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Duluth's attractions are well known. It's a Lake Superior port city handling huge freighters and ore boats. It's known for its lift bridge. It is the gateway to the scenic North Shore. And runners know that Grandma's Marathon occurs there every June.

But did you know that Duluth has a museum with original drafts of the Bill of Rights and other important documents (the Karpeles Manuscript Library)? Did you know Duluth has two working vintage railroads and more than 11,000 acres of parks? For a city of about 87,000, Duluth has its share of surprises.

The trip north on I-35 isn't riveting, but the destination is worth the 150-mile drive. You certainly know you're in a different place when you hear the big boats' foghorns bellow from the lake.

Duluth's Skyline Parkway gives the best views of the lake and harbor. Riding a ridge along the 24-mile-long city, the parkway includes numerous scenic overlooks. The best view is at Enger Tower, where you can picnic and enjoy Japanese gardens before or after your climb. At the parkway's northeast end, Hawk Ridge Nature Reserve awaits. Birdwatchers flock there in September, peak season for thousands of migrating hawks, eagles and other raptors.

Near the Aerial Lift Bridge, which raises so big boats can access the harbor, the Lake Superior Maritime Visitors Center has displays that include an ore boat's pilothouse and engine room. When the bridge is down (which is most of the time), you can drive out on to Park Point, the narrow six-mile peninsula that fronts the harbor and attracts hikers, bikers and, at times, heavy surf.

Duluth's waterfront attractions include the 610-foot S.S. William A. Irvin, the ex-flagship of U.S. Steel's Great Lakes Fleet that's now a museum, and its neighbor, the 120,000-gallon Great Lakes Aquarium. They're near Bayfront Park on the west end of the Lakewalk. Canal Park, with fountains and sculptures, and the bridge are in the middle, while the Rose Garden anchors the east end. In the summer, Vista Fleet Cruises offers two-hour tours of the lake and harbor.

Duluth is more than its waterfront. The downtown Union Depot is now home to - count 'em - the county historical society, a railroad museum (whose exhibits include one of the largest steam engines ever made), a children's museum, an art institute and the North Shore Scenic Railroad, whose excursions include 56-mile roundtrips to Two Harbors (May-October). Downtown also boasts some great architecture and Fitger's Brewery. The beer is still brewed there, though a hotel, shops, eateries and a brewing museum fill much of the renovated complex.

Two miles northeast of downtown, East End neighborhoods reveal the grand mansions built for mining and lumber barons. Glensheen, on nearby London Road, is a 100-year-old mansion open for tours. It's known, unfortunately, as the site of the 1977 Congdon murders.

Additionally, the University of Minnesota-Duluth has a planetarium and art museum, the Lake Superior Zoo covers 12 acres, and a working steam engine near the zoo chugs for short trips in the summer. And Jay Cooke State Park is just southwest of town where the St. Louis River spills into the lake.

For more information, call 1-800-4-Duluth or visit