An increasingly not-so-hidden gem, Duluth is a town with an old soul and young vibe. There’s an eclectic mix of people as the port on Lake Superior has always been important, but the city attracts young folks who come for one of the three universities and stay for the amazing outdoor life, lower cost of living and great career opportunities. Folks here love that they are a just-right sized city with lots of amenities placed in one of the most beautiful spots in the country.
Top Industries and Employers: Health care and educational services are big, as is manufacturing. But commercial shipping will always be important here. It’s the largest port on the Great Lakes and one of the biggest bulk cargo ports in the country.
Best Coffee Shop: Duluth Coffee Company grew out of a personal love for coffee with a small roaster and delivering beans out of a pick up truck. Now the cafe is a great place to spend time or just pick up a pick-me-up before work. They also mentor those considering opening a coffee shop of their own and offer barista training.
Best Local Beer/Brewery: Bent Paddle Brewery offers a wide variety of styles and has a bright, welcoming taproom right downtown.
Must-Have Meal: Sir Benedict's Tavern on the Lake has stellar views and delicious comfort food. You’ve never had anything like their hot chips with candied bacon and creme fraiche.
Best Meetup Spot (When Meeting Up Is a Thing Again): Hoops Brewing Company
Creative Hub: There is something for everyone at the fun and funky Zenith Bookstore. Not only do they have a massive selection of new and used books – including a large section focusing on regional authors and topics – but they have a packed calendar of events for everything from poetry to comic book clubs.
Favorite Weekend Activity: Anything outside. Duluthians aren’t afraid of snow or cold and they embrace getting out and enjoying the gorgeous natural resources all around them.
Free Way to Have Fun: The Superior Hiking Trail stretches for more than 300 miles from Duluth up to the Canadian border, following the edge of Lake Superior. The views are stunning in every season. There are 50 trailheads for day hiking or through hiking options.
Local Dream Job: Zamboni driver at Amsoil Arena. Hockey is life in this part of the state and when families aren’t shuttling around to their own kids’ games, they go watch the University of Minnesota-Duluth men’s and women’s collegiate teams. The women’s team have won five national championships and then men have won three, including the last two in 2018 and 2019.
- Nicole Haase