We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Staying on the river in Dubuque - HELP

San Diego...
Level Contributor
84 posts
101 reviews
Save Topic
Staying on the river in Dubuque - HELP

Help me -- I've never been to Dubuque and I don't know anyone that has -- and information is sparse!

We are coming into town for one night -- we'll pull in around 2:00 pm(coming from Sioux Falls) and want to see a few things and spend the night close to the river and eat a good meal... so we need help!

Two teens will be with us. We'll go to the River Museum and would like to get ONTO the Mississippi for a quick ride, but don't want 4 hours plus a meal on a boat....

Main topic is where to stay -- anyplace nice with a view? We'll spend some money to stay in a great spot with a good location.

Would also love to know where we can have dinner that is in the "hopping part of town".

Thanks for any direction you can give us.

Des Moines, Iowa
Destination Expert
for Des Moines
Level Contributor
506 posts
35 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Staying on the river in Dubuque - HELP

I haven't stayed here myself, but a colleague at work went to Dubuque recently and really liked the Grand Harbor Resort. Information is available at http://www.grandharborresort.com/resort.htm. It appears to meet your requirements for a good view. The water park may or may not appeal to your teens, but this is considered a fun family spot. An old inn on the river that has some character and a view is the Julien Inn.

The most "hopping" part of town is probably either down along the riverfront or near the mall. The Pepper Sprout gets good reviews and is downtown, not far from either hotel mentioned above.

Have a fabulous trip!

Taiyuan, China
Destination Expert
for Pingyao County
Level Contributor
3,667 posts
178 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Staying on the river in Dubuque - HELP

Oddly, for a city that has great views of the river, there aren't many hotels that take advantage of that. Perhaps the Julien Inn. Personally, I recommend the Red Stone B&B, but it doesn't have views.

As for restaurants, Pepper Sprout is acceptable. There are several restaurants in the area, so you can look around and pick one you like. This isn't going to be 'hopping' compared to San Diego, but is about as good as it is going to get.

The River Museum is nice, and worth a visit.

2 posts
Save Reply
3. Re: Staying on the river in Dubuque - HELP

The Museum & Aquarium now offers a 90-minute eco-cruise (no meal included), and is a great experience. You can get more information about that when you buy tickets into the Museum (or, http://www.rivermuseum.com/press_detail.cfm?ID=38). As for hotels, I would recommend the Grand Harbor Resort & Waterpark, which is located within walking distance from the Museum & Aquarium. Dinner, there are quite a few spots on Main Street in downtown Dubuque for more of a unique eating experience, Bricktown, Pepper Sprouts (can be pricey though!), 180 Main, Lot 1(before bar crowd). If you want to stick with the river theme, Catfish Charlies or Houlihans(not directly on the river, but close).

Have fun in Dubuque!

Des Moines, Iowa
Level Contributor
18 posts
Save Reply
4. Re: Staying on the river in Dubuque - HELP

My son (9 yrs) and I just spent Memorial Weekend there. I had not been to Dubuque for over 20 yrs. So it was all new to me!!

We started in Maquoketa, IA - approx 30 mins south. Stayed at the Decker House Hotel on main street there. It's been in business for over 100 yrs. They had a very nice restaurant and a pub there. We went spelunking in the caves at the state park there. My son that that was the best! I recommend buying a "head" light at Walmart as the caves are dark. And I wish I had some basketball knee pads......you will be crawling around, as needed. It's a nice park and taking a picnic is a great idea.

We then went to Dubuque. Lots of restaurants and shops are located right by the River Museum. The Grand Harbor is located next to the museum also. Along with a casino.

My son and I stayed on-board the museum's steamboat, William M Black. You can rent a room on it. I paid $94/one night - we had a tiny room with bunks, a guided tour of the boat (2hrs) and breakfast in the morning. I was pleasantly surprised that the bunk was comfortable. There is a tour guide/security who stays awake all night and does regular security checks. There is also a locked security gate to get on the boat. We had a great time there. There were 12 people staying. We met some nice people. Some of us stayed on the boat for the night - ordering pizza in. Others left and went to eat out. I happened to have some chairs in my trunk which came in handy. They do have some on the boat. But I wished that we would have brought fishing poles. The boat is located right in the harbor behind the museum. You can self-tour it during the day. Its as big as a football field. We had breakfast on the boat - very good, but basic. Eggs, french toast, bacon, sausage, juice. My son thought this was the best!! I just ran across this option on the River Museum website.

Also, you have to see the Fenelon Elevator or Cable Cars. I find the story behind it funny. It's the worlds shortest and steepest. And you can see 3 states from the top. There are some shops around that area that are cute.

We ate at Catfish Charlie's - just follow the directions to the Greyhound Racetrack. Charlies's is next to that. A very nice restaurant with a patio on the harbor. We sat and watched the boats go by. They also have a boat tour that leaves from there - American something. I can't recall. The registration is in the parking lot at Charlies.

Just ask people for directions, everyone is very helpful. I went to Grand Harbor concierge (even tho we didn't stay there) and they gave me a map and directions.

As someone also mentioned - Galena is about 20-30 mins from Dubuque. It's a very quaint town. Lots of shops and cute stuff there.

We had a nice weekend there.

Cascade, Iowa
Level Contributor
425 posts
9 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: Staying on the river in Dubuque - HELP

Scotties3 summed it up pretty well.

I think the Grand Harbor Resort would be your best bet. It is definitely within walking distance of the River Museum/Aquarium. The waterpark at the Grand Harbor would be refreshing dip for you teens on a hot day, but won't hold their interest very long - it is definitely designed with a younger kid in mind.

I think the Fenelon Place Elevator would be fun stop. The entrance to that is just off of Bluff Street. There are also lots fun little shops in the Bluff street area that could keep you occupied for awhile.

Catfish Charlies would be a good stop for dinner if you want enjoy an outdoor meal with a terrific view of the river. We also enjoy dinner at BrickTown.

Another place that may be of interest to you would be Eagle Point Park. There are great views of the Mighty Mississippi from the park as well at the lock and dam on the river. If you have never seen it, it is really interesting to watch a barge or boat go through the lock and dam system.

Where are you headed when you leave Dubuque?

Des Moines, Iowa
Level Contributor
18 posts
Save Reply
6. Re: Staying on the river in Dubuque - HELP

Eagle Pass is nice. Can do some fishing there also. The lock/damn isn't operating as its under construction. We checked it out tho.

Level Contributor
6,981 posts
236 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: Staying on the river in Dubuque - HELP

The Fenelon Place Elevator is pretty cool, unique for Iowa. http://www.dbq.com/fenplco/ . The website does not seem to mention that the elevator is downtown, where 4th street ends at a bluff. The Fenelon Place end of the ride is more of a challenge to get to by auto. It is kind of a rickety old contraption. It is no thrill ride, but you will remember it for the rest of your life.

The river museum is absolutely topnotch.

My daughter had a great time with her girl scout friends at the Grand Harbor Resort and Waterpark. http://www.grandharborresort.com/ .

I can not think of any motels/hotels with river views from the bluffs. There must be some B&B's, but I can't help you there. The downtown area of Dubuque is full of old red brick buildings. Highway 20, heading west from downtown, is a typical ugly highway full of fast food places and car dealers. US 52 is a more interesting route into the city.

Galena, IL is a similarly old town with the US Grant home as a premier attraction. Galena is full of old shops which appeal more to women than to me.

New York City, New...
Level Contributor
1 post
148 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: Staying on the river in Dubuque - HELP

I am originally from Dubuque and surprised everytime I return how much it has changed! I would suggest staying at either the Grand Harbor Resort or the Holiday Inn Dubuque-Galena. The Grand Harbor is right on the waterfront and the Holiday Inn is a 1/4 mile walk to the river.

Either hotel is located near the Downtown area. For an upscale meal I suggest Peppersprout (my personal favorite) or Da Vinci's. Bricktown Brewery is a unique atmosphere being housed in an old wagon factory. My ultimate favorite meal while visiting Dubuque is Taco Supreme pizza from Happy Joe's. If you are worn out from a day exploring I would suggest having one delivered to your hotel.

If you are into unique shops I reccommend the Cable Car Square area for handmade clothes, jewelery and a collection of home furnishing shops.

Everything I just mentioned is in walking distance from each other, but I think both hotels offer free shuttles to several downtown areas.

It sounds like you will be traveling with teens. I would suggest going to Chestnut Mountain Resort in Galena for some Alpine Sledding. It is a really fun way to spend an afternoon and will offer wonderful views of the river.

Hope that helps!

Level Contributor
2,524 posts
5 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: Staying on the river in Dubuque - HELP

We have stayed at the Grand Harbor a couple of times over the last few years. My kids are 12 & 13 they enjoyed the waterpark. The rooms are just ok. Kinda looking beat up unless they have remodeled some in the last year.

10. Re: Staying on the river in Dubuque - HELP

-:- Message from TripAdvisor staff -:-

This topic has been closed to new posts due to inactivity. We hope you'll join the conversation by posting to an open topic or starting a new one.

To review the TripAdvisor Forums Posting Guidelines, please follow this link: http://www.tripadvisor.com/pages/forums_posting_guidelines.html

We remove posts that do not follow our posting guidelines, and we reserve the right to remove any post for any reason.

Removed on: 03 September 2009, 14:18