Dubuque stock

A Weekend in…Dubuque

Perched along the Mississippi River, this old river town’s charm, friendly residents and myriad activities and explorations combine for the perfect weekend in Dubuque. The city is comprised of various communities, each conveying a different feel and vibe. From the heart of the city downtown, The Port of Dubuque, once a bustling hub of river traffic, or South End, home to rolling hills and natural wonder, there’s something around every corner to explore and Iowa’s oldest city. 

hotel julien dubuque lobby
Hotel Julien

Stay & Play 

Hotel Julien & Potosa Spa

Take a step back in time and experience all of the charm and history of Hotel Julien, located in the heart of Dubuque’s Old Main District area. Hotel Julien, built in 1839, is a gorgeous reminder of the past, but with all the modern amenities of the present. There are more than 100 rooms available, many with views of the mighty Mississippi to fit any group size. Stop into Riverboat Lounge for a cocktail on the outdoor deck or enjoy breakfast, lunch or dinner at Caroline’s Restaurant. For room rates and more information, visit hoteljuliendubuque.com.

Reset and recharge at Potasa Spa, located in the lower level of the hotel. Serving guests since 2010, relaxation awaits during your weekend in Dubuque. Offering a variety of options from massage, facial to hair services to nail and body treatments, Potasa’s menu has something for everyone. Enjoy a peaceful experience with the unique menu inspired by the Native American medicine wheel. For a full menu of services and information, visit potosaspa.com.

Food & Drink

Jitterz Coffee & Café

Grab coffee and a panini before embarking on a day exploring Dubuque. Serving the city since 2007, Jitterz Coffee & Café’s main street location is a cozy historical space filled with works of artists from the region. For more information, visit www.facebook.com.

7 Hills Brewing Company 

German beer hall meets historic industrial area meets funky brewery at 7 Hill Brewing Company. This uber-fun gathering spot has provided Dubuque with great beer, a cool staff, fantastic food options and an all-around friendly space to sip and savor for the last six years. It is the perfect place to gather for a wide selection of beer options and enjoying the company of family and friends during a weekend in Dubuque. Dogs welcome. For more information, visit www.7hillsbrew.com/7hills.

brazen open kitchen dubuque interior
Brazen Open Kitchen

Oolong Asian Cuisine

Looking for creative and flavorful dishes using fresh and local ingredients? Oolong Asian Cuisine specializes in Chinese, Thai, Vietnamese and other East Asian flavors for lunch and dinner. The menu features sharable appetizers like spring rolls, lobster rangoons and a variety of pan-fried, deep-fried or steamed dumplings. Try the miso ramen, stir fry udon or, our fabulous favorite, the Vietnamese pho, which takes more than 16 hours to make. For more information, visit loveoolong.com.

Brazen Open Kitchen 

Impressing dinner guests since 2015, Brazen Open Kitchen is a stellar culinary dinner experience for a date night, after-work outing or dinner with friends. Located in the Millwork area, Brazen’s cocktail and scratch kitchen menu is sure to impress using locally sourced and the freshest ingredients around. The seasonal menu offers unique items like chilled sweet corn soup and pork schnitzel along with traditional hand-tossed pizzas, fish, chicken and salads. For more information, visit www.brazenopenkitchen.com.

See & Do

Fenelon Place Elevator Company 

Check out the fun and quirky cable car elevator ride at Fenelon Place Elevator Company. Often referred to as the steepest and shortest scenic railway, passengers will travel 189 feet from Fourth Street up to Fenelon Place and back. The top offers beautiful views of the city, Mississippi River and next door’s states. Dating back to the 1880’s, the elevator was built to transport workers from homes in the bluff area above the city down to work and back and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Fenelon Place Elevator Company is open April 1 through Nov. 30 from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. and accepts cash only. For more information, visit www.fenelonplaceelevator.com.

National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium 

Watch history come alive at the National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium. The impressive campus is part aquarium and part museum with an interactive science center that will delight adults and children alike. Learn about river life along the Mississippi River, steamboats, how floods affect the ecosystem, how important native plants and wildlife and so much more. There are both indoor and outdoor spaces for explorations and a large hands-on arts and crafts area. Don’t forget to pet the stingrays! For more information, visit www.rivermuseum.com.

American Lady Cruises

One of the best ways to explore the area is by boat, and American Lady Cruises offers several options depending on what you are looking for. The double-decker American Lady offers a two-hour sightseeing cruise, a lunch cruise, a happy hour cruise or beautiful sunset cruise while enjoying a buffet-style meal catered by Catfish Charlie’s Restaurant. Cruises will travel along the river, passing by points like the Julien Dubuque Monument perched high on the bluff of the Mines of Spain State Park and Lock and Dam 11 and cover local history along the way. For cruise hours and details, visit americanladycruises.com.

Backpocket Pin & Pixel

Grab a frosty brew and check out the vintage arcade games like Skee-ball, Pac-Man, Space Invaders or a collection of old-school pinball machines in the basement gaming area. Backpocket has a menu of street tacos, burgers and appetizers as well as beer that’s brewed at its Coralville brewery location. Backpocket is the perfect way to unwind during a weekend in Dubuque. For more information, visit www.backpocketdubuque.com.

Eagle Point Park Dubuque
Eagle Point Park

More Dubuque Fun

– More than 40 murals adorn historic brick buildings around Dubuque, each telling a story about the city and done by local and world-renowned artists. Grab a mural map and explore these colorful and impressive works; a perfect way to explore the town on foot. 

– Mines of Spain State Park and the Julien Dubuque Monument are located outside of town and offer miles of hiking trails among the limestone bluffs, history and impressive views of the mighty river. This is a must-stop during a weekend in Dubuque.

– Stop by the Stone Cliff Winery tasting room for a glass of wine located in a historic beer brewery building. Enjoy the adorable outside patio, lunch and live music. 

– Grab a snack at Freddie’s Popcorn Company. There are more than 30 flavors to choose from, popped fresh every day. 

– Show your Midwest pride with some wearables at The Midwest Girl shop. This online store’s flagship location is located in Dubuque and features everything from T-shirts and trucker hats to stickers and glass wear. 

– Visit Eagle Point Park for sweeping views of Lock and Dam 11 and the Mississippi River. This 164-acre park also offers views of Iowa, Illinois and Wisconsin. 

– Riverboats cruise the Mississippi year-round, and there are always several boats coming and going from Dubuque’s port. Check out the online listing to see which boats will be arriving from where. 

– Try your luck at Diamond Jo Casino or Q Casino.

– Check out live music at The Lift, a fun basement dive bar hidden on lower Main Street.

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