Help me convince my girlfriend that we should move to Duluth. Why do you love living in Duluth?
Welcome! Duluth is a great place to live. There's lots to do and see. The ratio of cool people to jerks is above average. So, I hope you are the former. There is room for improvement in any community, and we are no exception. But, it's a small enough of a city that you can get involved and actually make a difference. It's a big enough of a town to help you think big. The list of amenities is long- outdoor activities, arts & culture, etc. If you choose to come, PerfectDuluthDay is a great place to learn about what's going.
A traffic jam in Duluth is 6 cars. My boys go to the beach almost everyday in the summer. That beach is 7 miles long.
What's your girlfriend look like?
I hike a trail filled with waterfalls to my work everyday and a co-op, my workplace, groceries, organic bakery all are within walking distance.
Plus I can see five miles of the largest lake in the world and a beautiful sky with twinkling city lights below. This is all from a really decent house which I got for 150,000 in a good neighborhood where people know each other.
Last but not least, you can get good beer delivered to your door!
If you guys are a little crunchy and know how to bundle up and wear some ice cleats + you enjoy some skiing in the winter, then Duluth can be paradise found for you and your girlfriend.
Duluth repeatedly has art shows featuring nothing but dioramas.
There's midget wrestling at a strip club this Friday.
The St. Louis River is frozen over right now, so you can walk out to various islands and over to Superior.
There's more than an acre of parkland for every seven Duluth residents. Many of these parks are connected by the Superior Hiking Trail, which crosses the entire city and goes all the way to the Canadian border (although there's a few miles of the trail north of Duluth that haven't been built yet). Many of Duluth's parks are also connected by Skyline Parkway, if you fancy driving.
If you like bicycling or inline skating, there's the Munger Trail. If you like snowmobiling, there's no end to the trails.
Great place to raise a family. My kid is involved in local theatre and has opportunities there I never dreamed of. Good restaurants. GREAT arts scene with world class talent doing their thing here, and it's intimate enough, I go to art openings or readings, i am sure to run into friends, so it becomes a party. Parks, trails, ski hill in town, nature everywhere you look.
It is small enough, you can get involved in the community, and feel as if you are having an impact. Like my group thought we would start up a poet laureate program, voila, we did, it was even mentioned in USA Today and we are still at it.
I know my mayor and city councilors, and even a few school board members. I even know my US Senators from Minny, how cool is that?
My NYC friends think I am too cool for living in Duluth, and it's always a great ice-breaker at parties with them. Makes me stand out from the crowd.
The only thing that sucks for me is the airport stinks and air fares out of Duluth are ridiculous.
I moved from St. Paul to Duluth in 1999 expecting to live here for one year. I'm still here. Because of hiking and cross-country skiing right outside my door, to great old houses for far less money than the Twin Cities, to great restaurants and parks and arts and people (even those with quirks), this place has become home and I don't plan on ever leaving.
This is a difficult question to answer mid-January.
I hike three times a week at least [mostly fri, sat and sun] and find myself saying out loud ... I'm so glad I live here!
That's an obvious answer but a real selling point for me is that it is so so so so dog friendly here.
You start by doing this in the summer or during a warm winter!
The mall/strip mall vortex is located out of visual range if you live in Duluth-proper.
Under-developed core musculature gets exercised due to navigation of slippery and un-plowed sidewalks in winter.
You can "borrow" Barney The Airport Dog for walks on Park Point if you are dogless.
lake superior. sandy beaches. rocky shoreline. amazing hiking that's accessible everywhere. beautiful trees of birch, pine, maple, oak, etc. forests. great parks. cross-country ski trails. snowshoeing. rivers. the lake walk. lighthouses. bridges. snowmobiling. fishing. great people. it's cozy and nice. much diversity. good restaurants. great art & music scene. awesome community. brewhouse. canal park and great shops. 4 amazingly beautiful and very distinct seasons. movies in the park. theatre. light traffic. people that smile. duluth is a wonderful place to live and a wonderful place to call home. I can't wait to raise my family here.. this place just keeps getting better & better. I love the progressiveness and the love fellow duluthians have for this rad town! I highly recommend checking it out.
Don't forget the Minnesota NICE!
Parks are a huge plus. The lake is everything.
The FOOD!!! The North Shore at your doorsteps.
You live longer because you're preserved in the winter cold. You can always watch live hockey.
Because saying Duluth just sounds cool.
Duluth is a great place to live if you can make a living
In no particular order:
kayaking, climbing, snowboarding, surfing and mountain biking
Fitger's Brewhouse beer
the eclectic cast of characters that live in our community
diverse local music scene
dog and kid friendly
reasonably good food for a town of this size
We moved to town for me to go to graduate school. We perceived it as a 2-3 year gig, then we might move to the cities or some other place.
10 years later I still have to almost pinch myself as I drive over the hill and think, "Wow I live here."
Oh and I have a view of the lake from two of the bedrooms in my home, plus the bathroom if you stand on the toilet and cran your neck! I bought said house while a graduate student. If that doesn't rock then I don't know what does.
Wow! Thanks for all (most) the great comments. We do know and love Duluth, Superior and the North Shore. I grew up in Souptown and would LOVE to move back to the area (after years in the Cities and in Colorado). I wanted her to get some perspective from you guys-the locals. The thing that strikes me the most is a real love of the place comes out in your comments. It's what I also feel when I'm in town-even though I haven't called the Twin Ports home since '94.
Thanks a bunch, and I know it would be a pleasure to have all of you as my neighbors. Now, just gotta find a couple of jobs...
"Now, just gotta find a couple of jobs..."
As much as we'd love to have you here, good luck with that "job" thing!
From what I have noticed, women, unless they were born here, don't like living in Duluth.
Well, surely, you are used to the twin ports area then. I hope your girlfriend is not coming from Denver or the Cities. There is no LoDo, per se, no stadium, etc. The cultural extent is small in comparison, but in a really cool way (think artist, but picky). So, if you both like small town culture with big town attitude, go for it!
The hiking trail is the reason I stay, and with the occasional stop at places like the Brewhouse or Thai Krathong (several others, but those are my favorite). The farmer's market is incredible for a relatively small city!
Then you've got the esoteric "hidden" things most certainly worth exploring that don't attract your normal crowds. The sheer length of Park Point beach along with the trail, for example, keeps most tourists at bay.
Oh my god I loved reading these comments. I'm going to read them again later. I don't even need to post all of my reasons because they're all up there. Niiiice!
It's just big enough and just small enough.
Born here, moved to the suburbs in the Twin Cities at 5, returned at 11 and can't leave. Lived a short time north but grew sad and returned to the big Lake Superior. I live a two minute walk from the shores of the magnificent emerald eyed beauty.
The lake keeps me peaceful and honest.
Duluth is full of lake lovers and the ripple effect of the love is good people!
After all the wonderful things the PDD community has shared, how can your girlfriend NOT want to live here. I'll bet someone would even open their home for you both to visit.
Hey, I'm a woman who wasn't born here who lives in Duluth!
I like that Duluth is big enough to have most everything you'd like, but small enough that it's still nice. And if you do desire big city stuff, MSP is only two hours away.
A friend says Duluth is full of men who love it and the women who love them, but I think I like Duluth more than my fella does. We've lived all over the country in big cities and a very small town and like it best here.
What's great about Duluth:
You never wait in a long line anywhere. You're never stuck in traffic.
You don't see as many people toddling around in thin shoes and pea coats complaining about the cold as you do in, say, the Chicago suburbs.
Five fantastic city cross-country ski trails, beautifully groomed.
Some terrific road and mountain biking.
A handful of cool restaurants and a very good co-op.
What's not great about Duluth:
There's not much ethnic diversity.
Drivers are still hostile to bikes, and the streets are in poor repair.
Spring is long and cold. We're often forced to have the heat on in June.
Although there are lots of colleges, there's no cool college district with restaurants, bars, and shops.
There's no bakery where you can get crusty, chewy bread or interesting pastries. Just small town doughnut stuff and soft breads. Maybe you and your girlfriend could open one.
If you're really into fashion and showing off how great your clothes are, you probably won't like Duluth. Duluthians (barring skeeves like Adam) really don't care what you look like. A non-Duluthian I know once put it best: "People in Duluth dress like at any given moment they might suddenly need to go mountain biking."
My girlfriend, a Rochester native who probably loves Duluth even more than I do, claims that when you move here someone meets you at the border to make sure you have a kayak, a black lab, and a journal.
Can I substitute a conversion van, Doberman and blog?
Never mind. Of course I can.
I agree with everything above, although bluenewt's diversity comment grates a bit. There is significant of diversity here. Duluth has a high concentration of beautiful-passionate-earth-loving-descended-from-kings-and-queens Native Americans, African Americans, and people of other hues. But the thing is, they're CONCENTRATED. This is a highly segregated community, and I hope what bluenewt meant to say was that the segregation, and the high poverty rate among Native Americans and African Americans and other "minorities" are the real diversity problem.
I love this town for all of the many reasons listed, but I don't think you should do any arm-twisting to convince your partner to live here. Where to live is kind of like marriage or having kids or a root canal, there are a multitude of blessings that come from enduring the change, but there are also costs, including some real eye-watering pain so you better do it for love if you want to be happy about it over the long haul. And I would especially avoid making the jump without a j-o-b to bind you here. We have tons of visitors coming here with great jobs somewhere else, they check the place out, enjoy the scenery, have some fun and leave. And everyone gets along just fine.
HOWEVER, if she really is inspired by this place and passionate about it or she gets "hooked" on it like many have mentioned above, then you may just find a little heaven on earth here. Duluth is paradise, especially in the free-wheeling "warm" weather months of June - October.
Also, when I am in a big US city somewhere, especially the twin cities I find the suburbs to be anything but idyllic, the names and stores and street signs all run together. The endless character-less low to moderate income apartment complexes in places like Coon Rapids (where my brother lives) seem especially sad to me. I think: Why do people choose this life? But -my- thinking is clouded by love. I love Duluth, even when it bothers me, or annoys me or when I get so frustrated that I just want to shake someone and tell them to stop whining about parking or chain restaurants or pot-holed streets. That's how true love works and ... Duluth is for lovers
I moved here three years ago but have loved Duluth since I was a kid, so this is a dream come true for me.
*I want to mention the clean and lovely smell of the big lake, and the photography opportunities in every season.
*Looking out a window or leaning over the rail in Canal Park to see a ship going by, knowing it may have people from way distant places on board is very romantic.
*The ice formations are totally beyond description--whether they are dripping off the walls in Ely's Peak Tunnel, or making a 12' blue jumble at Brighton Beach.
*Three major colleges and other smaller schools offer just about any course you could ever want.
*The view driving down from Thompson Hill at 2AM with a full moon shining on the lake takes your breath away.
Good luck finding work, that is the biggest downside---and check out the condition of your street before you buy a house ... assessments are very expensive.
I agree with wildgoose that segregation is a problem in the Duluth area, but it's also true that 94% of St. Louis County is white. "Not much ethnic diversity" depends on what you're comparing it to, I guess, but I'm thinking 6% could qualify as not much.
I've only lived in Duluth for a year, and had never even set foot in Minnesota before moving here, so I'm kind of excited to weigh in. My two favorite things:
1. Most people who live here love it. The three other cities in which I've lived seemed to have a large portion of their populations who spent a lot of time trash talking the town, or thinking about how much they wanted to leave. Not so in Duluth. It feels really good to be around people who are committed to being here. If folks want to leave, they go.
2. I'm crazy about the weather.
The place has CHARACTOR!
The old buildings really give it a feel.
Hi there. I am a small business owner in Duluth, and also a woman. It was a difficult change for me to get accustomed to Duluth, I won't deny that. My husband loved it from the start. It has grown on me now, and when I go back to the Twin Cities, it feels too big- not like home.
The cool things I like about Duluth:
*The co-op with all it's flavor of people there & classes & interesting tags on the bulletin board.
*There are a lot of people interested in alternative energy and conservation.
*Different festivals around the city.
*The people are more real. This is a statement I didn't understand until I moved here. They just are. Not so much bullsh**.
*People DO dress like they are ready to go hiking/mountain biking/cross-country skiing at any given moment. I have to admit this threw me off....but I quickly got into the groove.
*I've found a nice crowd of international students here in Duluth.
*I met a stranger who was helping a lady carry a big box up three blocks to her apartment...a total stranger out of the goodness of his heart. She was struggling and he wanted to help her. Very cool.
*Duluth has great local/& family-owned businesses. Here are a few examples:
- Alakef is the best coffee I've ever had. www.alakef.com
-We have our own brewery.
http://mnbeer.com/2009/12/19/lake-superior-oktoberfest-takes-gold-at-world-beer-championships/ Lake Superior Oktoberfest lager beer won the gold prize in a World Beer Championship. How cool is that?
-There is a Great Harvest Bakery. (Someone mentioned that they couldn't find a bakery.) 3 S 13th Avenue East (Downtown Duluth)
-There is an excellent Italian restaurant called Valentini's. www.valentinisduluth.com
-There is an Indian food restaurant downtown, along with a Greek Cafe. Nice change of pace from the usual.
-There's another cool/odd place called Burrito Union. www.burritounion.com
-And there are LOTS more small companies that put their heart and souls into making a business for people in Duluth to be proud of...this was just a few.
-Dubh Linn Irish Pub has stand-up comedy on Saturday evenings.
-Midget wrestling this Friday. (I saw someone posted it, but I have to post it again.:)
-January 14th the good ol' Gallagher will be at Grandma's Sports Garden.
-Larry the Cable Guy is coming to the DECC in March.
-NOT TO MENTION the huge event of Grandma's Marathon, where people come from all over the world to be here.
-We've got two huge hospitals with excellent staff.
-We've got great colleges & universities here.
-We've got an international airport, so you can fly right out of Duluth.
-Not to mention all the outdoor activities that you could be doing all year long...at so many different State and National parks nearby.
-Life is slower here. It's only bad until you get used to it. Not everyone has a cell phone. (to my horror at first!) Not everyone is texting or scheduling their next event...or on 15 minutes schedules.
-You might even get to know your banker or the lady who serves you coffee in the morning, or your mailman! When they ask how you are doing, they actually mean it.
Believe me, it was painful at first to let go of the frantic pace I had set myself at in the Twin Cities. But, then I let out a breath and realized... it's actually nice.
I hope that helps the decision.
Jacqueline has some interesting input. Before you save up all of your hard earned bucks to go out to eat at Valentinis or the Burrito Union, please ask for some other opinions!
If you come up here on a sunny day in any season and walk a few miles out on the Park Point beach I think that you will better understand the draw of DLH. Or, pick pretty much any wooded trail and chances are you won't encounter another person but if you do they most likely will have a friendly dog and a smile for you.
My neighborhood in Duluth is the best, b/c Chester Creek Cafe is down the street, and it's like Cheers there for me and my family. We go there and everyone knows our names. And the food is as fabulous as the ambiance. The owners also really give *a lot* back to the community. I just love the place.
Sorry to chime in again, but we actually have a much better, much more "Italian" Italian joint in town. Bellisio's
No, it's Prius, Yorkie-Pomeranian mix and bulletin board.
How about old subaru wagon with kayak on top, black Belgian Shepard/Golden mix, and a Mac? And definately dressed to go mountain biking.
A slowly dying old Chevy, a wiener dog, and a wildly successful podcast?
Christ almighty. Bellisio's is a horrible, awful excuse for Italian "food"; it's a fast-food Grandma's-franchise joint. It's defrosted frozen food. I do not kid about this.
If you want Italian, I would go to Ve Bene, or to the new Lake Avenue Cafe' (lake Effect) for the pasta special.
Good god, DO NOT go to Grandma's/Bellisio's for Italian food.
What Vicarious said -- though I do like Bellisio's bar, it's cozy.
Noticed that you didn't mention Valentini's there, vicarious. So, do you agree that it's basically Perkins with a larger pasta menu?
As for Bellisio's, I have never had a bad experience there. The wine menu (for those who care about that sort of thing) and I've never had any issue with any of the food I've had there. I'm usually pretty picky about these things and have a pretty good tongue for "defrosted".
And it has nothing to do with the Grandma's attachment for me. I'm not exactly a fan of any of the Jeno Joints other than Bellisio's. I like it, and my (half Italian) wife like it. But that's just us.
However, the bar sucks there ever since it stopped being a cigar bar. It's more of a converted coat-room than a bar, in my opinion.
I agree with a lot of what people have said above. I also like KUMD (especially the morning Coffee Break), and the birdwatching at Hawk Ridge in the fall.
Moved to Duluth 12 years ago and it is firmly entrenched as my home. If no one has included this Web site, Perfect Duluth Day, as one of Duluth's treasures, let's tack it on to the list pronto.
Living in Duluth is the next best thing to killing yourself.
I love the place and couldn't live without it, but there a few things to deal with:
--some difficulty meeting people if you don't join up with some activity or affinity group. Easy way to deal with this? Join the XC ski club, volunteer at the Playhouse or the Duluth Art Institute or the Tweed, take an active approach to meeting people. There's a tendency for people to get into deep woodshedding mode here and you shouldn't wait for them to come to you. Be active. It'll work.People are friendly and welcoming once you get within a certain distance.
--a sort of pre-discouraged negativity, or could I say a naive cynicism? Like, supposedly the "smart" thing is to run down anything new or ambitious because it's a)corrupt b)not needed c)pretentious d)stupid e)wastes money or f)new.
People do spend a lot of time here developing their inner resources and sometimes they hate to be interrupted. You need a sense of humor to deal with this. And persistence.
Kay - Speaking as a girlfriend who HAS been basically convinced to move to Duluth in the next year - How IS the job situation looking? I am a very successful massage therapist who has managed to develop a solid practice in both Denver and Madison. The prospect of the job market and smaller population in Duluth is a bit intimidating. Thoughts?
Bob Dylan will give you a medal if you get out alive.
I think Ann is right. Very good advice.
Melanie: This is completely me nosing in and speculating on appearances since I am not in the business. But I would do some actual market research on massage therapy in this area if I were you. I do not know if the market IS saturated or not, but it COULD be. Both Lake Superior College and Duluth Business University are churning out a new pack of massage therapists every year. Many start up their own businesses alone or with friends upon graduation. Then again, in my business I have always been able to line up some gigs based on reputation and experience alone(even when I don't necessarily want them). So if you're good, you're probably gonna be good here, too, regardless of market conditions.
Ever heard of third street bakery? If not it's on third street and they have delicious bread/bagels/cookies/treats..Also great harvest has delicious stuff as well!
Great Harvest, Third Street, Johnson's Bakery and others have delicious things. They're good bakeries. They don't have artisan bread -- chewy, crusty, European-style bread. Pain au levain, real baguettes, country sourdough. These are not available at any bakery I know of in Duluth, and it's not the same to get them in a bag two days old at the grocery store. The closest place I'm aware of for artisan bread and real croissants is Ashland Baking Company. If anyone knows different, please do tell.
fwiw I am pretty sure the Co-op carries Ashland Baking Company bread, if you catch in on the day of delivery (they have delivery days listed there) it should be pretty fresh.
Interesting thread. I convinced my husband to move here about a year ago. We're both happy to call Duluth home.
I agree with bluenewt - no artisan bread that I can find either. That and the bad roads are the only negatives for me.
My favorite thing? The balance of "city" and "country". I live in town, within walking distance of schools, businesses and bus stops, yet I feel as though I live in the wilderness. Deer hang out in my yard, the air is clear, the view is beautiful.
I love that several people mentioned the northland fashion phenomena. My heels are still sitting in moving boxes, while my fleece is getting worn regularly. But, unlike other places I've lived, I don't feel frumpy. There's an outdoor chic that Duluthians have mastered. Function triumphs over form, but you can still look decent sporting a down coat and big boots (maybe because it imparts an air of confidence that you can comfortably weather the cold...?)
If your lady enjoys outdoor activities, she'll like it here.
Duluth is only a nice place to be if you love walking outside all day everyday, and if you like your weather cold. There are no jobs worth having, and the housing is kinda iffy. Not to be a spoil sport but I've been here since I was ten and its nice and small and unintimidating, but its a bore. I cant wait to move away.
"Follow the dream" doesn't mean "Leave the love."
Roam if you must, but come home when you've seen enough.
Ohmagosh. I am going to bookmark this page and read it every time I get tired of my crazy job hours and wonder why I'm still living here. Thank you for wonderful reminders!
I moved here a few months ago and have no idea where to go to meet people. I'm not into skiing, art or coffee. I have limited funds due to working in the human service field, and can't afford a lot of the restaurants. Any other ideas on how to meet people? I'm tired of hanging by myself every weekend! Thanks in advance for any suggestions!
Don't tell us what you're not into, Wendy. Tell us what you are into.
Good point Paul, I said what I wasn't into because of all of the responses above. I enjoy going for leisurely walks, watching movies and meeting people. I love Lake Superior. I enjoy reading and dogs (but don't have one of my own yet). I'm sure there is more, but can't think of more at this time.
I'm sure leisurely walks and Lake Superior have brought you to Park Point and the Lakewalk already. Have you tried Amazing Grace Bakery & Cafe in Canal Park? There always seems to be a bunch of people hanging out there.
Wendy, I'd suggest volunteering for something. Given your love of dogs, maybe Animal Allies? Also, since you enjoy reading, you might ask if one of the bookstores in town can put you in touch with a book group. And the Duluth library takes volunteers. Taking a class is a great way to meet people, too. Community ed classes are not expensive.
Bluenewt - Thanks for those suggestions! I never thought of a book club! I will also check out to see if I can find some community ed classes! Thank you so much! :)
Wendy: Since you like walking I would suggest you take part in some of the Superior Hiking Trail activities. Access their website at SHTA.org. We have an event coming up on June 5th at Hartley Nature Center off of Woodland Ave for National Trails Day. There will be guided hikes and a family hike and booths. Chance to meet lots of people there. Things start at 9AM and the hikes/walks start at 9:45. I also saw that Animal Allies is having something that day, so if you are into pets that is a good place to meet people.
Wendy: Here is the link to Hartley which includes a link to the SHTA website.
Northern Lights is an independent book store and has in-store book groups:
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