Duluth (Minnesota)

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Travel Guide North America USA Midwestern United States Minnesota Duluth

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Introduction

Lift Bridge, Duluth, Minnesota

Lift Bridge, Duluth, Minnesota

© All Rights Reserved mosassy

Duluth is named after explorer Jean-Duluth who came through in the late 1700s. Outside Magazine has rated Duluth as one of it's best outdoor cities to live. An outdoor enthusiasts dream town with biking, hiking, running, kayaking, canoeing, sailing, fishing, hunting, climbing, among other pursuits can all be found here in Duluth. An ecclectic mix of colleges, business, service, residential, industrial, and tourism make Duluth a fun city to visit. Its population is around 85,000 people. It's the largest inland Port in the world, shipping out taconite (iron ore), coal, grain, and other products all over the world. Located at the western tip of Lake Superior, the gateway to Minnesota's north shore and arrowhead region.

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Neighbourhoods

The streets of Duluth run on a grid as follows:

  • Avenues run up and down the hill, Lake Avenue is the center Avenue, and designates where East and West Duluth Numbers change. Anything going northeast from Lake avenue will have an East Duluth Avenue anything going Southwest from Lake avenue will be a West Duluth Avenue.
  • Streets run parallel to the lake, and perpendicular to the Avenues. Superior St. is the Baseline St. running through Duluth. Going up the hill, the numbers of the streets will increase (1st, 2nd, Etc.) Confusing? Any gas station will sell you a twin ports street map, to help you get around.

Duluth has many neighborhoods, some commercial, some residential, some for visitors, and it is these that are mentioned below:

  • Canal Park is located down on Lake Ave. It has a large collection of hotels, restaurants, galleries, shops right next to the aerial lift bridge. Very Popular place to stay and visit.
  • Downtown is the area surrounding Lake Ave. and Superior St. intersect. About a 5 block radius in each direction makes up the downtown. Lots of business locations, restaurants, lodging, Government buildings.
  • Park Point is a Residential and Park Area located on the spit of land across the Aerial Lift Bridge. Contains public sandy beaches to enjoy and to swim in the lake at (Be aware, the rip current can be deadly when the waves are large and the wind is coming in off of the lake. It's not dangerous very often, but something to consider).
  • College areas is home to Duluth's 3 colleges, the University of Minnesota Duluth and The College of Saint Scholastica have beautiful campus areas (see below for links under learn section).
  • Lakeside is mostly residential, but has a small business area and access to Lake Superior at Brighton Beach and along the Scenic Hwy 61 running between Duluth and Two Harbors.
  • [bCentral Entrance and Miller Hill[/b] is a large Shopping District, with a shopping mall, restaraunts, business sector, airport, hotels, and other commerce buildings.
  • West Duluth is a mostly residential with business section along Superior St. and Grand Avenues.

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Sights and Activities

Duluth is a large city with a lot to see. Almost any outdoor activity you want to pursue can be found here. Check out the following:

  • Skyline Parkway is a scenic road that runs the entire length of Duluth from 123rd Ave West to 60th Ave East. This road runs along the ridge giving excellent views of the city and lake, from high above. Check out Hawk's ridge in the fall to witness the migration of raptors from Canada. Many hiking opportunities.
  • Canal Park Area is the place to watch 1,000 feet ore carriers slice through the canal underneath the aerial lift bridge while you eat an ice cream cone.
  • The Lakewalk is a paved scenic path running along Lake Superior from Canal Park to Brighton Beach (not all sections completed past 45th ave east). Lake access, biking, walking, scenic views. Go for a walk at dawn to watch the sun rise over the lake.
  • Willard Munger State Trail has a paved trail that runs from Hinckley to Duluth (over 50 miles/80 kilometres). Popular among bikers, runners, and snowmobilers.
  • Lake Superior Hiking Trail runs along Lake Superior from Canada to Jay Cooke State Park. Shuttle available, many trailheads and access. A great way to view the Arrowhead Region. Runs through Duluth.

City Parks

Duluth has a terrific collection of city parks to explore and relax at. The city has large tracts preserved for the use of all. Must sees include:

  • Brighton beach (Kitchi Kami) is located on highway 61, just as you leave town heading north, access to Lake Superior, picnicing, swimming, rock hounding, photography
  • Lester River is at 60th Ave East, located around Lester river, waterfalls, c.c. skiing, hiking, mountain biking, picnics, playground, swimming
  • Ender Park is the place to climb to the top of Enger Tower and see all of Duluth, Ring the peace bell, picnicing, hiking.
  • Chester Creek is at 4th St East and 14th Ave East, runs along Chester Creek, hiking, waterfalls, running. Check out Chester Bowl for winter fun including, ski jumping, picnicing,
  • Park point gives access to Lake Superior 5 mile (8 kilometres) long sand beach, very popular in summer, recreational equipment, volley ball, softball, etc.
  • Lief Erickson Park is at 15th Ave east and London Road, located right on Lake Superior, access to the LakeWalk, access to Lake Superior, Stone Stage offering live performances in the summer.

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Events and Festivals

  • Grandma's Marathon runs every June. See runners from all over the world compete.
  • Inline Skating Marathon runs every fall. Would you rather roller blade? Runs the same course as Grandma's marathon only done on inline skates.
  • Bayfront Blues Festival with its collection of blues musicians, will bring you down, every summer.
  • DECC - Duluth Entertainment Convention Center has many festivals, concerts, division 1 college hockey, and trade shows throughout the year.

Holidays

  • New Year’s Eve - The US celebrates the outgoing of the old year and incoming of the New Year quite dramatically. Every state boasts its own parties to ring in the New Year, but none is more extravagant than New York’s Time Square, which sees people overflowing into the neighboring restaurants, bars, parks, beaches, and neighborhoods.
  • St Patrick’s Day - March 17 celebrates the US’s large Irish population. Many cities around the country boast boisterous parades and Irish-themed parties, especially New York and Chicago, where the river is dyed green. Be wary of the drunkenness that dominates as this is definitely a party-day.
  • Memorial Day - Memorial Day is an important holiday throughout the United States, but not for crazy festivities. Parades commemorating wartime heroes are often held and the day is also the ‘unofficial’ start of summer. Most visitors follow the crowds to parks and beaches, which are capped off with informal BBQs.
  • Independence Day - Also known as the Fourth of July, Independence Day celebrates the US’s break from the British during the 18th century. Barbecues, street parties, beach trips, and weekend getaways are commonplace to appreciate freedom.
  • Halloween - Halloween is a fun holiday on October 31 for all generations to dress up in costumes and relive their youth. Children walk around the neighborhood trick-or-treating for candy, while adults attend parties. Other seasonal events include haunted houses, pumpkin farms and carving, and corn mazes.
  • Thanksgiving - On the fourth Thursday in November, Thanksgiving is held in almost every home in the US. Tourists will have a hard time finding anything to do as the country essentially shuts down in observation. A typical Thanksgiving meal consists of turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie commemorating the original Pilgrim’s feast at Plymouth Rock.
  • Christmas - On December 25, Christians celebrate Christmas as the pinnacle of their calendar by attending church and opening gifts from Santa Claus. Almost everything shuts down to promote family togetherness. The northern regions hope to experience a “white Christmas,” with trees and festive lights blanketed by snow.

Sport

  • Super Bowl Sunday - the world’s most watched sporting event and one of the highest grossing TV days of the year, Superbowl Sunday is a spectacular extravaganza. Held the first Sunday in February, the Superbowl is the final playoff game between the NFL’s top two teams. The venue rotates every year around America, yet the local parties seem to remain. Pubs, bars and restaurants are great places to enjoy the Superbowl or locals throw their own parties with different variations of betting.

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Weather

Spring and fall are cool at night and moderate during the day. Winter can be frigid, so dress warmly. Summer is very pleasant. Being so close to Lake Superior, it's hard to predict the weather. In spring and fall, carry a sweater and a windbreaker in case the wind comes from off of the lake. Dress in layers, so you can make yourself comfortable in a variety of weather. See Weather for current, and seasonal average temperatures.

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Getting There

By Plane

Duluth International Airport (DLH) has flights with Delta Airlines from [[Minneapolis-Saint Paul and Detroit and with Skywest Airlines from Chicago. Allegiant Air flies to/from Las Vegas and Orlando.

By Train

Not available, yet.

By Car

Duluth is about a 2½-hour drive north of the Twin Cities on Interstate 35. A driver entering Duluth on I-35 from the Twin Cities will be rewarded by a spectacular view of Duluth laid bare in the valley and 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 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 Bus

Greyhound Buses run to West Duluth. Duluth is served by Jefferson Lines. The main bus terminal is the 2 Duluth Transportation Center at 228 W Michigan St in downtown Duluth; 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

Cruises run during the summer. Sailboating is very popular on Lake Superior, see Sailing Circles for details.

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Getting 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, 2–6 in (51–152 mm) 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.

Many international rental companies have a wide selection of rental cars and these include Hertz, Avis, Dollar, Thrifty, Enterprise, Budget and Alamo/National. Most companies will require you are at least 25 years of age, although younger people might be able to rent cars at slightly higher rates and with some insurance differences as well. A national driver's license is usually enough, but an additional international one is recommended. Also note that it usually costs more to include lots of other extra things. For example extra drivers, GPS, the first full tank, SLI (Supplemental Liability Insurance), PAI (Personal Accident Insurance, usually covered already at home), road assistance/service plan, and drop-off costs for one-way rentals.
If you want to book a car, it is recommended that you book your car before arriving in the USA. This is almost always (much) cheaper compared to just showing up. Also, try and book with a so-called 'broker', which usually works together with a few or many car rental companies and can offer the best deal. Some examples include Holidayautos, Holidaycars and Sunny Cars. Some of the cheapest deals to book from Europe, includes Drive-USA, which also has a German version.

For more information and tips about renting cars and campers, additional costs, insurance, traffic rules, scenic routes and getting maps and fuel it is advised to check the USA Getting Around section.

By Public Transport

Duluth Transportation Authority runs buses daily throughout the city. Schedules available at their website.

By Foot

Duluth is a long city, you can walk to many locations, but a combination of bus and walking would make the most affordable, and best way to get around if you are on a budget.

By Bike

Duluth has many designated bike routes through the city. The Lakewalk provides access to a large portion of East Duluth. Willard Munger State Trail provides access to some West Duluth Neighborhoods. Biking is relatively safe on secondary roads, a great way to see the city.

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Eat

Duluth has a wide variety of restaurants and ethnic choices. Prices are affordable, the average dinner for 1 is anywhere from $7 on the cheap side to $50 on the high end. There are a number of "chain" restaurants if you are interested. The following are great local Duluth restaurants:

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Drink

Duluth has a wide variety of bars, pubs, and coffee houses to choose from. The following are clean, laid back locales, some with live music options:

  • Portland Malt Shoppe, London Road - Get a malt, shake or a float while you take in the views of Lake Superior
  • Sir Benedict's Tavern on the Lake - Live Music Nightly, Wednesday and Thursday have bluegrass and celtic jam sessions, great laid back place to enjoy a beverage or two
  • Dublihn's Irish Pub - Downtown; Comedy Saturdays
  • Beaner's Coffee House - West Duluth; Live music, good coffee and small selection of beer.

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Sleep

Duluth has a variety of sleeping options in a variety of prices. These include local motels and chain hotels. Prices are more expensive during the busy summer/tourist season: $50-100 plus/night. Cheaper from late October to early April.

  • Firelight Inn, 2211 E 3rd St, ☎ +1 218 724-0272, toll-free: +1-888-725-0273. Bed and Breakfast.
  • The Suites Hotel, 325 S Lake Ave, ☎ +1 218 727-4663, toll-free: +1-800-794-1716, fax: +1 218 722-0572, e-mail: thesuites@thesuitesduluth.com.
  • Mathew S. Burrows 1890 Inn, 1632 E 1st St, ☎ +1 218 724-4991, toll-free: +1-800-789-1890. Bed and Breakfast.
  • Solglimt Inn Bed and Breakfast, 828 S Lake Ave, ☎ +1 218 727-0596, toll-free: +1-877-727-0596. In Canal Park, on a sandy beach. Solglimt was awarded a Green Designation from Green Routes for using environmentally friendly and locally produced products.
  • Hostel du Nord, 217 W 1st St, ☎ +1 218 341-0793. Duluth's only hostel. The hostel offers single bunks (twin-size) for individuals and double bunks (queen-size) that can can be used by individuals or couples. All bunks have a privacy curtain, reading lights, electrical outlets, and security lockers (double bunks come with two lockers). Each floor has multiple single-person bathrooms. Other amenities include a lounge area, kitchenette, free wireless internet, and a Finnish-style sauna. Single bunks $45+, double bunks $70+.

On a budget? Try Couchsurfing and meet some locals, to help you get to know the area better.
Have extra cash? Try Fitgers Hotel on London Road, 4 star accommodations, right on Lake Superior.

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Keep Connected

Internet

There is a very small internet bar/cafe culture in the USA. Even then most of the internet bars/cafes tend be located in major urban centers. Accessible WiFi networks, however, are common. The most generally useful WiFi spots are in coffee shops, fast-food chains, and bookshops, but also restaurants and hotels more and more have a network to connect on. Some of them might require you to buy something and you might need a password too, especially in hotels.

Phone

See also International Telephone Calls

The general emergency phone number is 911. The USA has a great landline phone system that is easy to use. The country code for the U.S. is +1. The rest of the telephone number consists of 10 digits: a 3-digit area code, and a 7-digit number. Any small grocery store or pharmacy has pre paid domestic or international phone cards. These phone cards are very cheap and offer good rates. The once ubiquitous pay phone is now much harder to find. Likely locations include in or near stores and restaurants, and near bus stops. The cellphone network in the states is slowly getting better but is still not as good when compared to other western countries. Cell phones tend to operate using different frequencies (850 MHz and 1900 MHz) from those used elsewhere in the world (2100 MHz). This used to prevent most foreign phones from working in America. Phones must be tri- or quad-band to work in the U.S. Fortunately, technology has meant that most phones should now be able to pick up one of the U.S. networks. Prepaid phones and top-up cards can be purchased at mobile phone boutiques and at many discount, electronics, office supply and convenience stores. A very basic handset with some credit can be had for under $40.

Post

The US Postal Service is a very good and well priced mail system. There are post offices in every small and large town for sending packages internationally or domestically. Although some might keep longer hours, most are open at least between 9:00am and 5:00pm. If wanting to send a letter or postcard it is best just to leave it in a blue mail box with the proper postage. First-class international airmail postcards and letters (up 28.5 grams) cost $1.10. There are also private postal services like FedEx, UPS, TNT and DHL, which might be better value sometimes and are generally very quick and reliable too.

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