The film industry in Duluth, MN is positively buzzing with activity! Over the weekend of the Duluth Superior Film Festival, I tagged along with actors and film makers on Duluth’s Pretty and Gritty tour, designed to show a different side of Duluth and spark the creativity of the people who wish to shoot movies here. I thought I knew Duluth, but after this tour, I quickly understood that I’ve only scratched the surface.
Ricki McManus with the Upper Minnesota Film Office, says that Duluth is quickly becoming “Little Hollywood”. We have many feature films coming to town and creativity abounds for many more to come. And it’s no surprise why!
For the Pretty and Gritty tour of Duluth, our group hopped on one of The Duluth Experience’s beautiful air conditioned busses and made the following stops:
Enger Tower – A popular tourist destination, Enger Tower sits in a park at the highest peak in Duluth. From the tower and park grounds, you get an unobstructed panoramic view of the entire city. As a popular place to host wedding ceremonies, Engler Tower is definitely on the pretty side of the tour.
Morgan Park - Morgan Park is a tight-knit community of people with a rich history who are proud of where they come from. The houses were quickly built out of cinder block by U.S. Steel to accommodate a boom in the economy, but were eventually abandoned. Over the years, Morgan Park has experienced a revitalization from families making the choice to move back into the neighborhood, creating a picture perfect location for a movie set.
Nopeming Sanatorium – When an outbreak of tuberculosis spread through Northern Minnesota, Nopeming Sanatorium was built. This gritty portion of our tour is the ideal setting for an eerie hospital scene and comes complete with a body incinerator and intact smoke stacks.
Spirit Mountain – Spirit Mountain provides fun all year long! From skiing and snowboarding in the winter, to mountain biking, alpine coasting, and zip lining during the summer, Spirit Mountain provides you with a beautiful view of the lake no matter the adventure.
Graffiti Graveyard – Showcasing more Duluth grit, Graffiti Graveyard is located under the freeway west of Canal Park and showcases some of the most impressive graffiti art that you have to see to believe.
Duluth Timber – Are you shooting a movie with a lot of action? Or perhaps you need to have access to a slew of wood beams and old landlocked boats. Duluth Timber sits on the shores of Lake Superior, just west of Duluth’s more popular tourist destinations. The yard is filled with old boats, salvaged wood, and piles of scrap metal, complete with a view of the Aerial Lift Bridge not many people have had the pleasure of seeing.
Anchor Bar - Our tour ended with a trip to the Anchor Bar in Superior, WI. This tiny bar was featured on Diners, Drive Ins, and Dives and has made an impression on beer lovers and burger connoisseurs alike. The bar and grill is donned with maritime décor and offers what could quite possibly be the world’s best burger. Be sure to try one topped with bacon - it's so thick it's more like steakon!
Duluth is on the rise! Our optimism and vision of the future has recently been compared to that of the 1800’s during the shipping and mining boom. Discover Duluth before the rest of the world and you might just discover your destination for life!