Locals, visitors and plenty of dogs on leashes start the day walking the 7.3-mile Lakewalk.
Hop aboard the North Shore Scenic Railroad for narrated train rides along Lake Superior’s rugged shore.
At the original Grandma’s Saloon and Grill, diners enjoy salads, sandwiches and entrees while sitting practically at the foot of the Aerial Lift Bridge.
Explore the shops and galleries of the revived warehouse district Canal Park, and climb aboard the ore-boat museum the S.S. William A. Irvin to learn about life on Great Lakes’ freighters.
Freshwater critters (sturgeon, an otter, trout) entertain visitors at the two-story Great Lakes Aquarium.
Clyde Iron Works Restaurant cooks its pizzas and burgers over a wood fire—appropriate considering it occupies a former manufacturing plant.
Impeccable service and guest rooms define Fitger’s Inn along the Lakewalk (from $139).
Walk up to the to-go window at Portland Malt Shoppe and enjoy your ice cream while admiring the lake.
Meaty, vegetarian and gluten-free options fill the menu at The Duluth Grill.
Birds of prey are the main attraction at Hawk Ridge Bird Observatory, but watch for other migratory species, too.
Tours of the 1908 mansion Glensheen reveal what Duluth was like during its iron-ore heyday.
For lunch, seek out the wild rice burgers and hidden bar in the basement of elegant Tycoons Alehouse.
Park Point Beach lies on a sandy swath separating Lake Superior from the Duluth harbor.
Hikers get a bird’s-eye view of the St. Louis River from the swinging bridge in Jay Cooke State Park south of town.
Family-owned Valentini’s Vicino Lago plates linguini with prosciutto and cheese in a butter-cream sauce.
More information: (218) 722-4011; visitduluth.com
Five great places to eat in Duluth
1 Zeitgeist Arts Cafe Brunch includes bloody marys made with bacon-infused vodka, and the dinner menu offers decadent sea scallops. (218) 722-9100; zeitgeistarts.com
2 Amazing Grace Bakery and Cafe In addition to six house-baked breads daily, this Canal Park spot serves pastries and fair-trade coffee. (218) 723-0075; amazinggraceduluth.com
3 New Scenic Cafe The restaurant, north of town, looks like a typical roadside cafe, but it plates fresh, expertly prepared dishes. Try the grilled cheese made with Gruyère and cheddar. (218) 525-6274; newsceniccafe.com
4 Va Bene Berarducci’s Caffe The scent of garlic pulls diners into this cafe perched above the Lakewalk. Beyond pasta, choose from porchetta, espresso and gelato. (218) 722-1518; vabenecaffe.com
5 Sara’s Table Chester Creek Cafe A vegetarian-friendly menu woos customers eager for a variety of locally sourced meals. Try the cranberry-wild rice toast. (218) 724-6811; astccc.net
Duluth’s Aerial Lift Bridge rises more than 20 times each day for boats—and skyscraper-size ships— traveling between Lake Superior and Duluth Harbor. A whistle salutes the ships. No matter how many times you see it, the scene never gets old. (218) 722-4011; visitduluth.com
Stay to remember
Stylish, luxurious cottages line Lake Superior at Larsmont Cottages, 20 miles north of Duluth. Visitors can swim in the indoor pool, walk the private beach and unwind in the sauna. Foodies enjoy private cooking lessons at the on-site Ledge Rock Grille. From $285. (866) 687-5634; larsmontcottages.com