magnificent 360-degree panorama offers unique photo opportunities.
Immaculate perennial gardens greet visitors wandering the grounds. Don’t forget to admire and ring the Japanese Peace Bell, which was installed as a gift from Duluth’s sister city, Ohara, Japan.
Take time to hike the section of the Advanced Trail that runs along the edge of the garden. It runs parallel to the ridge line above Skyline Drive and has many great photo opportunities overlooking the lake and city. Rock climbers and rock climbers enjoy rough short rocks along the trails near the park’s double-pool parking lot (Hank Jensen Drive). Climb with the locals at Slab Boulder at the east end of the park and the upper and lower ramparts to the west.
Address: 16th Avenue West & Skyline Parkway, Duluth, Minnesota
Official website: www.engertowerduluth.com
8. Lake Superior Railroad Museum
Near Duluth’s bustling city waterfront is the Lake Superior Railroad Museum. Housed in the historic 1892 French castle-style Union Station, the museum offers visitors a close-up view of the wagons and trains that helped create the area’s colorful past.
Steam, diesel, and electric trains are all on display here, and it’s a three-quarters scale replica of downtown Duluth from 1910, the height of the city’s industrial boom. It is a rare example of the diesel-powered Great Northern 92 engine, one of only 10 engines of its kind produced between 1946 and 1947.
You will have a better experience if you plan to visit in summer or autumn. These old trains depart from historic Duluth Union Station during these months and offer a regular train journey schedule. Traveling along the old Lake Shore Line, the North Shore Scenic Railroad passes through downtown Duluth and Canal Park, then along the Lake Superior shoreline. In addition to the adventures, there is an excellent commentary on the history of the area from local historians.
Address: Historic Union Warehouse, 506 Michigan Avenue, Duluth, Minnesota
Official website: http://lsrm.org
9. Spirit Mountain Adventure Park
Spirit Mountain is a true four-season adventure park located 15 miles north of Duluth. Winter fun includes skiing, snowboarding, tubing, Nordic trails and snowmobiling. Adventures such as downhill mountain biking, mountain trains, ziplines, cable cars, disc golf and a giant children’s “jump pad” are offered from spring through fall.
For the best access, plan to visit the park on a weekday and start the shortest drive early in the day. It is also possible to benefit from the “Automatic Photograph” feature taken on the Alpine Slide. Riders can choose to purchase individual photos or activity discs for the whole family to share when they get home.
Bird watchers visiting Duluth can also enjoy great food. Considered one of the best facilities of its kind in the United States, Hawk Ridge Bird Observatory is located in approximately 365 acres of nature preserve with more than 4 miles of hiking trails. For nature lovers, the best time to visit is from mid-August to November, when thousands of broad-winged eagles cross the area and the birdwatchers’ “big day” lasts for about a week in mid-September.
Address: 9500 Spirit Mountain Place, Duluth, Minnesota
Official website: http://spiritmt.com/adventure-park
10. Positive Energy Outdoors
Canoeing, dog sledding, rock climbing, sledding – all of this is at Positive Energy Outdoors (PEO), a unique non-profit educational center that promotes people and animal-driven outdoor exploration. Advance planning is required to take advantage of the deals this small travel agency has to offer, as day trips can be booked weeks in advance. Perfect for families or couples, the small group size allows anyone to receive personalized instruction from PEO’s trained volunteers.
Winter dog sled tours are their most popular offering. Be prepared for these elements, tours are scheduled for two hours but usually take longer. Guests learn how to handle dogs, put them in line, and even visit them in their kennel. Adventures from spring to fall in canoeing or rock climbing offers the same hands-on learning experience for all skill levels.
Address: 4757 Datka Road, Duluth, Minnesota
Official website: www.outdooredventures.org
Hope you like our choice of the best places to visit in Duluth. If you think there are some more beautiful places to visit in Duluth, we should cover them. Write us below in the comment box.