It’s July Fourth, and the annual blaze of glory over the Duluth harbor is upon us.
Duluth’s fireworks show is set to start at 10:10 p.m. Thursday, with the display being launched from Rice’s Point, near the Blatnik Bridge.
We here in the newsroom got to wondering about the best spots in town to watch the fireworks. We came up with some of the expected locations, but we figured we’d better ask around.
We put a call out on Facebook and Instagram, talked to some friends and family, and we whittled the list down to some favorites.
So, here’s your completely arbitrary list of Duluth’s 10 best fireworks-watching spots, gathered from totally unscientific polling. Happy viewing!
Skyline Parkway. That was your first thought, too, right? Duluth’s crown jewel of a parkway stretches more than 25 miles, with breathtaking viewpoints along the way. Try the lookout below Enger Park, which has a perfect view of the fireworks’ launching point. The lot at First United Methodist Church, 230 E. Skyline Parkway, otherwise known as the “copper-top” church, is also worth a look.
Enger Park and Tower. Typically the park on Skyline at about 16th Avenue West closes at 9 p.m., and there’s no word on extended hours for the Fourth, so don’t necessarily expect to get up into the tower. Even so, it’s a great respite from the Bayfront crowds, if that’s not your scene.
Bayfront Festival Park. Otherwise known as ground zero for the Fourth of July. Fourth Fest offers a free, family-friendly celebration featuring live music, food and craft vendors. Gates open at 4 p.m., with music from Born Too Late, The Slamming Doors, Superior Siren and headliner Junk FM starting at 4:30 p.m. Check the Fourth Fest website for details.
Park Point. Let’s be honest: Canal Park will be a snarl of traffic and humanity on Thursday night. But if you can get across the Aerial Lift Bridge, try heading to the Park Point Marina Inn, 1033 Minnesota Ave., or the 12th Street Beach. (And, yes, Canal Park is a great place to watch the show, too.)
Point of Rocks. Pull off at the M&H gas station, 1230 W. Michigan St. They’re open 'til 10 p.m., so stop in early for a bag of popcorn beforehand. The Observation Dog Park, 914 W. Third St., is also a good spot — but it's not a great idea to bring your pets to what they'll probably think is a war zone.
Maurices parking ramp. Personally, our favorite viewing spot used to be the News Tribune’s rooftop. Then Maurices built a building. But we’re over it, because the Maurices parking ramp, tucked under the company’s offices, offers an even better view, complete with the Depot in the foreground. Enter the ramp from West First Street between Fourth and Fifth avenues west.
Garfield Avenue. It’s a safe bet you won’t be the only one down here, but it’s a fantastic spot that’s practically next door to the launch site. Try the lot at the Goodwill, 700 Garfield Ave.
Leif Erikson Park and Rose Garden. It’s not as close or as high up as some spots, but the park at 13th Avenue East and London Road is a favorite attraction year round. It’s a safe bet there’ll be other viewers here, but your personal space bubble probably will stay intact.
Marshall School parking lot. They don’t call them the Hilltoppers for nothing. Marshall’s campus, 1215 Rice Lake Road, offers sweeping views of the harbor. If you’re out west, try the parking lot at Lincoln Park Middle School, 3215 W. Third St.
Lake Superior. The water’s the place to be if you’re one of the lucky few to have a boat (or you know someone who does). If you’re on the harbor side of Park Point, the show will be right above your head, though watching out on the lake itself might save your neck from too much craning.