Duluth, a seaport at the western-most point on the north shore of Lake Superior, has an estimated population of 84,896 residents. However, with the added areas of the outlying suburbs and the outgrowth of the boundaries, the area is home to over 184,000 people. Connected to the Atlantic Ocean through the Great Lakes, via the New York State Barge Canal (Erie Canal) or the Saint Lawrence Seaway, it is the deep sea port farthest away from the United State's eastern shore. Duluth is a hub for the immediate region, and for a large area encompassing northeastern Minnesota, northwestern Wisconsin, and the western Upper Peninsula of Michigan. It remains a major transportation center for the transshipment of coal, taconite, and agricultural products.
The city is a convenient base for trips to the scenic North Shore via Highway 61, or to fishing and wilderness expeditions in Minnesota's far north, including the Superior National Forest and the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. Duluth has museums devoted to the local nautical heritage, and Duluth has America's only all freshwater aquarium, the Great Lakes Aquarium. A major destination for tourists is the Aerial Lift Bridge spanning the short canal into Duluth's harbor.
With increased interest in tourist trades and the area's universities and colleges, Duluth and the surrounding area are experiencing moderate population growth. Local schools include the University of Minnesota at Duluth, the College of St. Scholastica, Lake Superior College, and the nearby University of Wisconsin - Superior.