Living & Working in Ely

Nestled in the Superior National Forest and within a heartbeat of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, Ely is THE premier place to call home.

What draws you to the boreal forest and pristine waters of northern Minnesota? Is it canoeing, camping, fishing, hunting, swimming, hiking, snowmobiling, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, or ice fishing?

Community celebrations may inspire you…seasonal festivals, or a marathon at the edge of the wilderness. For those who love the outdoors – winter, spring, summer, or fall – each season entices you to explore, or discover, another of your favorite recreational pursuits. Fun? Ely offers up plenty 24/7!

Blueberry Art Festival Blueberries


When the light begins to change in March, all of Ely seems to begin to think summer! Not that people in Ely don’t love spring, but there is just something about summer that calls for excitement. In summer, canoes begin to show up on the top of cars all over town. Restaurants that took a winter break reopen with new menu items and new energy. Shops that were closed for the winter open with their new inventory while offering sales galore!

Swimming, hiking, fishing, canoeing, four-wheeling and just simply sitting on the dock in the sun become our way of life and recreation. Summer includes the Tuesday night Farmer’s Market in Whiteside Park with fresh veggies, baked goods, arts and crafts, and many wonderful chances to meet and greet. Tuesday Night Live features live music at many listings in town and more chances to see old friends, family and returning snow birds.

Festivals begin, the Folk School adds many more classes, visitors come to the Wolf Center and Bear Center, visit the Dorothy Molter Museum, blueberries ripen, and gardens fill with great produce and it is SUMMER!!

Golf Courses

  • Fountain Hill Disc Golf Course
  • The Wilderness at Fortune Bay
  • The Quarry at Giants Ridge

* All courses are within 50 miles of Ely.


When lakes freeze over and the snow begins to fall, Elyites explore the forests and lakes by ski, snowmobile, snowshoe, dog team, and fat bike.

Located conveniently on the outskirts of Ely, Hidden Valley Recreation Area (HVRA) offers incredible cross-country ski trails. Also close to town, Shagawa and Burntside lakes are accessible via ice roads, and you’ll see many ices houses dotting the frozen surface. The 165-mile Taconite State Trail, which runs from Grand Rapids to Ely and the 80-mile Tomahawk trail, which runs through the Superior National Forest, offer snowmobilers great routes with unparalleled scenic views of the North Country.

For the more adventurous, winter is also an excellent time to get out and camp. With the proper equipment, clothing, and know-how, folks can experience the northwoods in relative comfort. Best of all, there are no bugs! Numerous outfitters, educators, and guides are available to help less-experienced adventure seekers with advice and equipment. For a truly unique experience, contact one of our local dogsled outfitters and explore scenic woods and lakes while driving your own team of dogs.

At the end of a long cold day, relax the Finnish way with a hot steamy sauna.

The Ely Winter Festival is a proud city tradition that brings warmth to the area in the coldest months, check out this video to take a peek at the event!

saUna or sow-na