Photo courtesy of Sam Alvar,
Seaquest Photography

When asked to describe Duluth, it’s hard to sum up one of the most important Great Lakes ports in just a few words. Built into a steep, rocky hillside on the shores of Lake Superior, the city overlooks a liquid blue horizon as it melts into the sky. Just two and a half hours north of the Twin Cities metro, it’s a quick and easy drive for those itching to get out of town. 

Gene Shaw, director of public relations for Visit Duluth, describes his city this way: “Duluth is hundreds of years old, with cobblestone streets and mansions built by timber barons and mining tycoons. It’s rich with the cultures and customs of the Ojibwe people and heritage. It’s a city of historic splendor and cultural grandeur—preserved so perfectly it’s as if time slipped by. It’s an innovative, internationally known village thriving in the heart of a bustling waterfront business district. It’s old-fashioned downtown shopping, and ships slipping silently into Canal Park. It’s a quiet little coffee house or a hot new band in a cool new club. It’s a big night on the town. It’s an antique boutique worth rummaging through in an antique district worth your while. It’s paintings in galleries, sculptures in gardens, and art everywhere you look. It’s a breath of fresh air.” 


Take a romantic stroll or bike ride along the three-mile Duluth Lakewalk stretching from the Bayfront Park Pavilion, past the Rose Garden at Leif Erickson Park (featuring more than 3,000 rose bushes), to Canal Park. Shop in the Dewitt-Seitz Marketplace before dining outside on the patio of Little Angie’s Cantina. 

Learn about the history of the Glensheen Mansion and the Congdon family on a tour of the gorgeous Jacobean-style home, set on over seven acres overlooking Lake Superior. From magnificent woodcarvings to original turn-of-the-century furnishings to beautifully landscaped gardens, the home, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, is a must-see.

Enjoy a tasty ice-cold seasonal beer at Fitger’s Brewhouse, Duluth’s longest operating brewery and only micro-brewpub. Stay at Fitger’s Inn, the only hotel north of the Twin Cities to receive the prestigious AAA four-diamond rating. The hotel is sheltered inside a trendy shopping area within a refurbished industrial block. Every room offers either city or lake views, with amenities such as balconies, fireplaces, wet bars, and double whirlpools available.


Most kids are fascinated by large ships, making a narrated Vista Fleet harbor cruise a fun way to learn about Lake Superior and the Duluth harbor while on the water. See other freighters, ships, and lighthouses up-close. Kids love the Pizza Sightseeing Tour, and the Sunday/Monday Family Fun Night Party Cruise (complete with a build-your-own sundae buffet). 

Families who think the Great Lakes Aquarium at Lake Superior Center consists of watching a few guppies, puffers, and goldfish swimming around in circles are in for a big surprise. The Aquarium features more than 70 species of fish within a gigantic two-story aquarium, in addition to a bald eagle in a recreated habitat and fun interactive displays. A massive water wall greets visitors as they enter the building, and a balcony overlooks Duluth’s harbor.

Another great pasttime is visiting the Lake Superior Zoo, set on the hillside facing Lake Superior. While out exploring 16 acres of fascinating exhibits, kids are asked to pay attention to the endangered snow leopards, black-footed ferrets, peregrine falcons, and bald eagles—their generation could keep these animals from the extinct list. 

For more information about the Duluth area, visit www.visitduluth.com

Photo courtesy of
Nokomis Restaurant & Bar

Nokomis Restaurant & Bar


There are plenty of dining options along the North Shore, but one worth the drive is Nokomis Restaurant & Bar, located between Duluth and Two Harbors.

Diners who appreciate excellent contemporary American cuisine prepared fresh and in-season along with a good glass of wine enjoy the Nokomis dining experience. There are over 130 carefully selected wines, mainly from small, boutique wineries, available for the aficionado as well as the novice. As a perfect complement to the menu, the views are extraordinary.

“Our location offers spectacular 180-degree views over the lake, beautiful every day in every type of weather,” explains Sean Lewis, head chef.

A monthly three-course tasting menu is posted at


. On June 18, a “Meet the Italian Winemakers Dinner” will feature Chiara Ciavolich of Ciavolich Winery in Abruzzo, and Elena Ercole of Tenuta Rocca Winery in Piemonte. “We are delighted to have these two dynamic women of Italian wine present their wine to Nokomis diners,” Lewis says. Reservations need to be made by June 12.


Nokomis Restaurant & Bar is “great for jumping from rock to rock or skipping stones in the water,” Lewis says, adding that a Kids Menu—personally tested by his 4 and 8-year-old daughters—is a hit with young diners.

For more information, visit www.nokomisonthelake.com