Top things to do in Dubuque—Iowa's oldest city—include the National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium, the Dubuque Arboretum and Botanical Gardens, Cable Car Square, Fenelon Place Elevator, Eagle Point Park and the Mines of Spain Recreation Area.

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Do

Dimensional Brewing Company This spot—part of a growing brewery scene in a city that did not have even one operating brewery a few years ago—pours knockout IPAs in a 1916 brick building downtown. dimensionalbrewing.com

Dubuque Arboretum and Botanical Gardens The all-volunteer arboretum features a peony collection, rose garden, Japanese garden, hosta shade garden and more. Weekday tours are available by reservation. dubuquearboretum.net

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Dubuque Arboretum
| Credit: Ginger Crichton

Eagle Point Park Above Lock and Dam No. 11, 164 acres provide picnic spots and Mississippi views. cityofdubuque.org

Fenelon Place Elevator In Cable Car Square, ride 189 feet up the world's shortest, steepest scenic railway for a tristate view. fenelonplaceelevator.com

Iowa
Fenelon Place Elevator
| Credit: Ackerman + Gruber

Field of Dreams movie site A century-old farm in Dyersville (27 miles west) made movie history. People still come to sit in the bleachers and run the bases. More history will be made August 12, 2021, when the Chicago White Sox and New York Yankees play at a temporary ballpark constructed next to the movie location. fieldofdreamsmoviesite.com

Mines of Spain State Recreation Area A 1,432-acre National Historic Landmark encompasses limestone cliffs and bluffs, stands of old timber, and Catfish Creek along miles of hiking trails. Get great river views from the Julien Dubuque Monument. minesofspain.org

National Farm Toy Museum This Dyersville fun house displays thousands of scale-model farm toys. nationalfarmtoymuseum.com

National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium Three dozen exhibits show the worlds of a bayou, backwater marsh, flooded forest and more. Turtles and alligator gar fill freshwater habitats. You can get up close to the octopus and touch live stingrays in the Gulf of Mexico Aquarium. rivermuseum.com

National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium. Courtesy of the Dubuque Convention and Visitors Bureau
National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium. Courtesy of the Dubuque Convention and Visitors Bureau
| Credit: Courtesy of the Dubuque Convention and Visitors Bureau

Voices Mural Project More than 25 murals from artists across the U.S. cover downtown, thanks to a nonprofit project started in 2017. Spot them from the Mississippi riverfront to the burgeoning Millwork District. voicesproductions.org

Eat

7 Hills Brewing Company Sample brews, like the Muddy Tugger nut brown ale, and nosh on soups, sandwiches and brisket in a former warehouse in the Historic Millwork District. 7hillsbrew.com

Brazen Open Kitchen Taste the work of Kevin Scharpf, who appeared on Bravo's Top Chef. Try salmon with vegan risotto or duck confit tacos, with tomato ceviche, cilantro and corn tortillas. Wash it all down with an elderflower gin cocktail frothed with eggs. brazenopenkitchen.com

Copper Kettle Craft beer and comfort-food fare, such as house-smoked pork ribs or chicken linguine, have made this a local favorite. Copper Kettle's Facebook page

L.May Eatery Named for the owner's grandmother, this charming spot elevates comfort food (pizza, tacos, pork shanks, stuffed chicken) to gourmet status with farm-fresh ingredients. lmayeatery.com

Pepper Sprout Reserve your spot for the gourmet, seasonal Midwestern cuisine prepared with upscale flair. Atmosphere and service are top-shelf. peppersprout.com

Stone Cliff Winery Room Live music some nights makes a perfect pairing for Iowa wine. stonecliffwinery.com

Stay

Hotel Julien Dubuque An elegant lobby preserves 180 years of history in wood-paneled columns and golden elevators, while cozy, updated rooms overlook the Mississippi River. A spa, indoor pool and restaurant round out your stay. hoteljuliendubuque.com

Hotel Julien Dubuque.
Hotel Julien Dubuque.

For information: Dubuque Convention and Visitors Bureau traveldubuque.com