Two-Day Getaway to Duluth
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.
After lunch, 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.
Need a mid-afternoon pick-me-up? Walk to the to-go window at Portland Malt Shoppe and enjoy your ice cream while admiring the lake.
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 responds to ships' horns. No matter how many times you see it, the scene never gets old.
Clyde Iron Works Restaurant cooks its pizzas and burgers over a wood fire.
Impeccable service and guest rooms define Fitger's Inn along the Lakewalk, while at South Pier Inn on the Canal, second-floor rooms with private balconies facing the canal give a great view of ships passing under the Aerial Lift Bridge.
Birds of prey are the main attraction at Hawk Ridge Bird Observatory, but watch for other migratory species, too. Hawk Ridge is best visited in fall; if you're in Duluth in summer, head to Enger Park and climb up the 1939 Enger Tower for a panoramic view over the city and lake.
For lunch, meaty, vegetarian and gluten-free options fill the menu at Duluth Grill.
For the afternoon, tours of the 1908 mansion Glensheen reveal what Duluth was like during its iron-ore heyday. Or if you'd just like to relax, Park Point Beach lies on a sandy swath separating Lake Superior from the Duluth harbor.
Nature lovers will get a bird's-eye view of the St. Louis River from the swinging bridge in Jay Cooke State Park south of town.
Wrap up your stay with a dinner at family-owned Valentini's Vicino Lago, which plates dishes like penne with prosciutto and garlic in a tomato-basil sauce.
Stay to remember
Stylish, luxurious rentals 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.