What’s There To Do In The Duluth Area? Here’s A Northland Calendar Of Seasonal Events To Check Out!
There is no shortage of events in the Duluth area. No matter the month or time of year, there is always an amazing event or great festival you can take part in.
Events range from festivals in Bayfront Festival Park to concerts to events surrounding Lake Superior. That barely even scratches the surface. Even in the wintertime, there are unique events you won't find anywhere else.
The year kicks off with one of the premiere long-distance sled dog race of the lower forty-eight and wraps up with several winter events, like exploring the Glensheen at Christmastime and seeing the lights at Bentleyville.
There's no way to easily encapsulate every single event happening around the Twin Ports area through the year, but here are a number of highlights you don't want to miss! Note that many of these events change dates from year to year, so be sure to click on the link for any event you're interested in for the most current information.
Calendar Of Duluth Area Annual Events You Don't Want To Miss
Lake Superior Ice Festival
The family-friendly Lake Superior Ice Festival is put on by the community at Barker's Island Inn in Superior mid-winter. It includes all things winter: fire pits, food, ice sculptures, sledding, and more. It's free and fun.
John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon
The John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon kicks off at the beginning of every new year and brings hundreds of famous mushers from all over to take part in the race. Often called the premiere long-distance sled dog race of the lower forty-eight, it takes place over the course of a few days in January. It's a once-in-a-lifetime thing to experience!
Cold Front Duluth
Put on by Duluth Parks and Recreation, Cold Front Duluth celebrates our brutal winters in a fun way every February. The free one-day event has ice skating, craft and activity stations, fires and treats, dog sled races for kids, among many other fun activities. Florida could never.
Duluth Polar Plunge
Brrrrrr! Near the beginning of every year (varying anywhere from January to March, depending on the year)and smack dab in the middle of winter, Northlanders gather to take a dip in the icy waters of Lake Superior. The Duluth Polar Plunge is a big day filled with fun events like a post-plunge party and a 5K. Money raised benefits Special Olympics Minnesota.
The Fitger's 5K is a popular race that takes place in one of Duluth's most popular areas. Every April, avid runners line up outside Fitger's and take to the streets of downtown Duluth for a fun race. It is one of many races associated with Grandma's Marathon.
Duluth Homegrown Music Festival
The Duluth Homegrown Music Festival gathers music fans in Duluth in for eight different days celebrating all things music and the arts every spring. The festival highlights area musicians and artists.
Grandma's Marathon is one of the most famous races there is and it takes place in the Northland! Along with the William A. Irvin 5K and the Garry Bjorklund Half Marathon, it is a packed weekend for residents and tourists in town for the race. It is a big highlight of June and summertime in the Twin Ports, with the full marathon taking runners from Two Harbors to Duluth.
Park Point Art Fair
The Park Point Art Fair takes place in June and draws over 10,000 visitors to Duluth for it every year. Artists of all types are invited to the fair, including painters, sculptors, photographers, jewelry makers, and the like. There's also food and entertainment.
Chum Rhubarb Festival
The Chum Rhubarb Festival is a fun June event benefitting the organization. It includes all things rhubarb, like pies and muffins. That's not all: there is also live music, crafts, games, stages shows and more.
Yum! Bayfront Brat Fest is a fun summertime event that takes place in Bayfront Festival Park in June. There is local craft beer, ciders and brats for one fun afternoon.
City Of Duluth Fourth Fest
The City of Duluth holds Fourth Fest, a fun celebration for Fourth of July at Bayfront Festival Park. The free event includes live music and vendors and of course, a fireworks show.
Sidewalk Days is a fun festival that takes place in downtown Duluth in July. Vendors line up in the area to sell their art and merchandise. There are also other vendors and businesses, along with food trucks.
Bayfront Reggae & World Music Festival
The Bayfront Reggae & World Music Festival celebrates the music genre with a big celebration that includes music from big local artists, vendors and food in July. It is all for a good cause: a portion of profits goes to Jamaica Minnesota Organization.
The Duluth Airshow happens in the middle of the summer (varies from year to year between June, July, and August) and is a one-of-a-kind event that features the United States Air Force Thunderbirds and other performers and attractions.
Festival By The Lake
Festival By The Lake is another amazing event that takes place in Bayfront Festival Park. Usually taking place in July, the Festival By The Lake includes live music, exhibits and food.
Head Of The Lakes Fair
It's just not summertime without a fair and this is a popular one, which takes place every July. The Head Of The Lakes Fair takes place in Superior every summer and has everything you'd expect from a fair: food, fun events and a rodeo. Add it to your bucket list for July or August.
South St. Louis County Fair
The South St. Louis County Fair is held in Proctor every July and has all the staples you'd expect from your classic fair: food, vendors, live music and rides.
All Pints North
All Pints North is a beer lovers dream! Over 100 Minnesota breweries and brewpubs gather in Bayfront Festival Park to taste test beers of all types. There is also food, vendors and entertainment. Beer just tastes better in July!
Spirit Valley Days
Spirit Valley Days is another amazing community event in West Duluth. The three-day event, which takes place in August, includes a parade, music and fun activities.
The Festival Of Sail Lake Superior
If you want the true Northland experience, check out the Festival Of Sail Lake Superior. Historic ships from around the world sail into the area, whether Duluth or Two Harbors, and offers attendees to set foot on ships and learn about their history. There is also family entertainment, food and day sails each August.
City On The Hill Music Fest
City On The Hill Music Fest takes place in August and brings people together with fellowship and music. The two-day event has a long roster of acts and takes place at Bayfront Festival Park.
Bayfront Blues Festival
The Bayfront Blues Festival is one of the biggest outdoor music events in the Midwest and it's easy to see why. Over thirty acts take the stage over the course of the festival, which highlights blues and rock. It is always an August highlight.
Carlton County Fair
The Carlton County Fair in Barnum is a summertime staple that takes place each August. There are a ton of fun events spread out over the few days of the fair, including horse racing, tractor pulls and classic fair foods.
Art In Bayfront Park
The free art festival takes place in Bayfront Festival Park in late August, hence the name. More than 100 artists fill the venue with their original work. Everything from photos to jewelry to art pieces are featured.
The Tribute Fest
The Tribute Fest raises funds for homeless veterans by holding a fun two-day event at Bayfront Festival Park. Each August, the lineup includes tributes to your favorite bands including ABBA and The Eagles.
There is nowhere more beautiful to catch the fall colors than in the Northland! Drive up the North Shore to get the best view as the colors turn color for the new season. They usually start to turn in September but time varies depending on a number of factors, including drought.
Duluth-Superior Pride is a festival supporting the GLBTAQI+ community. It happens every September and includes a parade and events at Bayfront Festival Park.
Lake Superior Harvest Festival
The Lake Superior Harvest Festival kicks off in September and features live music, arts, crafts, educational exhibits and family activities. There is also food and everything is local.
The Duluth Oktoberfestival is a celebration of all things German at Bayfront Festival Park. It's a big party in September with kids activities, a parade, rides, a petting zoo and of course, food and beer.
NorthShore Inline Marathon and Skatefest
The NorthShore Inline Marathon and Skatefest isn't your everyday race: it is North America's largest skating marathon and it's a blast when it takes place every September. Participants can race, run or roller-ski that starts in Two Harbors and takes racers along the scenic trek to Duluth.
Duluth Superior Film Festival
The Duluth Superior Film Festival takes place every September and is a perfect event for movie and pop culture fans. It usually spans the course of ten days with local feature films and short films screened.
Chester Bowl Fall Fest
Chester Bowl Fall Fest helps ring in fall every September. The festival has arts, crafts, food, a farmer's market and live music. There are also a ton of vendors.
The Haunted Shack / Haunted Ridge
The Haunted Shack, also known as the Haunted Ridge, is a fun haunted attraction located a short drive from Duluth. It features a corn maze, a haunted house and a hayride.
Duluth Haunted Ship
The Duluth Haunted Ship is one of the most famous haunted attractions in the area and it takes place aboard the William A. Irvin in the weeks leading up to Halloween. Rumor has it the boat is haunted which makes this this even more spooky! Plus, a haunted house on a ship is a unique experience you won't find many other places.
North End Nightmare 5K
This fun run is put on by Grandma's Marathon. It is a Halloween-themed race where you wear your best costume or spooky attire and race through the streets of Superior as ghosts and goblins chase you. October has never been so fun!
Boo At The Zoo
The Lake Superior Zoo has many great events throughout the year and one of the most popular is Boo At The Zoo, a fun pre-Halloween event in October. The event brings together the community by inviting families to trick-or-treat at the venue with different local businesses handing out candy. Plus, you can see the animals as well.
Christmas City Of The North Parade
This massive parade has been a staple since 1958 and is the most attended public event in the Northland. It happens every November to kick off the holiday season. Line the streets and watch the floats make their way down downtown Duluth.
Bentleyville Tour Of Lights
The Bentleyville Tour Of Lights is one of the biggest tourists attractions in Minnesota, bringing tens of thousands to the Northland every holiday season. The light show in Canal Park has been around for nearly two decades and has giant light displays, fire pits, hot cocoa, cookies and visits from Santa. It kicks off in November and runs through December.
Gales Of November
Gales Of November is a late-year event that takes place over the course of two days. It is a fundraising event has a silent auction and trade show and aims to teach the community about all things Lake Superior.
Duluth Winter Village
Nothing screams winter in Duluth quite like the Duluth Winter Village. The event has shopping, fire pits and hot drinks to warm you up. The December event also featured food, craft beer and skating.
Glensheen Christmas Tours
Nothing is more beautiful than Christmastime at the Glensheen. Not only do they have a free light display on their grounds every holiday season, but they also have special Christmas tours. The "Evening Candlelight Tours" takes you across the property to see 25 different trees and to find numerous hidden elves as well.