We do winter a little differently up here in Duluth. When the snow flies, we bundle up and we get out. And then we cozy up with the best of them. If that sounds like your cup of hot chocolate, you’re welcome to love the season with us. Because good vibes aren’t only a summer feeling.
We’ll start fast with some outdoor adventure. With a vertical drop of 700 feet, Spirit Mountain is the second tallest ski hill in Minnesota. What you can’t measure, though, are the epic Lake Superior views you find at the top. This hill is famous its gnarly terrain parks, including jibs and jump lines that have gathered national accolades. Nordic enthusiasts love the 22km of wooded cross-country trails and families of all ages frequent the tubing hill and free skating rink.
Beyond the slopes, there’s plenty more ways to get outside. Duluth is home to seven cross country ski trails within city limits, accessible with the Great Minnesota Ski Pass. Groomed snowmobile trails offer a different speed of adventure, as does snowshoeing on the area’s top hiking trails.
By the lake, Canal Park without the summer crowds is a sweet treat. First, wander under the Aerial Lift Bridge and snap a pic with the North Pier Lighthouse. Warm up afterwards with a meal at one of the park’s restaurants, including Duluth staples like Northern Waters Smokehaus and Lake Ave or ethnic favorites like Taste of Saigon and Cloud 9 Asian Bistro.
For souvenir hunting, keep it local at spots like the Indigenous First Art & Gift Shop. This stylish shop is just up the road from Canal Park and features the work of 80+ artists.
One cool thing about winter travel is you see a new side of popular attractions. This is especially true at the Glensheen Historic Estate when it’s covered in a white winter blanket. Strolling around the grounds, you’d half expect to find Jay Gatsby brooding at the end of the dock. It’s that swanky. This 39-room mansion-turned-museum has a private kind of beauty, perfect for wistful walks. Admission is $5 to explore the grounds and includes a snowshoe rental.