A 2-1/2 hour drive from the Twin Cities is rewarded by a lovely visit to Canal Park in Duluth. It's a very pleasant venue for so many reasons which 150 words cannot begin to illuminate. Your day can be restful and romantic, educational and energetic. You can shop and sight-see, eat well then take a nap or hike. The pay-parking is dirt cheap, but there are free lots a few blocks away. There's a horse-drawn carriage and the US Army Corps of Engineers' Museum (which is free, by the way). One of my favorite activities is to buy a small box of popcorn from the charming popcorn wagon, then use it to feed the ever-present seagulls. They snatch the kernels right out of the air! It's the most entertaining $1 I ever spend. Canal Park is a great place to visit for families, couples, or those ""sailing solo"".
Pros: Inexpensive, Good Parking, Lots to do!
Cons: Best in summertime, Summer's short