Zenith 2016! Stay The Weekend: A Getaway Fit For Two

Intro: Editor’s Note: AIMCLEAR‘s Lifestyle posts are intended to showcase the cities we love and call home: Duluth and St. Paul. Whether visiting for the legendary Zenith Marketing Conference, a workshop or a trip to one of our storied offices, we hope you’ll #staytheweekend and come to realize why we so proudly call Minnesota home.


Duluth offers a unique experience for lovers of great sites, sea sounds, nature’s wonder, delightful dishes, microbrews, gin, and wine. From Duluth’s boardwalk — which runs along the shore of the mighty Lake Superior — to the top of the 360-degree view at Enger Tower, there likely isn’t a place that will disappoint. Below are a few favorite romantic spots and activities to do with those special someones.

Foodies, Go Eat

Lake Avenue Restaurant and Bar is a favorite of many AIMCLEARians. Found in Canal Park, Lake Avenue offers a locally sourced menu, Minnesota brews, and Midwestern spirits. It’s the perfect spot for brunch, lunch, dinner or a gourmet late night snack. Want to relax? The patio is delightful. 

#lakeavenuecafe one of the best #duluthmn #restaurants you have to try!

A photo posted by Lea (@scudabuck) on


Next door to Lake Avenue  is Northern Waters Smokehaus, a local gem. Now famous from its feature on Diners, Drive-ins & Dives (Triple D), this is a lunch time treasure with smoked meats and fish, aged cheeses and tasty sandwiches.

Thinking about a shoreside picnic? This is the place to swing in for stellar to-go meals.

#foodiegram #foodporn #duluthmn #restaurants #lunchtime

A photo posted by Lea (@scudabuck) on


Another Triple D hotspot is the Duluth Grill. Locally sourced and organic foods make up a fantastic menu that includes a large variety of vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free dishes. We love (and highly recommend) the tacos, gyros on the bone, breakfasts and scotched eggs. Or anything, really. 

Sir Ben’s Tavern offers an English Pub atmosphere with a sweet lake view from the patio. Hop across the street and follow the path to Rose Garden two blocks away.

Finally, finish the foodie adventures with a cherry on top! The Portland Malt Shoppe whips up old fashioned malts with whipped cream and vanilla wafers. OMG, YUM! The raspberry honey malt is a local favorite. However, you can’t go wrong with the sixteen ice cream flavors, milkshakes, sundaes, waffle cones, sugar cones, root beer floats, brown cows and orange floats.

Hey, Go For a Walk

A stroll on Duluth’s famous Lakewalk is highly recommended. Along the way, there are plenty of great parks, gardens, and restaurants. Want a beer along the walk? Grab a craft beer (or two) from Fitger’s Brewhouse and Canal Park Brewing Company. Not into beer? Sample gin & whiskey at Vikre Distillery, located just a few doors down from the Lift Bridge, mainland side. 

Looking for a picnic-perfect park? There are a couple located on the Lakewalk. Leif Erikson Park has a large stone stage with the lake as the greatest backdrop. Up a foot bridge from Leif Erickson Park sits two thousand rose bushes in Duluth’s famous Rose Garden. HISTORY ALERT: The garden is cared for by Lake Superior Rose Society and was first planted in 1968. The garden sits over the top of Interstate 35 on seven to eleven feet of sand and soil after it was moved for the construction of I-35 from 1989 to 1994. The garden was then restored and its water fountain was installed. The fountain was initially used for watering horses and previously stood at the corner of Superior Street and London Road.

Looking for a more intimate walk with fewer people? Want to stick your toes in the sand? Simply cross the bridge and take in seven miles of “sea” sounds, soft sand, blowing dune grasses and (sometimes) crashing waves. Fun fact: Park Point is the world’s largest freshwater sandbar. It’s a truly romantic destination for lunch or a sunset dinner on the beach. 

#parkpointbeach #duluthmn #getoutdoors #getoutside #beaches #visitduluth I love living here!

A photo posted by Lea (@scudabuck) on


Aside from the “downtown” region, there are many other parks to visit with your beloved. A few options: taking in the breathtaking views from Enger Tower or skipping smooth stones on Brighton Beach.

Go on an Adventure

Love to hike? In Duluth you can “get out of town” in town at any of the 129 municipal parks. Check out Mitch Larson’s post from earlier this month for a complete hiking/biking guide. 

Bring your kayak or surfboard. That’s right! Take off from the shores of Brighton Beach Park, then paddle north up the Shore to the New Scenic Cafe, feast on a meal fit for royals and paddle back. Sunset on the lake is breathtaking.

Surfers enjoy Stoney Point and often times have spectators. Pro Tip: Don’t forget your cold water safety gear if venturing out. Lake Superior is a beauty to behold but is very cold at a whopping 44 degrees (Fahrenheit).

If you don’t have surfboards, kayaks, paddle boards, etc., you and your sweetie can rent them! Check out Day Tripper of Duluth. They will fit you with the appropriate gear and supply a guide. You’ll be a pro in no time.

Not quite as adventurous but want to take to the water? The Vista Fleet offers daily and dinner cruises. A glass of wine on the deck of one of their beautiful ships is a very romantic destination and the perfect place to cuddle and enjoy the lake. It’s also a great idea for a proposal. 😉

Go For A Drive – Beep Beep!

It’s no secret that The Scenic Highway & North Shore of Lake Superior offers visitors a thick slice of Minnesota magic. Visit the many state parks and hidden paths to feel the powerful rumble of waterfalls. Hike narrow trails for bird’s-eye views, climb to the top of a lighthouse and stand on the edge of a three-hundred-foot cliff. It’s worth the drive. 


Here are a few must-see spots along HWY 61, all within 68 minutes of Duluth:

Skyline Parkway starts in the west end of town and follows the ridgeline past Enger Tower. Follow it all the way across town to The Scenic HWY (Old HWY 61). Continue north to Gooseberry Falls, tour Split Rock Lighthouse and take in the view from Palisade Head. Mile by mile, finds a new adventure to enjoy along the north shore of Superior.

*One more foodie place because you might get hungry and the cuisine is superb. The Rustic Inn Cafe in Castle Danger, Minn. YOU have to have PIE. TRUST US!

Bring Your Dog

Some couples can’t leave home without Fido, and Duluth gets it! Our outdoor community embraces the four-legged with many pet-friendly hotels. Plenty of the stores in Canal Park offer furry friends a drink of water and a treat. The Lakewalk also offers dog water stations. Dog bag stations? They’re a’plenty. If Fido needs a social hour, visit one of the fenced-in, off-leash dog parks at Keene Creek Park and Observation Park. Both have separate small dog areas. Pro Tip: Bring your own water.

We hope you #StaytheWeekend when you #VisitDuluth with your honey. Enjoy this slice of heaven we call home.

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