Dubuque is the 11th largest city in the state and its residents enjoy a contemporary city with both Victorian charm and the conveniences of an urban setting. Dubuque’s strong historic preservation ethic has captured our rich history through its architecture. Historically known for leadmining, boat building, millworking and logging, Dubuque is now known for its riverboat excursions, tourism, bustling downtown, and recreation.
An exhilarating explosion of cultural events and activities has been nurtured by an active and progressive artistic and cultural community in the Dubuque tri-state area. Visitors are awed by the incredible architecture of the past complemented by the most recent developments, including the riverfront development and the restored downtown districts. From prehistoric mounds to historic vistas along the riverfront bluffs, the area is a profile of classic elements so typical, yet unique, in this exceptional region.
Residents of this area are minutes away from outdoor recreational opportunities and just steps away from an urban core made of commercial architectural treasures ready to be revitalized into mixed-use neighborhoods. Streetscapes that once bustled with horse-drawn carriages, then automobiles, are now being transformed through public art and other amenities to create pedestrian-friendly “third spaces." Abandoned manufacturing facilities like the Dubuque Brewing & Malting Company, located in the Driftless North End, are on the precipice of a new life that includes apartments, retail, and nightlife, attracting new urban dwellers to this mid-sized Midwest neighborhood.
Dubuque was designated an Iowa Great Place in 2006 and re-designated in 2018. The Downtown Dubuque Cultural Corridor was designated an Iowa Cultural & Entertainment District in 2004 and re-designated in 2018.
The Downtown Dubuque Cultural Corridor has many historic institutional, commercial and industrial buildings with first-floor retail/offices and upper-story housing. It offers affordable housing along with commercial offices, churches, parks and schools. Plus, major revitalization at the Port of Dubuque, Millwork District and Flat Iron Park has reclaimed underutilized and brownfield properties for walkable, accessible, mixed-use redevelopment. A network of bike/hike paths connects to parks, the Mississippi River, downtown and historic sites.
In 2020, Dubuque was seleted as the host city for the annual Preserve Iowa Summit.