Top Things to Do on a Budget in Dubuque, Iowa
Ride a cable car to tri-state views, visit the country's largest all-volunteer arboretum, hike among limestone bluffs and more for free or low cost in Dubuque.
Pandemic-related closures and restrictions may be in place. Please check destinations' websites before making travel plans.
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. fenelonplaceelevator.com
Dubuque Museum of Art Founded in 1874, this museum is Iowa's oldest cultural institution. The 2,200-plus-item permanent collection focuses on American regional artists, with pieces by Grant Wood and a complete grouping of The North American Indian photogravures by Edward Curtis. Adult admission: $7. dbqart.com
Dubuque Arboretum and Botanical Gardens The largest 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. dubuquearboretum.net
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. Domestic and craft beers on tap cater to customers who prefer suds to grapes. stonecliffwinery.com
Eagle Point Park Above Lock and Dam #11, 164 acres provide picnic spots and Mississippi views. cityofdubuque.org
Mines of Spain Recreation Area A 1,387-acre National Historic Landmark encompases limestone bluffs, stands of old timber and Catfish Creek along 21 miles of hiking trails. Free. minesofspain.org
Photos courtesy of Dubuque Area Convention and Visitors Bureau; traveldubuque.com