Deep breaths of fresh crisp air, crystal-trimmed tree branches glistening in the sun and vast snow-covered vistas are just a few reasons Duluth, Minnesota, is a magical winter destination. While the stunning environment reminiscent of a holiday greeting card is a draw in itself, the array of activities are as unique as the snowflakes that fall out of the sky.
This charming city on the shores of Lake Superior — the largest freshwater lake in the world — offers culture and adventure year-round, but there’s something magical about Duluth during winter. Here are some of the best ways to make warm memories during the chilly months. Learn more at VisitDuluth.com.
Walk through millions of glimmering holiday lights, meet Santa and much more by wandering to Bayfront Festival Park. Visit the Bentleyville Tour of Lights every evening November 20 to December 27, 2021. Walking through the lighted holiday displays hand in hand with loved ones is free, along with cocoa, cookies and more.
Christmas City Express Train
Take a peek at holidays of yesteryear when you enjoy the Christmas City Express. This festive activity begins in the Lake Superior Railroad Museum where you’ll be treated to carolers and a reading of the new Christmas City Express story. A special guest makes an appearance to delight the children before you climb aboard the train for a 30-minute ride up the lakeshore. Enjoy hot chocolate, cookies and holiday tunes, along with the ambiance of Lake Superior.
Uncommon and unforgettable, head to the Duluth Winter Village on December 4th and 5th. Bundle up and spread good cheer as you stroll among 29 festive wooden cabins on Harbor Drive between the Great Lakes Aquarium and the William A. Irvin floating museum. The views are incredible and the shopping experience featuring local artisans is sure to make it easy to complete your gift list.
Want some fresh powder with a breathtaking view? With over 175 skiable acres, Spirit Mountain is a cross-country, downhill skier and snowboarding paradise overlooking the blue waters of Lake Superior. Whether you’re new to the sport and decide to take a lesson or fancy yourself a pro and aren’t afraid of the black diamonds, this resort offers something for everyone.
John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon
Nearly 300 miles. World-class mushers. Dogs that live for the thrill of the cold. The John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon is legendary for a reason. Come see the action and cheer on the competing teams on January 30, 2022.
Rather than resist the cold, people who live in Duluth embrace it. That’s the spirit behind Cold Front, the annual festival put on by the City of Duluth. Sledding, snow sculptures, games and more await those wishing to celebrate Old Man Winter. Don’t miss the event on February 5, 2022.
Frosted Fatty Bike Race
Join Spirit Mountain in the sixth year of winter downhill fat bike racing on February 12, 2022, at Spirit Mountain. The Frosted Fatty features two stages that will be open for 1 hour each. Race the stage as many times as you would like during that hour and your fastest time will be recorded! Winners will be selected from the combination of the fastest times from the two stages.
Family Skating at Bayfront Festival Park
A large rink on picturesque Lakeside park offers the ideal way to spend an afternoon or evening. Check out Bayfront Festival Park and get ready to lace up some skates and enjoy a classic winter family fun activity or romantic date night.
Glensheen Historic Estate
The historic Glensheen hosts holiday tours where you can take your time exploring the 39-room mansion built with remarkable 20th-century craftsmanship and feel like you’ve transported back in time to holidays past. Once the sun is down, check out the motifs and displays outdoors at the Spirit of the Lights.
Duluth Playhouse Family Theatre offers family-friendly theater options throughout the holiday season and into the new year. Make memories as you enjoy the allure of live theater at the historic Duluth Depot stage. Purchase tickets for select days in December for A Charlie Brown Christmas and in February tickets are available for The SpongeBob Musical.
A Twist on The Nutcracker
A classic tale with a Duluth twist, don’t let your holiday season pass without catching Nutcracker Suite: A Duluth Tale. It features fairies, princes and lumberjacks — oh my! The whole family will enjoy this tale brought to life by live orchestra music and students of the Minnesota Ballet.
Duluth Superior Symphony Orchestra
Enjoy your favorite holiday tunes performed by the DSSO and the renowned handbell ensemble, Strikepoint! Bring your family and experience the wonders of the holiday season.