17 Romantic Things to Do in Duluth, MN for Date Night

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Are you looking for the best romantic things to do in Duluth, MN for an anniversary, Valentines Day or just a couples getaway?

My boyfriend and I have visited Duluth for 6 out of our 8 anniversaries together and have loved it! There’s a reason that we keep going back!

In this post, I’ll share our personal favorite couples activities as well as some of the other best recommended things to do during your romantic escape!

Romantic Things to Do in Duluth, MN

A view of the Aerial Lift Bridge from the lakewalk which runs along side the harbor in Duluth.

1. Take a Stroll on the Lake Walk

There’s sure something special about walking along a beautiful trail along one of the great lakes with the person you love.

One of my favorite ways to just chat and relax with Tyler when we’re in Duluth is to walk the Lakewalk. It’s a nice, peaceful area and you can enjoy the sounds of Lake Superior crashing in.

And don’t forget to admire the beauty that’s right in front of you (yes, I mean your partner!).

The Lake Walk is nearly 8 miles long and is paved for the entire way, so you can go for as long or little as you like.

Pink and red roses amongst green bushes in a rose garden.

2. Have a Photoshoot at the Leif Erickson Rose Gardens

Every summer at Leif Erickson Park in Duluth, 4.5 acres of land are planted with beautiful roses and other flowers. My family used to always go here growing up, and it’s actually where Tyler and I spent out first anniversary! (Aw!)

I would recommend bringing a tripod and snapping a few pictures together to hang on the wall at home, or just pull out your phone for a selfie or two!

And if you aren’t into pictures, at least visit the roses and admire all of the work that goes into keeping them as pristine looking as they are.

Lastly, I know it may be tempting, but visit the market and buy your partner a rose rather than picking one off of a bush.

A view of Lake Superior from the North Shore Scenie Drive is a romantic thing to do near Duluth.

3. Go for a Scenic Drive on the North Shore

One of my favorite areas of Duluth is the North Shore, and I find it the perfect romantic escape to take the scenic drive up the shore.

The drive is about 150 miles and extends from Duluth to Grand Portage. You can enjoy the views as you go, and maybe play a game of 20 questions to get to know your partner better.

Along the way, stop at overlooks such as Palisade Head and Black Beach, or head into a couple of the 8 state parks.

Gooseberry Falls and Tettegouche State Parks both offer incredible views and easy access to the top attractions, including waterfalls close to Duluth!

Tyler and I’s personal favorite spot to stop is Split Rock Lighthouse because there are usually places in the park to escape where there are fewer crowds!

Plus it’s a really great place to pack a picnic and go eat on the lakeshore. If you park near the lighthouse, you can walk down the stairs to the shore and eat lunch there!

Or, just drive along the entire scenic highway and enjoy each other’s company. 

Myself and Tyler standing in front of a heart light display celebrating Christmas in Minnesota.

4. Marvel at Lights During Christmas Time

Visiting Duluth in the winter months? Then there’s really nothing better and more romantic in Duluth than a visit to Bentleyville.

Located in Bayfront Festival Park, you’ll have the opportunity to walk amongst over 3 million glowing lights that light up the entire downtown.

You can even enjoy free cookies, hot cocoa, and roast marshmallows over a small campfire.

Tyler and I went to Bentleyville for one of our first double dates when we first got together, and it was such a fun time to explore the light festival with each other and our friends.

The sun setting over Lake Superior near Duluth, MN creates an orange glow that feels romantic.

5. Watch the Sunset Over Lake Superior

One of the most romantic things to do in Duluth, MN with partner is to watch a Lake Superior sunset!

There are hundreds of viewpoints as you drive up the North Shore, or you can head right down by the Aerial Lift Bridge!

If it’s summer, there will be quite a few people here though at sunset, so if you’re not keen on crowds, I’d recommend heading somewhere like Leif Erickson Park where there are fewer people!

Bring either a blanket or a couple of lawn chairs and get ready to watch the magic happen as the colors fill the sky over the big lake.

Caramel apples are a great dessert to share on a romantic date in Duluth, MN.

6. Share Dessert at Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory

If you’re anything like me and my boyfriend, then you will love to share a dessert together everywhere you go! Sometimes we literally just skip dinner and grab dessert instead.

Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory is one of the best places to go and it’s located right in Canal Park.

Whenever we go, we get a giant caramel apple to share, but there are tons of other options like fudge, homemade caramels and chocolates, and more.

When we get ours, we take it and walk down to the lake to enjoy it, since it’s just a short walk from the shoreline.

Two glasses on wine sitting on a table.

7. Grab a Drink at the North Shore Winery

If you’re a wine lover, then taking a quick trip to Lutsen to visit the North Shore Winery will be a perfect date night in Duluth.

The winery sits right on a hill overlooking Lake Superior, so it really is a beautiful spot to visit, even if you’re not a wine drinker!

On Thursday nights, they host date night at the winery, so this may be the perfect opportunity to spend some quality time together.

You can also enjoy a few different offerings in their tasting room such as flights or selections of wine by the glass.

It even makes for a nice place to head indoors to if it’s raining or cold outside, to still have a romantic night out.

A view of the colorful fall foliage from above on a hiking trail on the North Shore.

8. Go for a Gondola Ride at Lutsen Mountains

Another stop to make if you’re up on the North Shore is Lutsen Mountains. It’s a great year-round visit, and in the summer and fall, you can ride the Gondola!

The Summit Express is an aerial gondola that lifts you high above the ground and brings you for a ride over the Sawtooth Mountains of the North Shore.

It rises 1,000 feet over Lake Superior, providing one of the best viewpoints on the entire shore! I particularly love it in fall because you get to see all of the stunning fall foliage.

If you’re here in the winter, you can also go skiing or snowboarding since this is one of Minnesota’s best ski resorts.

A train going down the tracks at Leif Erickson Park to the North Shore Scenic Railroad hub.

9. Take a Train Ride on the North Shore Scenic Railroad

A pretty unique opportunity for a couples activity in Duluth is taking a train ride on the North Shore Scenic Railroad.

Tyler and I took a ride on the train a few years ago and we loved getting to see the lake from a whole new perspective. There were a few other couples on the train too, so I new it was a really great romantic date in Duluth.

The train operates daily in the summer and fall and on select days in the winter for their Christmas specialty train rides. The Christmas ones are more suited towards kids, but they are also really fun for the kid in you.

A fork cutting into a slice of cheescake, which is a dessert to be shared on a rooftop diner.

10. Enjoy a Rooftop Dinner

I love a good dinner experience, and on top of the 16th floor of the Radisson Hotel, you can grab dinner at the Harbor 360, which is a rooftop rotating restaurant.

This revolving restaurant provides some of the best views of Duluth and Lake Superior, all while you enjoy your dinner.

Enjoy delicious meals such as chicken fried lobster, filet mignon, and prime rib. It’s even served with warm bread, which is one of my favorite parts of a meal if I’m being honest.

There’s really just something about enjoying a romantic dinner together, especially in such a beautiful location.

The Aerial Lift Bridge glows at night over Lake Superior, making for a romantic thing to see in Duluth.

11. Watch the City Lights Shine

The top of Skyline Parkway is a really beautiful spot to see all of the city lights shining from above in Duluth.

This 28-mile scenic byway leads you up to several fantastic overlooks of the city, allowing you to see it from a different perspective.

There may be some people at the stops, but if you’re lucky, you might be able to snag one all to yourself to enjoy a picnic, just the two of you.

There are also many parks near the Skyling Parkway that feature picnic tables, hiking and cross-country skiing trails, and opportunities for bird-watching.

This may even be the place where you watch the sunset over Lake Superior but from a different vantage point!

Two glasses of wine with wine in them, sitting at a table with lights behind it.

12. Have a Romantic Dinner

Whether it’s at the rotating restaurant above, your favorite sit-down place, or with a picnic that you made together and a few tealight candles, enjoying a romantic dinner is a great way to spend some time together in Duluth.

There are quite a few fine dining restaurants like Va Bene, one of my favorites, if you’re hoping to get dressed up. Otherwise just grab a meal at a place like Grandma’s in the Park for a more casual evening.

If I’m being honest, Tyler and I almost always enjoy a casual, laidback evening and we typically choose somewhere like OMC Smokehouse or Olive Garden (I know, I know, but comfort food is comfort food).

Many restaurants also do takeout, so you could order your favorite food to go and bring it with you for a picnic or a meal at home.

A horse that is pulling a carriage, such as the ones in Canal Park.

13. Ride a Carriage Through Canal Park

For a romantic activity to do together in Canal Park, book a carriage ride through Top Hat Carriages.

Hop onto the horse-drawn carriage as they pull you around Canal Park and allow you to look at all the scenes and see things that you may not have if you were walking.

In the winter, make it even more special by booking a sleigh or bobsled ride at Top Hat Carriages’ stable.

These festive and fun activities will sure put you in the holiday spirit and make you feel as if you’re right in a Hallmark Christmas movie!

14. Enjoy a Play

I’m a big sucker for a play, and at the Duluth Playhouse, there are always fun productions going on from kid theater to comedy specials.

This varies from month to month, from broadway-like shows to Christmas plays, to local concerts. We went to see a Charlie Brown Christmas a few years ago and Tyler and I absolutley loved it!

This Duluth date night idea is perfectly paired with going to dinner and grabbing dessert at one of the delicious places in Canal Park.

A view of Lake Superior from the shore with many small rocks along the shoreline.

15. Watch the Ships Sail By

I’ve mentioned it a few times by now, but you really can’t make a trip to Duluth without at least seeing the extremely iconic Aerial Lift Bridge.

Here you can sit back and watch as the huge shipping ships sail underneath the bridge. How often ships pass through varies by day, but you can find a schedule online.

The Aerial Lift Bridge is one of few of its kind that actually still operates today, and you can actually walk across it from Canal Park over to Park Point which is pretty special.

If you’re visiting with your significant other, plan a picnic, just like on the Skyline Parkway! Sometimes the ships take a while to come through and you may want a snack to stay busy.

The canisters that beer is made in at a brewery.

16. Share a Brew at Bent Paddle Brewing

If you aren’t up for driving all the way to Lutsen for the North Shore Winery or prefer a cold brew to a glass of wine, then head to the Bent Paddle Brewery for a night out.

This local brewery is located just a few miles from Canal Park and features beers that are made out of 100% Lake Superior water.

Their goal is to make beers that “bend the tradition” and give the locals (and visitors) somewhere great to enjoy a few locally made drinks.

If you’d prefer something a bit more educational, take a tour of the brewery and learn how the beers are made, and enjoy a few samples.

An alpine coaster that leads down a tall hill surrounded by a fence to protect you.

17. Ride the Alpine Coaster

If you’re an adventurous couple like Tyler and I are, then you’ll love riding the Alpine Coaster at Spirit Mountain.

The Timber Twister races down a 3,200-foot track through the trees and down the mountain which turns into a ski resort in the winter.

You’ll be in complete control of how fast you go, and these carts can get up to 26 miles per hour, which is fast when you’re out in the open in the woods!

There are a few spots that open up and have an overlook at Lake Superior in the distance.

Visit in the fall time to see the beautiful color-changing leaves surrounding you as you fly through the forest of Spirit Mountain.

Romantic Places to Stay in Duluth

While you’re in Duluth and are spending time together doing many of these date night ideas, you’ll also need a place to stay.

For the most romantic of stays, be sure to book yourself a hotel room with a jacuzzi, to spend time relaxing in your own private hot tub together!

Beacon Pointe — This beautiful resort has unobstructed views of Lake Superior, a hot tub, and private rooms complete with a kitchenette.

Canal Park Lodge — Found right on Canal Park Drive, this large hotel is within walking distance of many of these date night ideas in Duluth.

Pier B Resort — This classic hotel in Duluth features an outdoor hot tub with incredible views of the Lift Bridge, making it the perfect romantic stay for a couple.

Wrap-Up: Romantic Things to Do in Duluth, MN

Duluth is packed with activities for couples, and I hope that this list of romantic things helps you plan your visit!

Tyler and I love visiting Duluth for our anniversary, and we’ve done all of these things at least once or twice during our visits!

Now be sure to book yourself a hotel so you’re ready for your full romantic stay, and enjoy all Duluth has to offer.