After six rounds of bracket-style voting, Duluth was crowned winner of Outside magazine’s best outdoors town competition last Sunday, defeating fellow finalist Provo, Utah by a whopping 11,900 votes. Leading up to that, the northern city ousted Columbia, Mo., Athens, Ohio, La Crosse Wis., our beloved Minneapolis, and Ashville, N.C.
So what was behind the win? For one, a successful online campaign represented by the hashtag #VisitDuluth, in which people promoted the city’s many outdoor assets, with backers including Governor Mark Dayton, and Senators Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken.
Here’s what Duluth’s Mayor Don Ness had to say about the win, as he wrote on his Facebook page: “I think it’s important to note a very real and significant change in our city that has resulted in this victory—a fundamental shift in how people think about Duluth. Over the past month, we saw people from all over the country weigh in and proclaim how much they love this city. Despite the worst two years of weather in our city’s history, Duluthians stood up and showed their pride in this city. We proudly highlighted world-class outdoor recreation and natural beauty that compared favorably to much larger and much more popular cities across the nation.”
But the campaign wouldn’t have been successful unless Duluth really did offer a haven for outdoor enthusiasts, which, as anyone who has been there before can attest, it truly does. And even though the city offers recreation year-round, it’s no secret that summer is a prime time to get out and explore. So if you’ve visited before, go again. If you haven’t, plan a trip. Duluth won’t disappoint. It is, after all, the best town in America.