If Duluth feels like home,
it's because it could be.



Destination Duluth is a comprehensive resource dedicated to educating the
public about the qualities of Duluth, Minnesota, to help shape the City's positive
population growth and ensure its future as a world-class community.

Destination Duluth: About Us

Dennis O'Hara


At Destination Duluth, our mission is simple:

We want to grow Duluth.

Many folks, “weekend warriors” if you will, travel to our fine city to escape long commutes, rush hour traffic, and suburban sprawl. They arrive as tourists, spending a weekend or two hiking our magnificent trails, catching a live musical performance, or sipping one of Duluth’s locally crafted beers or spirits.

Perhaps over the course of a single weekend they intuit what we locals have always known --- that Duluth is a treasure, a sparkling jewel in the crown of Minnesota’s Great Northwoods. From the deep azure mystery and inherent adventure found in Lake Superior to our world class arts and cultural scene, Duluth simply has it all.

Fully rested and rejuvenated, many visitors discover that their hearts belong in Duluth, and never want to leave this magical place. Have you had this feeling? Have you felt drawn to our city? Have you considered making Duluth your home?

Our goal is to help you do that.

Enter Destination Duluth

Co-founded in 2013 by resident Duluthians Branden Robinson, Christopher Swanson, and Tom Livingston, “Destination Duluth was created to fill the need of educating the public about the qualities of Duluth as a ‘destination for life,’” Livingston shares.

Robinson echoes this intent, adding, “We believe Duluth to be a world-class community, thanks to its natural, social and economic assets.”

Simply put, Destination Duluth is here to showcase all of the amazing things that make Duluth … well, Duluth. It's a phenomenal place to live, and we want to share it with the world. Through a wealth of stories written by local residents and accompanied by amazing photography, we hope to inspire you to become a Duluthian yourself.

How Destination Duluth Can Help You Come Home

With an abundance of great jobs, a healthy work-life balance, and natural beauty to spare, we are ready to achieve our mission of recruiting the next generation of Duluthians --- which could include you. Here are three ways we can help as you contemplate following your heart home to Duluth.

Step 1 Spend some time perusing this website and our Facebook pageDestination Duluth is chock full of stories such as “Why We Live Here,” along with insider information about Duluth’s parks and recreational opportunities, thriving arts scene, burgeoning reputation as a craft beer mecca, and more. Here, you’ll find many reasons why we love living here, and think you will, too.

We’ll also share event details, tips for navigating the city, and secrets only a local could tell you. And, there are photos, loads of spectacular photos, highlighting Duluth in all its glory.

Step 2 Wondering if a life-changing move is really viable? We share success stories, proving that it is definitely possible to take the plunge and relocate. We hope to inspire you through features like “Coming Home,” which highlight stories of people who have already taken the leap and relocated to Duluth, and are living a life they love.

Step 3 And when you are ready to make your move, you’ll find here at Destination Duluth great local resources. This is where you’ll find guidance on the nitty-gritty details of moving here, including job-hunting, home-buying, outdoor adventures, activities for kids, and plenty more.

Duluth’s Future and You

We at Destination Duluth truly believe that Duluth’s best and brightest days are ahead. And we want you to join us here while the rest of the world catches up.   

“Duluth has a wonderful history which must be remembered and celebrated,” Robinson shares. “But there is a new chapter unfolding before us, one that celebrates the past, yet embraces opportunities for the future. The first step is welcoming and encouraging people to plant their roots right here in the Zenith City.”

Duluth can definitely be a destination for life --- YOUR destination for life.

Are you ready to #befromDuluth?

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Whatever Your Career Aspirations, This Organization Can Help



Ah, work. Whether you love it or loathe it, earning money is just one of those things you gotta do. While many of us dread the daily grind, work becomes much more bearable when you’re doing something you’re good at, or, dare I say, actually enjoy.

Today, we’ll introduce you to NORTHFORCE – a regional workforce development organization helping people become happily employed in the Northland. Whether you’re relocating to Duluth, or are a long-time resident looking for a new gig, NORTHFORCE can help match you with your perfect career.

Jobs, Jobs, Jobs

Developed and managed by APEX and Northspan economic development groups, NORTHFORCE is a regional workforce development initiative that officially launched in February 2014. Ian Vincent - Marketing Coordinator for NORTHFORCE, shares, “With our aging population and growing economy, it was apparent that our communities needed help filling the 25,000 new jobs that will exist here over the next decade.”

NORTHFORCE tracks and posts career and internship opportunities in the region, including the North Shore of Minnesota, the Iron Range, the Twin Ports, and Northwestern Wisconsin. Along with hosting these career opportunities, they also match candidates in their database with these jobs.

Since its inception, NORTHFORCE has attracted 4,200 users, and celebrated 120 successful job placements. Individuals interested in being matched or kept up-to-date with opportunities in their desired field can create free profiles and upload resumes at northforce.org.

Help for Duluth Transplants

NORTHFORCE offers a wide range of services for anyone looking to live and work in Duluth and the surrounding region. Communication Specialist Josie Strom shares, “Some people hop on our website to create a profile, upload their resume, and find the perfect job for them based on factors such as their areas of interest or how far they want to commute each day.”

“Others,” she continues, “Would like a second set of eyes to glance over their resume, or are new to the area and need an introduction to a specific Duluth company. No matter what a job seeker’s needs are, we can help them - or at least point them in the right direction.”

Partnerships with Local Colleges

NORTH FORCE is also dedicated to recent graduates and young professional placement and retention. While maintaining close relationships with regional college and university career service counselors, the team has played a key role in the Lake Superior College Strategic Planning sessions, regularly presented to college classes, and continued to advocate for internship opportunities for regional students and grads.

NORTHFORCE’s latest endeavor, Mentor Connection, has been among its most successful. A partnership with the University of Minnesota-Duluth and the College of St. Scholastica, the program is flourishing. With over 55 industry-specific pairs of college students matched with local professionals, these mentees and mentors participate in events dedicated to building the mentees’ professional networking skills and personal connections to the community. Mentors also gain coaching and leadership skills along the way.

Tips for Landing Your Perfect Job

“When we hear about success stories,” Strom says, “A common thread seems to be that the person landed the job because they really researched the place where they wanted to work before they applied. Make it clear during the interview why you ARE (not would be, not might be) a great fit for that specific organization. If you’re enthusiastic and can really visualize yourself in a specific role, your interviewer will have a hard time giving the job to anyone else.”

“And, when it comes to landing that interview in the first place, be sure your resume is tailored and flawless (especially spelling and grammar) before you apply. A simple oversight can cost you the job, even if you’re completely qualified.”

Whether your perfect job is a 9-5 with full bennies, or a freelance gig with funky perks, consider checking out NORTHFORCE - Duluth’s matchmaker for jobs!

To learn more, create a free profile, or upload your resume, please visit northforce.org.

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Home Buying, Duluth-Style

Anna Hansmeyer


So, you’ve finally decided to join us, and #befromDuluth? Excellent choice! Buying a home here automatically gives you some skin in the game, ensuring a deep personal and financial investment in this amazing community.

Today, we talk to local Re/Max real estate agent Brok Hansmeyer. With over ten years’ experience as an agent and a Duluthian himself, Hansmeyer is a great resource for home buying in the Zenith City. He fills us in on some unique facts and figures to keep in mind when purchasing your own little slice of paradise … right here in Duluth!

Old Stock

Hansmeyer shares that many of Duluth’s homes are old. We’re talking early 1900’s, and sometimes even late 1800’s. But, that’s one of the things Duluthians love most.

“Duluth has a super old housing stock,” Hansmeyer says. “Most of the houses here are three bedroom traditionals, with hardwood floors and loads of character. There are certainly brand-new homes, but that generally means a price tag of $300,000+, which is on the higher side of sale prices for this area.”

While this vintage aesthetic often clashes with the modern trends shown on HGTV, such as open floor plans and massive kitchens, it’s classic Duluth. If you’re into old-school character and charm, Duluth is a goldmine of opportunity. You can snap up a fixer upper special on the cheap, renovate it up yourself, and live happily ever after in your neighborhood of choice. 

And, speaking of neighborhoods …

East Side, West Side, Lakeside, Hillside

Duluth has an interesting layout, with each part of town offering its own unique appeal. Stretching from Fond du Lac and Gary out west to Lakeside and Lester Park in the east, Duluth also spans both up and downhill.

The hillside is sprinkled with Piedmont and the Heights, cascading sharply downtown, finally landing on the sandy shores of Park Point. Our city has even been referred to as the “San Francisco of the Midwest” due to its unique water-to-hilltop topography.

While Lakeside, Woodland, Chester Park, Congdon, Hunter’s Park and Kenwood are pretty much always booming, there are plenty of other cool neighborhoods on the rise. “Right now, there is a lot of buzz about Lincoln Park, with its new craft district,” Hansmeyer says. “If I were to bet on the most revitalization and potential for increase in value over the next ten years, it’d be Lincoln Park.”

Neighborhood Attractions

How can you possibly pick a favorite, when they’re ALL so amazing?! At Destination Duluth, we love them all, but here are some specific enticements to keep in mind.

Duluth’s Far West neighborhoods (Norton Park, Gary, Smithville, and Fond du Lac) are attractive due to their accessibility to the St. Louis River, Jay Cooke State Park, and the Munger Trail. The Lake Superior Zoo is also found on the West side.

Lakeside, Lester Park and Congdon out East all provide super convenient access to the Lakewalk, Brighton Beach, Seven Bridges Road, Tischer Creek and Lester Park.

Piedmont and the Heights are known for their amazing views of the hillside and the Big Lake. Think amazing sunrises and sunsets.

And on Park Point, life is literally a beach! Enough said.

All provide quick access to the excitement of downtown or a spin up the hill to run some errands.


As of this writing, you can buy a quality home in Duluth for anywhere from $100k to well over a million bucks. Lakeside homes, for instance, range from about $125,000 to $240,000, with higher price points in the Hawk Ridge development.

In Chester Park, $110,000 to $160,000 will get you a solid three bedroom, one bath traditional. And, in Woodland, the range is about $150,000 - $225,000.


Hansmeyer shares that his favorite resources for Duluth real estate include Realtor.com, Trulia.com, and Zillow, featuring the trendy value-tracking “Zillow Zestimate.” Agentfinder.com is a great referral-based site to help you find an agent.

Bottom line: no matter what neighborhood you’re considering, you’re golden. “Duluth is so accessible,” Hansmeyer says. “You can get downtown to work or play within about ten or fifteen minutes, whether you’re coming from Denfeld, Lakeside, or over the hill.” Duluth is filled with great neighborhoods! 

Your New City: By the Numbers 

Your area code: (218)

Your zip code: 55802, 55803, 55804, 55805, 55806, 55807, 55808, 55810, 55811, or 55812

Your Mayor: Emily Larson

Your Time Zone: CST

Duluth population: 86,283

Duluth record temps: -41 and 93

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Passing on Duluth's Values to the Next Generation


Duluth Heritage Center Banner Unveiling 2017 from Swiftkurrent on Vimeo.

Commitment. Courage. Honor. Hard Work. Integrity. Sportsmanship. Team Work. Dedication.

These eight values, combined with compelling images of athletes in motion, are proudly displayed on eight brand-new banners at the Essentia Health Duluth Heritage Sports Center (EHDHSC). The banners, commissioned from talented local artist Tim Cortes, represent the standards of conduct that went into building the facility ten years ago, as well as the much hoped-for end goal intended for the kids who play here.

“These eight beliefs aren’t just words on a page,” says Patrick Francisco, Chairman of the DHSC Foundation. “They are truly the values that drive the people living in this community.”

It Began with a Vision

While the EHDHSC is the proud home for three Duluth high school hockey teams, it is so much more. Here, you can play soccer, lacrosse, take a yoga class, or even rent the facility for a birthday party. “This is a community place,” Francisco shares.

It all started when Duluth’s Peterson Arena burned down in 2004. While this left a huge hole in the community, and one less place to get out on the ice, Francisco and others knew that if it was to be rebuilt, the community deserved something more than simply a replacement.

The result of a $20 million-dollar investment, completed with a shocking 70% of its construction costs handled by private funding, the facility opened its doors in 2007. Today, this multi-use community facility is home to the Dave Goldberg branch of the Boys & Girls Club, Duluth Area Hockey Association (DAHA), two 200 X 85’ hockey rinks (Sill & Seitz Arenas), Giuliani Hall, the City of Duluth’s Recreation Program, and more.

A Healthy Partnership

In June 2016, Essentia Health, a health system serving patients in Minnesota, Wisconsin, North Dakota and Idaho, and headquartered in Duluth, became a major community partner with the Duluth Heritage Sports Center and the health system’s name was added to the facility name.

This partnership opened the door to many more programming options at the EHDHSC, including multi-generational, community wellness education programs to foster youth development, family education, senior health, healthy living, and social responsibility.

For instance, free community yoga classes are now held at the EHDHSC. It also hosts health and wellness activities like concussion prevention, smoking cessation, and flu shot booths.

“The facility has breathed new life into the neighborhood and surrounding community,” says Essentia Health CEO David Herman, MD. “At Essentia Health, our mission is to make a healthy difference in the lives of the people we serve and that commitment is shared by those who lead the EHDHSC. Because of that, the partnership is a perfect fit for Essentia.”

Focus on the Athletes

The health and safety of the athletes who play at EHDHSC are the top priority of everyone involved. “We’re privileged to work with 250 Northland teams and 25,000 student-athletes as the Official Orthopedics and Sports Medicine Team for four local universities and 15 area high schools,” says Kristi Schmidt, Essentia Chief Marketing & Communications Officer.

“We provide care before, during and after both practices and games. Working together, we prevent, diagnose and treat everything from minor sprains to injuries that could end a student-athlete’s season. We’re committed to keeping student athletes like the Duluth East Greyhounds, the Proctor Rails, the Denfeld Hunters, the Hermantown Hawks and the Superior Spartans, just to name a few, healthy and in the game.”

Hockey and So Much More

Beyond hockey and the community education programming offered through Essentia, there is something for everyone at the EHDHSC. Summer sports programs, soccer, lacrosse, and open skating are all part of the fun. Dog shows, flea markets, auto shows, and activities for ISD 709 have all taken place inside the facility. And, of course, the Clyde Iron Works restaurant is directly next door; a convenient option for hungry hockey players and their parents.

But, above all, the EHDHSC is a place where a child, no matter their socioeconomic status or background, is welcomed and accepted. Here, while they play, they learn the bedrock of Duluth’s values, including commitment, courage, honor, hard work, integrity, sportsmanship, team work, and dedication. “The EHDHSC is simply Duluth’s heart on display,” Francisco says.

DHSC - Short from Miles Hanon on Vimeo.

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A City for Cross-Country Skiing


Duluth is rapidly becoming known for its trails. In fact, Duluth's trail infrastructure was a significant factor in being voted Outside Magazine’s Best Town Ever for 2014, a contest that takes outdoor activities heavily into consideration for bestowing its title. In winter time, that means cross-country ski trails, and Duluth boasts 75 kilometers (46 miles) of such skiing pleasure.

It takes a great deal of care, maintenance and dedication to keep the trails in good shape and well groomed for skiers.  In fact, it is a year-round job.  But it’s one that the City embraces, and strives for continual improvement in its trail system.  Summer and fall find city crews working on the trails to prepare them for winter months.  Doing this work up front has become a major focus for the City.

“Our trail maintenance staff is under direction to ‘do things right,’ ” explains Dale Sellner, Building and Grounds Supervisor for the City. It’s not enough to fix a problem, issues need to be addressed for the long term.  They know it will benefit them when the groomers hit the trails each year.

Trail Maintenance

Regular maintenance takes the form of clearing the trails to remove young trees and brush that tend to encroach on the trail.  It’s important to “brush” the trails to maintain enough width not only for skiing but to allow space for groomers to push snow to the side of the trails.  Overhead branches are also trimmed, for the safety of skiers and groomers.  Volunteers from the Duluth Cross-Country Ski Club (DXC) supplement these efforts, along with helpers from area college ski teams.

There is a lot more to trail maintenance, however.  Larger projects are aimed at establishing firm and sustainable trail beds. “Ideally, we want the trails to be like roads and shed water so that it doesn’t pool on the surface,” according to Doug Rosas, Maintenance Operations Lead Worker.

In recent years, the trails have been enhanced by adding new culverts to alleviate drainage problems.  In the summer of 2014, the City used an excavator to work on the Piedmont, Hartley and Lester trails.  Pulling out large rocks and filling in the holes and other low areas smoothed out the trail.  The benefit of this is being able to groom the trails when there is less snow without damaging the grooming equipment.

At Chester Bowl and Lester-Amity, city crews worked on rerouting portions of the trails.  The goal is to make grooming more efficient by reducing the number of times the groomer has to back up or retrace its path to cover all the trail loops.  Those efforts pay off in the winter when skiers are anxious to see their favorite trails groomed.  Being able to complete grooming a trail in less time means they can groom more kilometers in a day.  Ultimately, that can equate to more frequent grooming.

New Grooming Equipment

Speaking of grooming, the City has also invested in a brand new, state of the art PistenBully groomer – the cadillac of grooming equipment.  The improved reliability and quality of this new equipment will benefit the entire range of the City’s trail system.  It also boasts new features such as hydraulically adjustable track setters and side wings to groom a wider swath, which contribute to faster and safer grooming.  This machine is supplemented by a snowmobile with grooming attachments that can be dispatched at the same time.  In addition, DXC partners with the City of Duluth, and has assumed grooming responsibilities for portions of the Spirit Mountain ski trails.  They too have purchased new grooming equipment, further expanding the resources for keeping the trails in good form throughout the winter.

The Future

It’s all going according to plan.  The Master Plan, that is.  The City engaged expert cross-country ski resources to develop a Master Plan for the city’s trails.  The completed plan includes recommendations for trail improvements across the city’s trails.  Some features under consideration are extending the areas of lighted skiing and adding snowmaking on limited sections of trail.  DXC is working closely with the city on prioritizing the recommendations and identifying what it will take to implement them.  The two groups will collaborate on fundraising and bringing elements of the plan to fruition over the years.

Having attained its Best Outdoors Town status, the City isn’t about to let its efforts slip.  It just keeps getting better.  And cross-country skiers will reap the benefits.

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Another Opening, Another Show!

Achter Productions

For over 100 years, starting with its humble beginnings in a small church in 1914, the Duluth Playhouse in all its various reincarnations and venue changes has been entertaining local audiences. The hundreds of shows since its modest start have been at the heart of the city’s cultural identity.

The Playhouse takes one of its most gigantic leaps forward with the February 1 opening of the smash Broadway musical hit “Mamma Mia” in their new home in the renovated NorShor theater.

The Meaning of Community Theater

On the occasion of the Playhouse 100th anniversary, I wrote their commemorative booklet as part of the anniversary events. The voices of those who love the Playhouse still resonate with me, as each person I chatted with and included in the booklet had their own take on the meaning of community theater in Duluth.

Playhouse veteran actors Bob and Selma Goldish, who sadly both passed away this past year, shared, “Meeting everyone in each production, terrific people of all stripes and levels and ages whom we would probably never have met otherwise, tightening old friendships, sharing meaningful memories . . .Personally finding a welcome common interest and activity we could do together was wonderful.”

“Some of the happiest moments of my life have been in this place,” said actress and director Julie Ahasay

Former Mayor Don Ness said, “For a century, the Playhouse has grown and evolved with the city, and it will forever be a center for community engagement and exploration.”

Introducing the 'New' NorShor Theater

Now, that growth and evolution will blend the historical roots of downtown Duluth’s past on the site with all the up to date theatrical bells and whistles, to become the city’s theatrical hub in the totally renovated NorShor theater.

The different uses of the building have seen some highlights, lowlights, and then it became an empty blight on Superior Street. After the 30 million dollar, sixteen month project, the NorShor will be a glorious venue for a generation of new audiences.

The building will be home to the Duluth Playhouse productions, as well national theatrical touring shows and musical acts, local music, opera, and theater groups and will even serve as a rental space for private parties and events.

“Our new NorShor home will once again be a source of pride for our community," says Christine Seitz,” Playhouse Executive and Artistic Director.

Becoming a Heart for the Arts Community

The first Playhouse production in the new space, “Mamma Mia,” will star Broadway actress Jen Burleigh-Bentz, playing the leading role of Donna Sheridan. She was in the Broadway production for four years.

“Not only am I just tickled pink to play Donna again, but I am really thrilled to be part of the opening show for the newly renovated and recovered NorShor for the Duluth Playhouse - it's IMPRESSIVE - So much history, what a treat!” says Burleigh-Bentz.

In his first role in the Playhouse with “Mamma Mia,” actor Derek Bromme says, “I can't adequately describe to you what it feels like to be part of something this momentous for the Duluth community. We as the cast really feel a responsibility to give the audiences something special. We want this new theater to be a beacon of excellence and a heart for the arts community . . .”

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Skyline Parkway: Your Scenic Byway to Wintertime Magic

Friends of Skyline Parkway


Looking for some big Duluth fun this winter? Take it from a resident, and consider Skyline Parkway!

A gorgeous route starting from West Duluth’s Magney-Snively Natural Area and winding 25 miles east to Brighton Beach, Skyline Parkway is a phenomenal place to kick off your winter adventures. Offering gorgeous opportunities for Nordic skiing along with unparalleled scenic overlooks great for checking out Lake Superior sea smoke, Skyline has it all.

Today, we’ll speak to a local resident, Laurie Mattson, who grew up on the western end of Skyline. She shares some great spots along the Parkway for cross-country skiing and phenomenal views.

First, let's explore the official word on the street with some history and highlights of Skyline, taken from the City of Duluth’s webpage.

A Bit of History

Construction began on Duluth’s Skyline Parkway back in 1889. Ten years later, Duluth mayor Samuel F. Snively began construction of an extension to the Parkway, in what is known today as Seven Bridges Road. Many extensions and connections were added along the way, culminating in Skyline’s designation as a State Scenic Byway in 2001.

Route Highlights

From west to east, there are several popular highlights along Skyline, including:

Magney-Snively Natural Area - Encompasses an 1800-acre old-growth forest popular for hiking, cross-country skiing, and fall colors.

Bardon's Peak - Named after James Bardon of Superior, Wisconsin, this spot offers views of Duluth and the St. Louis River.

The scenic Stewart Creek Bridge was built around 1925. It is listed on the National Register, but its talented engineer remains unknown. It is well-known for its “jagged teeth.”

Spirit Mountain offers year-round recreation, including downhill and cross-country skiing, snowboarding, an alpine coaster, mini golf, a zip line, and tubing.

Thompson Hill provides spectacular views of Lake Superior and Duluth. This is a great place to watch the sea smoke rise off the lake, or catch a sunrise or sunset.

Enger Park showcases Enger Tower, a five-story blue stone observation tower, providing panoramic views of the Twin Ports. The park includes a Japanese temple bell, gardens, and picnic areas.

Twin Ponds, part of Buckingham Creek, has long been a popular fishing and swimming destination.

Chester Park follows Chester Creek on both sides of the Parkway and includes hiking and skiing trails, a ski hill and a playground.

Hawk Ridge Nature Reserve is a favorite spot for bird watchers and hikers during raptor migration, from August through November.

Seven Bridges Road runs from Hawk Ridge to London Road along Amity Creek. Yes, this scenic road really features seven bridges.

Kitchi Gammi Park (Brighton Beach) - This rocky, rugged beach at Skyline's eastern end lets you experience the lake up close; a great option for watching the sun rise over Lake Superior.

Tips from a Local

Duluth’s Laurie Mattson was born and raised on 100th Avenue West, along a lovely section of Skyline Parkway. She offers advice on some must-see spots along the route.

“The Magney-Snively Ski Trail starts at a parking lot going west past 99th and 100th Avenues West, past the Stewart Creek Bridge and the Mayor Snively memorial,” Mattson shares. “The lot is on the left side of Skyline, not far from the bridge. It is stunning, and I would say it is a good choice for intermediate skiers. Of course, Spirit Mountain is a big draw along west Skyline Parkway, and there are cross-country ski trails which begin in the campground area.”

She continues, “Going east along Skyline Parkway when you leave Spirit Mountain, you cross over I-35 on an overpass, and that leads to Thompson Hill, where the view is spectacular. You can see St. Louis Bay, and the Spirit, Clough and Whiteside Islands.”

On the eastern side of town, Skyline offers great cross-country skiing and snowshoe trails at both Chester Park and Lester Park; just look for the signs!

Check it Out!

If you’re looking for a great place to enjoy the winter trails or catch a magnificent view of the Lake, consider Skyline Parkway. An absolute jewel in Duluth’s crown, Skyline offers year-round views and plenty of opportunity for big adventure.

Photos from the Facebook page of “Friends of Skyline Parkway".

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Home of 10,000…Colleges?


Ok, ok, you got me: the title is clearly a bit of an exaggeration, and a transparent play on words referencing Minnesota’s 10,000 lakes. But in all seriousness, if you’re looking to further your education, Duluth is a great place to be.

Between Duluth and our next-door neighbor of Superior, Wisconsin, this community offers many post-secondary possibilities. And, there are plenty of options for non-traditional students who are also juggling a career and family, too.

Whether your goals are to earn a technical certificate, master’s degree, or even attend beauty school while living in Duluth, you’re in luck!


Superior’s Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College (WITC) offers programs covering everything from Broadband Installer to Dairy Herd Management. WITC offers more than 70 career programs, including career-focused associate degree programs, technical diplomas, short-term certificates, customized training, and a wide array of courses for personal or career enhancement.


Lake Superior College (LSC) in Duluth offers more than 80 technical degrees, along with liberal arts and science degrees. Students can save money by first doing their generals at LSC, and then transferring to a four-year college. LSC also offers the third-lowest tuition rates in the Minnesota State college system.

LSC offers unique programs in cutting-edge fields such as cyber security and 3-D printing. LSC has the distinction of being designated a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense by the National Security Agency (NSA) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

A Rapid Prototyping and Design certificate to learn 3-D design and printing is one career track available through LSC. The Downtown Duluth Center's specialized facility offers state-of-the-art, high-tech training equipment including computerized machines, 3D printers and scanners, robotic welders, waterjet and plasma cutting, and CAD design software.


If you’re interested in a career in beauty, Cosmetology Careers Unlimited (CCU) has a convenient campus downtown, and they are locally owned and operated.


The College of St. Scholastica (CSS) is an independent private college with locations across Minnesota, including their original campus in Duluth. The Duluth campus is also home to the St. Scholastica Monastery and the Benedictine Living Community of Duluth. CSS offers undergraduate, graduate, and certificate programs both online and on campus across a variety of disciplines.


The University of Wisconsin-Superior (UWS) is another great choice for your undergrad or graduate studies. Their top programs include:

  • Elementary Education
  • Communicating Arts
  • Business Administration
  • Biology
  • Physical Education
  • Psychology
  • Legal Studies
  • Social Work


Undergraduate students at the University of Minnesota Duluth (UMD) can choose from fifteen bachelor degrees in 84 majors and 72 minors, as well as four certificates. UMD also offers graduate programs.

The University of Minnesota Medical School, Duluth campus, and the University of Minnesota College of Pharmacy, Duluth, both have programs on the UMD campus. In addition to offering the EdD, UMD participates in two all-university PhD programs (one of which is located primarily on the UMD campus) and cooperates significantly in the delivery of a number of Twin Cities-based PhD programs.

Dedication to Non-Traditional Students

Although we’re certain that most, if not all, of the schools outlined here offer some sort of program dedicated to non-traditional students, space limitations restricted us to highlighting just two. So, we selected one from both sides of the bridge: LSC and UWS.

LSC’s popular eCampus offers more than 135 online courses along with a number of complete degrees available online, including associate of arts, accounting, paralegal, and web and computer programming. "Many of our students appreciate the scheduling flexibility because they’re taking classes while they’re also working a job or two, raising a family, and/or have other commitments in addition to college" said Daniel Fanning, LSC's Director of Institutional Advancement. "That is why Lake Superior College strives to offer many evening and online course and degree options to accommodate our busy students."

And, UWS is another institution who is proud of their programs for non-traditional students. “From transition in the first semester, all the way through graduation, UW-Superior is committed to ensuring our nontraditional students are able to integrate into the UWS culture as they are an integral part of our campus climate,” shares Monte Stewart, Veteran and Nontraditional Student Center (VNSC) Coordinator. “We understand the multiple life roles our nontraditional students have, so we make sure we are there to assist them in managing these roles, helping to eliminate barriers to success.”

Parting Words

No matter what your educational goals, one of our post-secondary institutions is bound to offer a program to fit your needs. And, with plenty of options for folks who also have a full life beyond school, your educational dreams can come true.

As John Keating, Robin Williams’ character in Dead Poets Society, would say: “Carpe Diem!” Seize the day...in Duluth!

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Spirit Mountain: Duluth's Year-Round Recreation Destination


The name Spirit Mountain has become synonymous with great skiing.

Since 1974, Spirit has helped Duluth grow its reputation as a hub for skiing – including downhill, cross-country and snowboarding. As a result, Spirit Mountain recently proclaimed Duluth "Minnesota’s Best Ski Town!" We at Destination Duluth couldn’t agree more!

But, while there’s no doubt the skiing is amazing, Spirit Mountain offers so much more. With activities ranging from mini-golf and fat-tire biking to an alpine coaster and zip line, Spirit Mountain is Duluth’s year-round recreation destination.

A Positive Impact on DLH’s Economy

Perched atop a glorious hill overlooking the city of Duluth, the St. Louis River, and Lake Superior, Spirit Mountain was founded in 1974 by the Minnesota Legislature. With a mission of providing recreational activities to promote tourism and preserve the environment, Spirit Mountain is now a top destination for both winter and summer recreation.

44 years later, the “ski economy” now makes up a good chunk of Duluth’s economy. Duluth has several unique stores that specialize in selling and repairing ski and snowboard gear. Even our thrift shops are full of ski equipment.

So, even if your budget is a little tight, you can still hit the slopes!

Endless Winter Fun

Brandy Ream, Spirit Mountain's Executive Director shares, “If you are lucky enough to call yourself a local or are aspiring to be a ‘weekend local,’ you have come to the right place. Spirit Mountain offers the 2nd highest vertical in the state. With over 700 acres of skiable terrain, Spirit Mountain has been voted the Midwest’s Best Terrain Park two years running. We also feature 22 km of Nordic trails, and are a trail head for the Superior Hiking Trail.”

Whether Mother Nature is being stingy with the snow, or a tiny young skier is just getting started, Spirit Mountain can meet any challenge. “We feature a variety of terrain, 100% snowmaking (referring to the skiable area able to have artificial snow applied), two chalets, and extensive learning programs,” Ream says. “We are the perfect place for every skier: beginner to expert.”

Beyond the skiing and snowboarding, winter is also a great option for tubing and fat-tire biking. “Winter also ushers in our snow tubing experience that we kick up a notch on the weekends with our glow tubing,” Ream says. And, Spirit Mountain even offers downhill, lift-served fat biking during the winter months.

Year-Round Activity

Duluth’s splendid summers signify the kickoff to Spirit Mountain’s Adventure Park. Featuring an alpine coaster, zip-line, mini-golf, jumping pillow and scenic chairlift rides, there are plenty of activities to get your adrenaline pumping.

And, there are tons of mountain biking opportunities. “Our downhill mountain bike trails are nationally recognized, and offer trails rated from beginner to expert, plus a skills park and pump track,” Ream says.

And It's an Easy Drive Home

Ream shares, “From enjoying the ski hill after work to shredding the mountain bike trails on the weekends, Spirit Mountain allows one to stay active, focus on time with friends and family, and yet still be able to drive home every night. We truly are your destination for incredible experiences.”

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Coming Home to Hartley Park: Family, Work, and Fun

Ross Perko

We told our realtor that we wanted a house with either a view of the Lake or one with a porch on which I could place my dirty trail running shoes as well as lean my bike directly off the trail.

Hartley Park won. We can drive to the Lake any day.

Run. Bike. Repeat.

I loved Hartley in college and medical school, however used it more for running than biking as the trails, much like my wife, were out of my league.  After being away from the city for nearly 10 years I was stunned on my first trail run by how Hartley had changed. The bike trails are now like superhighways with their banked curves and reduced roots, inspiring me to take back up mountain biking and falling in love with winter fat tire biking.

Hartley Park is just feet from my house and we are lucky enough to have two entrances on either side of the neighborhood. There is a perfect 2-mile route from doorstep to doorstep that is great for a winter walk or a quick burn.

From my house if I go right, I enter the trails after a quick hop over Tischer creek and head up the Guardrail Trail and into a beautiful forest climb. For me, the Guardrail used to be something only the best mountain bikers could cover given its technical terrain and elevation changes. While still challenging, now I can usually stay on my bike during the loop.

When running in the park, I have lapses where I temporarily forget that I am right in the middle of town. I sometimes count the run based on how many deer I have chased up rather than miles covered.

Happy Trails

The people experiencing Hartley are such a wonderful snap shot of our city. The neon clad runner with headphones (not me), the elder statesman with his trekking poles, wool socks and boots with red laces, and the mother wearing her baby and sandals with no socks while covering effortlessly a very technical portion of the Superior Hiking Trail while her other children lead the way. The dogs, the happy dogs.

Sometimes, after a fat tire bike ride, I wonder what is more tired, my quads or the muscles of my face responsible for smiling. I have yet to see someone on a fat bike having a bad day.

Husband. Father. Doctor.

My goal is to be a husband and a father first, then a doctor. My family is always number one and living in Duluth allows me to keep them a priority. I am able to have a work-life balance that allows me to have a professional role at my job, and then leave the office, be home within minutes, go for a walk with the family, and later put our children to bed.

Expanding Horizons

I have never been the type of outdoorsperson who craves being outside as growing up my idea of camping was being in a cabin with the windows open. However, the more time we spend outside, in Hartley or going on “adventure walks,” the more I may end up one day with a canoe on my shoulders trekking into the land of no cell signal.

Living in a city like Duluth, with all of its visual majesty and adventure, allows for the opportunities to maximize what I had always hoped to experience from life --- family, work and fun.

--- Ross Perko is a pediatric hematology-oncologist at Essentia Health.

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