The Dubuque Millwork District – The Coolest Area in Dubuque, IA!

There are lots of places in the USA that stand abandoned.  Once upon a time, the Millwork District in Dubuque was one of those places.  The milling factories closed up and left the brick buildings empty and unused, but not anymore!  The Millwork District is one of my favourite places in Downtown Dubuque.

Dubuque Millwork District Iowa

The old factory has been completely renovated, yet they have tried to keep as much of the old architecture as possible making it a really cool place to photograph!  As part of the Distinctively Dubuque programme I had the chance to wander around some of the upstairs apartments and the hallways are decorated with some of the old artefacts from the factory!

Millwork District Apartments Dubuque IA

The Millwork District aims to create a community atmosphere with the apartments on the upper floors, office space for non profit businesses and an art studio in the basement and the ground floor is home to businesses and places to shop, such as a yoga store, gym, a gallery space (Gallery C) and a bridal shop, as well as restaurants and cafes.

Recently they have started a ‘Millwork Night Market’.  Similar to the Saturday morning Farmers Market but on a Thursday evening once a month and includes live music and local craft beer vendors as well as some of the usual weekend vendors!

Dubuque Millwork District IA

Don’t forget to check out ‘Zor Zor Zor’, one of Dubuque’s many new murals and this one is located in the heart of the Millwork District!

Here are some of my picks on where to eat in the Millwork District!

Inspire Cafe

I first discovered the Inspire Cafe when I found out about their English Afternoon Teas that they have on the last Sunday of the month.  The food is awesome and they have a huge range of teas and are always coming up with new flavours for coffee based drinks!  They have special evening events throughout the month such as live music, authors and a yoga and wine night!

Moroccan Jasmine Mint Tea at the Inspire Cafe

Brazen Open Kitchen & Bar

The focal point of Brazen is that the kitchen is open so you can see the food being prepared!  Behind the scenes, the restaurant actually has no freezers!  They work alongside local farmers to bring the freshest food to the table.  They recently held a special ‘Farm to Table’ event!  They also have their own garden on the edge of Dubuque, where they grow produce to use in the restaurant!  Sticking with the look and feel of the Millwork District, the inside has lots of exposed brickwork and dark wood furniture!  Dishes are on the pricey side but are very tasty and complimentary bread and butter is served.

Brazen Open Kitchen Dubuque

7 Hills Brewing Company

The Millwork District is still being renovated, one block is completely finished but it’s a project that is expanding into other buildings within the area.  7 Hills Brewing Company is located on the next block along.  What makes this place special is that there’s a working brewery inside the bar and restaurant!  It has a unique ‘cooked beer’ smell and you can see the workers checking on stages of the brewing process!

7 Hills Brewing Company Dubuque Iowa

A lot of the tables are long banquet style so you may be sitting quite close to the party next door (yes I saw you leaning closer trying to listen to my accent…).  You can buy a ‘Flight of 4’ beers for $7, allowing you to choose and sample several of their different beers.  I recommend the Pretzel Crust Pizza, the pizza is basically cooked on a giant salted soft pretzel!  It’s really tasty but very filling (and I had it minus the cheese)!

Have you visited Dubuque’s Millwork District? 

Kylie Signature

Historic Millwork District Dubuque Iowa


15 thoughts on “The Dubuque Millwork District – The Coolest Area in Dubuque, IA!

  1. I guess your accent must really stand out in Iowa! I found the same in Missouri and Illinois, and in south Texas (when I can get them to stop trying to speak to me in Spanish, that is!). When in Chicago, people always seemed to think I was Australian, which was bizarre! But in New York I think they see so many Brits that nobody seemed to notice my accent.

    It looks like they have done a really good job regenerating this historic part of Dubuque – good to see the people getting into conservation in America rather than tearing historic things down and just building big box stores and strip malls in their place.


    1. I get asked if I’m Australian ALL the time! (Which doesn’t bother me so much, I love Australia!). I agree though, it’s weird because to us Australian’s have a really strong accent that sounds so different!

      Yeah, I really like it, maybe because it’s not just chain after chain after chain, it has some uniqueness to it!


  2. This is great! I’ve done a walking tour of downtown, but didn’t get into the Millwork District. Will have to visit next time I go to Dubuque.


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