Resting on the shores of Lake Superior in Minnesota, the charming port city of Duluth has a wealth of things to see and do ranging from strolling along the waterfront Lakewalk trail past Canal Park and soaking up beautiful views of the 1905 Aerial Lift Bridge and exploring the Great Lakes Aquarium. Head to the beautifully preserved 1908 Glensheen mansion and estate for a romantic picnic next to the lake or try one of these excellent restaurants for an intimate celebration of love.
1.New Scenic Cafe
© New Scenic Café
The New Scenic Café is an intimate café with a lovely garden and partial views of Lake Superior that serves an eclectic menu of seasonally inspired cuisine, prepared with local and organic ingredients, and presented with a modern flair. Located between Duluth and Twin Harbors, the welcoming café features wood-lined interiors with regional décor and artworks, and an outdoor garden where guests can enjoy alfresco dining amongst fragrant herbs and flowers. Sophisticated New American dishes include miso sea bass with wakame peas, French lamb rack with king trumpets and porcinis, ratatouille lasagna, seared sea scallops with peach moutarde, and seared duck breast in apricot curry. The cuisine is accompanied by fine wines from around the world, craft and draft beers, and classic cocktails made with high-end spirits. The New Scenic Café is open for lunch and dinner, seven days a week.
5461 N Shore Dr, Duluth, MN 55804, Phone: 218-525-6274
2.Bellisio's Italian Restaurant & Wine Bar
© Bellisio's Italian Restaurant & Wine Bar
Bellisios Italian Restaurant & Wine Bar is an easygoing Italian restaurant that offers an unforgettable dining experience with exceptional Italian specialties and an award-winning wine list of over 500 wines. Established in 1999, the family-owned restaurant has a classy, yet casual indoor dining room with dark wood furnishings, mural artworks on the walls, and several wine racks showcasing the restaurant’s vast collection of over 4,000 bottles of wine. A lovely outdoor patio offers alfresco dining beneath the stars where guests can tuck into delicious dishes of rigatoni balsamico, lobster ravioli with grilled shrimp, pappardelle alla Norcia, and fennel roasted rack of pork. A classic wine menu offers 125 fine wines by the glass to pair with each dish, and other libations include classic cocktails, craft beers, and top-shelf spirits. Bellisios Italian Restaurant & Wine Bar is open for lunch and dinner, seven days a week.
405 S Lake Ave, Duluth, MN 55802, Phone: 218-727-4921
3.Black Woods Grill & Bar
© Black Woods Grill & Bar
Black Woods Grill & Bar is a Duluth-family owned and operated restaurant that has been serving the community since the early 1990s, offering a casual and relaxed dining experience that draws both visitors and locals back time and again. Featuring intimate dining rooms with comfy booths and cozy corners for intimate dining and a lively bar, Black Woods Duluth serves seasonal menus of farm-to-table fare prepared with locally sourced ingredients such as scratch-made soups, fresh salads, and classic entrées like meatloaf, pot pie, perfectly seared steaks, and fresh seafood. The full-service bar offers a wide range of libations including fine wines from around the world, craft and draft beers, and classic cocktails made with high-end spirits. Black Woods Grill & Bar is open for lunch and dinner, seven days a week.
2525 London Rd, Duluth, MN 55812, Phone: 218-724-1612
© Duluth Grill
Established in 1991, Duluth Grill is a casual, enduring eatery that serves American comfort fare made with locally sourced ingredients for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The family-owned and operated restaurant serves a seasonal menu of farm-to-table fare such as organic salads and vegetarian dishes, naturally-fed beef, chicken and lamb, fresh seafood, as well as all-day breakfast. Signature dishes include Dakota Pot Roast Dinner, Homemade Pasty, and Wild Rice Melt, and the full-service bar offers a wide range of libations including fine wines from around the world, craft and draft beers, and classic cocktails made with high-end spirits. Duluth Grill is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, seven days a week.
118 S 27th Ave W, Duluth, MN 55806, Phone: 218-726-1150
5.Hanabi Japanese Cuisine
© Hanabi Japanese Cuisine
Located in the heart of Duluth, Hanabi Japanese Cuisine is an easygoing, casual eatery that serves fresh handmade sushi, sashimi, nigiri, teppanyaki, and ramen noodles in a sleek and stylish space. Diners can watch the expert sushi chefs preparing specialty rolls at the open sushi bar, and tuck into a variety of other modern Japanese dishes such as soups, seasonal tempura, and California rolls, an array of hibachi, and fresh seafood plates. A large selection of sake, shochu, and imported beers accompany the cuisine, along with casual wines and soft drinks, and Hanabi Japanese Cuisine is open for lunch and dinner, seven days a week.
434 Bank St, Ottawa, ON K2P 1Y8, Canada, Phone: 613-695-8880
6.JJ Astor Restaurant and Lounge
© JJ Astor Restaurant and Lounge
Located on the top floor of the Radisson Hotel Harborview in downtown Duluth, JJ Astor Restaurant and Lounge is an elegant restaurant with a rotating 360-degree dining room and spectacular panoramic views of the Lake Superior and the Twin Ports metro area. Featuring plush décor and furnishings, authentic portraits and photographs of Duluth and soft lighting, creating an intimate ambiance, the restaurant is a popular spot for romantic wining and dining and celebrating special occasions. Seasonal menus boast contemporary cuisine prepared using sustainable produce sourced from local farmers and fresh fish from local fishermen. A full-service bar offers a wide range of libations including fine wines from around the world, craft and draft beers, and classic cocktails made with high-end spirits. JJ Astor Restaurant and Lounge is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, daily.
505 W Superior St, Duluth, MN 55802, Phone: 218-722-8439
© Lake Avenue
Located in the DeWitt–Seitz Building, Lake Avenue is a renowned Canal Park dining destination that has been serving outstanding cuisine and fine wines along with gracious hospitality since 1991. Based in a building that was once a mattress factory, the stylish and sophisticated restaurant features polished interiors with plush décor, intimate dining booths and tables, a large bar made from reclaimed timber, and a lovely outdoor deck for alfresco dining in the summer months. A seasonal menu features delicious farm-to-table fare made with locally sourced ingredients and regional produce such as naturally-raised meat and chicken, organic salads, vegetables and herbs, fresh seafood and fish, and in-house pasta and sauces. A full-service bar offers a wide range of libations including fine wines from around the world, craft and draft beers, and classic cocktails made with high-end spirits. Lake Avenue is open for brunch, lunch, and dinner, seven days a week.
394 S Lake Ave, Duluth, MN 55802, Phone: 218-722-2355
© OMC Smokehouse
The OMC (Oink Moo Click) Smokehouse serves traditional barbecue meats with global influences along with local craft beers and brews in a warm and welcoming atmosphere. Established by the founders of the well-regarded Duluth Grill, OMC is located in the burgeoning Lincoln Park neighborhood and boasts a beautiful patio with fire pits for alfresco dining. The creative menu features a variety of meats cooked over the coals, ranging from sliced beef brisket and smoked pulled pork to St. Louis ribs and smoked chicken. Other signature dishes include Cheesy Jalapeño Grits, Creamy Classic Coleslaw, Nashville Hot Chicken Sandwich, and Buttermilk Chicken Tenders. A full-service bar offers a wide range of libations including fine wines from around the world, craft and draft beers, and classic cocktails made with high-end spirits. The OMC Smokehouse is open for lunch and dinner, seven days a week.
1909 W Superior St, Duluth, MN 55806, Phone: 218-606-1611
9.Pickwick Restaurant & Pub
© Pickwick Restaurant & Pub
Established in 1914, Pickwick Restaurant and Pub is a long-standing dining destination in the Canal Park area that is renowned for serving award-winning cuisine and fine wines in an elegant and sophisticated environment. Exuding a classy, Old-World ambiance with stylish décor, ornate woodwork, beautiful furniture, and dim lighting, the restaurant serves a contemporary menu of traditional steakhouse fare such as prime steaks, chops, and burgers cooked on a charcoal grill, fresh seafood, house-made pasta, salads and vegetarian options and decadent desserts. The cuisine is accompanied by a variety of fine wines from around the world, craft and draft beers, and classic cocktails made with high-end spirits, and the restaurant is open for lunch and dinner, daily.
508 E Superior St, Duluth, MN 55802, Phone: 218-623-7425
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10.Silos at Pier B
© Silos at Pier B
Located in the Pier B Resort Hotel with breathtaking views of the Duluth-Superior Harbor, Silos Restaurant is an exceptional dining destination that serves creative, elegant menus of seasonal cuisine and locally-sourced dishes inspired by the surrounding landscapes. The contemporary tavern-style eatery has a modern dining space with a large bar area and a beautiful outdoor deck for alfresco dining against a backdrop of harbor views. Seasonal menus feature signature dishes of fresh seafood and catch-of-the-day fish, prime meats and chicken, vegetarian meals, fresh salads, and decadent desserts. A full-service bar offers a wide range of libations including fine wines from around the world, craft and draft beers, and classic cocktails made with high-end spirits. Silos Restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, seven days a week.
800 W Railroad St, Duluth, MN 55802, Phone: 218-336-3430
11.Va Bene Caffe
© Va Bene Caffe
Located on the shores of Lake Superior, Va Bene Cafe is a family-owned Italian restaurant with a cozy and intimate dining space and beautiful views of the lake through floor-to-ceiling windows and a charming outdoor patio. The restaurant serves a Southern Italian-inspired menu of handmade pasta and in-house sauces, fresh seafood and prime meats, organic salads, and dressings, bread and desserts, which are made in-house from scratch. Inspired and delicious, the food is accompanied by a selection of beverages ranging from craft beers and brews, fine wines and classic cocktails, which can be enjoyed for lunch and dinner, seven days a week.
734 E Superior St, Duluth, MN 55802, Phone: 218-722-1518
12.Valentini's Vicino Lago
© Valentini's Vicino Lago
Valentini's Vicino Lago is a casual, family-friendly restaurant specializing in rustic Italian cuisine. Committed to providing guests with an authentic Italian experience, Dante Ristorante prepares each dish from scratch using only the freshest, locally sourced ingredients from regional farms and producers. Open for lunch and dinner with daily specials and happy hour throughout the week, Dante Ristorante serves a variety of delicious Italian cuisine from hand-tossed pizza and house-made pasta dishes to fresh garden salads and hearty entrées. Signature dishes include Pork Tenderloin Italian Medallions, Chicken Asiago Capellini, and Meat Ravioli, and the food is accompanied by a selection of beverages ranging from craft beers and brews, fine wines and classic cocktails. Valentini's Vicino Lago is open for lunch and dinner daily.
1400 London Rd, Duluth, MN 55805, Phone: 218-728-5900
13.Zeitgeist Arts Cafe
© Zeitgeist Arts Café
The Zeitgeist Arts Café is a bustling café and bar that offers a unique dining experience in an airy, sophisticated interior. Boasting a gallery space with works from both local and national artists and a comfortable dining room with classy but straightforward décor and furnishings, the restaurant serves a menu of fresh American cuisine prepared with locally sourced ingredients with small sharing plates like gouda stuffed dates, fresh mussels, and house-made pretzels, followed by entrées of saffron fettucini and diver scallops. The full-service bar offers a wide range of libations including fine wines from around the world, craft and draft beers, and classic handcrafted cocktails made with high-end spirits. The Zeitgeist Arts Café is open for lunch and dinner, seven days a week.
222 E Superior St, Duluth, MN 55802, Phone: 218-722-9100
12 Best Restaurants in Duluth, Minnesota
- New Scenic Cafe, Photo: New Scenic Café
- Bellisio's Italian Restaurant & Wine Bar, Photo: Bellisio's Italian Restaurant & Wine Bar
- Black Woods Grill & Bar, Photo: Black Woods Grill & Bar
- Duluth Grill, Photo: Duluth Grill
- Hanabi Japanese Cuisine, Photo: Hanabi Japanese Cuisine
- JJ Astor Restaurant and Lounge, Photo: JJ Astor Restaurant and Lounge
- Lake Avenue, Photo: Lake Avenue
- OMC Smokehouse, Photo: OMC Smokehouse
- Pickwick Restaurant & Pub, Photo: Pickwick Restaurant & Pub
- Silos at Pier B, Photo: Silos at Pier B
- Va Bene Caffe, Photo: Va Bene Caffe
- Valentini's Vicino Lago, Photo: Valentini's Vicino Lago
- Zeitgeist Arts Cafe, Photo: Zeitgeist Arts Café
- Cover Photo: Pixel-Shot/stock.adobe.com
Attraction Spotlight: Lake Superior Zoo
Known for the variety of animal exhibits and educational opportunities, the Lake Superior Zoo offers something to everyone. Located in Duluth, Minnesota, the Lake Superior Zoo is often regarded as one of the top attractions within the city of Duluth.
In 1923, Bert Onsgard petitioned the city of Duluth to grant him a specialized area dedicated to his pet deer, Billy. The city of Duluth granted Onsgard’s wish, and constructed a pen for his deer. After Billy’s pen was built, Onsgard developed the idea of creating a zoo for the Duluth community. His idea spread like wildfire. Within a blink of an eye, members of the community rallied together to make the idea of creating a zoo a reality.
The Duluth Zoo came together with the help of the community. Various businesses donated materials and land. Citizens of Duluth, schools, and other organizations donated animals or funds to acquire animals. Throughout the 1930s and the 1940s the Duluth Zoo became one of the most popular attractions within Northern Minnesota. Official buildings even began to pop up throughout the Zoo, which stimulated the attraction of new animals and exhibits.
In 1985 the Duluth Zoo was awarded with official accreditation from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. This signified the Duluth Zoo’s place as among the top 10% of zoos within the United States. Between the Duluth Zoo’s new accreditation, recognition, and regional significance, the Zoo changed its name to the current name, the Lake Superior Zoo. Two years later, the city of Duluth awarded the Lake Superior Zoo with $7 million to create a new and contemporary facility focused on Northern climate animals.
It wasn’t until the early 2000s that the Lake Superior Zoo experienced conflicts. One of the most devastating events for the Lake Superior Zoo was the revocation of their accreditation from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums in 2006. In order to regain the Zoo’s status and accreditation, the city of Duluth resigned and let the Lake Superior Zoological Society take over as owners of the Zoo. It wasn’t until fall 2011 when the Lake Superior Zoo regained their Association of Zoos and Aquariums accreditation.
Spread out across a vast area of land, the Lake Superior Zoo is home to eleven main attractions.
Zoo Central is one of the first attractions visitors experience at the Lake Superior Zoo. This attraction has a combination of animals, such as Speckled Mouse birds, Allen’s swamp monkeys, and a snapping turtle.
Griggs Learning Center is home to a variety of animals visitors have the opportunity to get up close and personal with. Some of the animals within the Griggs Learning Center include; chinchillas, salamanders, geckos, rabbits, songbirds, and parrots.
Asian Caravan showcases a variety of animals native to Asia. Two of the highlighted animals within this exhibit are the Amur tiger and snow leopard.
Barnyard features a variety of smaller animals that are typically found within farms and barnyards. Visitors have the opportunity of getting up close and personal with the animals within this exhibit. Some of the animals within the Barnyard include llamas, peacocks, and sheep.
Primate Conservation Center is an exhibit dedicated to the research, preservation, and education of some of the world’s most popular and featured primates, such as cotton-top tamarins, silver foxes, and callimico monkeys.
Nocturnal Building features an array of animals that are nocturnal. Visitors can expect to see and learn about two-toed sloth, burrowing owls, and southern flying squirrels.
Birds of Prey is an exclusive exhibit dedicated to two kinds of birds who are popularized for being predators. The two kinds of birds on display within this exhibit are turkey vultures and bald eagles.
Australia & Oceania houses animals that are native to Australia and Oceania, such as Bennett’s wallabies and the red kangaroo.
The Lake Superior Zoo is known for their array of educational opportunities. The educational programs at the Lake Superior Zoo range from specialized tours to summer camps and internship programs.
Of the Lake Superior Zoo’s specialized tours, the Zoo Train is the most popular. The Zoo Train is a small train geared towards providing children with a one of a kind tour experience. Participants hop aboard the Zoo Train and see all of the Lake Superior Zoo’s highlights from the comfort of a train car. Participants will also learn about interesting animal facts and gain a behind the scenes glimpse of the zoo from the Zoo Train’s conductor. For more information about the Zoo Train, and other educational programs at the Lake Superior Zoo, check out the Zoo’s website.
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7210 Fremont St, Duluth, MN 55807, Phone: 218-730-4500
Attraction Spotlight: Lake Superior & Mississippi Railroad
Located in Duluth, Minnesota, the Lake Superior & Mississippi Railroad gives visitors an exclusive look into the history and cultural significance of the Lake Superior and Mississippi railroad.
On August 1, 1870, the first train arrived in Duluth, Minnesota from St. Paul. This train traveled along the first railroad Duluth had, which was the Lake Superior and Mississippi Railroad. This train arrival was often regarded as one of the most important events that happened within Minnesota’s history. Also, the arrival of this train marked a monumental moment for railroad history, significance, and development within the United States. Since the Lake Superior and Mississippi Railroad had approximately 154 miles of railroad track that connected these two rivers from land made good transportation and trading easier than usual.
The original Lake Superior and Mississippi Railroad eventually became the St. Paul & Duluth Railway, which then again changed its name and affiliation to the Northern Pacific Railway. The Northern Pacific Railway served as a transcontinental path for goods from the West to Duluth.
The current Lake Superior and Mississippi Railroad was created by a group of people affiliated with the Lake Superior Transportation Club. This group of volunteers used part of the original railroad track that ran by the St. Louis River to create the new Lake Superior and Mississippi Railroad. Currently, the Lake Superior and Mississippi Railroad serves as a tourist attraction.
There are two main attractions at the Lake Superior and Mississippi Railroad: the rolling stock collection and the train excursion. The Lake Superior and Mississippi Railroad has the following rolling stock collection:
· Locomotive 46 was built in 1946 and is an electric center cab. Locomotive 46 was used as a switch engine until August 1984. One year after the locomotive retired, it was donated to the Lake Superior and Mississippi Railroad by one of its owners, the Flambeau Paper Co.
· Safari Car was built in 1928 with the Northern Pacific Railway in mind. The Hallett Dock Co. donated the Safari Car to the Lake Superior and Mississippi Railroad. The Railroad renovated and adjusted the Safari Car so it would be accessible to passengers.
· Coach 85 was built with the Missabe and Northern Railway in mind. In 1912, the American Car and Foundry created Coach 85. Later in its lifetime, Coach 85 was used as a car for crew bunks. Currently, Coach 85 has 1950s fitted coach seats for its passengers.
· Coach 29 was also built by the American Car and Foundry the same year Coach 85 was built. This specific model has been remodeled since 1939, but many original designs are preserved.
The second attraction at the Lake Superior and Mississippi Railroad is the train excursion. The train excursion happens Saturdays and Sundays for approximately two hours. For more information about the train excursions, check out the Lake Superior and Mississippi Railroad’s website.
Currently, the Lake Superior & Mississippi Railroad does not offer any specialize educational opportunities. This is mainly because the tour of the rolling stock and train excursion is an educational opportunity within itself.
While the Lake Superior & Mississippi Railroad does not host any public special events, the Lake Superior & Mississippi Railroad offers a variety of private special events. Private special events are also called charters. During special events, the entire train is available for guest usage. As long as the charter does not interfere with regular scheduling, guests are free to request when the train leaves and returns, as well as any stops the train makes along the way. In addition to full control over the train’s travel, guests can bring food and non-alcoholic beverages aboard. In order to comfort guests, a full crew is provided for the ride. It’s important to note it is required for groups of 30 or more to book a charter in advanced. Also, this type of specialized charter is for any occasion, such as a wedding, other than a birthday party. There is a separate charter package for birthday parties.
The birthday party charter package is an approximately two hour train ride on the historical Lake Superior & Mississippi Railroad. Birthday parties can be held privately or alongside other guests. If a birthday party chooses to ride with other guests, members of the party get priority boarding, as well as a choice of the seating arrangement. Also, birthday party guests receive a discounted ticket from general admission. It’s important to note birthday parties must give the Lake Superior & Mississippi Railroad an advanced notice.
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6930 Fremont St, Duluth, MN 55807, Phone: 218-624-7549