Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Our Visit to Canal Park in Duluth, MN

When my husband and I went camping over Labor Day weekend at Pattison State Park, we spent one full day in the city of Duluth, Minnesota.  We had been to Duluth several times before, but mostly just to go shopping at their mall.  This was the first time we were there as tourists and I was awestruck at how much else there was to do and see in Duluth.

When planning our trip, everyone advised us to go to Canal Park and watch the lift bridge.  I really didn't understand that.  I've seen lift bridges before, what's the big deal?  But this lift bridge is very unique.  It doesn't split open to let boats underneath, it rises like an elevator.  In the picture below I am standing in front of the bridge at it's lowest, street position.

Here is the bridge in one of the higher positions to allow a boat to pass underneath.  The bridge lifts at regularly scheduled times, so you can plan when to be there to watch.  There is also a pedestrian walk across the bridge (although it is scary if your afraid of heights and water).

I'm not a architect or scientist, but the bridge lifts by dropping and raising large weights which are located in the supports on either side of the water.  I took a video so you can watch the bridge rise for yourself, and also get a closer look at the weights.

There are three lighthouses in Canal Park.  Why, I have no idea.  but here is one of them.  This one sits on the shore, by the bridge.

There are two cement piers and there is a unique lighthouse at the end of each one.  This one is shaped like a little house.

See the large ship in the distance?

And here is the third lighthouse;  a more traditional looking lighthouse.

That is the city of Duluth in the background.

There is a Maritime Visitor Center located next to the bridge.  It is free admission, but we didn't have time to go inside.  We hope to go back to Duluth and see the places we missed.  They also have an aquarium I am dying to see as well.

This little tug boat sits on display right outside the Maritime Visitor Center.

The Lake Superior shore line is very rocky, most people seemed to enjoy sitting on the rocks and taking in the view, while the little ones skipped rocks into the water.

I was amazed at how blue and clean the water was.  Growing up on Lake Michigan, this is certainly not the case with most of the Great Lakes since industry usually pops up around the water.  But Lake Superior is the largest of the Great Lakes, and I don't think Duluth is as heavily industrialized or popularized as Milwaukee,  Chicago, Cleveland or Detroit.

A view of the lighthouse when standing on the shore.

Even though the water was cold, it was not quite as cold as I expected it to be and it felt wonderful to soak my feet on such a hot day.

Canal Park has a Lakewalk  that contains a beautiful pedestrian boardwalk that's over three miles long.  

There is also a separate path for people who prefer to enjoy the view in a horse and carriage.  In addition, there are bike rentals and unique four person pedal cars.  

See the pavement to the left of the boardwalk?  The boardwalk is for walkers, the pavement is for bikers, skateboarders, runners, and rollerbladers.  And even farther to the left (not shown) is a wider path for the horses/pedal cars.  So everyone can be happy, safe, and enjoy the view!

There is a stone building that is partially submerged in the lake.  People swim out to this building to dive off of it.  To get to the top of the building, they have to go underwater and swim through one of the windows and then climb a staircase to the roof.  What brave souls they are!

There are lots of Seagulls hanging around Canal Park.  They provide a ton of entertainment for the visitors.  Seagulls are one of my favorite birds.  I love to watch them!

This is an old train station turned into some kind of restaurant or business.  Canal park is filled with amazing restaurants and little shops to get fun treats like ice cream and chocolate.  

It was so hard to choose which restaurant to have lunch at.  Several friends suggested Canal Park Brewery or Old Chicago Pizza, but we decided on Grandma's since that was the one restaurant on every one's list.  It is not only famous for a marathon it does every year, but for delicious food as well.

This top of an old lighthouse is located in a main street intersection as you enter Canal Park.

Although there is a lot of eating places in Canal Park, there really isn't much shopping.  There are just a few gift shops and stores.  I suppose people are too busy enjoying the beautiful lake, the piers and bridge, and the museums to want to spend much time shopping.  I did appreciate the gift shops however, because I was not dressed appropriately for the hot and humid weather and I was able to buy a cheap pair of shorts at one of them.  The shop owner said, "Yesterday it was really cold and everyone was buying sweatshirts.  Today it's really hot, and people are buying shorts".  That's what the weather is like on a large lake:  unpredictable!

Have a great day!  Amy


  1. Awesome post Amy! Your pictures and narration make me want to add Duluth to my Bucket List :) Especially liked your video of the Bridge. Very cool!
    Have a great Thursday!

  2. Great photos, Amy! So coll about the bridge - I am glad you included a video. Duluth looks like a great place to visit.

  3. Looks like a great city to visit! Fun pictures and video.


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