Top Things to Do in Duluth, MN
Updated February 2017
Teeming with beautiful scenery and plenty of things to do, Duluth is one of the main tourist destinations in the Midwest. Whether you’re staying for an extended vacation or a long weekend getaway, plan your visit to include some of these top-rated things to do in Duluth, Minnesota.
Aerial Lift Bridge
The Aerial Lift Bridge is the most iconic feature of Duluth as the first transporter bridge in the United States. This “adjustable” bridge lifts vertically to let passing ships through on the Duluth Ship Canal. The bridge spans 386 feet and affords an extra 180 of clearance when completely raised. This landmark was added to the National Register of Historic Places and has been constructed since 1905.
Canal Park is central to most of the main attractions in Duluth. The park is home to waterfront eateries, locally-owned boutiques, art galleries and charming cafes offering that small town feel to a large city. This recreational district opens up to a large area of the Duluth Lakewalk, a must-see area topping the “things to do in Duluth” list for tourists.
Speaking of the Lakewalk, this is a great way to explore the city, getting more bang for your buck in one sightseeing experience. The Duluth Lakewalk runs for several miles, right through the most prominent and bustling areas of the city. It passes through gardens, beaches, and several retail areas for shopping or souvenirs.
When considering tourist options during your stay in Duluth, be sure to make time for this 25 mile-long boulevard with some of the best views in the city. There are multiple points along this road to stop for a break or two from cruising to take in the beautiful sights and lights from observation decks. See Lake Superior at its grandest, as well as the St. Louis River Bay.
Duluth Rose Garden at Leif Erikson Park
The Leif Erickson Park is full of interesting things to see and do. Between the Viking ship, the amphitheater stage, and the authentic English-style Rose Garden, you can easily spend an entire day here. During the summer months, the Leif Erikson Park hosts Movies in the Park every Friday night.
S.S. William Irvin
A former flagship vessel for US Steel for 40 years, this decommissioned boat is now available for public tours. It is in mint condition and serves as a classic historical destination in Duluth. During Halloween, the city runs a Haunted Ship attraction here that is sure to be an entertaining night for you and your friends during the area’s off-season.
On the other side of Duluth’s Aerial Lift Bridge lies Park Point, the largest freshwater sandbar in the world. During the summertime, it becomes Seven Mile Beach, the city’s most popular swimming area.
Vista Fleet Cruises
The Vista Fleet Cruise offers dinner and sightseeing tours. The cruise travels under the Aerial Lift Bridge and around the city to see the best views and tourist destinations in Duluth. It is also available for booking private events, or for brunch featuring Bellisio’s Italian or Duluth Grill. Vista Fleet can also be rented as your wedding venue for an intriguing guest experience on the waters of Lake Superior.
Spirit Mountain is a campground during summer and a 175-acre ski resort through the winter. With multiple trails for novice and expert skiers or hikers, there’s something for everyone. The aim of this attraction is to provide year-round adventure in the Duluth, MN area for lovers of any season.
Grandma’s Saloon & Grill
This is the most famous restaurant in Duluth featuring unique decor, a rooftop deck, and classic American favorites. Located next to the Aerial Lift Bridge, the restaurant also sponsors Grandma’s Marathon, one of the biggest events in Duluth. The next run will be June 17, 2017, so don’t forget to register for this super fun thing to do in Duluth!
If you are looking for something different to do in Duluth, Enger Park has beautiful Japanese gardens to explore. Climb the Enger Tower to get a better view of the gardens, or hike one of its several trails.
This breathtaking estate is available for tours. From the beautiful architecture to the perfectly manicured gardens, it offers a luxurious look back in time.
What was once a busy train station is now an art and culture center. The Duluth Depot is full of museums, galleries, and other ways to learn about the city’s artists.
Great Lake Aquarium
This particular thing to do in Duluth, MN is a must see! The Great Lakes Aquarium is full of learning opportunities. With local fish, small animals, and some exotic sea life, it’s fun for everyone in the family, including the kids.
The Duluth Zoo has animals from all over the world to view, feed, and experience. The Zoo features an African lion, Asian tiger, and an American grizzly bear. This is definitely a must see and one of the best things to do in Duluth, MN.
Edgewater Waterpark is 35,000 square feet of entertainment with enormous water slides, a lazy river, and much more. Stay in the on-site resort, which overlooks the water park on one side and Lake Superior on the other.
Lake Superior Marine Museum
The Lake Superior Marine Museum is a free attraction with educational and fun interactive experiences. Learn about Lake Superior’s maritime history, and make sure to check out the recovered artifacts from shipwrecks.
Jay Cooke State Park
This state park is remarkably beautiful due to it being full of natural wildlife. You can either drive through the park or walk its many trails.
Hawk Ridge Observatory
Some of the nation’s most admired birds of prey can be seen from the Hawk Ridge Observatory, like red-tailed hawks and Peregrine falcons.
Located at the University of Minnesota Duluth, the planetarium is a great way to do some star-gazing. Every Wednesday night, the planetarium is free to the public.
Tweed Museum of Art
In addition, another great thing to do that is also located on the campus of the University of Minnesota Duluth, is a free art museum is educational and interesting with collections of pieces to experience from around the world.
Hartley Nature Center
Get to know the beautiful natural life that surrounds Duluth. It has its own beautiful park and a staff of naturalists ready to host you for camping, fishing, and other traditional outdoor summer activities.
Willard Munger State Trail
This 63 mile-long trail runs between Hinckley and Duluth. There’s plenty of ways to travel, from walking to snowmobiling to biking making it a great destination any season of the year.
Finally, the Fond-du-Luth Casino is a fun way to win (or lose) some spending money, located right in the heart of downtown. This casino in Duluth provides bar service among its many slots and blackjack tables for an endless night of fun for the adults.
In summary, this is just a sampling of the activities available in, Duluth, MN. Enjoy these 25 doings the next time you’re in town, and take advantage of the sightseeing tours and cruises offered by Vista Fleet that visit and discuss some of these iconic landmarks.