Top Free Things to Do in Duluth

September 27, 2013

duluthThe city of Duluth has so much to offer individuals and families alike. There are many attractions and activities in the area that charge admission but there are many that are free or at least not enough to break the bank. You don’t need to spend a lot to have a wonderful time when you visit Duluth!

The Tweed Museum on the University of Minnesota Duluth campus offers visitors a host of exhibits and events. Admission is free but, if you would like to become a member, there are many additional benefits. The Karpeles Manuscript Library Museum is the largest holder of manuscripts and documents, including an original Bill of Rights. The Lake Superior Marine Museum in Canal Park is another free museum and a must see. The museum will give you the history of Lake Superior and information on shipping in the Twin Ports of Duluth, MN and Superior, WI as well as fun facts and a view of the canal. And of course, strolling through Canal Park and watching the ships come in and out beneath the Aerial Lift Bridge is free of charge.

Summer months feature Movies in the Park at Leif Erickson Park. Bring your blankets and enjoy the show! Summer is also an ideal time to enjoy the shores of Lake Superior and the Park Point beaches.

Hawk Ridge and the Hartley Nature Center give visitors an education on the area’s flora and fauna – plants and animals. Donations are welcome to help fund various programs.

The Lakewalk runs along the shores of Lake Superior for about 3 miles from Canal Park/Bayfront Park to London Road in eastern Duluth. Run, walk, or ride a bike and enjoy the beauty of the largest freshwater lake. The Willard Munger State Trail runs 63 miles between Duluth and Hinckley, Minnesota. The Lakewalk and Munger State Trail are paved and easily traversed on foot or bike.

The city of Duluth has a multitude of walking and hiking trails as part of its city parks. Whether you are young or not so young, there is a trail for you. Jay Cooke State Park is another favorite with longer trails, picnic areas, and the St. Louis River running through it. Check the website for guided walks.

Not ready for a long walk? Take a drive along the 25 miles of Skyline Drive. This drive will give you aerial views of Duluth, Superior, and Lake Superior. As it winds above the city, it will take you through Enger Park, Hawk’s Ridge and along Seven Bridges Road.

Every Wednesday evening the Alworth Planetarium is free to the public. Take some time to do a little star gazing at the Planetarium located on the University of Minnesota Duluth campus.

Got a rainy day? Take time to read a book, play a game or enjoy story time at the Duluth Public Library.

For not too much in admission, you can visit the Depot Train Museum. If you don’t mind spending a little more, you can enjoy one of several train rides up the North Shore of Lake Superior. Some rides include meals.

The Lake Superior Zoo also charges admission. They also offer varying membership levels that will give you free admission as well as discounted admission to other nationwide zoos.

Take a Lake Superior tour aboard the Vista Fleet boats which provide narrated cruises in the harbor as well as through the Aerial Lift Bridge and out onto Lake Superior (weather permitting). Admission varies as they have basic narrated cruises and more expensive dinner cruises throughout the summer.

If you are as fascinated by the big boats as we are then the William A Irvin boat tour is a must. Located in the same slip as the Vista Star, it is a rare opportunity for a small fee to see the inner workings of one of these massive ships.

And since you are in the area, if you head to the other side of the DECC – Amsoil Arena, the Great Lake Aquarium will give you an insider’s view of Lake Superior, its aquatic life and habitats as well as traveling exhibits. It is well worth the small admission fee.

We invite you to visit Duluth and enjoy all that it has to offer. More events for Duluth can be found at Visit Duluth.