The Dubuque Millwork District: The Coolest Area in Dubuque, Iowa!

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 now one of my favourite places in Downtown Dubuque Iowa.

The Millwork District Dubuque

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!

Millwork District Dubuque Before and After

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.  The Millwork Marketplace, is a newly renovated space in the Millwork District with, a mini grocery store, a cocktail bar, an event centre and soon there’ll be a comedy bar and a new Chicago style pizza restaurant!

There’s even a new hotel that’s been built, making it even easier for out of town visitors to enjoy the area!

Millwork District Dubuque

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!  They also hold the ‘Merry Millwork Market‘, the Christmas version of the night market, for one weekend at the beginning of December.

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!  It was one of the first murals to be completed.

Millwork District Dubuque Mural

Related Reading: 35 Things To Do in Dubuque Iowa

Dubuque Millwork District Restaurants

Here are some of my top 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!

Inspire Cafe Dubuque

They ‘draw’ fancy designs in the top of the coffees and each is served with a chocolate covered coffee bean.  They also offer free WiFi so you’ll often see people using the Inspire Cafe as a work space!

Inspire Cafe Dubuque Iowa

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 Dubuque 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)!

Related Reading: 8 Dubuque Restaurants IA

Practical Information for visiting the Millwork District Dubuque

The Millwork District is a little further out of the way from the main Downtown area in Dubuque.  Currently, the main part is located between 9th and 11th Street and Jackson and Washington Street.

Millwork District Dubuque Iowa

(The centre courtyard of the Millwork District Dubuque is pedestrianised)

The streets directly around the main blocks are metred, costing $0.25 for 20 minutes.  However if visiting on a Sunday (all day) or in the evening after 5pm, on street parking is free.  If you are prepared to walk, there are some unmetred streets nearby.  Please check for signs in case it’s a resident only area etc.

There is a parking ramp right opposite the Inspire Cafe (351 E 9th Street) with a flat rate of $1 per hour with a daily maximum of $10.  During special events, it is recommended to use the parking ramp as there is more space there compared to parking on the street.

Have you visited the Millwork District in Dubuque? 

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Millwork District Dubuque Iowa.  Explore the coolest area in Downtown Dubuque with cute cafes, restaurants and breweries!

Things to do in the Millwork District Dubuque Iowa. Millwork District restaurants and bars East Iowa USA  Things to do in the Historic Millwork District in Dubuque Iowa. Restaurants and bars in the Millwork District, East Iowa USA. The COOLEST area in Dubuque!


20 thoughts on “The Dubuque Millwork District: The Coolest Area in Dubuque, Iowa!

  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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