Ah, Construction Season! We look ahead and plan as best we can but even those of us who live here have been caught off guard a bit trying to get around downtown Grand Marais. I was tempted to edit the original 2021 Road Construction Post but thought this would be better as a second post. Basically, this is your guide for how to get to your favorite downtown business during the Grand Marais Road Construction project that is supposed to go until early August.
When entering Grand Marais from the Duluth side, you will be able to take Highway 61 all the way to the turn onto Wisconsin Street (the corner where Java Moose is). At one point it looks like you should detour into town, but you do not have to. Highway 61 should have a single east-bound lane open through the project until the intersection with Wisconsin Street. If you’re coming from the Canada side of town, you can stay on Highway 61 until you reach the street lights at Broadway and then turn left into downtown.
Now, that’s the easy part. It wouldn’t be summer in Minnesota without some fun construction confusion, right? For those familiar with Grand Marais, you’ll notice a few changes with streets in the downtown area. These may confuse you so we’ve just created a little guide for how to get to your favorite business. Look below for direction so you don’t get lost (well, more like confused… it might be hard to get fully lost downtown, it’s not that big!) over the next few months.
We’ve created this interactive map to help you navigate downtown during the Grand Marais Road Construction season. We swear, it’s not that confusing! It’s just a little different. Click on the business you want to visit and see the directions in the map, or scroll down to find it here. Most businesses are accessible the “normal way”. If no special directions are required, we aren’t listing them here. So if you want to do to, say, The Big Lake, you can get there the same way you did last year!
Red= Closed roads
Green= Two-way roads during construction (otherwise these are one-way roads)
Orange= One-way roads during construction (eastbound only, usually a two-way road)
Yellow= Public Parking Areas (not for any specific business)
Purple Markers= Businesses that may have different routes required to access them than you might otherwise be used to. Click on the marker to see directions for access in addition to links to the business’ website and/or Facebook page for more information
View the map below or CLICK HERE to view the map in your browser.
A Note on General Access/Parking Downtown
We do imagine that with our normal seasonal increase of visitors, plus road construction, plus the loss of some parking areas due to road construction, parking downtown may be a challenge. Parking can usually be found in the Cook County Whole Foods Co-Op parking lot or the Coast Guard parking lot. There is also limited street parking. Note that there are also numerous PRIVATE parking areas that you should not park in unless you are visiting that business. Only visitors to Joyne’s Ben Franklin should park in the lot next to the Crooked Spoon Food Truck, for instance. Only guests of Cobblestone Cove should park in that parking lot. Usually private lots are clearly marked. If in doubt, park in the two lots marked on the map.
If you struggle to find parking, try going into town and then walking downtown. Street parking should be pretty easy to find if you don’t mind going a few extra blocks. If you are staying in Grand Marais and are able to, walk to your destination instead of driving from your rental. Please be sure to only use the designated handicap parking spots if you need them. These spots are limited and should be saved for those who cannot get around as easily.
When coming from Highway 61 on the Duluth side, you’ll turn onto Wisconsin Street right from Highway 61. The Java Moose parking lot is immediately to your left. Turn in, park, and enjoy a maple latte or delicious strawberry smoothie! Oh, and if you are coming from the Canada side of town on Wisconsin Street, you can go past the “No Through Traffic” sign. It’s totally OK to do that to access Java Moose.
Getting a Blizzard and sitting outside Dairy Queen to watch the construction vehicles hard at work during the week is becoming a new favorite pastime for visiting youth. If you have a little one that loves big machinery, head here! You can now turn onto 2nd Ave W from Wisconsin Street to get to Dairy Queen. When there isn’t construction in the area, this is a one-way road. Now, it’s a temporary 2-way so you can get to DQ and get out of DQ by taking 2nd Ave W.
Visit Cook County
Looking for information on what to do while up on the North Shore? Visit Cook County is a great place to visit to get local advice for what to do and where to go while you are here. But getting there is a bit tricky right now. While it’s located so close to Dairy Queen they almost touch, you may not be able to access it the same way. You’re going to have an easier time getting there by going up to 1st Ave W. Then, turn left at the end of the road and carefully go through the parking lot of the old Grandma Ray’s. Or, park nearby and walk there is the probably your best option. But if that’s not possible for you, try going through the Grandma Ray’s/American Legion parking lot to get there.
Bucks Hardware/Grand Marais Liquor Store
Similar to 2nd Ave W by Dairy Queen, the road that connects Bucks to the Grand Marais Liquor Store (1st Street) is now a two-way street. And it will remain that way during the Grand Marais road construction project. So if you come downtown from the Canada side, turning at the Broadway light, you can then turn right onto 1st Street. From there, you can access both the liquor store and Bucks Hardware.
Fisherman’s Daughter/Angry Trout/North House Folk School (Store)
Access to these three wonderful Grand Marais businesses is going to be a bit more challenging. But, so, so, so worth the effort! If you park downtown, take the beautiful pedestrian walkway (labeled as the Gitchi Gami State Trail on the map) and you will get right to them. You will find that it is an easy, paved, gently sloping path. If you park in town, try finding a spot on 6th Ave W, 5th Ave W, or 4th Ave W for the easiest access. Note that these are residential streets so please be courteous and do not block a private driveway.
There will be pedestrian crossings at the end of each block. So, you can cross Highway 61 without having to jump over a concrete barrier. Remember that if you get to the intersection with Highway 61 while looking for parking you can ONLY TURN LEFT! The road is only one-way (eastbound) once you pass 8th Ave W.
Hungry Hippie Tacos
Parking along 1st Ave W or even going up to 2nd Street is your best bet here. There is no street parking on Highway 61 in front of the restaurant as there usually would be, so park and walk. Trust us, the food is worth the walk!
Hungry Hippie Tacos Website | Hungry Hippie Tacos Facebook
Other Businesses To Note
While these businesses may not have “odd” directions because you can still access them at least one way that you used to be able to, it’s important to note that for some their access may be a bit different.
Voyageur Brewing, for example, you cannot access from Highway 61 but you can from 3rd Ave W. South of the Border is still accessible from Highway 61 but if you are approaching from the Duluth side you will need to go through the downtown detour first. Then you can get to South of the Border from Highway 61.
If we hear from guests and other visitors that they are confused about other things, we will add those directions here, too. Hopefully, this helps you prepare somewhat for your trip to Grand Marais this summer.
See You This Summer!
So, that about covers it. All other businesses can be accessed “the normal way”. Either from Wisconsin Street or Broadway during the Grand Marais road construction project. Parking may be limited due to the loss of several parking spots along the Highway. So, plan ahead and be prepared to walk to your destination. If you have any questions or find anything here confusing, reach out to us. Our email is [email protected] and we’d be happy to help you plan your trip. See you this summer!