Fun Things to Do in Duluth, MN for a Weekend
Duluth is a quaint city situated on Lake Superior in northern Minnesota. It’s located two hours north of Minneapolis and St. Paul and well worth the drive for a great long weekend anytime of the year. Because Duluth is in the northern part of Minnesota, you should always come prepared for any type of weather. Wear layers and be prepared for windy and chilly conditions, it’s always unpredictable being so close to the lake.
Where to Stay
There are a plethora of hotels and inns in and near Duluth; however if you want to be close to the action, I suggest staying in Canal Park. We stayed at Hampton Inn Duluth right in the heart of Canal Park. We had a view of the lake and were just steps away from shopping, restaurants and museums. This Hampton Inn was perfect for us. It had a small pool to unwind in and complimentary breakfast in the main lounge. The hotel provided a quiet place to relax after a long day of walking and touring.
There are plenty of restaurants to choose from in Canal Park. We especially enjoyed Canal Park Brewery. They offer creative dishes and really great beer that they brew on site. Be sure to take home a growler as a souvenir! The restaurant also boasts a fantastic patio with plenty of table space and a fire pit to stay warm on cool and windy days.
Another must visit eatery is Grandma’s Saloon. Grandma’s Saloon has been a part of the Duluth scene since 1976 and is popular among both locals and tourists. You can visit their in-house general store and pick up just about any souvenir you can think of, then grab a bite to eat in their expansive dining room or newly created outdoor seating area.
Fun Things to do in Duluth
There are so many things to do in Duluth, Minnesota for just about any type of personality. Knowing my kids and their travel styles, I opted to mix up our days with a little bit of exploring and a little bit of relaxation. We began our days with a hearty breakfast and then spent the morning exploring the area.
Lake Superior Maritime Museum
A stroll down the Lakewalk is a must and there are plenty of things to stop and see. We started at our hotel and headed down toward the Aerial Lift Bridge. The walk is short and scenic with the waves crashing along the rocky shoreline. Once you hit the lift bridge, take a walk through the Maritime Museum. There is plenty of history to be enjoyed there and be sure to check their schedule of ships coming into the port. The scale of the ships is a true sight to be seen.
Great Lakes Aquarium
A little further down the Lakewalk is the Great Lakes Aquarium, featuring animals and habitats of the Great Lakes Basin. The aquarium provides nice insight into the habitats found here in Minnesota as well as information on preserving and caring for them. Don’t expect to spend hours here though. This aquarium is small and we found that it took a little over an hour to get through it. Check with the front desk for the times that there will be live animal feedings and encounters to make your visit even more interactive.
You can’t visit Canal Park without hitting up the unique shops along Canal Park Drive. Meander in and out of shops full of souvenirs, handmade candies and chocolates and specialty toys. By the time we left, the kids had chocolate covered faces and asked for no more than 37 different items in 15 different stores.
Near the Maritime Museum you will find Wheel Fun Rentals. I highly encourage you to rent a surrey or a bike for a fun way to see the other end of the Lakewalk. Head northeast on the Lakewalk on your surrey with the final destination of the rose garden in your mind.
About halfway to the rose garden, you will find the PortLand Malt Shoppe. It will prove to be a delicious reprieve from all the pedaling. Grab a malt and rest your aching legs. Once you are finished, hop back on your surrey and continue northeast to the rose garden. It’s just past the Viking Ship and you will need to exit the Lakewalk and head up a staircase to see the garden. When in season, the rose garden is a peaceful way to enjoy a sunny afternoon.
Like I said before, we like a good mix of sightseeing and relaxing, and one of our favorite things to do in Duluth was to enjoy the rocky shoreline north of our hotel. The kids dipped their toes in Lake Superior for the first time in their lives, skipped and collected rocks, and enjoyed the vastness of our great lake. This was their time to be silly, loud and creative and it was a nice way to finish off our busy days wandering Duluth. There are so many things to do in Duluth, Minnesota but one of the best things is to simply sit back and take in the beauty that surrounds you.
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Michelle and her family reside in a small town outside of St. Paul. They love the quiet their little city affords them, but enjoy being just minutes…