Duluth is a city of about 87,000 people in northern Minnesota. It is one of the most scenic cities in the Midwest. Duluth has always been a shipping town: first for furs, later for iron ore, timber, and grain. As a shipping and milling town, Duluth once had the highest number of millionaires per capita in the United States. This is still reflected in the large number of mansions in the east end of town. Ocean-going vessels come up the St. Lawrence Seaway into the Great Lakes to Duluth Harbor. Since these "salties" go through the locks, they are smaller than the native "lakers" that stay within the Great Lakes. Ships under many flags, including Nigeria, Greece, and Denmark frequently dock in Duluth to pick up grain and coal for overseas markets. Iron-ore and taconite still go to Indiana, Ohio, and Pennsylvania for processing into steel.
Duluth is about a 2.5 hour drive north of the Twin Cities on Interstate 35. A driver approaching Duluth on I-35 from the Twin Cities will be rewarded by a spectacular view of Duluth laid bare in the valley, just after entering the Duluth city limits, with a stunning view of Lake Superior into the horizon. Travelers not familiar with Duluth may be surprised at how elevated the surrounding hills are. The international airport sits at an elevation of 1,427 feet. After long hours of relatively flat and urbane scenery, the view is a treat, especially during peak fall colors. The highway then descends at a steep grade just to the east of downtown; Exit 256B is the recommended exit for most downtown attractions.
Private automobile is probably the best option for getting around Duluth. The city generally does not have any traffic problems. The city is built on a rather steep hill, so if you travel around anywhere other than downtown or I-35, make sure your brakes are in good order. It can be slushy in the winter as the road crews typically put down salt first, then plow the roads when traffic is lighter. However, being on the west side of the lake, Duluth doesn't normally receive the large lake-effect snowfalls, 2" to 6" is the normal snowstorm. US Highway 53 crosses from Wisconsin to the south to the Iron Range in the north, and will take you to Miller Hill Mall, on top of the hill on the west side. US Highway 2 runs east-west. Keep in mind that the majority of the city is laid out in a grid based on the Lake Superior shoreline. This is about 45 degrees off of true north, however the residents refer to east/west streets running parallel to the lake, and north/south avenues that are perpendicular to the lake. Lake Avenue is considered to be the dividing line between east and west.