Dubuque Area Information

Dubuque, founded in 1833, is the oldest city in Iowa. A port on the upper Mississippi River, it is situated along scenic bluffs facing the river, and has its roots in a mining and trading settlement established in the area by Quebec-born entrepreneur Julien Dubuque in 1788. The city’s population is 58,531 (2016 Census), and the current estimated population of the Dubuque metropolitan area is 97, 125.

Where is Dubuque?

Dubuque is 183 mi (295 km) west of Chicago via I-90 and US 20, 90 mi (145 km) southwest of Madison, Wisconsin, via US 151, 70 mi (113 km) north of the Quad Cities via US 61, and 189 mi (304 km) northeast of Des Moines via US 65, US 30, and US 151.

Get Around

Once in Dubuque, most people travel by car as public transport is limited. There are a handful of major car rental offices in the city.

  • By bus

The City of Dubuque also operates a public bus system. KeyLine Transit operates 4 bus routes and a trolley route (in the summer) downtown. The buses generally operate in a east-west orientation, with major transfer stations downtown (W 9th and Main Sts.), midtown (N Grandview and University Aves.), and on the west side (Kennedy Cir./John F. Kennedy Rd.). Most buses operate on 45 min-1-hour long loops.

Bus Schedule

Bus System Map

Bus fares are between 50¢-$1. Discount tickets are available for students, elderly, and the handicapped, available at +1 563 589-4196 or KeyLine office at 2401 Central Ave.


Due to its older age, when driving around downtown Dubuque, be on the lookout for one-way streets because they are somewhat poorly marked. Also, take caution as many turn lanes become confusing with lanes simply ending or becoming turn lanes without advance warning.


  • Cable Car Square

Situated at the base of the 4th Street Elevator. Contains many historic Victorian-era buildings housing coffee shops, restaurants, and specialty shops. Centered on 4th and Bluff Streets.

  • Crystal Lake Cave

Limestone cavern first discovered by early lead miners.

  • Dubuque Arboretum and Botanical Gardens

52-acre (21 ha) garden with emphasis on irises, dahlias, lilies, dwarf and unusual conifers; rose and herb gardens.

  • Dubuque Museum of Art 701 Locust St

Four separate galleries featuring regional and national art.

  • Fenelon Place (4th Street) Elevator

Historic cable-car ride from Dubuque’s river level to top of bluff.

  • Field of Dreams

Movie site 19 mi (31 km) west, just northeast of Dyersville.

  • Five Flags Center

Hosts the Dubuque Symphony Orchestra, the Dubuque Fighting Saints professional hockey, and various touring theater productions.

Dubuque’s oldest theater, built in 1890 and recently restored, hosts community theater productions including plays, musicals, and ballets. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, with a Richardson Romanesque architectural style. Coordinates with several downtown restaurants for dinner/theater specials.

  • Grand River Center

Port of Dubuque. Convention center along the Mississippi containing 115,000 square feet of room for meetings, conventions, and other social functions. Connected by skywalk to the Grand Harbor Resort & Waterpark.

The Grand River Center overlooks the Mississippi River in the Port of Dubuque.

  • Mathias Ham House Museum

Preserved Italianate mansion of early river baron, with period furnishings.

  • Mines of Spain State Recreation Area

Nature trails and an interpretive center.

  • National Farm Toy Museum

30,000 toy tractors and other farm toys, located in Dyersville.

  • National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium

Affiliated with the Smithsonian Institution and owned by the Dubuque County Historical Society, the National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium features six aquariums and the history of the Mississippi River. It is the only museum along the entire length of the river solely devoted to its history.

Built in 2001, the Park Farm Winery is located 17 miles west of Dubuque in the rolling hills of northeast Iowa. It features a chateau and several award-winning wines from the 2009 Mid-America Wine Festival.

  • Shot Tower

Port of Dubuque. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Shot Tower is one of the last standing such towers in the country. It stands 120’5″ from base to peak, and is a recognized symbol of the city. It is currently undergoing renovations and is part of the city’s master plan to revitalize the harbor area.


  • American Lady Yacht Cruises

Yacht cruises on the Mississippi River, featuring happy hour and sunset dinner cruises. Also arrange wedding and event cruises.

  • Chestnut Mountain Ski Resort 8700 W Chestnut Rd, Galena, IL +1 800-798-0098

Located south of Dubuque on bluffs overlooking the Mississippi. Nineteen runs and seven-acre terrain park. 450 foot vertical drop. Open during summer months with mountain biking, miniature golf, nature trails, and alpine slide.

  • Diamond Jo Casino

Located at the Port of Dubuque.

  • Dubuque by Carriage

Cable Car Square: Carriage tours of downtown Dubuque that include informative history of the city and region. Run from May-October.

  • Dubuque River Rides

Sightseeing and dinner cruises on the Mississippi River.

  • Fever River Outfitters 525 S. Main St, Galena, IL; 815.776.9425

Area’s supplier of canoe/kayak rentals and organized day and overnight trips on the Mississippi and other area rivers. Also offers scooter and bike trips to Galena-area wineries. Organizes the Fever River Adventure Triathlon each September.

  • Grand Harbor Resort and Waterpark

Iowa’s first indoor waterpark resort contains 25,000 square feet of Mississippi-themed indoor water activities.

  • Great River Wine Trail

A collection of nine vineyards in the Tri-State area (3 in Iowa, 3 in Illinois, and 3 in Wisconsin), promoted as a weekend destination for regional and international wine lovers. Each winery is located within 50 miles of the Mississippi, and tours are organized between the various locations. Individuals visiting and tasting at each winery turn in bottle stickers from each to receive a free t-shirt commemorating their accomplishment.

  • Heritage Trail

Scenic 26-mi (42 km) bike/snowmobile trail from Dubuque to Dyersville, built on old Chicago Great Western railroad bed.

  • Mississippi Riverwalk Port of Dubuque

A 1/2 mile long walkway along the Mississippi River, running from the Ice Harbor in the south to the Alliant Energy Amphitheater in the north, situated atop Dubuque’s flood protection levee. Provides excellent views of both the Mississippi and downtown Dubuque. Includes a pavillion, benches, and numerous informational displays on the history of the Port of Dubuque.

  • Q Casino

Home of the Dubuque Greyhound Park.

Ski resort just west of Dubuque, overlooking Driftless Area. Twenty-one trails, 2 terrain parks, and 475 feet of vertical drop. Live music on weekends at the North Lounge.

  • Swiss Valley Nature Preserve & Center 13606 Swiss Valley Rd, Peosta, IA; 563.556.6745

Interpretive center, hiking trails, trout fishing, and 4 miles of cross country skiing spread out over its 476 acres.

Premium small group adventure boat tour exploring the Mississippi river aboard a high peformance R.I.B Boat $30.


  • Birchwood Golf Course 3976 Eagle Point Rd, Kieler, WI; 608.748.4743

9 hole course located on the bluffs overlooking the Mississippi, just 2 miles north of Dubuque.

18 holes.

  • Derby Grange Golf & Recreation 13079 Derby Grange Rd; 563.556.4653

9 hole par-3 course, also includes mini-golf course.

  • Dubuque Golf and Country Club 1800 Randall Pl; 563.583.9158

Private club.

  • Eagle Ridge Resort & Spa 444 Eagle Ridge Dr, Galena, IL; 815.777.2444

Four award-winning courses on 68,000 acres.

  • Lacoma Golf Club 8080 Timmerman Dr, East Dubuque, IL; 815.747.3874

45 holes of golf, including the championship Blue Course.

  • Meadows Golf Club 15766 Clover Ln, Asbury, IA; 563.583.7385

Voted best course in the Tri-State 2003-2008 and given a four-star rating by Golf Digest.

  • Thunder Hills Country Club 16682 Thunder Hills Dr, Peosta, IA; 563.556.3363

Full-service country club.

  • Timberline Golf Course 19858 E. Pleasant Grove Rd, Peosta, IA; 563.876.3422

18 holes.


  • Allison-Henderson Park

Five acre park on N. Grandview Ave. Includes lighted in-line hockey rink, playround equipment, BBQ grills and a recreation program center.

  • AY McDonald Park

Located at north end of Kerper Blvd on the Mississippi, includes fishing pier, boat ramp, walk/bike path, and a rentable council ring overlooking the river.

  • Bergfield Recreation Area

Just west of the city, includes fishing pond with two accessible fishing jetties and a 0.78 mile path around the pond.

  • Eagle Point Park

Named one of the most outstanding city parks in the Midwest, featuring 164 acres of blufftop views of Iowa, Illinois, and Wisconsin. Facilities include Riverfront Pavilion, Shiras Memorial Pavilion, Log Cabin Pavilion, six tennis courts, viewing towers, band shell, playground equipment, spray pool, and rock garden/fish pond. In 1930, a WPA grant was used for renovating the park, incorporating Frank Lloyd Wright prairie architecture into its buildings and gardens.

  • Louis Murphy Park

On the south end of Dubuque, with picnic shelters, three tennis courts, horseshoe courts, and playground equipment. Overlooks the southern end of the city and the Mississippi River from its blufftop location.

  • McAleece Park Recreation Complex

Located on Chaplain Schmitt Island, the complex features three lighted softball diamonds, John Petraikis Field (lighted regulation baseball diamond with seating for 1,700), two soccer fields, a skate park, and a concession stand.

  • Miller Riverview Park

Twenty acre park on Chaplain Schmitt Island, next to Mystique Casino, with camping facilities, a walk/bike path, and great views of Mississippi River traffic.

  • Pet Park

A 2.5 acre park next to Bunker Hill Golf Course. Fenced in and separate areas for large and small dogs.

  • Veterans Memorial Park

A 73 acre park on the north side of the city with three softball diamonds, four tennis courts, disc golf course, and a large amount of heavily wooded area.

  • Wahlert Park

    A 35 acre park on Pennsylvania Avenue that includes five tennis courts, two softball diamonds, volleyball courts, Flora Park swimming pool, horseshoe courts, and a concession stand.


There are thousands of students who attend colleges in Dubuque. The largest are the city’s 3 liberal arts colleges: Clarke University, Loras College, and the University of Dubuque. Collectively, the schools are known as the “Tri Colleges” and enjoy a friendly rivalry with one another. Other students attend the various religious institutions in the city, or Northeast Iowa Community College, which has a satellite location downtown.

  • Capri Cosmetology College: Cosmetology college

  • Clarke University: 4-year Roman Catholic college

  • Divine Word College: Roman Catholic missionary college in Epworth

  • Emmaus Bible College: Evangelical seminary, college

  • Loras College: 4-year Roman Catholic college

  • Northeast Iowa Community College: 2-year community college

  • University of Dubuque: 4-year Presbyterian university

  • Wartburg Theological Seminary: Lutheran seminary


  • Asbury Plaza

Corner of Asbury Rd and Northwest Arterial. Outdoor shopping complex in the West End. Home to Kohl’s, Sam’s Club, Hy-Vee, and Star Cinemas.

  • Kennedy Mall

555 Kennedy Rd, 563.556.1994 [43] Iowa’s first enclosed shopping mall has recently undergone renovations. Home to Mindframe Theaters, Dubuque’s independent cinema, as well as anchors Sears, Younkers, and JC Penney.


  • Breitbach’s Country Dining

Again destroyed by fire 25 Oct 2008; however, opened once again in August 2009. Located a few miles northwest of Dubuque in Balltown. Iowa’s oldest food and drinking establishment (opened in 1852), and has seen the likes of the outlaw Jesse James, Brooke Shields, and George Wendt walk through its doors.

  • Breitbach’s Farmer’s Market Food Store

“The Food Store” (as it is commonly referred to) has been serving the Dubuque community for 30 years. Michael and Pearl Breitbach (and their five children) have been the Tri-State area’s only consistent source of natural and organic foods, including local produce, meat, dairy, and poultry for the last 3 decades. It also stocks the freshest herbs and spices, supplements, vitamins and minerals, and informative literature on health food and healthy living. The longest running stall on the Dubuque Farmer’s Market, Breitbach’s also provides live musical entertainment on Saturday mornings May-October.

Located in the historic Old Main district, and specializing in beef, lamb, veal, and poultry. Large wine selection and fantastic desserts.


  • The Lift 180 Main St, 563.584.1702

    Old Main’s newest nightlife hotspot, and an Irish-themed bar. Formerly known as the Busted Lift and 180 Main. Live music and gorgeous bar. 20 beers on tap, including every major Irish import.

Bill themselves as “Dubuque’s #1 Hotspot”, owing to their Bikini Deck overlooking the Mississippi and cheap happy hour specials. Regularly host bands on the deck during the summer months.

  • Courtside Sports Bar and Grill 2095 Holliday Dr, 563.583.0574

Large sports bar in western Dubuque with 26 TVs, including 3 60″ LCDs above the bar as well as a 15 foot projection screen. Hosts rec leagues on its courts, including basketball, volleyball, and dodgeball. Also occasionally hosts live music.

  • Europa Haus Restaurant and Bier Stube 1301 Rhomberg Ave, 563.588.0361

Located in Dubuque’s old German ward on the northside. A German-themed bar and restaurant with beers such as Spaten on tap.

  • Frank O’Dowd’s Irish Pub & Grill 9853 US Hwy 20, Galena, IL, 866.284.7474

Just 15 minutes east of Dubuque, in Galena, is this authentic (built in Ireland, shipped to the U.S.) pub. Hosts Irish dancers regularly. Excellent Irish whiskey (over 50 types) and beer selections. St. Patrick’s Day celebrated every day!

  • Galena Beer Company 227 N. Main St, Galena, IL; 815.275.9469

Brewery and pub opening June 2010. Will be second area brewpub (after Potosi) once opened. Two beer styles already available at area vendors.

In an old converted warehouse space at 1st and Main, Lot One has a great selection of beers, including picks from Capital, Flying Dog, Rogue, and Spanish Peaks. Also serves great hamburgers and has a large martini list. Second floor can be rented out for private parties.

Located inside the Diamond Jo Casino complex. Hosts Dueling Pianos every Thursday, DJs on Fridays, and live bands every Saturday night. Occasionally hosts big-name performers such as Jordin Sparks.

Sports bar in the Diamond Jo complex with 18 TVs, including two large screens and their own sports ticker.

Home to the National Brewery Museum and brewing several of their own beers, the restored Potosi Brewery is a restaurant and pub with original sandstone walls and Cypress wood tables made from old brewery beer vats. Beer garden located outside open during warmer months. On-site brewed beers include Good Old Potosi Beer (light ale), Pure Malt Cave Ale, Snake Hollow India Pale Ale, Holiday Lager Bock, American Porter, Potosi Czech Style Pilsner, and Scotch Ale.

Inside the restored Hotel Julien Dubuque. Newly opened.

Located in the same building as Star Ultra Lounge. Has a piano bar and outdoor patio. Sells wines crafted at the Stone Cliff vineyards near Dubuque. Also has a tasting room and gift shop on site.



  • Hilton Garden Inn Dubuque Downtown 1801 Greyhound Park Dr, 563.585.5200

An extended stay hotel with fully equipped kitchens in every suite.

  • Timmerman’s Hotel and Resort, 7787 Timmerman Dr, East Dubuque, IL, +1 815.747.3181

B & B’s

  • Quiet Walker Lodge, 18132 Paradise Valley Trail Durango IA, +1 800.388.0943

Stay Safe

Dubuque is a very safe city with a below-average crime rate. By and large, all areas of the city can be enjoyed day or night without fear of robbery or attack. Visitors are very common to the area, with the high number of tourist attractions and the presence of multiple colleges, and attacks on tourists are rare. The main tourist destinations and hotel locations are well-traveled and safe. However, as with any city of a certain size, there are some pockets of crime.

  • For emergencies, call: 911

  • For non-emergencies, call the Dubuque Police Department: +1 563.589.4410

Stay Healthy

Dubuque is home to two major hospitals, and is the region’s center for health care.

  • Mercy Medical Center, 250 Mercy Dr; 563.589.8000

    A 263 bed hospital just west of downtown that was named one of the nation’s Top 100 hospitals by Thomson Reuters last year. It also has received Magnet hospital designation by the American Nurses Credentialing Center. It handles 55,000 patient visits annually.

  • Finley Hospital, 350 N. Grandview Ave; 563.582.1881

    Named one of America’s Top 100 hospitals, and is the Tri-State’s leader in cancer care.

Get Out

Enjoy a view of the upper Mississippi River valley’s natural splendor, as you travel through dairy and corn country, down into tree-lined valleys, along limestone bluffs, all the while getting glimpses of the majestic river itself. This is not prairie Iowa – there’s a great deal of scenic variety and interest. The drive north of Dubuque to McGregor, via Sherrill, Balltown, and North Buena Vista, and the drive south through St. Catherine’s, St. Donatus, Bellevue, and Sabula, are especially commendable.


Heading 19 mi (24 km) east on US Hwy 20 to Illinois takes the traveler to Galena, the “town that time forgot” and worth at least a day to soak up the atmosphere of a small town that attracts thousands of visitors each year. The historic former lead-mining and commercial center features numerous antique shops and restaurants, and the Ulysses S. Grant Home.