One Day In Duluth: Lincoln Park
A One Day Itinerary For The Savvy Traveler
Welcome to Duluth! It sounds like you’re passing through and looking for some ideas on what to do while you’re in town. Well, let’s get to it… after all, you’ve only got one day in Duluth! This post is going to focus on Duluth’s Lincoln Park Craft District an area that defined by the locals as “from the rocks to the docks, Skyline to shoreline.”
Getting To Lincoln Park
Let’s assume that you’re heading north on Interstate 35. You’ll crest Thompson Hill and catch your first – breathtaking – view of Duluth. You’ll see the St. Louis River winding its way towards Lake Superior in the distance – just beyond Canal Park and Minnesota Point. To your right is Spirit Valley and to your left is the long ridge line that runs along the length of Duluth, the geologic shoreline of Glacial Lake Duluth. Today, it serves as the route for Skyline Parkway – a scenic travel route that connects many of Duluth’s parks and provides spectacular views of the river, the city, and the lake.
Take in the beauty and continue on your route, following Interstate 35 to 27th Avenue West. Exit the interstate and take a left. Your first destination is on your right. Welcome to Lincoln Park!
The Duluth Grill
Congratulations! You’ve made it to Duluth. Time for some food. Luckily, Lincoln Park has a bunch of great food options. That said, no Duluth visit is complete without a breakfast stop at The Duluth Grill.
“The Grill” has certainly earned its accolades and many online and offline sources have sang its praises – all of which are well deserved. We don’t need to reproduce that here. Just know this… stop at The Duluth Grill. The Deluxe Biscuits and Gravy are fantastic… the Smoked Salmon Omelet can’t be beat (opt for the Red Flannel Hash as your side). Combine it with some hot coffee or cold press coffee (my favorite) and top it off with a Pecan Caramel Roll. Now you’ve got some fuel for the rest of your adventure.
Lincoln Park Craft District
After you’ve fueled you belly, it’s time for some exploration. It’s a quick drive into the heart of Lincoln Park where you’ll be able to park your vehicle connect with the neighborhood. Find a parking spot along Superior Street – in front of Duluth Pottery & Tile, for example. Alternatively, there is parking behind OMC Smokehouse, behind Frost River, or adjacent to Bent Paddle Brewing Company.
If you’re interested in a behind-the-scenes tour of the neighborhood to get oriented, then you’ll want to meet up with our guides for The Lincoln Park Craft District Walking Tour. This experience is a fantastic introduction to the history of the neighborhood and will connect you with some of the amazing entrepreneurs and artists who have crafted a new identity for this vibrant part of Duluth.
During your journey – guided or not – you’ll want to make sure to visit a few key locations, do some additional exploration, and take some time to enjoy your experience. Here are some ideas to inspire your visit to Lincoln Park.
Frost River Trading Company
Our friends at Frost River have been crafting waxed canvas products in their current Lincoln Park location since 2011 when owner Christian Benson purchased the building and portaged the growing soft-goods business from their previous location near The Duluth Grill.
Today, you can browse their retail space and explore their vast product library – all crafted with an aesthetic focused on Northwoods adventure and utility… high quality packs and gear that any Voyageur would have treasured in their travels across The Boundary Waters of Northern Minnesota.
Above the retail space, Frost River’s team of sewers craft custom and made to order packs – many of which will be shipped to locations around the globe. It’s an amazing operation founded in tradition. Yet Frost River has been a progressive and forward thinking force for change and development what has now become a must-visit destination – The Lincoln Park Craft District. You can learn more about this amazing transformation on The Lincoln Park Craft District Walking Tour.
It’s never too early for ice cream! And with an open walled walkway directly from Frost River… it’s highly likely that you’ve already started to sample fantastic flavors (including some amazing vegan options that my wife absolutely loves) calling to you from Love Creamery.
Love Creamery was born in 2014 when Nicole Wilde began selling her unique flavors from a mobile cart and at local businesses around Duluth. With encouragement and happy customers cheering her on, Nicole decided to open an ice cream parlor in the heart of Lincoln Park. Today, we’re the beneficiaries of that decision and we couldn’t be happier. Find your perfect scoop and enjoy it in Love’s sweet little parlor… or cross the street and enjoy your treat in the “pocket park”.
Duluth Folk School
You’ll definitely want to stop into Duluth Folk School. Within this beautifully renovated 7,000 sq ft building lives a nexus of artistic activities that focus on using tools and knowledge to express skills through hand crafting. This creative space offers a diverse curriculum of classes and a wonderful location to meet, eat, and relax. The Dovetail Cafe offers a fine selection of hot and cold drinks and plenty of space to sit down and take it all in. Check out their schedule and try to hop in on a class or plan a visit to Duluth Folks School on your next trip to Duluth!
Duluth Pottery & Tile
Make sure you stop in and visit with Karin Kraemer at Duluth Pottery & Tile! Her gallery and pottery studio showcases her own amazing creations alongside the work of a variety of rotating artists from the region. Her recently renovated space has a long history in Lincoln Park and Karin loves to tell its story.
Karin’s pieces are decorated with colorful, loose brushwork that captures color and movement… flowers from her garden swaying in the breeze or soft sunlight coming in the window to illuminate the room. It’s beautiful, functional art with a depth of artistry and meaning.
Lunchtime In Lincoln Park
It was easy to choose your breakfast location but lunch poses a greater challenge… because there are so many options! We’ve done a lot of “research” on the topic and here are our two recommendations.
Option 1: Corktown Deli & Brews
The team at Corktown Deli & Brews crafts high-quality, fresh, and delicious sandwiches, scratch-made soups, and rich garden salads. Their classic deli vibe, friendly service, amazing deli meats (like the smoked pastrami, ham, smoked salmon, roasted turkey, porchetta, etc.), and fantastic craft beer selection is unbeatable in Lincoln Park. Seriously good food for the serious foodie in all of us. Heck, they even have fresh oysters… if you’re into that sort of thing.
Option 2: Ursa Minor Brewery & Pizza
You will definitely want to stop at Ursa Minor Brewing before you head out today. Now whether or not you do lunch is up to you but rest assured, their wood-fired Neapolitan-style pizzas are top-notch. I’ve had a blast eating my way up and down their pizza menu and I’ll recommend the Wise Yker – a smoked-pork pizza loaded with Italian sausage, gorgonzola, parmesan, and pickled onions. It’s a fantastic pizza and is deliciously paired an impressive – and ever rotating – beer menu. If you’re lucky enough to see it on the menu, order the Big Bad John. Big Bad John is a bold and hoppy beer that packs a punch with its pungent grapefruit aromas and wonderful bitter flavors all supported by a well-rounded malt backbone. This is one of our favorites, enjoy responsibly!
Ursa’s five-barrel brewery and craft pizzeria provides a fantastic space to enjoy pizza and a pint (or two), discuss your day’s adventures, and relax with friends. Ursa Minor is located in the heart of Lincoln Park – smack dab in the middle of a growing craft beer scene that can’t be stopped.
Lincoln Park’s Growing Craft Brew Community
In addition to Ursa Minor Brewing, you’ve got two more fantastic breweries – Lake Superior Brewing Company and Bent Paddle Brewing Company – along with two cider joints – Duluth Cider and Wild State Cider.
This growing brew scene – which also includes our friends at Duluth Kombucha and Almanac Coffee – has really helped elevate Lincoln Park as a must-visit travel destination. It’s an important part of Duluth’s identity and highlihghts the courageous and collaborative entrepreneurs who make our city so unique. So grab a few beverages to go before you head out on the next leg of your journey.
Community Art Projects
Lincoln Park is a dynamic neighborhood and things are changing rapidly for this part of Duluth. One of the exciting developments that we’ve really enjoyed is the growth in public art displays throughout the neighborhood. When you read this article, there are likely to be even more art displays but we wanted to highlight a few here because we believe that the entire neighborhood is a fantastic art project that continues to delight.
Not far from Bent Paddle along 19th Avenue West is a colorful mural painted on the side of the Frost River complex. This mural was created by Paul LaJeunesse, a professor at St. Scholastica and the Duluth Art Institute’s first artist-in-residence. The mural celebrates the various crafting industries of Lincoln Park, past, present and future.
On the rear wall of the same building is another mural that literally popped up overnight, and was unveiled in 2018 in conjunction with Bent Paddle Brewing Company’s annual party, Festiversary. This mural was painted by local artist David Moreira.
Lincoln Park’s “pocket park” is located on the corner of Street and 19th Avenue West. The park is a great place to kick back and relax and take in an inspired abstract mural created by local artist Ann Klefstad. This mural depicts many of the “urban animals” one is likely to encounter while exploring Duluth’s streets and neighborhoods.
Further along 20th Avenue West between Superior Street and West 1st Street is a large mural that was unveiled in July 2018. This piece was created by one of Duluth’s most prolific artists, Adam Swanson. His distinctive style can be found all over Duluth, including the pick, cow, and chicken murals inside OMC Smokehouse.
Finally, within Lincoln Park itself is a large outcropping of basalt bedrock known locally as elephant rock. In recent years, prominent Duluth artists have been given the opportunity to put their own temporary spin on elephant rock by painting it with chalk paint in conjunction with Lincoln Park Days.
Some Other Ideas For Your Visit To Lincoln Park
Check out Aerostich Designs a long-time resident of Lincoln Park, Aerostich crafts high-end gear for motorcyclists. Their team invented a lightweight armored garment offering convenience, comfort, and high levels of protection in bad weather and crashes – all combined in a coverall-type suit made for everyday motorcycle use. That garment was (and still is…) named the “Roadcrafter” suit and is made on site in their Lincoln Park factory.
Stop by Flora North for an amazing olfactory experience of fresh flowers. The Flora North design team specializes in European-style hand-tied bouquets and Japanese hana kubari designs created with an upscale floral selection. The shop itself is full of exquisite little luxuries and gifts. It also features a fabulous, out-of-the-ordinary plant selection. It smells fantastic!
Explore Two Loons Gallery and Boutique which hosts over 85 local artisans and where all everything in the gallery is available for sale. Every month, Two Loons hosts an artist reception where you can connect with local artists, art lovers, and enjoy some wine. If you time it right… you might be there for the reception!
Dinner Time At OMC Smokehouse
This one is a no-brainer. Make time for a sit-down dinner at OMC Smokehouse (pro-tip: you can order OMC over to Bent Paddle’s taproom and they’ll deliver it to you while you sip a brew!). You’ll definitely want to feast on some their deliciously smoked meats – I recommend the brisket and the duck fat fries.
The great thing about OMC is that the Hanson family – who own and operate the restaurant – have played an important role in Lincoln Park’s revitalization. Along with their sister restaurants (Corktown Deli and Duluth Grill) have helped put the neighborhood at the top of the list for must-visit destinations. Their food is fantastic and their passion for the community is unquestionable. Make sure to explore their restaurant’s unique brand of hand-crafted, house-smoked barbecue made with a focus on local, fresh and clean ingredients.