Your Summer 2018 Guide to Northland Food & Fun

You can’t beat summer up north.

Would you really want to be anywhere else in the world this time of year? For starters, the weather is nothing short of paradisiacal, thanks to the world’s largest air conditioner also known as Lake Superior. And the climate’s not the only reason to get excited for the sweltering season.

The options are endless when it comes to outdoors activities perfectly suited to the lush forests, fresh water lakes, rivers, and streams of northeast Minnesota and northwest Wisconsin. This is the time of year for hiking, biking, swimming, and much, much more. When you feel like emerging from the woods and socializing a bit, there are also plenty of public events to choose from, with a big bash (or two, or three) taking place pretty much every weekend.

Whether you’re looking for arts, athletics, or entertainment, there’s a LOT happening across the Northland over the next couple of months! Here’s your North By Choice guide to festivals, food, and fun for Summer 2018:


It’s the season for Farmers Markets! This area takes local food seriously and these pop-ups are where you’ll find fresh, wholesome produce on a weekly basis starting now and going all the way through autumn. The Hibbing Farmers Market officially opened on July 10. In Superior, there’s the Downtown Market and another setup on Barker’s Island. Duluth also has several different farmers market locations, including the corner of 14th Ave E. and 3rd Street, the Greater Downtown Council version at Lake Superior Plaza, and the Dewitt-Seitz Farmers Market in Canal Park. Check the links for specific date and time details.

If it’s cupcakes and other goodies that you’re after, try the Cook County Market in Grand Marais every Saturday for world-class arts, crafts, and snacks. Craving a sizzling burger or a frosty beer? Duluth’s Bayfront Park will host Grill Wars 2018 this August 16, and All Pints North will pull in craft beer connoisseurs from all over the state on July 28.


Music festivals, art festivals, athletic competitions — barely a week goes by in July without one or more of these things happening.

Get your vitamin D and test those muscles at a host of sporting events. Whether you’re looking to participate or spectate, get involved in feats of strength and endurance with the Gunflint Trail Canoe Races up the shore or the Dragon Boat Open Paddle in Superior. What’s more, the Dragon Boat Festival will take over Barker’s Island on August 24 and 25. More of the dry land type? Bicyclists from all over the world will head to Eveleth for the Great River Energy Mesabi Trail Tour on August 4.

Seeking arts as opposed to athletics? Bayfield will organize its Festival of Arts and Gallery Tour on July 21 and 22 in Chequamegon Bay. The renowned Art Colony of Grand Marais just held their 28th Annual Arts Festival this last weekend — don’t miss it next year! And it’s not too late for Grand Marais’s North Shore Water Festival, which will involve fishing, kayaking, canoeing, and more this July 20-22. Then, head to Chisholm for July 26th’s Bands Brews & BBQ extravaganza at the Minnesota Discovery Center.

In the Twin Ports, the Head of the Lakes Fair will take place in Superior July 10-15 with stock-car racing, a demolition derby, 40H exhibits, and more shenanigans. Showcasing jewelry, painting, photography, ceramics, and more, Duluth’s Art in Bayfront Park will also take place August 18-19.

Keep an eye on the lineup at Duluth’s Bayfront Park to catch CloudCult and more homegrown bands before summer’s over. The Raggae and World Music Festival is coming up this July 21, along with the 30th Bayfront Blues Festival this August 10-12.

This is really just the tip of the iceberg for what all is happening across the Northland this season, so keep your eyes peeled for last-minute announcements! Try here for more North By Choice leads on outdoors activities that you can schedule on your own.

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