Duluth Visitor Center relocates to Grandma's Saloon & Grill

The new site in the heart of Canal Park will open Memorial Day weekend.

Grandma's Saloon & Grill building with the Aerial Lift Bridge in the background.
The Duluth Visitor Center is moving to Grandma's Saloon & Grill in Canal Park.
Contributed / Grandma's

DULUTH —The Duluth Visitor Center will have a new home at Grandma's Saloon & Grill in Canal Park beginning Memorial Day weekend. The announcement was made during a press event Thursday in recognition of National Travel and Tourism Week.

Enger Tower was scheduled to be lit blue Thursday night in celebration of the Duluth travel and hospitality industry.

Four people stand at a podium in front of a folding Visitor Center sign
Pictured are Grandmas Restaurants President Brian Daugherty, from left, senior economic eeveloper Tricia Hobbs, Duluth Mayor Emily Larson and Visit Duluth President Daniele Villa.
Brielle Bredsten / Duluth News Tribune

"We all know the tourism industry is such a huge part of our economy. Twelve percent of all jobs in Duluth are related to the hospitality and tourism industry. Thirteen percent of all businesses here in Duluth are in our tourism and hospitality industry," said senior economic developer Tricia Hobbs.

Merging the Duluth Visitor Center with the high-volume restaurant will provide synergy and benefits for everyone involved, according to Brian Daugherty, president at Grandmas Restaurants.

"Most importantly for the visitor, they're going to have the benefit of a one-stop-shop being in the heart of Canal Park," Daugherty said. "Tourism and hospitality is alive and well in Duluth right now."


In addition to the shops, restaurants and bars in Canal Park, the visitor center is situated near the Lakewalk, Aerial Lift Bridge and Lake Superior.

"This is the starting point. This is the sightseers point. You check six attractions off your list when you come to Canal Park," said Daugherty.

Inside Grandma's Restaurant in Canal Park.
The new Duluth Visitor Center is located inside Grandma's Restaurant in Canal Park. It will open Memorial Day weekend.
Duluth News Tribune / Brielle Bredsten

"It really felt like this was the right home for visitors," Mayor Emily Larson said. "They know this place and they know you as a leader and it's the right home to bring all of these pieces together."

The Visitor Center, currently closed, was previously located at 345 S. Lake Ave., next to the Flagship store.

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"It's been in Canal Park and we saw the volume of visitors that came through the doors increase exponentially when it was a little bit off the beaten path," said Tony Bronson, president of the Duluth Local Restaurant Association. "Now it's going to be in a high-visibility area in Canal Park, which we love because we think that Canal Park is kind of the jumping-off point for all things Duluth."

"Last year, we got more than 13,000 visitors, and we're expecting to at least double the numbers here," said Visit Duluth President Daniele Villa.

Visit Duluth has signed a one-year lease for its new space at Grandma's, according to Villa. The center will include a desk, seating and a brochure rack.

The Duluth Visitor Center will be staffed by Visit Duluth as a part of its contract and partnership with the city. There is free parking shared with Grandma's for visitors while they're at the center.


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Brielle Bredsten is the business reporter for the Duluth News Tribune.

She earned a bachelor's degree in Professional Writing & Technical Communication, with minors in Advertising and Creative Writing from Metropolitan State University, in addition to a two-year professional paid internship as reporter/editor of the student newspaper.

She is an award-winning professional writer, photographer and editor based in rural Minnesota. Over the past decade, Brielle Bredsten has contributed more than 1,000 articles, feature stories, non-profit press-releases, photographs and columns. Her work has been published in several community newspapers.

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