Things to Do in Duluth, MN: Explore the Beauty of the North Shore

Are you planning a trip to Duluth, MN, and wondering what to do while you’re there? You’re in luck because Duluth has so much to offer! From exploring historic districts to skiing at a resort, there’s something for everyone. 

So let’s look at 19 things to do in Duluth that will make your trip unforgettable.

1. Explore Canal Park

Canal Park is a beautiful district on the shores of Lake Superior. Many shops, restaurants, and attractions exist, including the Lake Superior Maritime Visitor Center and the iconic Aerial Lift Bridge. Stroll along the boardwalk and enjoy the beautiful views of the lake. You might even see a ship pass through the canal if you’re lucky!

2. Visit the Great Lakes Aquarium

The Great Lakes Aquarium is a must-visit if you’re looking for an indoor attraction. You’ll see a variety of fish and aquatic animals from the Great Lakes and beyond. There are even interactive exhibits to check out! The aquarium is open year-round and is a great activity for any age.

Read my guide: The Ultimate Family Guide to Great Lakes Aquarium

3. Go Hiking at Hawk Ridge

For some outdoor adventure, head to Hawk Ridge for hiking and birdwatching. You’ll get stunning views of Lake Superior and may even spot some birds of prey. The fall migration is a prevalent time to visit Hawk Ridge, but the hiking trails are open year-round.

Read my guide: Duluth’s Hawk Ridge Observatory

4. Tour Glensheen Mansion

Another historical attraction is Glensheen Mansion. Tour this beautiful home and learn about the Congdon family’s history. The mansion is known for its stunning architecture and beautiful gardens. Take advantage of the opportunity to take in the views of Lake Superior from the mansion’s grounds.

Read my guide: Glensheen Mansion: A Must-Visit Duluth Destination

5. Visit Enger Tower

Enger Tower is another landmark in Duluth that offers breathtaking views of the city and Lake Superior. Take a climb to the top and see why it’s one of the most popular spots in town. The tower is open year-round, but the best time to visit is when the leaves change colors in the fall.

6. Go Skiing at Spirit Mountain

If you’re visiting in the winter, don’t miss skiing at Spirit Mountain. This ski resort offers runs for skiers of all levels, and you can warm up by the fire in the lodge afterward. In addition to skiing and snowboarding, Spirit Mountain also offers snow tubing and fat biking.

Read my guide: Skiing at Spirit Mountain in Duluth

7. Visit the Lake Superior Zoo

For some family fun, check out the Lake Superior Zoo. You’ll see a variety of animals from around the world and can learn about the importance of conservation. The zoo is open year-round and has indoor and outdoor exhibits.

8. Take a Scenic Drive on Skyline Parkway

Skyline Parkway is a scenic drive that offers stunning views of Lake Superior and the city. Take a leisurely drive and stop at the many overlooks for great photo opportunities. The parkway is open year-round, but the best time to visit is when the leaves change colors in the fall.

9. Explore Jay Cooke State Park

For some outdoor adventure, head to Jay Cooke State Park. You’ll find beautiful waterfalls, rock formations, and camping and picnic spots. The park is open year-round and has trails for hiking and cross-country skiing.

Read my guide: Visiting Jay Cooke State Park

10. Visit the Duluth Art Institute

The Duluth Art Institute is a great cultural hub to explore. Check out the latest exhibits and learn about local artists. There are even classes and workshops available to improve your own artistic skills. The institute is open year-round and has both indoor and outdoor exhibits.

11. Go Fishing on Lake Superior

Lake Superior is a great spot to cast your line if you’re a fishing enthusiast. Rent a boat or hire a guide for a day on the water. You can catch trout, salmon, or walleye in the lake’s pristine waters. Fishing on Lake Superior is a year-round activity, so you can enjoy it no matter when you visit.

12. Visit the Duluth Children’s Museum

The Duluth Children’s Museum is a fun spot to check out if you’re traveling with kids. They’ll enjoy the interactive exhibits and planetarium shows. In addition, the museum offers educational programs and events for kids of all ages.

13. Take a Walk on Park Point

Park Point is a long sandbar that stretches out into Lake Superior. Take a walk on the beach and enjoy the beautiful views. Bring a picnic and make a day of it! The beach is open year-round, but the best time to visit is summer when the weather is warmer.

14. See a Show at the NorShor Theatre

The NorShor Theatre is a historic theater located in downtown Duluth. See a play, musical, or concert in this beautiful venue. Don’t miss the Art Deco architecture and décor. The theater hosts shows year-round, so check the schedule to see what’s playing during your visit.

15. Visit the Duluth Depot

The Duluth Depot is a historic train station with several museums and exhibits. Learn about the history of the railroad industry in Duluth and see the restored train cars. Also, don’t miss the Veterans Memorial Hall and the Lake Superior Railroad Museum. The depot is open year-round and offers indoor and outdoor exhibits.

16. Attend a Festival or Event

Duluth hosts many festivals and events throughout the year. There’s always something happening in town, from the Bayfront Blues Festival to the Duluth Airshow. Check the calendar of events to see what’s happening during your visit.

17. Go Brewery Hopping

Duluth has a growing craft beer scene, with many breweries and taprooms to visit. Take a brewery tour or stop by one of the many taprooms for a tasting. You’ll find a wide variety of beer styles to try.

18. Explore Split Rock Lighthouse

While not technically in Duluth, Split Rock Lighthouse is a short drive away and worth a visit. This historic lighthouse sits atop a cliff overlooking Lake Superior and is one of the most photographed spots in Minnesota. Take a tour and learn about the history of the lighthouse and the shipping industry on the Great Lakes.

19. Hike Ely’s Peak

If you’re looking for a scenic hike, don’t miss Ely’s Peak. Located just a short drive from Duluth, this trail offers stunning views of the surrounding landscape. You’ll climb to the top of a rocky outcropping and be rewarded with a panoramic view of the city and Lake Superior. The trail is well-maintained and is suitable for hikers of all skill levels. Pack lunch and spend a day enjoying the outdoors.

Read my guide: How to Get to Ely’s Peak


Duluth is a beautiful city with a rich history and many things to do. So whether you’re looking for outdoor adventure, cultural experiences, or a relaxing beach day, Duluth has something for everyone. Take advantage of these 15 things to do in Duluth that will make your trip unforgettable.

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