family-friendly weekend in Duluth

From world-class attractions to the largest freshwater lake, to pizza parlors and ice cream shops – Duluth is the perfect location for families to make memories. Here’s a sample itinerary for a fun-filled long weekend:

parents watching their children run through a puddle

DAY 1

Morning

Go hunting for murals. Duluth is filled with beautiful murals across the city. Go on a scavenger hunt and be sure to snap some awesome pictures. Check out a list of them here.

Afternoon

Enjoy superior lake life. Duluth can give you a taste of “Up North” Minnesota lake life, all within the city limits. From building sandcastles at Park Point Beach, to skipping rocks in Canal Park, to searching for agates at Brighton Beach, there are plenty of ways to have fun and relax along Lake Superior’s shores. More ideas here.

Watch the ships. When you visit, take a look at the ship schedule for the day, as to not miss watching the massive watercrafts navigate the canal as the Aerial Lift Bridge moves up and down. Then, take a voyage into the history of the Great Lakes inside the Lake Superior Maritime Museum , the most-visited marine museum on the Great Lakes with plenty of kid-friendly exhibits.

Evening

Pizza night! After experiencing all that Duluth has to offer, grabbing a slice or two of pizza is the perfect way to cap off the day for kids (and their grown-ups) of all ages. Duluth offers many options throughout the city, for traditionalists to those looking to try something outside of the (pizza) box. Check out a list of them here.

BONUS: In the summer, stop by Leif Erikson Park on Friday nights for the Greater Downtown Council’s free Movies in the Park series.

dad and daughter playing on the lake shore
pizza
two young girls swimming
rose
people admiring a mural
exterior of a museum

day 2

Morning

Take a stroll. Step back in time and tour the lakeside grounds at Glensheen. For just $5, you can explore the 12-acre grounds of the historic mansion on the lake, and kids under 16 are free with a paid adult.

Another great (and free) option is to stop and smell more than 3,000 rose bushes and other plants while strolling through Duluth’s Rose Garden, part of Leif Erikson Park.

Afternoon

Visit an attraction. Kids love fish? Check out the Great Lakes Aquarium! Love trains? Check out the Lake Superior Railroad Museum and North Shore Scenic Railroad! Love animals? Check out the Lake Superior Zoo! There are plenty of attractions throughout the city that can make learning fun. A cost-saving tip: Many attractions in Duluth offer reciprocal memberships to other attractions (in Duluth and beyond), so if you’re traveling on a budget, be sure to check ahead and see if there’s a way you can save through a membership you may already hold!

Go shopping. Whether you want to window shop or your kids are searching for a perfect souvenir, Duluth has the spot for you. From unique small businesses to places like Indigenous First Art & Gift Shop, a spot offering a wide variety of goods from Indigenous artists, to the Miller Hill Mall, there’s a store to peruse for every taste and budget.

Evening

Grab a scoop. All that walking, sightseeing and shopping will surely build up an appetite – good thing there are plenty of ice cream shops for a dessert to end the day. Check them out.

exterior of a historic building
two kids at the aquarium

day 3

general

Take a hike. Stretch your legs before hitting the road with a family hike. For an accessible hike with sweeping views, try Ely’s Peak, and just a few steps away, the Ely Tunnel, which is a 500-foot-long abandoned railroad tunnel through basalt. It’s all part of Duluth’s Magney-Snively Park. There are two parking areas on Beck’s Road: Short Line Park parking will get you to the tunnel fastest, and the Munger trailhead parking will offer you the most direct route to the peak with established trails. HEADS UP: While these are both fun options for families, they are not stroller-friendly trails.

family hiking a trail
ice cream

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