Take in the sights and enjoy a variety of fun things to do in Dubuque, Iowa. Full of history and breathtaking views, Iowa’s oldest city has a lot to offer visitors, all year long.
While there are many fun things to do in the area, I am excited to share the best things to do in Dubuque, Iowa.
Fun Things to Do in Dubuque, Iowa
If you are looking for suggestions for what to do in Dubuque, Iowa, you have come to the right place.
This has been a fun area to explore and I have visited more times than I can count at this point because there is so much to do!
While there are quite a few things to do in Dubuque that are reasonably priced, there are also plenty of free things to do in Dubuque.
Crystal Lake Caves
Who could have guessed that there was a cave in Iowa? Not me! Although it turns out that Crystal Lake Caves isn’t the only place in Iowa where you can find caves but I have yet to explore the other areas.
Apparently, there is a place called Spook Cave Campground in Macgregor Iowa, also Maquoketa Caves State Park, and maybe even a few others. So it turns out that there are lots of caves in Iowa but for now we will focus on the caves in Dubuque.
If you have never toured caves before and are a little hesitant about the small spaces, this experience may not be for you as the pathways can get kinda tight while making your way through.
If you can deal with the claustrophobia this experience can bring on, it may be worth it to get a glimpse of the impressive amount of soda straws. According to online reviews, this cave located in Dubuque Iowa has an impressive field of soda straws (tubular stalactites) compared to other caves in the midwest.
Crystal Lake Cave offers tours, picnic grounds, a gift shop, and a mining experience. Some of the advantages of visiting this cave are that it is nicely lit and there are plenty of formations to see. You can visit these underground tunnels at 6684 Crystal Lake Cave Rd in Dubuque, Iowa.
National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium
The National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium is a must-see when visiting Dubuque. The whole family will enjoy all that this fun-packed museum & aquarium has to offer.
From up-close encounters with stingrays and an octopus to exhibits full of the area’s rich history, a family can enjoy a full day exploring both the inside as well as the outside of this museum.
Visit the otter, turtles, and many fish on the inside for a fun show, or head outside to see the barn owl as well as many interactive family photo exhibits.
The National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium is located at 350 East 3rd Street Port of Dubuque, Iowa. Be sure to visit rivermuseum.com for more information including hours, ticket information, and restrictions.
Dubuque Museum of Art
Spend the afternoon viewing the art collections and exhibitions that the Dubuque Museum of Art has to offer.
Take advantage of the variety of classes this museum has to offer and check the calendar for special events that may interest you.
The Dubuque Museum of Art is located at 701 Locust Street in Dubuque, Iowa. Be sure to visit dbqart.org for more information including hours, ticket information, and restrictions.
Mines of Spain Recreation Park
The Mines of Spain Recreation Park is open year-round and offers many miles of trails to explore and plenty of adventure for the whole family.
Take in the wildlife and experience the 15-acre wetlands, creeks, and prairies that this expansive destination has to offer.
Located at 8991 Bellevue Heights Rd, in Dubuque, Iowa the Mines of Spain Recreation Park is worth checking out. Head over to minesofspain.org for more information before planning your visit.
Fenelon Place Elevator Company
The world’s shortest and steepest scenic railway offers magnificent views and a round-trip ride for only 3 bucks. This rate changes if want to take the elevator one way or bring a bike along on your elevator ride.
Many locals like to take advantage of this service and I can’t blame them. Could you imagine trying to ride your bike up this steep hill?
Even if you don’t actually need the service that this historic elevator offers, you have to visit while in the area.
Pictures just do not capture the heights and excitement of this elevator. While my family was visiting, we were all a little nervous at first about the height of the bluff we were about to conquer but we were all pleasantly surprised by the smooth ride to the top.
Once you reach the top, the views will amaze you and no matter how hesitant you were about getting on, you will soon realize it was well worth the anxiety.
The construction of this landmark was inspired by a former mayor who wanted a faster way to commute from work to home back in the late 1800s.
This elevator still serves as a fast way to get to the top and bottom of the bluffs for locals and tourists alike.
Don’t forget your camera, after stopping at the top, you will be met with a beautiful view of the gorgeous city of Dubuque.
Bring a friend or a selfie stick to capture a shot of you at the top with the city as your backdrop.
The Fenelon Place Elevator is located at 512 Fenelon Place in Dubuque, Iowa. Visit fenelonplaceelevator.com before planning your trip to see hours of operation.
Eagle Point Park Dubuque, Iowa
Boasting over 160 acres of stunning views, this park overlooks Iowa, Illinois, and Wisconsin. Offering trails, pavilions, tennis courts, horseshoe courts, barbeque grills, and picnic tables, this park has something for everyone to enjoy.
Eagle Point Park is located at 2601 Shiras Avenue in Dubuque, Iowa. Be sure to visit CityofDubuque.org for more information on hours and what this park has to offer before planning your visit.
Check Out the Street Art in Dubuque Iowa
When driving throughout the Dubuque area it is hard to ignore the abundance of beautiful street art and murals painted on the sides of the buildings downtown.
Each street offers bright colors and beautiful images plastered on the sides of the beautiful historic buildings. You could drive through the city all day just by taking in the street art this area has to offer.
Don’t forget your camera and be sure to bring some change for the meters as you will want to get out and see some of these masterpieces up close.
This area is perfect for filling your Instagram feed with beautiful content that your followers are sure to like. Take the Travel Dubuque Winter Instagram challenge and find out what spots offer the best photos here.
There are challenges for the whole year so no matter when you get the chance to visit this area, you can find lots of photo suggestions that shouldn’t be missed on the site.
Take in the Sights of the Mississippi River
Stroll the Riverwalk and take in the interesting art sculptures as well as beautiful views of the riverfront buildings as well as intricately structured bridges.
This area offers breathtaking views all year long.
The best part is that spending the day viewing all that the area has to offer is free and you can comfortably socially distance while enjoying the outdoors.
Take a cruise or just get up close enough to take a picture of the beautiful riverboats docked at the harbor.
This area is a photographer’s dream, it’s hard to take a bad photo with these gorgeous views in your sights.
Be sure to visit traveldubuque.com for the best times to encounter these gorgeous ships.
To find out more of what Dubuque, Iowa has to offer head over to TravelDubuque.com to plan your trip and make sure that you don’t miss any of the exciting events this fun family travel destination has to offer.
Plan Your Visit to Iowa
For more fun things to do in Iowa, check out these road trip-worthy locations.
If you are planning a trip to the area you may want to check out this post sharing where to stay in Dubuque Iowa. You can also find out where the best place to eat in Dubuque, Iowa is by clicking here.
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