There are many places in Dubuque where you can come out of the cold when the weather gets to its extremes.

Before then, the area’s biggest city provides some great outdoors attractions as well as history, downtown sights and sounds and some solid annual events.

Where to startNational Mississippi River Museum

& Aquarium. You still have a week to catch the featured “Once Upon a Time ... Exploring the World of Fairy Tales” exhibit. Youngsters can become fairy tale characters in the interactive exhibit. Learn more at or 800-226-3369.

Where to stay and playHotel Julien Dubuque, 200 Main St., 563-556-4200, with Caroline’s restaurant and the Riverboat Lounge as dining and wining options; Grand Harbor Resort and Waterpark, along the river at 350 Bell St., 563-690-4000. The city also has the usual array of hotel chains and many B&Bs to choose from. Hampton Inn Dubuque has done some recent renovations, 3434 Dodge St., 563-690-2005.

Diamond Jo Casino, 301 Bell St., 563-690-4800. Eat at the Woodfire Grille, one of Dubuque’s higher-end restaurants. 563-690-4755.

Q Casino, 1855 Greyhound Park Road, 563-582-3647. Offers greyhound racing through Oct. 20 and featuring the The Farmhouse Kitchen, 563-582-3647.

OutdoorsThe Mines of Spain State Recreation Area. The 1,380 acres of woods and prairie land just south of Dubuque offer 10 trails of varying lengths. Some convert to cross country skiing when there is enough snow. One highlight of the area is the Julien Dubuque Monument. It offers great views of the Mississippi River. Another is the E.B. Lyons Interpretive Center. Go to

Swiss Valley Nature Preserve and Nature Center is located 4½ miles west of Dubuque. You will find more than 10 miles of trails through the forest, prairie, wetland areas and Catfish Creek. For information, go to

DowntownThe Historic Millwork District, primarily along Jackson and Washington streets between Seventh and 12th streets, provides an array of restaurants, nightspots, brew pubs, coffee shops and unique retail outlets tucked into vintage brick environments. For more information, go to

Tri-States Largest Chili Cook-off, 10 a.m-5 p.m, Saturday, Oct. 5, Cable Car Square on Bluff Street. Chili and salsa tasting begins at noon. For more info, go to or call 563-583-5555. Go early before the crowd and check out the Fenelon Place Elevator, the world’s shortest, steepest scenic railway.

Baconfest, 6-8 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 3, Grand River Center in Port of Dubuque. Taste-testing and voting on the best local bacon dishes. Proceeds from the event go to Area Residential Care.

Where to eat, practicalCopper Kettle, 2987 Jackson St., 563-845-0567. Dubuque Mining Company, 555 Kennedy Road, 563-557-1729. Happy Joe’s Pizza & Ice Cream Parlor, 855 Century Drive, 563-556-0820. Tony Roma’s, 350 Bell St., 563-690-3249.

Where to eat, fancierBrazen Open Kitchen | Bar, 955 Washington St., 563-587-8899. Ichiban

Hibachi Steakhouse & Sushi, 3187 University Ave., 563-663-6289. L.May, 1072 Main St., 563-556-0505. Pepper Sprout, 378 Main St., 563-556-2167.

Where to drink1st & Main, 101 Main St., 563-587-8152; The Dungeon, 302 Locust St., 563-845-0479; Jumpers Sports Bar & Grill, 2600 Dodge St., 563-556-6100; The Lift, 180 Main St., 563-584-9712; The Smokestack, 62 E. Seventh St., smokestack

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