It takes a little effort to get to Duluth, one of the northernmost cities in the Lower 48. The city of just under 90,000 sits along the shore of Lake Superior and is the second-largest community on that lake (trailing only Thunder Bay, Ontario) - it's about a 2.5-hour drive north of the Twin Cities, and a six-hour drive from Madison, which holds its Madison Gay Pride in mid-August. Because of its size, location, and perhaps because it endures somewhat brutal winters, it seems that this charming, hilltop city with an educated, progressive population receives less attention than it should, especially as a very welcoming GLBT destination.
Duluth has a sizable lesbian and gay community, especially when combined with its more industrial neighbor, Superior, Wisconsin (pop. 27,000), which shares Duluth-Superior Harbor and has a couple of the region's most popular gay bars. Together, these two cities host Duluth-Superior Gay Pride in early September each year (over Labor Day weekend) - the dates this year are September 1 through 4, 2016, and the event celebrates its 30th anniversary this year.
For a relatively small metro area, Duluth-Superior Pride is an ambitious, well-organized, and extremely impressive Pride celebration - here's a full calendar of events at Duluth Superior Pride, including art exhibits, a block party, drag shows, poetry readings, and more. The main event is the Bayfront Pride Festival, held Saturday, September 3 from 11 am until 7 at Duluth's lovely Bayfront Festival Park. It's a free party with vendors, games, exhibitors, family-friendly activities, live music, and great food.
Then on Sunday, September 4, the Duluth-Superior Gay Pride Parade is held at noon in Superior, along Tower Avenue between Broadway and Belknap.
This two-city celebration draws big crowds and includes more events and activities than you'll often find during Gay Pride weekends in cities many times larger.
Not many cities hold their Pride events this time of year, making Duluth-Superior a good option if you're looking for a fun GLBT event in the northern Midwest over Labor Day weekend - the weather is beautiful up here this time of year.
Duluth Gay Resources
Area gay bars as well as gay-popular restaurants, hotels, and shops will likely have other events going on throughout the weekend. Check gay papers, such as Minnesota's Lavender Magazine and Wisconsin's Quest Magazine, for more on the area's gay scene. Also check out the handy travel site operated by the Duluth CVB, as well as the similar Superior-Douglas County Area visitor site.