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Hello. Thanks for being in (or interested in) Duluth.
Most of us cyclists (who are also skiers, runners, kiters, paddlers, climbers, hunters & anglers, musicians & other artists, and all other sorts of people who have trouble sitting still) live here by choice, not by accident or default. We travel as much as we can. We know that our place is as imperfect as any other. We’re also proud–maybe more proud than people in other cities–of what our place is and has.
Duluth has been named one of Outside Magazine’s Best Towns a couple times. Recently Outside rated Duluth as the 2nd best outdoor hub – in the world! In 2014 we won Outside’s best outdoor city via online voting. We think that seems like a bit much – though we are central to tons of great adventure opportunities. But if you’re new to here, or if your conception of the city is influenced by mythological notions–that we live in log cabins where we read Sigurd Olson while wearing Dale of Norway sweaters or Wintergreen fleece, then head outside to tend our sled dog teams–you may be surprised.
One or two of us is something like that, but we’re not North woods tall-tale characters. We have a serious symphony orchestra. Our multiple colleges and playhouses put on excellent theater productions. Local punk, hip hop, hard rock, country, and other music is at least as good–and we mean this sincerely–as in many much-larger cities. Bands like Low and Trampled by Turtles have made their homes here. We have an amazing music Festival – Homegrown – that takes place in early May.
Our general level of sophistication is higher than many people who aren’t from here (and, to tell the truth, many who are from here) might realize. A certain sort of Duluth existance feels like living in a hybrid of Ely, on the edge of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, and Uptown or Northeast Minneapolis, in the heart of the Great Hipster Grazing Grounds. Ely is rustic and smart, and its surprising number of nationally and globally prominent people is similarly out sized, in proportion, to Duluth’s. Duluth isn’t as tragically hip as Uptown or Nordeast, but those neighborhoods are Minnesota-practical in their own ways, and Duluth has more flavor than popular notions give it credit for.
We’re also not ignorant to facts: this geographical place is often cold, always challenging, and relatively inhospitable. Those are parts of what we like. Not everyone wants to live here or has the cojones to do it. That’s what we’re proud of. Duluth’s challenging climate is, as local writer Barton Sutter (bartonsutter.com) once said, “what keeps the riffraff out.”
Some riffraff we like to have around, and we’re always eager to share our place with whoever wants to experience it.
We also have friends whose travel & tourism guides can tell you a lot about what to do here when you’re not on a bike. After starting at Visit Duluth, Duluth Loves Local or Destination Duluth, check out Perfect Duluth Day, Zenith City Online (especially books and presentations by Tony Dierckins and Kerry Elliott), Duluth Outdoors, or Universal Klister Blogspot by our good friend Hansi Johnson – voted one of Outside Magazine’s 10 best outdoor blogs. Looking for a guided tour? Check out Day Tripper of Duluth or The Duluth Experience. For the latest info on arts and music try the Transistor. Great area guide books can be found at There and Back Books.
Then just get out there and explore.