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a VirtualTourist member from Tucson asked on Oct 23, 2002


What's it like?

What's it like to live in Duluth in the winter? Do you totally get into winter sports like cross-country skiing or snowshoeing, or do you get cabin fever from living in a small apartment with small windows, and maybe spend too much time in bars?

6 Answers

answered on 11/12/02 by
a VT member from Rochester

I don't know about Duluth, but I'm from Rochester, and I have to say it varies by person, finances, and most importantly, the harshness of the winter. In a mild winter a whole lot of people will make at least one trip to ski or snowboard. In a harsh winter, it is far less. By harsh I mean cold. In general, though, winter in Minnesota is defined by two things: movies and malls. I personally (and I believe I'm in the majority) will stay inside as much as is possible!! It's just too dang cold some winters! And even when it is not, skiing areas are not as prevelant as you would imagine, and I don't believe I have a good one within 50 minutes of my house. So, yeah, it's basically cabin fever!! That's one reason I travel so much! :-)

answered on 11/23/02 by
a VT member from Albert Lea

It's actually very beatiful. I don't live in Duluth, but visited many times. In a normal winter in MN there aren't that many days you can't go outside to play. I'm not a big fan of winter, but there are many here that are. Lot's of snowmobilers, cross country skiers, and for the most part many people still get out to walk. On the cold days where nothing moves or starts most people remain in their homes. What's it like living in Arizona in the winter?

answered on 12/29/02 by
a VT member from Duluth

I grew up in Duluth (lived there for 24 years) and now live in St Paul. Duluth can be colder and snowier longer than other parts of the state. The past few have been comparatively mild, however (as of this writing, there is no snow on the ground). As far as what to get "into", it's totallly up to the person. There is downhill skiing in Duluth and a few other hills are within an hour or two of Duluth. There are plenty of cross-country trails as well (when there's snowcover). When it gets too cold to do much outside, people do tend to spend a lot of time in bars, if that is your inclination. Otherwise go to a movie, go to a hockey game at the DECC, explore the museums, etc.

answered on 4/21/03 by
a VT member from Two Harbors

It's been a real mild winter here in Duluth. Didn't get much snow at all. Depressing really. We like snow up here. There are a lot of people up here into cross country skiing and winter sports of all kinds. And, yes, hibernating in bars is one of those winter sports! :)

answered on 6/10/05 by
a VT member from Duluth

I have been here for about 6 years and the winters have been rather mild up until this year. As for snow and wind chill, it depends upon where you are in Duluth. Duluth has 3, (count them) climate zones. The warmest is by the Lake, then 1/2 way up the big hill is another zone, and finally on the top is the colder zone. And the top, thats where I am is the coldest and snowest. This past winter was so snowy and so cold, I am seriuosly thinking of moving. It was too cold to do winter sports this year. We stil have the heat on now in June. Yuck. It seems to be all tourist traps,and few fun things for people to do who live here. The taxes are extremely high, and getting higher. We pay tourist tax on all our purchases, it's like an added bonus when you buy a car, hand over the tourist tax too.

I have been by the Lake and it's been around 38 degrees and no snow, 1/2 up the hill there is light snow and it's 30 degrees, and when you get to the top of the hill, it is a blizzard and is 25 degrees. That is quite normal around here. So if your a tourist and hang out in the harbour its nicer, but if you live here, it's different. Oh, and the drive from the lake to the top of the hill is about 1 mile in length, to go through all three climate zones.

answered on 12/10/05 by
a VT member from Duluth

As other people said before, it can get really cold, and yes sometimes it feels like you are getting cabin fever, but again it all depends on the person. I've found that people who either were born or grew up in Duluth have an easier time with the cold. I've lived there since I was 3, (I'm in Iowa right now for college,) but I know that I want to raise my family in Duluth. Yes it gets cold, but Duluth is one of the best cities in Minnesota for winter sports and activities in my opinion. No, it's not a big city like Minneapolis/St.Paul, but there are still gems here and there that can be found where you can go to have a good time. The lakefront tourist area is actually one of my favorite places to hang out, but I don't think I've ever been by the lake itself in the winter, too cold. And there have been several expansions and additions to both the lakefront and Duluth's downtown. So if you like to stay inside but still have a social life, there are several places that you can go. Fitger's Brewery Complex on Superior St. has a bar/restaurant called the Brewhouse, and most of the beer that they serve are microbrews made right there. There is also Pizza Luce on Superior St. and Lake Ave., where there are usually bands at night, and a seperate bar from the restaraunt as well as a bakery. On the lakefront, there is of course the DECC where you can go a hockey game, a symphony concert, or even a movie or an omni showing at the Omnimas or Duluth 10. There are also several restaurants, a few antique shops (which are some of my favorite spots in Duluth,) and several cafes where you can go in and warm up if you need to. (Amazing Grace, Blue Note Cafe, and Caribou Coffee are just a few.) Blue Note Cafe also has a salsa dancing night from 9-12/1 every other Friday night, which I would highly recommend. Up by the mall there are of course lot's of stores, restaurants, and bars, but it usually is snowier up there, but the lake can of course be weird and decide to change things around on us. And any given weekend you can go and find some hockey tournament at the dozens of public rinks all over the city. Duluth is definately a hockey town. University of Minnesota Duluth always has exceptional hockey teams for both the men and women, and several of the members on the Dream Team were from Minnesota, and a few of them were Duluthians or had attended UMD in college. There is also a public skating rink,(besides the pleasure rinks where all the hockey rinks are,) down at the lakefront across from the DECC(Duluth Entertainment Convention Center,) complete with lights, a warming shack, and a sizable parking lot. So, if you know where to look, there are almost always things to do in Duluth, no matter how cold it is.

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