Dubuque Travel Guide

  • Cathedral Spires from the Bluff
    Cathedral Spires from the Bluff
    by Stephen-KarenConn
  • Dubuque Star Brewery
    Dubuque Star Brewery
    by Stephen-KarenConn
  • Karen on the Mississippi Riverwalk
    Karen on the Mississippi Riverwalk
    by Stephen-KarenConn

Dubuque Things to Do

  • 4th Street Elevator

    For the most spectacular view of Dubuque (not to mention neighboring Wisconsin and Illinois, as well as the Mississippi River) go up the Fenelon Street Elevator off of Bluff Street and Fourth Street in downtown Dubuque. The elevator travels up a very steep hill, via cable, to Fenelon Street, where there a wonderful panoramic view awaits. If the day...

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  • Learning to ski at Sundown-Great Ski...

    A water skier trying to learn to snowski isn't easy for either the skier or instructor by luckily for me I ended up at Sundown for my inaugural run.I was fortunate to have a group ski lesson with Dennis but even more fortunate to meet his wife and fellow instructor, Valetta, with whom I booked a private lesson later. There is a definite talent to...

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  • Dubuque County Courthouse

    I've seen literally hundreds of county courthouses during my travels, but can't think of a one that is any more ornate or beautiful than that you will see in Dubuque, Iowa's first county. The current courthouse was built in 1891 to replace an earlier courthouse built in 1839. It is the most dominant landmark in the downtown Dubuque area, standing...

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  • Fenelon Street Elevator

    For the most spectacular view of Dubuque (not to mention neighboring Wisconsin and Illinois, as well as the Mississippi River) go up the Fenelon Street Elevator off of Bluff Street and Fourth Street in downtown Dubuque. The elevator travels up a very steep hill, via cable, to Fenelon Street, where there a wonderful panoramic view awaits. If the day...

    more
  • Eagle Point Park

    Dubuque is well know as a good place to see the American Bald Eagle, and we were told that the best place to see them is from Eagle Point Park. We the found park, situated on high bluffs overlooking the Mississippi River on the north side of Dubuque. However, no eagles were to be seen on the day of our visit. Although Eagles might be in the area at...

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  • Shot Tower

    The Shot Tower in Dubuque is one of the last standing shot towers in the United States. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The tower was built in 1856 to provide lead shot for the military. Molten lead was poured from the top of the tower, where it passed through a grate. The droplets that fell from the grate had relatively...

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  • Paddlewheel Plaza

    This enormous paddlewheel at the Port of Dubuque stands 25-feet tall and weighs an estimated 32 tons. It was once mounted to the Starboard of the Steamship William M. Black, a National Landmark Steamship.The paddlewheel was dismounted from the ship to allow it to pass through the floodwall gates into Dubuque's Ice Harbor. It is now on display in...

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  • Mississippi Riverwalk

    If you visit Dubuque you must take a stroll along the beautiful new Mississippi Riverwalk which opened in the summer of 2003. Along the walk you will see both old and new points of interest. Old sights include the Dubuque Shot Tower and Dubuque Star Brewery. Newer attractions are the Alliant Energy Citizen’s Amphitheater, a 25,000 square-foot...

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  • Take A Riverboat Cruise on the Spirit of...

    One of the most fun things we did while in Dubuque was to take a cruise up and down the Mississippi River on the Spirit of Dubuque. This paddlewheel boat is a replica of a century-old Mississippi River steamboat. It has decorative smokestacks and a scalloped canopy over its open-air deck. There is also an enclosed dining salon with decor in...

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  • Cathedral of Saint Raphael

    If you think of all cathedrals as grand ornate buildings which are always open to the public, you may be dissapointed with the Dubuque's Cathedral of St. Raphael. It was an impressive structure, and just a couple of blocks up the street from our hotel, but when we walked up to see it the Cathedral was locked up tight. A sign beside the door said...

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  • Dubuque Star Brewery

    This very interesting old building was for many years the home of Dubuque Star beers, established by Joseph Rhomberg in 1898. The brewery was forced to close twice - first by prohibition and later by floods. About four other beers were later produced here including Pickett's Premium Beer and Rhomberg Beer, but each of them eventually failed. The...

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  • Iowa Welcome Center

    An excellent place to begin your visit to Dubuque is at the downtown Iowa Welcome Center. Fortunately for us, it was just one block north of where we were staying at the Julien Dubuque Inn. The Center has a friendly staff which is eager to share information about their town and state. They will help you find a plethora of brochures, maps, souvenirs...

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  • Diamond Jo Casino

    We are not the kind of people who get excited about casinos, but we did find our way over to the Diamond Jo for about an hour one evening. As is our custom at such places, Karen and I each invested $10 (a total of $20) in the slot machines. We walked out with $28 - a 40% profit for our investment. Gambling on that level is fun. I feel sorry for the...

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  • National Mississippi River Museum and...

    The National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium is the top attraction in the entire state of Iowa and is the one place you MUST see if you visit Dubuque. Karen and I spent a very enjoyable afternoon here, and wished we had had even more time to explore all there is to see.The Museum is excellent with all the features and displays you might...

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  • Old Jail Museum

    The Old Dubuque County Jail, built in 1857, is considered the rarest building in Iowa. Fewer than 50 Egyptian Revival structures were ever built in the United States, and the Dubuque County Jail is one of only three remaining. The old jail, which sits beside the Dubuque County Courthouse, has been replaced by a more modern correctional facility....

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  • Dubuque Town Clock

    This very tall and imposing clock sits in the center of downtown Dubuque. The clock, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, has stood over the city for over 130 years. The present clock is actually the second Town Clock for Dubuque, replacing an earlier one which collapsed in the 1870s.The Town Clock blends well with the other...

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  • 4th Street Elevator, Also known as...

    One of the coolest things to do in town, the 4th Street Elevator has been there since the late 1800s and you can still take a ride on it today!! The view from the top is incredible. It's a very unique thing you will not find in many other cities. You don't want to miss this!

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  • Cable Car Square

    Near Downtown Dubuque there is a street full of little shops and in the middle going up the hill is the "Cable Car." It consists of two cars that go up and down the hill in the summertime on rails. When you get to the top, you can see almost everything, including parts of Wisconsin and Illinois. The view is great. They also give a little brochure...

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Dubuque Hotels

See all 22 Hotels in Dubuque

Dubuque Restaurants

  • Good hometown cooking!

    This is a great local family restaurant. My extended family (13 of us!) recently visited Dubuque. We were looking for a non-chain restaurant to sample, and we came upon Sunshine. The location has a long tradition of housing fine dining. Our first visit was in the evening for dinner. As we entered, we were greeted enthusiastically by a hostess and...

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  • Dining at the Julien Inn

    During our four day stay in Dubuque, Karen and I ate at this restaurant three times - twice for breakfast and once for dinner. We chose it because of convenience since it is in the hotel at which we stayed. However, we would choose it again for the quality of food and service even if we were not staying at the same hotel. We enjoyed the...

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  • Very Good Experience

    I had a wonderful experience at this restaurant recently. Food was outstanding and the atmosphere was also great. They had an extensive wine list and the lamb dish was very good. Others in my group had the fish and pasta, which all agreed were good. My girlfriend said that the dissert was the best she had ever had. We sat in the pub downstairs and...

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  • Dubuque's Best!

    This is the best I have had in Dubuque! The food was awesome! Italian-American food with local flair. The pasta is sensational (I've had three dishes) the Seafood is flown in form Hawaii so it really the only place in own for fresh fish. (My wife had the sea bass- which she said was a perfect 10) and the pub is a little old school with modern...

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  • Pizza from a Wood Fired Oven

    The Cafe Manna Java, in operation since December of 2002, was across the street from our hotel so we decided to try it for dinner one evening in Dubuque. It would have been worth the trip if the restaurant had been all the way across town. Cafe Manna Java initially offered only coffee, breads and pastries, as well as a very few desert items. But it...

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  • Good Basic Food

    Dubuque Family Restaurant, which advertises "Home Style Cooking," is located on the west side of town along Hwy. 20, not far from Kennedy Mall. It is a comfortable eatery with frendly service, and a basic menu that ranges from sandwiches to seafood. I found the place to be clean and the prices reasonable. They are open daily from 6 a.m. until 10...

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Dubuque Transportation

  • Dubuque Regional Airport

    You won't find big crowds and long lines at the Dubuque Regional Airport. Here there is only one ticket counter, one gate, and one commuter airline - American Eagle. When we went to Dubuque, I drove out early and Karen flew out later to join me. I parked, free of charge, right in front of the airport, so meeting her was a cinch.There are four...

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  • City of Dubuque Trolley

    Those who are staying in Dubuque without are car, or those who would just prefer not to drive, may still see many of the sights and attractions of the city by riding the trolley. One hour narrated tours are available. Also, the trolley may be used as a shuttle between downtown hotels and major attractions at the Port of Dubuque.Tours most days...

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  • Fenelon Place Elevator

    The Fenelon Place Elevator is the cheapest thrill in Dubuque, and it is a "Must" for those who visit the city. For only $2.00 (round trip) you can take a unique ride on "the world's shortest, steepest, scenic railway." The Elevator was originally built in 1882 by local businessman J.K. Graves, for his personal convenience in traveling from his home...

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Dubuque Local Customs

  • Stephen-KarenConn's Profile Photo
    Stephen and Mayor Boul 1 more image

    by Stephen-KarenConn Updated Apr 4, 2011

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Our trip to Dubuque in August, 2006, was for the purpose of exhibiting my book, "Growing up Pentecostal," at the Christian Book Fair International. The highlight of the fair to me was when my book was named recepient of the "Family Friendly Book Award."

    The award was presented by the Mayor of Dubuque, the honorable Roy D. Boul.

    You can learn more about my book by going to www.growinguppentecostal.com

    Related to:
    • Business Travel

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Dubuque Off The Beaten Path

  • Chief Peosta's Grave

    When Julien Dubuque was exhumed, several other skeltons were found in the site with him. One skeleton was believed to be that of Dubuque's friend and father-in-law, Peosta, chief of the Mesquakie. The remains of Chief Peosta were reburied in a new grave a short distance from Dubuque's new grave site. The nearby town of Peosta, Iowa, was named for...

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  • Julien Dubuque Monument

    When Julien Dubuque died in March of 1810 the Mesquakie Indians buried him with tribal honors beneath a log mausoleum at the site of this monument. The Julien Dubuque monument was built in 1897, on a high bluff with commanding views of the Mississippi River. It overlooks the Mines of Spain property in the town that would eventually bear Dubuque's...

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  • Crystal Lake Cave

    About 3 miles south of Dubuque, off US-52, is Crystal Lake Cave. It is the longest "living" show cavern in the state of Iowa.The cave was discovered in 1868 when miners drilled 40 feet into the ground searching for lead. They found little of the metal they sought, although rich veins are nearby. But instead in this particular spot they discovered a...

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Dubuque Favorites

  • Julien Dubuque

    Dubuque is named for Julien Dubuque(1762-1810), a French Canadian from Quebec, who in 1788 became the first person of European descent to settle on what is now Iowa. Julien Dubuque received a land grant from the Governor of Spain, giving him permission to work the land which was owned by Spain and specified the 189-square mile area to be named as...

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  • The Mississippi River

    No matter where you are in Dubuque you are never far from the all pervasive Mississippi River. And the Mighty Mississippi is never far from the hearts and minds of the people of Dubuque.The Mississippi is the largest river in the United States and one of the great rivers of the world. It begins as a small stream in northern Minnesota and cuts...

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  • Alfred Caldwell's masterful park...

    Alfred Caldwell was one of the most important public designers to emerge in America in the first half of the 20th century. After studying with Prairie School master Jens Jensen, Caldwell spent some time at Frank Lloyd Wright's Taliesin, which is only about 100 miles distant from Dubuque. (See my Taliesin travelogue on my Spring Green Wisconsin...

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