Top Things to Do in Dubuque, Iowa | Midwest Living

Top Things to Do in Dubuque, Iowa

Iowa's oldest city, Dubuque has lively historical districts near the mighty Mississippi. Explore attractions such as the National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium, the Dubuque Arboretum and Botanical Gardens, Cable Car Square, Fenelon Place Elevator and Eagle Point Park.

What to do

Cable Car Square Victorian buildings house unique shops, galleries and restaurants in a two-block area. (815) 747-2504.

Dubuque Arboretum and Botanical Gardens The largest all-volunteer arboretum in the country features award-winning gardens.

Eagle Point Park Above Lock and Dam No. 11, 164 acres provide picnic spots and Mississippi views.

Fenelon Place Elevator Enjoy a short ride on the world's steepest scenic railway to magnificent city and tri-state views on a bluff.

Fenelon Place Elevator.

Fenelon Place Elevator

Field of Dreams movie site A century-old farm in Dyersville (28 miles west) made movie history. People still come to sit in the bleachers and run the bases. Free.

Great River Wine Trail The nine wineries on the trail are located in Iowa, Illinois and Wisconsin; you’ll find them all within 30 minutes of the Julien Dubuque Bridge.

Mines of Spain State Recreation Area A 1,387-acre National Historic Landmark encompases limestone cliffs and bluffs, stands of old timber and Catfish Creek along miles of hiking trails. Free.

National Farm Toy Museum This Dyersville fun house displays thousands of scale-model farm toys.

National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium The experience at the riverfront museum includes an immersion theater, Mississippi snail touch tank and 12 big aquariums full of river creatures.

National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium. Courtesy of the Dubuque Convention and Visitors Bureau

National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium. Courtesy of the Dubuque Convention and Visitors Bureau

Where to eat

Catfish Charlie’s River Club In a casual setting, enjoy Cajun cornmeal catfish along with Mississippi River views.

Chocolaterie Stam Stop in for handcrafted Dutch chocolates or homemade Italian gelato. Chocolaterie Stam on Facebook

Mario’s Italian Restaurant Try the panzerotti, a doughy pizza turnover, at a long-standing favorite.

Pepper Sprout Make reservations to taste the gourmet, seasonal Midwestern cuisine prepared with upscale flair. Atmosphere and service are top-shelf.

Stone Cliff Winery The live music on weekends makes a perfect pairing for Iowa wine.

Where to stay

Grand Harbor Resort and Waterpark The seven-story hotel and indoor water park stands on the Mississippi riverfront.

The Hancock House Some of the nine rooms in this Queen Anne Victorian bed-and-breakfast have whirlpools.

Hotel Julien Dubuque Experience the splendor of a bygone era at this luxury boutique hotel.

Hotel Julien Dubuque.

Hotel Julien Dubuque.

Four Mounds Bed and Breakfast The rooms are handsome at this inn overlooking the Mississippi. The Majestic River suite, with a sleeping porch, is a stunner.

For information: Dubuque Convention and Visitors Bureau (800) 798-8844;


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