The Beating HART of Duluth

Downtown Duluth’s Home to the Arts

By Kyle Chisholm – City Tour Program Coordinator

There’s been a lot of new development and redevelopment in Downtown Duluth over the past decade – projects like the AMSOIL Arena, Sheraton Hotel, restoration of the Weiland Block, and the more recent Maurice’s and Gateway Tower projects. Another exciting downtown development involves the vibrant art scene that has found a home in a part of the city once referred to as “Old Downtown”. Today, this epicenter of performance, visual, and culinary arts is known as Duluth’s HART District.

HART of Duluth Walking Tour

City tour guide (and author) Kyle Chisholm leads a group behind-the-scenes for an exclusive tour and tasting at Duluth Coffee Company. Photo: The Duluth Experience.

Related: A Brief History of the HART District

What is the HART District?

Physically speaking, downtown’s HART District encompasses a nine block section of Superior Street between Lake Avenue and 9th Avenue East. Formally referred to as “Old Downtown” this exciting part of Duluth has had a long history as a center for arts and entertainment, and in September 2015, the HART District earned official designation by Duluth’s City Council. The resolution to establish the HART was brought forward by councilor Sharla Gardner at the urging of local entrepreneurs who were the driving force behind the measure.

Duluth HART District Map

Map of Duluth’s HART District. Image: Duluth News Tribune.

What does HART stand for?

H-A-R-T is a bit of an acronym (and perhaps a pun too), and stands for “The Historic Art and Theater District”. The purpose of the HART is to provide a haven for performing, visual, and culinary arts in Duluth. By showcasing the historic nature of Duluth arts in this part of downtown, local artisans are tapping into a renaissance taking place within the city and – in essence – breathing new life into Downtown Duluth.

Local Tip: Park in the “casino” [now the HART] parking ramp. A common misconception in Downtown Duluth is that the ramp adjacent to the Fond-du-Luth Casino is only for casino patrons. Not true! To alter this misconception, the ramp was renamed when the HART District was designated in 2015. The HART District logo is now posted on the ramp.

Blacklist Artisan Ales Brewery Tour Duluth Experience

A Duluth Experience group explores Blacklist Artisan Ales on a Saturday Night Brewery Tour. Photo: The Duluth Experience.

Related: Brewing Up A Legacy In Duluth’s HART District

Why should I care about the HART of Duluth?

Duluth has always been a community of artisans, entrepreneurs, makers and visionaries. And community is an important part of Duluth’s identity as the biggest little city in the great Northwoods. Now, Duluth has become a beacon of inspiration and pride as the mainstream public is experiencing a trend towards locally sourced foods, locally made products, and local artistic expression. The HART District – along with Lincoln Park’s Craft District (which we’ll cover in another article) – shines the spotlight on amazing artisans who call Duluth “home”.

HART of Duluth Lake Superior Art Glass

Artist and Lake Superior Art Glass owner, Dan Neff, creates works of art in his HART District gallery and studio space. Photo: The Duluth Experience.

Related: The HART of Duluth Walking Tour

Who should I visit in the HART?

Here’s the list of our favorite artisans, eateries, watering holes, locally owned businesses, and all-around “must-visit” destinations in the HART:

* = partners in the HART of Duluth Walking Tour

Duluth Experience Border

If you’d like to explore The HART District and go behind-the-scenes to learn more about these exciting businesses, check out the HART of Duluth Walking Tour. The Duluth Experience has partnered with Duluth Coffee Co., Blacklist Artisan Ales, Lake Superior Art Glass, and Zeitgeist Arts to create an exclusive behind-the-scenes sensory experience that includes food samples, art demonstrations, craft cocktails and locally brewed beer.

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