Take a ride on Iowa’s only authentic paddle wheeler, visit a casino or enjoy the many miles of recreational trails in this historic port town.
Dubuque is situated in the tri-state area of Iowa, Illinois and Wisconsin. The city offers visitors a vibrant casino and gaming scene and many modern tourist attractions. It also provides easy access to the beautiful countryside around the Mississippi.
Start your visit to Dubuque by taking a stroll along the Mississippi Riverwalk to Dubuque Harbor. This area used to be an industrial center but has now been modernized and reconstructed. It features many tourist attractions and a number of casinos and is one of the most popular destinations in Iowa.
Visit the Grand Harbor Waterpark Resort or take a ride on a paddle wheeler that has been running for more than 20 years. To learn more about the river and its wildlife, pay the fee and enter the National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium. The six aquariums feature a wide range of animals including beavers and alligators.
While you are at the harbor, take a look at the historical landmarks around the old port. To the north is one of Dubuque’s oldest historical landmarks: the 120-foot- (37-meter-) tall Shot Tower. From 1856 to 1861, musket balls were produced here. Drops of molten lead would fall through the tower and cool into balls by the time they hit the water.
For some outdoor activity, drive 5 miles (8 kilometers) south to Mines of Spain State Park. This wooded expanse of hills and trails follows the Mississippi River as it flows southeast from the Dubuque city center. Hike the short Horseshoe Bluff Trail to reach a hillside viewpoint and look out over Dubuque to the north and the Mississippi to the south. There is a fee to enter the park.
Dubuque has a regional airport about a 20-minute drive south of town. You can use one of the shuttle services into town, take a taxi or hire a rental car. There are several bus lines that run within Dubuque, but it is best to have access to a car if you would like to reach the parks on the outskirts of town.