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Counting My Blessings

Seph Schlueter

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a pair of chairs overlooking Park Point, Duluth during a sunset

Top 13 things to do during your visit to Duluth

If you love stunning views, peaceful nature scenes, and lots of activities for the family (or even a nice romantic getaway), Duluth, Minnesota, may be the perfect place to visit. Maybe you are from another state and want to experience the beauty of Minnesota, or perhaps you are a Minnesota resident looking for a memorable day trip. This city is full of beautiful attractions that are sure to thrill any visitor.

Duluth is packed with many great places to enjoy, but to make it easiest for you, we compiled a list of our top 13 things to do in Duluth, Minnesota.

1. Explore Enger Tower

This stone tower stands resolutely above the North Shore. It is a five-story observation tower that was originally built as a tribute to Bert Enger, a Duluth businessman. He died at the age of 68 and gave much of his estate to the city of Duluth so the land could become a beautiful park.

Enger Tower provides a lovely view of Lake Superior and several of Duluth’s parks. It is a feature of Duluth that even royalty have come to see. In 1939, Norwegian Crown Prince Olav and Princess Martha came to Duluth to dedicate the tower to Bert Enger. This monument is packed with history and is a great way to begin your family adventure in Duluth!

2. Swim in Lake Superior

Swimming in Lake Superior is an almost necessary thing to do in Duluth. The waters of Lake Superior are quite special. It is one of the Great Lakes, after all!

Some beaches we recommend are Canal Park Beach, Park Point Beach, and Brighton Beach.Since it is such a large lake, Lake Superior can be quite chilly no matter the season. It is always best to prepare for a swim that is a bit cooler than many would expect.

If the lake waters are too cold, Duluth also has plenty of waterpark options. Edgewater Hoteland Waterpark has both lodging and a waterpark.

3. Watch the ships at Canal Park

Canal Park is not just great for swimming. In fact, watching the ships come in is an entertaining pastime. Kids will be thrilled to watch the giant ships come into the canals of Duluth, and we think parents will find it just as cool.

4. Go for a hike

If you are going to Duluth, don’t miss out on the breathtaking views. Hiking is a serene way toenjoy the world around you with those you hold dear. This area holds numerous treasures—and hiking trails!

One option is the Lake Superior Hiking Trail, which is 300 miles long and provides greatopportunities to enjoy the beauty of the northernmost Great Lake.

Another beautiful Duluth attraction is the Duluth Lakewalk, which is more civil than a typical hike with about eight miles of paved trail along the lake. If you choose this route, you will seethe Duluth harbor, and you could even choose to venture into downtown Duluth.

5. Visit a local eatery

If you’re going anywhere, you will need to eat at some point, and Duluth has a plethora of delicious options available.

One classic is simply called Duluth Grill, which is a restaurant serving American cuisine in downtown Duluth. You can find some other yummy options too.

6. Listen to live music

There is plenty of live music in downtown Duluth year-round, but throughout the summerBayfront Festival Park provides live music in a variety of genres. The park is located right by the lake, giving it a wonderful atmosphere and a great view. Watch the schedule to see more of the music in the park.

7. Go kayaking

With the plentiful supply of water, Duluth is ideal for trying an outdoor activity like kayaking orpaddleboarding. Here is your opportunity to explore the waters of Lake Superior up close.

If you don’t have your own kayak, there are places that provide tours. One example is Day Tripper of Duluth, where you and your crew can explore the North Shore’s most stunning nature scenes on a kayak or canoe tour.

Some wonderful areas to kayak include Glensheen, Knife River (for more experienced kayakers), or the entire Lake Superior Water Trail.

8. Experience Spirit Mountain Adventure Park

Something that even the little ones will love is Spirit Mountain’s Adventure Park. It is a unique place full of fun things to do for the entire family. Not only are there roller coaster rides and zip lines, but there is also mini golf, mountain biking, and even a hiking trail within the park.

There are even summer camps for those looking to stay a bit longer and learn something new. These camps mainly focus on mountain biking around Spirit Mountain, though some camps focus on other activities.

Spirit Mountain also has snow tubing! And, to make the snow tubing experience even more special, they offer glow tubing, where you can sail through the beautifully illuminated landscape on a tube.

9. Attend sailboat races

Something exciting to participate in during your stay would be the sailboat races. You can watch the race every Wednesday evening during the summer or check the schedule to see all the races.

These sailboat races are held by the Duluth Yacht Club, which founded the racing tradition in 1969. A group of sailing enthusiasts decided to make the races more official. As time went on, this tradition has proved to be quite the hit for tourists and locals alike.

10. Tour Glensheen Mansion

The free Wednesday evening events at Glensheen Mansion are also fascinating. This historical estate has a museum that will give you an intriguing look at the area’s past.

On Wednesday evenings from 5:00 PM to 10:00 PM, Glensheen Mansion is free to attend. The free events are held in July and August and will include music on the pier, food trucks, and ice cream. You can watch the sunset over the lake and soak in the fun. If you are willing to spend some extra money, you can also go on a tour of the estate’s museum.

11. Great Lakes Aquarium

You can see creatures from the Great Lakes—and beyond—here! The Great Lakes Aquarium focuses on the animals and the nature of Lake Superior, but they have more exotic exhibits too. For instance, the Amazing Amazon exhibit has piranha and electric eels, fascinating—and perhaps scary—animals. They are also launching their exhibit H20: Watersheds at Work in November 2021.

12. William A. Irvin Ship Tour

This historical ship once transported coal and iron ore across the Great Lakes. But you can now tour this ship and get an inside look at it! You can also see its scary side with a Haunted Ship Tour in October.

13. Lake Superior Maritime Visitor Center

You can learn more about the Great Lakes at the Lake Superior Maritime Visitor Center. In addition to their exhibits, they also have programs focused on specific aspects of the Great Lakes. They have indoor tours and walking tours.

Altogether, Duluth is filled with amazing attractions. Hopefully these suggestions will get you started on your way to visit Duluth!