The Longest Day in Duluth

Celebrating the summer solstice with 15 hours, 51 minutes and 55 seconds of adventure.

Man eating

For anyone hanging out north of the equator, June 20 is the summer solstice, AKA the longest day of the year. And when you reach latitudes like you’ll find in Northern Minnesota, the days get pretty long. Real long, like just a whisker away from 16 hours. That’s 7 hours and 20 minutes longer than Duluth’s shortest day of the year. Cheers for astronomy.  

In Fairbanks, Alaska, locals greet the solstice with the Midnight Sun Baseball game. At Stonehenge, visitors gather to catch the sunrise. Midsummer in Sweden is steeped in tradition, including Maypole dancing and pickled herring.

What’s the best way to spend the solstice in Duluth? Funny you ask. Here’s a sun-up to sun-down adventure guide, good for a jam-packed 15 hours, 51 minutes and 55 seconds of fun.

5:14 am – Sunrise @ Park Point  

Early risers looking for drama should make their way to Park Point and an uninterrupted Lake Superior sunrise. Once you’re there, it’s a choose your adventure type of deal.

Option A) Pack a blanket and set up camp on the sandy beach for a popcorn-worthy early morn.

Option B) Join Zenith Adventure for a sunrise stand-up paddle board and kayak tour.

7:00 am – Coffee and breakfast @ Yellow Bike Coffee

Make your way to Fitger’s Inn for bites and brews at locally-owned Yellow Bike Coffee. They serve good grinds for a good cause, with 8% of proceeds from their Hero Roasts going to area non-profits.

If you’re looking for something a little more sit-down, check out these 23 Spots to Grab Breakfast & Brunch.

8:30 am – Venture out @ Chambers Grove Park

For a little hiking adventure, here’s the plan. Lace up your boots and head to edge of town. There you’ll find Chamber Grove Park, right on the banks of the St. Louis River. Make your way to the appropriately named St. Louis River Trail for a 3.6-mile out-and-back trek, featuring water and woodland views. It’s a multi-use trail, so watch out for mountain bikers.

On your way, check out some points of interest in West Duluth, like Zenith Bookstore.

11:45 pm – Dine @ [INSERT PATIO HERE]

It’s patio season! Here’s a look at some outstanding outdoor dining options throughout the city.   

1:30 pm – Learn a little something @ Tweed Museum of Art

This free-to-visit gallery on the campus of University of Minnesta Duluth (go Bulldogs!) is home to more than 9,000 art objects, spanning from the 15th to 21st centuries. Over the years, the Tweed’s collection has increasingly featured classic and contemporary Native and Indigenous art. One highlight is a mural from Duluth-resident Johnathan Thunder, an enrolled member of the Red Lake Band of Objibwe.

3:00 pm – Survey the scenery @ North Shore Scenic Railroad 

Running daily at 1:00 and 3:00pm, the Duluth Zephyr is the most popular ride on the North Shore Scenic Railroad. On its 75-minute lap through Duluth you’ll see downtown, Lake Superior and the historic Congdon woods.

5:15 pm – Lake Superior Brewing

Before 2016, alcohol hadn’t been sold in East Duluth since the 1890s. Lake Superior Brewing, then, is quite the thirst quencher. The wine list: tempting. The cocktails: creative. The menu – full of seafood, meat-free options, and smash-burger variations – is exciting to say the least.

7:00 – “Beer Garden” @ Glensheen Mansion

Wednesdays in June are for gardening, at least kind of. Drop by Duluth’s famed historic estate for local brews on the grounds. Each week is sponsored by a different area brewery.

9:06 pm – Sunset views @ Enger Tower

This 80-feet tall bluestone tower sits 451 feet above Lake Superior. Which means on a clear day you can see 31.4 miles from the top. But who’s counting? Take extra time to find some zen at the Japanese Peace Bell Garden, within shouting distance from the tower. 

For more ideas from the local perspective, check out this article from the Duluth News Tribune.

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