Dubuque, Iowa is a historic city located in the northeastern corner of the state. The city is situated on the banks of the Mississippi River and is home to a number of colleges and universities.
Dubuque’s history dates back to the early nineteenth century, when it was founded as a lead mining town. Today, the city is known for its scenic riverfront, lively downtown, and diverse population.
Visitors to Dubuque can enjoy a variety of activities, including hiking and biking trails, shopping and dining in the historic downtown district, and taking a scenic riverboat cruise. With so much to see and do, here is our list of the best things to do in Dubuque, Iowa.
1) Eagle Point Park
Eagle Point Park is one of the Dubuque’s most popular parks. The park offers stunning views of the Mississippi River, and is home to a variety of birds and other wildlife.
Visitors can enjoy hiking, picnicking, and fishing in the park. Eagle Point Park also features a number of trails, making it a great place to explore on foot or by bicycle. In addition, the park has an on-site campground, making it the perfect place to spend a weekend away from the city.
Whether you’re looking for a place to relax or an adventure, Eagle Point Park is sure to have something for you.
2) Field of Dreams Movie Site
The Field of Dreams movie site is located in Dubuque, Iowa. The movie, released in 1989, starred Kevin Costner as an Iowa farmer who builds a baseball diamond in his cornfield after hearing voices telling him to “build it and they will come.”
The movie was filmed on location at the site, and today, it remains a popular tourist destination. Visitors can explore the movie set, which includes the baseball diamond, bleachers, and a replica of Costner’s farmhouse. They can also purchase tickets to watch a game played by the local minor league team, the Dubuque Fighting Saints.
Whether you’re a huge fan of the movie or just looking for an interesting afternoon, visiting the Field of Dreams Movie Site is worth your time.
3) National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium
The National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium is a great place to learn about the history and ecology of the river. Located on the banks of the river in Dubuque, the museum features a wide variety of exhibits and programs.
Visitors can see firsthand how the river has changed over time, learn about the plants and animals that live in and around the river, and even take a boat ride on the river itself. The museum also has an aquarium with fish, reptiles, and amphibians from all over the world.
Whether you’re a lifelong resident of the Midwest or just passing through, the National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium is definitely worth a visit.
4) Fenelon Place Elevator Co.
The Fenelon Place Elevator Co. is the world’s shortest, steepest railway. Located in Dubuque, Iowa, it was originally built in 1882 as a way for Fenelon Myers to quickly get from his home on the bluffs to the First Street bottomland.
Today, the elevator is open to the public and has become a popular tourist attraction. The elevator cars are operated by cables and counterweights, and each car can accommodate up to six people. The ride takes just under a minute, but it covers nearly 300 feet of elevation change.
Along the way, riders enjoy stunning views of the cityscape below. For those looking for a unique experience, the Fenelon Place Elevator Co. is definitely worth a visit.
5) Dubuque Arboretum and Botanical Gardens
The Dubuque Arboretum and Botanical Gardens is a 40-acre oasis in the middle of the city. The gardens feature a wide variety of plant life, from native Iowa flowers to exotic plants from across the globe.
Visitors can stroll along winding paths, relax in secluded gardens, or explore the interactive children’s garden. The arboretum also offers a variety of educational programs, from classes on gardening and horticulture to guided tours of the gardens.
Whether you’re a lifelong gardener or just looking to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city, the Dubuque Arboretum and Botanical Gardens is sure to delight.
6) Crystal Lake Cave
The Crystal Lake Cave is a popular tourist destination in Dubuque, Iowa. The cave is known for its beautiful crystal formations, which are created when water seeps into the limestone and evaporates, leaving behind mineral deposits.
The cave is also home to a variety of bats, including the endangered Indiana bat. Visitors to the Crystal Lake Cave can take a self-guided tour through the main chamber of the cave, and guided tours of the cave are also available for groups if you call ahead. The cave is open year-round, and there is a gift shop on site where visitors can purchase souvenirs.
7) Mines of Spain Recreation Area
The Mines of Spain Recreation Area is a 2,000-acre park located in the city of Dubuque, Iowa. The park is home to a variety of recreational activities, including hiking, biking, and camping.
The park also features a wide variety of plant and animal life, making it a popular destination for birdwatchers and nature lovers. The Mines of Spain Recreation Area is named after the numerous lead and zinc mines that were once located in the area.
The mines were active during the 19th century, and at one point, the city of Dubuque was the leading producer of lead in the United States. Today, the park is a popular destination for both locals and tourists alike.
The Riverwalk in Dubuque is a scenic walking path that follows the banks of the Mississippi River. The Riverwalk is open to the public 24 hours a day, and it is a popular destination for both locals and visitors.
The path is paved and well-lit, making it easy to navigate. There are also numerous benches and public art along the way, providing a chance to rest or take in the view. The Riverwalk connects several parks and public spaces, including the Grandview Park Amphitheater and the Bee Branch Creek Nature Preserve.
It also provides access to many of Dubuque’s riverfront restaurants and businesses. Whether you’re looking for a leisurely stroll or a vigorous hike, the Riverwalk is an enjoyable way to experience all that Dubuque has to offer.
9) Stone Cliff Winery
The Stone Cliff Winery is located in Dubuque, Iowa and produces a variety of wines using locally grown grapes. The winery offers tours and tastings, and also has a gift shop where visitors can purchase wine-related items.
The Stone Cliff Winery has won numerous awards for its wines, and is well-known for its reds. The winery also offers a variety of events throughout the year, including live music and food trucks.
The Stone Cliff Winery is a great place to visit if you are interested in learning about the wine-making process or if you simply want to enjoy some delicious wine.
10) Great River Road
Dubuque’s Great River Road is a beautiful stretch of highway along the Mississippi River. The road winds its way through picturesque bluffs and rolling hills, providing stunning views of the river.
Along the way, there are numerous opportunities to learn about the area’s history and culture. For example, at the National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium, visitors can discover more about the river’s ecosystem. The museum also offers an up-close look at the river through its glass-enclosed observation decks.
Just down the road, at Mathias Ham House State Historic Site, visitors can step back in time and tour one of Dubuque’s oldest homes. With its many historical and cultural attractions, Dubuque’s Great River Road is a must-see for anyone visiting the area.
11) Sundown Mountain Resort
The Sundown Mountain Resort in Dubuque is a great place to ski. The resort has a variety of slopes for all levels of skiers, from beginners to experts.
The views from the slopes are beautiful, and there is a variety of terrain to explore. The staff is friendly and knowledgeable, and they are always willing to help guests find the perfect slope for their skill level. There is also a variety of ski equipment available for rent, so guests can enjoy the slopes even if they don’t have their own equipment.
The resort also has a variety of other activities available, such as snow tubing and ice skating. Overall, the Sundown Mountain Resort is a great place to enjoy a day on the slopes.
RECAP OF BEST THINGS TO DO IN Dubuque, Iowa
- Eagle Point Park
- National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium
- Dubuque Starry Nights Balloon
- Palace Theater
- Stone Cliff Winery
- Mines of Spain Recreation Area
- Dubuque Arboretum and Botanical Gardens
- Sundown Mountain Resort
- Great River Road
- Fenelon Place Elevator
- Field of Dreams
WHERE TO NEXT?
Heading West? Check out San Diego in sunny California
Looking for another outdoor adventure? Travel to Denver next!
Interested in History? Look no further than Boston!