Winter getaway ideas in Duluth, Minnesota

When the cold starts to set in, the birds fly south. But families looking for a memorable winter getaway know the fun is up north. With events and activities all season long, Duluth truly is the premier winter vacation destination in Minnesota. Whether you love the snow or just want to spend some quality time with your family, Duluth has everything you need for an unforgettable winter getaway. Here's a look at the top reasons to visit Duluth this winter.

Bentleyville Tour of Lights

Every winter, downtown Duluth's Bayfront Festival Park transforms into Bentleyville, USA, America's largest free walk-through lighting display. The incredible holiday light festival uses over 5 million lights to create amazing works of art. Kids love seeing their favorite characters come alive in lights, and it's a romantic spot for couples to stroll as well. There's complimentary hot cocoa to keep you warm, and you may even be lucky enough to catch Santa and Mrs. Claus who visit from the North Pole to wish families a happy holiday.

Skiing and snowboarding

If you prefer your winter activities a little more active, don't miss Spirit Mountain for some of the best skiing and snowboarding in Minnesota. With 22 runs over 175 skiable acres, there's fun to be had for thrill-seekers of all abilities. If downhill isn't your thing, there's tubing and Nordic skiing available as well. (Don't forget to make plans to come back in the summer and try out the thrilling Alpine Coaster — bonus points if you ride it under the lights of the Glow Coaster.)

Winter activities galore

It seems there's no end to the list of fun winter activities in Duluth. Try snow shoeing, mountain biking or watch the pros go ice climbing. The Winter Village and Christmas City Express offer more holiday fun. Or watch the John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon for a truly unique experience you'll only find in Duluth.

Stay warm and have fun

If cold weather isn't quite your thing, don't worry. Duluth has a lot more to offer than just snow and ice. Check out the Great Lakes Aquarium for an experience that's as educational as it is fun. Get some culture at the Duluth Art Institute, or take in a play at a local theater. When you get hungry, Duluth offers great dining options from the top of the hill all the way down to Canal Park. Tour great local breweries and explore cuisine from around the world. If you love to shop or just need a few last-minute holiday presents, Duluth is home to tons of great shops that offer unique souvenirs and gifts.

Lake Superior

No matter the time of year, Lake Superior is simply too spectacular to miss. The largest of the Great Lakes, Superior can be seen from almost anywhere in Duluth, but it's worth getting up close to really appreciate its power and beauty. You may even see the occasional sea smoke, a natural phenomenon that can form spiraling columns dozens of feet high. As you explore, remember to be safe. Lake ice can move quickly and be dangerous, so keep your feet on the shore. Use caution, stay safe and take in all that Lake Superior and winter in Duluth have to offer.

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