Located on the eastern edge of the state, Dubuque, Iowa has lots of different ways to explore. From local history to vibrant public art to rich culinary tradition, there’s something for everyone in this town along the bluffs of the Mississippi River.
The next time you’re planning a visit, you won’t want to miss these fun things to do in Dubuque.
Experience the Arts
Dubuque is a city that truly embraces the arts. From colorful murals to the state’s oldest cultural institution, there’s something for everyone in this city’s art scene.
Downtown Dubuque and beyond is covered in an impressive array of street art that spans styles. Mural spot as you wander the city and snap a photo or two in front of your new favorite. Or head down to the city’s annual Art on the River sculpture walk to experience a rotating collection of pieces.
And, if you’re a traditionalist, there’s also the Dubuque Museum of Art. Not only is this museum the oldest cultural institution in the state, but it also highlights an impressive collection of 20th and 21st-century American art.
1. Street Art of Dubuque
2. Art on the River, Mississippi Riverwalk, Port of Dubuque
3. Dubuque Museum of Art, 701 Locust St., Dubuque
Bite into a Piece of History
Enjoy an iconic piece of Iowa’s culinary history when you dine at a supper club in Dubuque. These classic eateries have been city institutions for decades and still serve up the hearty portions alongside cozy, dimly-lit ambiance.
Head up into the bluffs for dinner and a drink at the classic Moracco Supper Club. You won’t want to leave without indulging in a classic ice cream drink like a Grasshopper. Or take the scenic route just outside of town to dine at Breitbach’s Country Dining, one of the oldest restaurants in the state.
4. Moracco Supper Club, 1413 Rockdale Road, Dubuque
5. Breitbach’s Country Dining, 563 Balltown Road, Sherrill
You may not be expecting to go spelunking in Dubuque. But Crystal Lake Cave is definitely worth your time. Beneath the cornfields of Iowa, you’ll discover a thriving living cave full of interesting stalagmites and stalactites.
6. Crystal Lake Cave, 6684 Crystal Lake Cave Road, Dubuque
Explore the Outdoors
There are lots of incredible places to explore the outdoors near Dubuque. Enjoy 1,437 acres of beautiful wooded prairie just south of Dubuque at the Mines of Spain. Pack a picnic, go for a hike and keep an eye out for all sorts of wildlife along the Mississippi River blufflands.
Or take in the stunning scenic views of Iowa, Illinois and Wisconsin from Eagle Point Park. And if fauna is more your style, plan a visit to the Dubuque Arboretum and Botanic Gardens, which features more than 60 different styles of gardens.
7. Mines of Spain, 8991 Bellevue Heights Road, Dubuque
8. Eagle Point Park, 2601 Shiras Ave., Dubuque
9. Dubuque Arboretum and Botanic Gardens, 3800 Arboretum Drive, Dubuque
Take in a Scenic View
Ride the world’s shortest and steepest scenic railway, the Fenelon Place Elevator, for unparalleled views of downtown Dubuque. Or head to the Mines of Spain to take in the blufflands from the Julien Dubuque Monument, which was built in 1897 on a prominent fur trading site.
10. Fenelon Place Elevator, 512 Fenelon Place, Dubuque
11. Julien Dubuque Monument, 1810 Monument Drive, Dubuque
If You Build It, They Will Come
Hop in the car for a short ride east to Dyersville to experience the iconic Field of Dreams Movie Site. It’s worth the trip to run the bases, take a peek inside the farmhouse and even catch a game when the ghost players emerge from the cornfields (if you’re lucky).
12. Field of Dreams, 28995 Lansing Road, Dyersville
Dive deep into local history with a visit to the National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium. Part aquarium, part museum, and part science center, this extraordinary space brings together a variety of exhibits and installations to share the integral role of the river in Dubuque’s history.
Then head to the Mathias Ham Historic Site to learn about one of the city’s earliest entrepreneurs and experience a slice of Victorian life. And don’t miss Dubuque’s historic Shot Tower, one of the last remaining structures of its kind in the country.
13. National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium, 350 E. Third St., Dubuque
14. Mathias Ham Historic Site, 2241 Lincoln Ave., Dubuque
15. Dubuque Shot Tower, East Commercial Street, Dubuque
If you choose to imbibe while visiting Dubuque, there is no shortage of local options. Wine lovers can head to the historic building along the Mississippi River that houses Stone Cliff Winery.
Craft beer enthusiasts won’t be disappointed either. Downtown Dubuque is home to a number of taprooms including 7 Hills Brewing Co., Backpocket Dubuque, Dimensional Brewing Co. and Jubeck New World Brewing.
16. Stone Cliff Winery, 600 Star Brewery Drive, Dubuque
17. 7 Hills Brewing Co., 1085 Washington St., Dubuque
18. Backpocket Dubuque, 333 E. 10th St., Dubuque
19. Dimensional Brewing Co., 67 Main St., Dubuque
20. Jubeck New World Brewing, 115 W. 11th St., Dubuque
About the Guest Blogger
Megan Bannister is a freelance writer and blogger at Olio in Iowa based in Des Moines, Iowa. When she’s not sampling and writing about food, Megan enjoys visiting unique destinations, roadside attractions, and “world’s largest” things across the Midwest and beyond. Her book, Iowa Supper Clubs, highlights classic eateries past and present from around the state.