A Traveler’s Guide to Must-See Duluth Attractions

There are plenty of must-see attractions in the wonderful city of Duluth, Minnesota, from expansive harbors to freshwater aquariums to historic estates and much more.

If you find yourself traveling through Duluth, here’s what you should stop and see.

Lake Superior Zoo

7210 Fremont Street

(218) 730-4500

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If you’re looking for fun things to do in Duluth, MN, head to the Lake Superior Zoo. Located just 10 minutes from downtown, the Lake Superior Zoo provides visitors with a unique experience for animal lovers of all ages. The zoo is home to numerous endangered and threatened animals such as snow leopard, Amur tiger, black-crested mangabeys, ring-tailed lemurs, Pallas’ cats, Angolan colobus, and more. The zoo grounds are an expansive 16-acre park at the base of Spirit Mountain Recreation Area and the banks of Kingsbury Creek, so not only can you enjoy wildlife, you can enjoy waterfalls, hiking, picturesque views as well. Other attractions at the Lake Superior Zoo include the Tiger’s Paw Gift Shop featuring souvenirs, unique Made-in-Minnesota products, and fair trade gift items from around the world, the Zoo Train (seasonal), stroller and wagon rentals, the Safari Café, special tours, private, behind-the-scenes tours, group discounts, private and after-hours rentals.

Summer hours:

(April-October) 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Winter hours:

(November-March) 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays

Lakewalk

Canal Park to 60th Avenue East

This seven-mile-long path goes from Canal Park to 60th Avenue East, offering stunning views of Lake Superior. Take a leisurely stroll, hand-in-hand, stopping for ice cream or a Lakeview lunch. Strap on your skates and break a sweat. Or, rent bikes for the whole family and glide up and down the gentle hills. Start your tour in Canal Park in the shadow of the Aerial Lift Bridge, Duluth’s most famous landmark, and watch for ships, including thousand-foot freighters, as they glide through the harbor.

Great Lakes Aquarium

353 Harbor Drive

(218) 740-3474

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Located on the harbor in Duluth, just off exit 256B on I-35, this expansive aquarium is filled with wonderful marine animals found in the Great Lakes Basin. With five daily programs, visitors can experience the hands-on discovery center, watch divers feed fish in a two-story tank and explore more than 230 different species of fish, birds, reptiles, amphibians and mammals. Overall, Great Lakes Aquarium is home to more than 1,000 animals, giving visitors of all ages a chance to see some of the exciting marine life that makes up Lake Superior and beyond.

Hours:

Open every day except December 25. Tickets are sold between the hours of 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. Doors are locked at 6:00, but guests are welcome to stay until 7:00 p.m.

Bob Dylan Way

Extends from Michigan Street at 5th Avenue West to 15th Avenue East & London Road

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While he may have moved to Hibbing, Minnesota at the age of six, celebrated singer/songwriter Bob Dylan was born in Duluth. The city celebrates his contributions to the area by supporting a lively arts and cultural scene, and in May of 2006, dedicated a cultural pathway to the musician. The 1.8-mile Bob Dylan Way, marked with signage, winds through downtown, extending from Michigan Street at 5th Avenue West to 15th Avenue East and London Road. The drive follows Michigan Street, Superior Street and London Road (which leads to the “Highway 61 Revisited” of the album), linking some of Duluth’s celebrated cultural heritage, including the Depot and Armory.

Glensheen, The Historic Congdon Estate

3300 London Road

(218) 726-8910

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This enormous mansion, located directly on the shore of Lake Superior offers an insight into Duluth’s storied past. Glensheen Mansion is a 39-room mansion with a completely intact 1908 collection of art, furniture, architecture and more, accompanied by lively tours incorporating family stories. Glensheen is a popular tourist attraction, having been voted Duluth’s #1 paid attraction on TripAdvisor and the most visited house museum in the Midwest. In addition to mansion tours, visitors enjoy free Wednesday night event series, popular Concerts on the Pier in July and new expansions that are happening all the time.

Hours:

Open daily 9:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m., year-round.

Due to limited tour capacity, these tours often sell out early. The Full Mansion Tour lasts about 1.5 hours.

Fitger’s Museum

600 East Superior Street

(218) 722-0410

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In the early days of Fitger’s Brewing, their locally brewed beer ran so cold that a stein had to be heated before the beer could be drank. Today, within the renovated, bluestone walls of the still-standing brewery, visitors can experience delicious fare, beer, and explore the Fitger’s Museum. See the copper kettle and memorabilia from what was once the most successful brewery in the state. Enjoy a trip back in time and discover historic pictures and advertising that can be seen in the Fitger’s Museum and throughout the complex. In addition, there is also an exhibition about Bob Dylan – stop by to learn more about this local legend after you’ve taken a stroll down Bob Dylan Way!

Hours:

Open Mon-Fri/10am-5pm year-round.

Split Rock Lighthouse

3713 Split Rock Lighthouse Road | Two Harbors, MN 55616

(218) 226-6372

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Split Rock Lighthouse is the most-photographed lighthouse in the U.S. and attracts countless visitors throughout the year. It may not be located directly in Duluth (just a short drive up highway-61), the trip to Two Harbors is worth it as it’s a “must-see” attraction for North Shore visitors. The lighthouse is one of America’s best-preserved and most recognized ones in the country, offering unmatched views of the lake. Tours are offered daily in summer and the Visitor Center offers displays, a film in the Theater and shopping in the Museum Store.

Hours:

May 15-Oct 15 Daily 10am-6pm

Oct 16-May 14, Thurs-Mon 11am-4pm (visitor center, store and grounds only – the lighthouse and historic building interiors are closed in winter).

Spirit Mountain Recreation Area

9500 Spirit Mountain Place

(218) 628-2891

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For those looking for a thrill, head to Spirit Mountain Recreation Area, featuring some of the best skiing this side of the Rockies! With over 175 skiable acres on 22 runs, the biggest Terrain Park in the Midwest, 22km of cross-country ski trails, and the best snowmaking and grooming equipment available, Spirit Mountain has something for every visitor. Plus, with a brand new Spirit Express II chairlift, and a new base chalet, skiers and snowboarders can explore more of the mountain in less time. And for those in your party who don’t ski, there are several winter activities available at Adventure Park, including snow tubing. Spirit Mountain also offers a variety of family and group rates, as well as incredible lift ticket and lodging packages.

Hours vary depending on the time of season,

Seasonal hours can be found here

Looking for a special accommodations in Duluth? Book your room at Cotton Mansion in Duluth today!

The historic Cotton Mansion, an award-winning bed and breakfast in Duluth, is the perfect destination to celebrate your anniversary, elopement, honeymoon or romantic getaway. In the elegant surroundings of our romantic retreat, enjoy two-person whirlpools, fireplaces, private baths and sumptuous breakfasts. For more information about Cotton Mansion, call (218) 724-1775 or visit www.cottonmansion.com  

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