Best Places to Live

Duluth, MN

Population: 87,699
iStock/Jacob Boomsma

Real talk: everyone in Minnesota already knows Duluth is great, so when the rest of the country notices we’re simultaneously proud and nervous that too many people are going to discover our hidden gem. Perched on hills along the southwestern corner of Lake Superior, this city of 173,000 is gorgeous and historic.

And there’s so much to do! There are tours of a supposedly haunted mansion, museums, breweries, hikes, lovely boutiques, award-winning restaurants and three colleges (and all the sporting and entertainment events that go with them!). All of this happens against the backdrop of Lake Superior stretching off into the distance, as far as the eye can see.

Local Obsession: Lake Superior. It provides tourism, recreation, beauty, shipping routes and quite literally changes the weather.

Climate Described in 6 Words Or Less: Lake effect winter, pleasant summer

Top Employers: St. Luke’s Medical Center, University of Minnesota - Duluth, Minnesota Taconite and ALLETE are some of the area’s top employers.

Local Dream Job: Working for Duluth Trading, the hip, funny, regionally-beloved outdoor gear company.

Quintessential Meal: The wild rice burger at Grandma’s Saloon. Wild rice is a Minnesota staple. Grandma’s Saloon is a Duluth institution, built on the site of a boarding house started by Grandma Rosa Brochi in 1869. The restaurant is also smack dab in the middle of Canal Park, Duluth’s pretty waterfront area.

Favorite Weekend Activity: Anything outdoorsy! Mountain biking, skiing, snow shoeing, hiking — people even surf in Lake Superior.

After-Work Meetup Spot: Fitger’s is right on the waterfront, walking distance from downtown, serves award-winning ales and lagers and elk burgers. (And normal burgers, too.)

Best Brewery: Bent Paddle

Beloved Bookstore: Zenith Bookstore

Free Way to Have Fun: Drive along the North Shore. Particularly during Autumn, it’s an amazing drive.

Truly Hidden Gem: Chester Bowl is a ski hill inside city limits, with a chalet and a ski lift and everything. Day passes are $15!

- Sarah Von Bargen

Read More:

Why Duluth, MN is a Great Place to Live

8 Reasons to Move to Duluth, MN Right Now

10 Things You Have To Do in Duluth

“Duluth is a place of convergence, for nature and humans. I love how the literal and figurative current, of the incoming streams and tourists to the outgoing ore boats and adventurers, carry an exciting energy. The beauty of Duluth comes from this lovely mix of a not-too-big and not-too-small vibe, that’s just right.”

Brita Lindgren
Owner of Audio Visual Resources  

Duluth, MN Ranking Data