Duluth ‘best place to live’ in ‘Outside’ poll

Duluth newsLate Sunday night, Duluth, Minnesota, claimed victory in the “best outdoors town” online poll put on by “Outside” Magazine, defeating Provo, Utah, by about 12,000 votes.

The contest has drawn a lot of attention in Duluth, and some good-natured chiding here at my blog. After all, what could an online magazine poll really mean for the welfare of Duluth, Minnesota? Well, Duluth Mayor Don Ness did a good job of explaining why, so I’ll defer to his public Facebook post of last night:

I think its important to note a very real and significant change in our city that has resulted in this victory – – a fundamental shift in how people think about Duluth. Over the past month, we saw people from all over the country weigh in and proclaim how much they love this city. Despite the worst two years of weather in our city’s history, Duluthians stood up and showed their pride in this city. We proudly highlighted world-class outdoor recreation and natural beauty that compared favorably to much larger and much more popular cities across the nation.

This contest has been an effective measure of city pride and enthusiasm and people invest in cities that they are confident and optimistic about – they invest in their home, their business, their own skill sets, their careers, etc.

For decades, a fog of pessimism and defeatism hung low over the city – negative and cynical voices defined our city’s conventional wisdom. Too often we simply accepted the fact that Duluth would never fulfill its potential. Today, Duluth is a different place – the optimistic and positive voices are now being heard. Cynical people complain about problems, people who love Duluth are actually willing to work to solve problems. Cynical people complain about a lack of opportunities, people who love Duluth start their own community groups, build their own trail, start their own festivals, brew their own beer, and start their own businesses…. Those that love Duluth understand that the best way to improve our city is through confident action, investment, and problem solving. That’s the most fundamental change in our city’s recent history.

Is this change real? Ask yourself this question…. Do you think Duluth could have won this contest 20 years ago?

So while we don’t want to give the contest itself too much importance, the recognition of the change in our city in recent years is important and it is significant. Thank you to everyone who cares enough about Duluth to prove this important change – especially our friends at Destination Duluth and everyone who contributed to the #VoteDuluth effort in the past month. You guys represent the spirit of the good things happening in Duluth.


  1. John Ramos says

    I just wish Duluth was more awesome inside.

  2. John Ramos says

    The last comment was from a typical Duluthian who spends a little too much time outside.

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