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Downtown City Skyline, Duluth, Minnesota, USA, (Photo: Christopher Boswell/Shutterstock)
Downtown City Skyline, Duluth, Minnesota, USA, (Photo: Christopher Boswell/Shutterstock)
4.0 / 5.0
Cruise Critic Editor Rating

Theresa Russell
Cruise Critic Contributor

Port of Duluth

At the western end of Lake Superior, Duluth welcomes some of the largest ships on the Great Lakes into its busy harbor. With its lakeside setting, which the local Ojibwe people call Gichigami ("great sea"), the greatest of the Great Lakes feels like a port town and takes advantage of its prime position with a coastline that is 49 miles long.

In addition to the indigenous Ojibwe, as in much of Minnesota, many folks of Scandinavian descent call Duluth home. Shops featuring indigenous and Scandinavian wares can be found throughout the area. The overall influence that both these cultures has had on Duluth is described in several of the local museums.

Celebrating its native son, the 1.8-mile Bob Dylan Way passes his childhood home, elementary school and the Duluth Armory where fellow musicians Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and the "Big Bopper" performed. Dylan-themed manhole covers dot the street along the road, and Fitger's Museum displays Dylan memorabilia.

Duluth consists of several compact districts including Bayfront, Canal Park, the Historic Arts and Theater (HART) District, Lincoln Park Craft District and downtown. The areas are easily walkable, and just beyond these commercial districts, Park Point boasts one of the world's longest freshwater sand spits, spanning 6 miles. This popular destination includes a local beach with a seasonal lifeguard and a recreation area. Duluth's 130 city parks provide ample opportunity for enjoyment of the outdoors.

Duluth is flat near the lake shore, but just beyond the downtown areas, the terrain slopes up. Taking advantage of the hillside, the Skyline Drive overlooks the town and lake providing sweeping views of the area. Along the way, Enger Park features the Enger Tower, which affords outstanding views of the area from every level.

Locals in pursuit of outdoor opportunities appreciate and utilize the lake and its natural surroundings. Hiking, cycling and even surfing are a few activities that Duluthians enjoy, while fishing is popular on Lake Superior and on the 16 designated trout streams in the area.

Shore Excursions

About Duluth


Pro

An authentic Lake Superior port with the amenities of a larger city

Con

Waiting for the Aerial Lift Bridge to and from Park Point might cause delays

Bottom Line

A friendly town filled with natural scenery, history and culture, and good food


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Port Facilities

Tentatively, cruise ships will dock at the DECC in the downtown area.

Good to Know

The road to Park Point crosses the Aerial Lift Bridge, which operates on a schedule: It lifts on the hour and half-hour, between 7 a.m. and 9 p.m., seven days a week, from March 16 through Dec. 31. The bridge will be raised on request for all vessels from 9 p.m. to 7 a.m., seven days a week. Allowing ample time for these bridge events is essential for returning to the ship on time.

Getting Around

On Foot: Duluth is compact and quite walkable. Most of Duluth's attractions are within a mile of the cruise port.

By Taxi: There are several taxi companies in town. Fares are less than $10 for trips within the downtown area.

By Rideshare: Both Uber and Lyft provide services to travelers. Prices are comparable to taxi fares within the port area.

By Public Transportation: Duluth Transit Authority (DTA) operates regular buses throughout the year. The fare is $1.50 during peak times. From early June through Labor Day, the free Port Town Trolley stops at popular Duluth areas, including Bayfront, Canal Park, the HART District and downtown.

Currency & Best Way to Get Money

Being in the United States, the local currency is the U.S. dollar. ATMs are easily found in the area including at the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center (DECC) located downtown.

Language

English is the local language.

Food and Drink

Duluth restaurants offer a few dishes local to the region. Wild rice porridge and other wild rice dishes, and beer cheese soup, are popular items on menus throughout the area.

With the fresh waters of Lake Superior an essential element for the production of regional beers and spirits, several breweries and cideries also operate in the area. Vikre distills a wide variety of spirits, and Canal Park Brewery taps several beers from its location (300 Canal Park) in the Canal Park District. Be sure to try the beer cheese soup -- served with a popcorn topping.

With a patio and Lake Superior views, The Boat Club (600 E Superior St.) features fresh fish, like walleye and other local fare. Located in the historic Fitger's Inn, The Boat Club is just one of several shops and food spots within the inn.

If it can be smoked, you'll likely find it at the OMC Smokehouse (1909 West Superior St.). Pork, chicken, beef and vegetarian options appear on the extensive menu. Be sure to try the beef fat fries.

Shopping

Distinctive shopping areas include Canal Park, downtown, Fitger's Museum and Lincoln Park Craft District on West Superior Street. They're easily walkable, too.

Souvenirs include bags from Duluth Pack, custom blown glass from Lake Superior Art Glass in the Canal Park area, pottery from Duluth Pottery in the Lincoln Park Craft District and anything with a nautical theme. Located downtown, Indigenous First: Art & Gift Shop has both traditional art and food products, like maple syrup, wild rice and hominy, for sale.