Aerial view of Dubuque, Iowa, just after sunset.

Best Places to Live in the US in 2022 Sponsored by: eXp RealtyeXp Realty

#96. Dubuque, IA

Downtown Dubuque, IA
iStock.com/bscottberg
Dubuque, IA
Quality of Life
Liv Score

597
How We Calculate Our Data
Civics 55
Demographics 40
Economy 49
Education 59
Health 65
Housing 54
Infrastructure 47
Amenities 71

Why Dubuque is one of the best cities to live in

Welcome to where Iowa started. Dubuque, IA, the state’s oldest city, is nestled along the Mississippi River where Iowa, Wisconsin and Illinois intersect. French-Canadian fur trader Julien Dubuque founded the city in 1833, a full 13 years before Iowa became a state. 

Since then, Dubuque has witnessed many firsts, including being the site of Iowa’s first brewery and place of worship. Today, this vibrant city enjoys a diverse industry mix, a cost of living below the national average, affordable housing options, strong health care and education systems, cultural attractions, a great food scene, and stunning natural beauty. So tap into that pioneering spirit that started it all, head out to explore this charming river city and discover what makes Dubuque one of the best places to live in the U.S.

What are Dubuque’s major industries and employers?

Advanced manufacturing, agribusiness, education, health care, insurance and financial services are key economic sectors in Dubuque. 

What are the major colleges and universities in Dubuque?

University of Dubuque, Clarke University & Loras College

What is the weather like in Dubuque? 

Dubuque experiences all four seasons with gradually warming spring weather, pleasantly warm summers without oppressive heat, crisp fall temperatures ideal for being outdoors and really cold winters. January, the coldest month, has an average high of 27 degrees and an average low of 11 degrees and typically sees 10 inches of snowfall.

What is there to do outside in Dubuque?

The 1,432-acre Mines of Spain Recreation Area offers untamed landscapes, more than 20 miles of hiking trails, six nature walks, paddling, picnicking spots, hunting and cross-country skiing. Visit the Julien Dubuque Monument and E.B. Lyons Interpretive and Nature Center, and don’t miss the incredible views from Horseshoe Bluff.

Dubuque, IA is Remote-Ready

What makes Dubuque a great place for remote workers?

Dubuque’s cost of living is far below the national average, and 100% of its residents have access to high-speed internet. Crime rates are relatively low in the city. Dubuque offers resources for newcomers and relocating workers on its website.

What Locals Love in Dubuque, IA

What is the best local bookstore in Dubuque?

With a focus on culture, community and connectedness, the locally owned River Lights Bookstore features a broad selection of titles and literary happenings from author events to special-interest book clubs like Chow Bella! for foodies and Page & Palette for art lovers.

How do you spend a weekend in Dubuque?

Look below the surface to discover a fascinating world at the National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium. Animal encounters, a 4D theater and enlightening exhibits bring the history and culture of the river to life.

What can you do for free in Dubuque?

Open daily from 7 a.m. to dusk, the Dubuque Arboretum & Botanical Gardens features more than 60 types of gardens. Statuary is sprinkled throughout the 56 acres, which include a formal English garden, a Japanese garden and areas dedicated to specific plantings, a children’s playground, a veterans memorial, and walking, hiking and biking trails.

What’s the best way to spend happy hour in Dubuque?

Check out the weekly wine menu at Wicked Dame or sample creative cocktails like the Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Maya Angelou or Calamity Jane. There’s live music most weekends and an open mic on Tuesday nights. 

What’s something only locals know about Dubuque?

Built as a workaround to get up the steep bluff, Fenlon Place Elevator – commonly called the Fourth Street Elevator – is the world’s shortest and steepest scenic railway. Stretching only 296 feet in length, the cable car lifts passengers from Fourth Street straight up 189 feet to Fenlon Place. 

Thinking of Moving to Dubuque, Iowa?

You’ll find listings of Dubuque homes for sale as well as all of Iowa real estate on eXp Realty and you can refine your search. These top-rated real estate agents in Dubuque are local eXperts and are ready to answer your questions about the best new neighborhoods.

Quick Facts About Dubuque, IA

Average Commute
15.1
Median Home Value
$217,972
Med. Household Income
$54,938
Total Population
58,052
Walk Score
40
Median Property Tax
$2,321

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