There is no dispute: Duluth is Minnesota’s coolest city, hands down. The simple fact that it sits ashore of the mighty Lake Superior, featuring hilly topography rare for these northern plains, sets it in a category by itself. But there’s also something special, something serene and comforting about the capital of the North Woods. It offers everything from skiing to dog-sledding, camping to hiking, fishing to ship-watching, while still providing nearly every nightlife amenity you’d expect from a city. Think of it as a prettier version of Minneapolis or St. Paul, run at a slower, more contented pace. More important, it’s a mere two hours from the Twin Cities, making paradise accessible to everyone, regardless of how full your wallet is.