Baseball fields, caves and the mighty Mississippi River provide a fun backdrop for a family-friendly Midwest weekend getaway to Dubuque.
National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium
National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium
| Credit: Courtesy of the Dubuque Convention and Visitors Bureau

The National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium 

Set on a 10-acre riverfront campus, this attraction highlights the life, culture and history of America's most iconic waterway via multimedia displays and 12 large aquariums. If you can pry the kids away from building boats at the water table in the River Works section, take in a show at the  3D/4D theater.

Field of Dreams

Field of Dreams Movie Site 

A century-old Dyersville farm (30 miles west of Dubuque) made movie history in 1989. Visitors still come to the movie site to hit balls, play a game of catch and run the bases. Guided tours of the homestead are also available. On some summer Sundays, the "ghosts" return from the cornfields to play interactive games with kids. An MLB game was played in a temporary stadium in 2021 and is scheduled again in August 2022; further expansion is planned for both MLB and youth sports.

Crystal Lake Cave 

Take a 45-minute guided tour of this underground beauty discovered in 1868 while drilling for lead. Be prepared for some fairly tight passageways, cool temps (the cave is 52 degrees) and wet, muddy spots.

Betty Jane's Homemade Candies 

Since 1938, Betty Jane's has been satisfying cravings with a mouthwatering array of homemade caramels, candies and hand-dipped chocolates. Seasonal confections include peppermint bark, rum balls and gummi wreaths, but the year-round specialty is a Gremlin, a turtle-ish treat of nuts and caramel drenched in milk or dark chocolate. Ice cream is served in summer.

National Farm Toy Museum 

Tiny John Deeres and Massey Fergusons captivate kids and their parents. The "Farm Toy Capital of the World" displays thousands of toy tractors and other miniature vehicles. Exhibits also give information on farm life and harvesting. 

Vinny Vanucchi's 

The aroma of marinara provides a fragrant welcome to this old-world Italian eatery, with family-favorite specialties like penne with meatballs, fettuccine Alfredo and baked lasagna. 

Fenelon Place Elevator
Credit: Courtesy of Dubuque Area Convention and Visitors Bureau

Fenelon Place Elevator 

You and the kids 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.

Pepper Sprout 

From its Old Main District home across from the Port of Dubuque, this eatery serves Midwestern farm-to-table fare with innovative twists. Take older kids for an upscale treat.

Grand Harbor Resort and Waterpark 

At the Port of Dubuque, this Mississippi River-theme ginormous indoor water park has water slides, a lazy river and a Huck Finn Treehouse. The on-site Tony Roma's serves hearty dinners of ribs, steaks and seafood.