A Day in Dubuque

Note:  This visit to Dubuque occured before the Coronavirus outbreak in 2020.  Please note many of these places may not be open to the public for a couple of months.

The City of Dubuque is only about an hour from our home in Cedar Rapids.  We spent a day there visiting some unique sites.

We started out by attending a vintage market. The Antique Spectacular Show is held in Dubuque, IA, twice a year in March and November.

Event Show

The market is located at the Grand River Center at 500 Bell St.  The event is produced by Kimberly Schilling, who also features shows in Cedar Falls and the Quad Cities.  Admission is $8 for adults; children under the age of 14 are free with a paid adult.

More information and $1 off admission ticket coupons may be found at www.antiquespectacular.com

Our kids did not want to believe we could go to 3 states in 15 minutes!  No, they said, it would take at least a day!  So we just had to cross the Mississippi River bridge into East Dubuque, IL, and drive across the Wisconsin border to show them it could be done!  Here is the view of the Mississippi River coming from Wisconsin back into Iowa:

View from Bridge

Backwater views of the river:

River

A quick stop at the Veteran’s Memorial Park in Dubuque gave us a chance to pay our respects for those who have served our country.

MemorialHelicopter

We putzed around downtown for a little bit.  We had to check out the Ice Cream U Scream shop at 198 Main St. and the Candle Ready Cakes bakery which now has gluten-free items at 197 Main St.

Candle Ready Cakes

After walking around downtown, we decided to stop for dinner at the Barrel House, 299 Main St., for burgers, pizza, and tacos.  Many gluten and soy free choices for the kids here!

Food

Off the beaten path, we found this fun little indoor flea market called Shaggy’s on 175 N. Crescent Ridge.  Whatever you can think of, they have in there!  It is worth the stop to check it out!

And finally, on our way out of town, we stopped at the Mines of Spain Recreation Center.  It was really muddy out, so we were not able to do much there.  We will definitely have to go back another time to check out this park!

The trail leading up to the Julien Dubuque Monument was closed, so we were not able to get a very good picture.  We’ll come back to hike up there during the summer.

Mines of Spain3

The Mines of Spain is about 1400 acres of wildlife area next to the Mississippi River.  Canoeing, kayaking, hiking, hunting, snowshoeing (in the winter), and fishing are all popular activities here.

What areas have you visited this spring?

Best of 2019

We love to share our favorite places and food finds with others!  Here are our favorites from 2019!

Best Bike Trail:  Along the Cedar River.  You can cycle along Ellis Boulevard, downtown, or on the Southwest side of town.

Best Park for Hanging Out:  Ellis Park.  It is centrally located in town.  Ride your bike along the river, swim in the pool, have a picnic in Shakespeare’s Garden, or look out over the bluffs.

Best Event or Fair:  What Cheer Flea Market.  This event is now held 3 times a year!  May, July/August, and October.

Flea Market Find
One of our finds at the What Cheer Flea Market.  We planted strawberries in here to keep them from taking over our small garden.

Best Pizza:  Roscoe’s on Edgewood Rd NW.  Our favorites are the Mambo Combo and the Linda Lou!  Gluten-free pizzas are available.

Best Burgers:  The Map Room

The Map Room

Best Sandwich:  Voodoo Chicken at Zepplin’s

Best Wings:  Quinton’s

Check out last year’s favorites for more ideas! https://funinthecorridor.com/2019/01/19/best-of-2018/

Best Mexican:  El Paraiso

Best Chili Verde:  El Paraiso.  So spicy!

Best Wine Bar:  Della Viti–have you been to their new location in New Bo?

Best Beer and Ciders:  Parlor City

Best Margaritas:  Caucho

Best Martini:  White Star Ale House

Best Steakhouse:  Rube’s in Montour.  They now have a burger night as well!

Best Coffee House:  Dash.  I love their selection of organic teas and my kids love their Unicorn Hot Chocolate!  Dash is 1 of 2 coffee shops in town that we have found with soy-free hot chocolate for those of you with food allergies.  And their Avocado Toast is simply awesome!

Avocado Toast
Avocado Toast on Gluten-Free bread from Dash

Best New Restaurant We Tried This Year:  Bo Mac’s

Best Indoor Place for Kids to Play:  Speedez–have you been to their new location on the SW side of town?

Speedezz

Best Outdoor Place for Kids to Play:  Cherry Hill Park

Best Free Activity for Kids:  Coder Dojo in New Bo

What are your favorites?  Let us know!

 

Best of 2018

We love to share our favorite places and food finds with other people!  Here are our favorites from 2018!

Best Bike Trail:  Along the Cedar River, whether you are on Ellis Road, going downtown, or on the southwest side of town

Cedar River 2
The Cedar River as seen from the southwest side bike trails

Best Park for hanging out:  Ellis Park.  You have the river, the pool, the basketball court, the playgrounds, the golf course, Shakespeare’s Garden, and all the little off-set areas to explore in as you drive around the park grounds.

Best Event or Fair:  We loved the Bohemian Betty Flea Market held in September.  It was a bit unusual and had really unique items.

Best Pizza:  Mellow Mushroom in Coralville (they have a great gluten/dairy/soy free selection!)

Best Burgers: The Map Room

Saigon
Saigon Burger from the Map Room

Best Non-Burger Sandwich:  Voodoo Chicken at Zepplin’s

Best Wings:  Quinton’s in Cedar Rapids

Best Mexican Restaurant:  El Paraiso  The staff is wonderful!  We have been coming here for so long they remember us not only in the restaurant, but also out in the community when we see them!

Best Chile Verde:  El Pariso  (It is spicy!)

Best Wine Bar:  Tie between Winestyles and Della Viti.  Della Viti is more trendy and you can have partial glasses of wine; Winestyles is more cozy.

Best Beer and Ciders:  Parlor City

Best Margaritas:  El Paraiso (we love this place!)

Best Martini:  White Star Ale House

Best Steakhouse:  Rube’s in Montour.  Worth.The.Drive.

Best Indoor Place for Kids to Play:  Skyzone

Best Outdoor Place for Kids to Play:  Cherry Hill and Ellis Parks and Pools

Best Free Activity for Kids:  Coder Dojo at the Geonetric Building

bigfoot
Bigfoot spotted along Ellis Road

What are your favorite places?  Tell me about them in the comments!

City Bike Trails

Now that the chilly, gray winter is over, our family FINALLY! got out to ride our bikes on the south side trails in Cedar Rapids.  This day was extra special because all four of our kids were able to join us!  You see, our oldest boy turns 21 in a few weeks and will be moving on in the world.

Local Pour

Our first stop of the day was at the new restaurant at 302 3rd Ave SW called Local Pour Street Food. The poutine here is delicious! The corn dogs are literally a foot long, the gyros are fantastic, and everything is exactly what you would expect to find from a food truck. Ask them about their secret menu….

Next we rode over to Czech Village and caught the trail over to the Cedar River.

ConstructionConstruction is in progress to expand the Cedar Lake area.

Bridge

We were excited to see signs posted announcing a new pedestrian bridge that will be built in the near future to allow access across the river.  Check out Project Connect CR here to learn more about the “Sleeping Giant” that will be a magnificent addition to the riverfront.

Mt Trashmore

Mt. Trashmore rises in the distance…..

Critter

Critters on the trail going out to Tait Cummins Sports Complex.

kickstand-e1527820483348.jpg
Photo Credit:  JR Lauritsen

All this riding made us thirsty.  Gotta stop at Kickstand for a Smith and Forge Cider at 203 14th Ave SE for the adults.  (Water and pop for the kiddos!)

After a quick stop at Quentin’s Bar and Grill at 450 1st St SW for some of the best wings in town, we ended our day at Blue 42 (629 Ellis Blvd NW) for burgers and pizza.  Seven hours later, we arrived home.  Tired, sore, and already planning our next outing.  Where should we go next?  Leave your suggestions in the comments!

The Map Room

 

The Map RoomTaste the flavors of the world without even leaving Cedar Rapids.  How?  Simply by visiting The Map Room!  This new pub recently opened up downtown.    The atmosphere is warm and cozy inside, almost like stepping into your grandfather’s study.  Interesting maps of all kinds hang from the walls.  The beer and wine list is well-rounded and is not so long it makes it hard to choose what you would like.  Creative craft cocktails are also available.  The best-kept secret about this place is how good the burgers are.  Oh my goodness, they are awesome! 

 The Map Room uses locally sourced meat for their burgers.  Each one is named after a major city around the world.  My husband ordered a New Orleans burger made with mortadella, ham, salami, mozzarella, provolone, and a spicy olive relish.  I ordered a Saigon burger topped with ham, mortadella, cucumber, pickled carrots and radish, jalapeños, cilantro, and mayonnaise.  It has a bit of a kick to it!  One of the most popular burgers served here is the Memphis.  The Memphis is topped with American cheese, pulled pork, French-fried onions, pickles, and a house-made BBQ sauce.   Gluten-free buns are available.  The salads change daily, based on ingredients the chef has available.  Broccoli salad was the choice available for us.  Some days, a kimchi potato salad is available.  I can’t wait to come back and try it!

New Orleans
The New Orleans burger on a gluten-free bun.
Saigon
The Saigon burger on a gluten-free bun.

Not so adventurous when it comes to your food?  You also have the choice to build your own burger.  If you don’t feel like eating a full meal, you may choose from a variety of appetizers served over fries or crostini bread.

I definitely recommend this place for a unique experience.  Curiosity will draw you in, comfort will bring you back.  The Map Room is located at 416 3rd St SE in downtown Cedar Rapids (formerly known as Stella’s).