Duluth (Minnesota)

Duluth is a city of about 87,000 people in northern Minnesota. It is one of the most scenic cities in the Midwest.


Downtown Duluth

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.


 Climate Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Daily highs (°F) 16 22 32 48 62 71 76 74 64 53 35 22
Nightly lows (°F) -1 3 15 29 40 48 54 53 45 35 21 6
Precipitation (in) 1.2 0.8 1.8 2.4 3.2 4.1 4.0 3.9 3.6 2.4 1.9 1.3

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.

Visitor information

Visit Duluth operates two visitor information centers:

Get in

By car

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.

By plane

  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:

By bus

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.

By boat

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.

Get around

By car

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.

By bus/taxi

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.

If you're looking for a guided bus tour of the city, visit The Duluth Experience (218-464-6337). This local tour company offers a variety of sightseeing bus tours of Duluth including History Tours and their popular Brewery Tours.

By bike

The Duluth-Superior Metropolitan Interstate Council has made a bike map for the Twin Ports area.


Duluth's iconic Enger Tower provides excellent views of the city.

Parks and Gardens




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.


Sports & Recreation

  • Vertical Endeavors (inside the Adventure Zone),  +1 218 279-9980. 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+.



Canal Park

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.

Canal Park


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.

Canal Park

Other Restaurants



Stay Safe

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.




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

Go next

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

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Saturday, March 26, 2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.