Top 10 Things to Do on a Budget in Dubuque | Midwest Living

Top 10 Things to Do on a Budget in Dubuque

The Fenelon Place Elevator, Dubuque Museum of Art, and Dubuque Arboretum and Botanical Gardens are among our picks for best budget activities in the area.
Fenelon Place Elevator. Photo courtesy of Dubuque Area Convention and Visitors Bureau.
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Dubuque Museum of Art. Photo courtesy of Dubuque Area Convention and Visitors Bureau.
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Lock and Dam #11. Photo courtesy of Dubuque Area Convention and Visitors Bureau.
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Art on the River. Photo courtesy of Dubuque Area Convention & Visitors Bureau.
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1) Fenelon Place Elevator For just $3, you'll get a round-trip ride on wooden cable cars to a panoramic view of three states, the Mississippi River and Dubuque’s historical business district. Billed as the world’s shortest, steepest scenic railway, the elevator rises and descends 189 feet along its 300-foot journey. The railway dates to the 1880s. Open April through November. (563) 582-6496; dbq.com/fenplco/

2) Dubuque Museum of Art Founded in 1874, this museum is Iowa’s oldest cultural institution. The 2,100-item permanent collection focuses on American regional artists and boasts pieces by Grant Wood and a complete grouping of The North American Indian photogravures by Edward Curtis. Adult admission: $6. (563) 557-1851; dbqart.com

3) Dubuque Arboretum and Botanical Gardens The only all-volunteer arboretum in the country deserves a visit, not just because it's free, but because its displays include roses, herbs, veggies and one of the largest public hosta gardens in the United States The English Garden wows with formal plantings, and the Japanese Garden is a Zen-like spot to commune with nature. More than 300 volunteers keep this flora lush and healthy with lots of TLC. Bring a lawn chair on summer Sunday nights for a free concert series. (563) 556 2100; dubuquearboretum.net

4) Stone Cliff Winery One of Iowa’s first wineries, Stone Cliff repurposes part of the Star Brewery Complex as a tasting room-wine bar with fabulous river views. Riesling and Moscato are the sips of choice; $5 scores five samples to taste and a souvenir wine glass. Domestic and craft beers on tap cater to customers who prefer suds to grapes. Stop in during happy hour (4 to 6 p.m.) on Wednesday, Thursday or Friday for $1 off your glass of beer or wine. (563) 583-6100; stonecliffwinery.com

5) Crust Italian Kitchen and Bar In the Cooper Wagon Works Building, floor-to-ceiling windows and polished wood floors set a classy stage for brick oven-fired pizzas and build-your-own pastas. All meals kick off with tasty bites of fried dough and marinara dip. On Sundays and Mondays after 4 p.m., take advantage of the family night special: a large two-topping pizza and four drinks for $20. (563) 582-6889; crustdubuque.com

6) Lock and Dam #11 Watch boats and barges navigate this 600-foot-long chamber on their journeys up or down the river. The dam, constructed in the 1930s, is part of a 29-lock-and-dam system along the Upper Mississippi. Walking tours are Sundays at 2 p.m. in the summer; look for bald eagles from the wildlife observation deck. (309) 794-4200; mvr.usace.army.mil/

7) Art on the River Each summer, the City of Dubuque selects 10 new pieces of public art to temporarily display along the Riverwalk that winds along the Port of Dubuque. The river makes for a beautiful backdrop. (563) 690-6064; cityofdubuque.org

8) St. Luke’s Tiffany Windows Established in 1833, the oldest church in Iowa holds a breathtaking collection of Tiffany stained-glass windows; the Good Shepherd and the Good Samaritan pieces are especially eye-catching, with exquisite detail and vibrant shades of blue and purple. The Farand and Votey pipe organ is worth a look, too; it dates to 1897 and is composed of 1,000 pipes. If you ask, you might find a kindly administrator who’ll be happy to give you a church tour. (563) 582-4543; stlukesumcdbq.org

9) Naughty Dog Cafe This pet-friendly cafe serves a gourmet selection of paninis, soups, salads, hot breakfast fare and baked goods, with all items ringing up under $10. You can order beer and wine as well as lattes, cappuccinos and smoothies. The place even sells treats for Fido. (563) 556-7154; naughtydogcoffeebar.com

10) The Hancock House This turreted Victorian bed-and-breakfast makes a charming spot to spend the night. Each of the nine bedrooms—like the Dollroom, the Library and the Train Room—has themed decor and a private bathroom (some with claw-foot tubs and old-fashioned pull-chain toilets). Weekday rates start at $80 ($105 on weekends) and include a full breakfast. (563) 557-8989; thehancockhouse.com

 

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