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Reasons to Love Minnesota No. 133: Duluth Depot

Where trains, history, and art collide

A $14 ticket buys you access to multiple museums, galleries, and historical collections when you visit the St. Louis County Heritage & Arts Center, a.k.a. the Duluth Depot in Duluth. ⁣

The Depot’s flagship tenant is the Lake Superior Railroad Museum, whose collection dovetails nicely with the station’s history. (Built in 1892, it served seven rail lines at its peak but ceased operations in the 1960s.) ⁣

Sheldon Cooper isn’t the only person who’d be impressed with this collection of hulking locomotives, ornate passenger cars, and sweet cabooses. The nitty-gritty details (make, model, year, cost, weight, gauge, etc.) are there if you want to read them, but for visitors who wouldn’t know an S-12 switcher from a ham sandwich (ahem, us), the trains are still awesome to look at. Some, like a 30-foot mail carrier and Mallet #227 steam locomotive, let you climb inside and imagine the glory days of rail travel. There’s even a human-powered handcar, just like the cartoons used to show!⁣

In the warmer months (mid-April through late-October), visitors can hitch a ride on the North Shore Scenic Railroad. Narrated trains depart daily from the Depot, traveling through downtown Duluth, over to Canal Park, and north along Lake Superior until they reach Two Harbors, 30 miles away.⁣

The Depot also houses the century-old Duluth Art Institute and a small Ojibwe gallery; the St. Louis County Historical Society Museum, which is packed with curious facts about Minnesota logging and immigration; and the Minnesota Ballet, Arrowhead Chorale vocal ensemble, and three-stage Duluth Playhouse. Check the calendar before heading over, as the Depot hosts jazz concerts, yoga classes, movie screenings, and other free events throughout the year.

The Duluth Depot
506 W. Michigan St., Duluth, MN; 218-727-8025.