Holiday Winter Events Duluth North Shore

bentleyville christmas lights show

Holiday, Winter Events and Travel Attractions in Duluth and Minnesota Lake Superior North Shore
(update November 10, 2020)

We’ve just posted in our calendar of interesting events and attractions along the North Shore for the Holiday and upcoming Winter.

BentleyVille Christmas Lights Duluth, MN
A fantastic winter holiday wonderland in lights – Bentleyville Christmas Lights Village

While the covid-mania has cancelled many events on the of the top  Holiday Events in Duluth, the premier Christmas and Holiday event – the BentleyVille Tour of Lights Christmas Lights Village will be held. It is a terrific holiday activity for families and people of all ages.  Duluth changes its Bayfront Park into a Christmas and Holiday Village with a gazzilion scenes artistically created with steel and colored lights (over 3 million lights). At the center of the village is a 12 story Christmas Tree (see picture). There is no admission charge (although donations are accepted) and there is free hot chocolate and other Christmas goodies offered. But this year it is a drive-through event vs. walking. The village is open from November 21st to December 27th.

On the weekends, an event that is especially popular with the kids is the North Shore Scenic Railway’s Christmas City Express (ala Polar Express) train between the Duluth Depot (decorated as the North Pole) and Fitgers Brewhouse complex. The Depot is just across the expressway from Bentleyville so you can park near Fitgers to do some shopping or dining and then ride the train to Bentleyville and return later. Another treat for kids is Santa arrives on the Christmas City Express to set up shop in the Fitgers Inn Mall to meet the kids and find out their Christmas wishes. (see the video below)

Duluth Christmas City Express Video

Another popular Duluth Holiday attraction is the Glensheen Mansion Christmas Tours where you step back in time in a re-creation of how all the rooms in the mansion were opulently decorated for the holidays. The weekend tours start November 17th and run through January 6th. Glensheen also hosts a special Holiday Bazaar the first weekend in December creating an outdoor village on the grounds of the estate with over 40 artisans & merchants setting up shop.

The first year we attended the Bentleyville Show there was snow on the ground so we also took in some snowshoe hiking at one of Duluth’s parks. If you are a winter sports enthusiast, there are several good hiking, cross-country skiing and snowshoe trails within the city of Duluth. There are also two city run ski hills (Spirit Mountain and Chester Bowl) for downhill skiing and snowboarding. See our Winter Events & Links page for more info.

John Beargrease Sled Dog Race
Tim Calhoun of Tomahawk, WI was an early leader in this John Beargrease race and was a winner of the UP200, Michigan’s largest sled dog race.

Another popular winter event in Duluth (and in fact along the entire Minnesota North Shore of Lake Superior) is the annual John Beargrease Sled Dog Race, which is the longest Sled Dog Race in the lower 48 states (around 400 miles from Duluth to the Canadian border and back). For some of the racers this is a warm-up for the famous Alaskan Iditarod Sled Race. Other racers are working their way up to some day compete in the Iditarod. You can watch the race from several intersections and check-in points along the route. Most popular are the starting and finishing lines but you will often get an even closer look at the racers at one of the viewing points along the route. The race runs over four days and runs 24 hours a day, although racers are required to take a minimum # of hours of rest stops. When we attended the race we also brought our snowshoes along and did some of the several great snowshoe and cross-country trails that dot the North Shore.

We’ve listed other recommended events at our North Shore Winter Events Calendar. You can also check out the Duluth Chamber Events Calendar for other travel attractions.

Happy Trails,