It’s Saturday morning. I wake up at the prime time of 11 a.m. and, like many my age, check my phone right away. I see a text from one of my roommates that gets me out of bed. It reads, “Wanna do a downtown adventure?”
My roommates and I have sort of an obsession with downtown Dubuque that began during first semester of this year. It all started when we decided that it was a nice day out and wanted something to do something outside. That day turned out to be one of the best memories of the year, and we refer to it as the “Grunge Fest.” Ever since then, exploring more and more of this historic city is a pastime of our weekends.
It kind of surprises me when people find Dubuque to be boring. My mind immediately jumps to the conclusion that they had never been there before. It has the variety that a bigger city has, but everything is close enough together that it’s walkable. Plus, downtown is so close to campus that the trek up Loras Boulevard is the longest (and worst) part of the journey, and that’s only if you decide to walk. When it’s a nice day, (and yes, Iowa has those sometimes) a walk downtown is one of the best ways to spend the day.
There are so many local businesses that fill downtown. Coffee shops, antique stores, restaurants, and other local attractions line both sides of the street. Plus, the farmer’s market is around during the warmer months that provides access to all the local vendors that you may not have known about beforehand. Each time, we venture out a little bit further and find something new that we never knew was there before. A lot of fun weekend memories that we have were when we found a new shop and decided to check it out. With that mentality, we’ve painted pottery, found the most adorable boutique, tried local restaurants, and even got our picture with Santa Claus right before Christmastime.
As the oldest city in Iowa, Dubuque is a really interesting mixture of history and modernity. Founded because of the Mississippi River, it has really built and expanded into a vibrant community. I’ve been downtown several times, and I know that there are parts I have yet to see, and that’s exciting.
The weather is getting warm again, and the school year is quickly drawing to a close. When you and your friends are sitting around bored on a Saturday, maybe go explore downtown. An easy place to start is on Main Street. Who knows, maybe you’ll find your new favorite place.