Just hours from Chicago you’ll find an Iowa weekend getaway sure to satisfy any baseball lover with a trip to the Field of Dreams movie site and Dubuque, IA…
Well, it’s almost spring, and that always gets us all antsy for baseball season, and no movie gets us in the mood for a little baseball more than Field of Dreams. If you’re like us, you’ve wondered if there really is such a place in a cornfield in Iowa…
Yes, there is a REAL “Field of Dreams,” and paired with a few days and nights in Dubuque, Iowa, it might just be the perfect Chicago weekend getaway.
We’re assuming you’ve all seen the famous Kevin Costner flick and know the general plot… A “crazy” farmer starts hearing a voice telling him to build a baseball field on his family farm.
While a mysterious voice didn’t tell Don Lansing to build a baseball diamond on the Lansing Family Farm in 1988, a volunteer from the Dubuque Chamber of Commerce and the Iowa Film Board did knock on the door one day and ask to scout the location for an upcoming baseball movie.
Don’s perfect response: “Baseball? I like baseball. Go ahead.”
The rest is history… Field of Dreams went on to be a classic baseball movie, and the real-life “Field of Dreams,” in Dyersville, Iowa became a mecca for baseball fans and movie buffs.
Visiting the field is completely free, but we’re going to suggest springing $20 for the 30-minute tour of the farm house where you’ll learn about the Lansing family and their homestead as well as the site’s rebirth as the “Kinsella” family farm. (Be sure to reserve your tour spot online at least 48 hours in advance)
In terms of when to visit, we’d also suggest trying to stop by on one of the Sundays when they’re hosting the 90-minute “Ghost Sunday Show,” a family-friendly comedy routine. (If you want, you can buy a “VIP” ticket to the show and sit on the porch of the house.) Keep an eye out on Facebook too for special events.
Of course, like all great tourist destinations, the Field of Dreams also has a gift shop so you can commemorate your visit.
The Field of Dreams Movie Site is primarily open April-November, but tours can be arranged 359 days a year.
We can’t promise the ghost of your father will appear to play catch, but we can promise you’ll walk away deeper in love with America’s favorite pastime.
Make a weekend of it: Hit up Dubuque, IA
Oh, and let’s address the elephant in the room… We know what you’re thinking (or your spouse when you suggested this trip)… “You want me to drive to rural Iowa just to see a baseball diamond from a movie?”
Rest easy, as the Field of Dreams Movie Site is just a half hour or so from Dubuque, Iowa, which is a perfect place for a long weekend away from the big city (like say, nearby Chicago).
Dubuque offers plenty to see and do from hitting the Mississippi on one of the many riverboats making stops in town to enjoying top-notch local dining and breweries.
What you MUST you see in Dubuque: National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium
Part museum. Part aquarium. All parts awesome. That’s the National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium… the “jewel” of Dubuque. Ask anyone in town where you should start your Dubuque adventure, and they’ll likely say with a stop at the museum, and for good reason. The National Mississippi River Museum features numerous rotating and permanent exhibits plus an exceptional lineup of films in their 3D/4D theater. Basic admission will only run $16, but we suggest grabbing a theater ticket as well.
Where to Eat in Dubuque:
With so many great options, you can’t hardly go wrong. Here are a few of our favorites for each meal of the day…
Breakfast: Inspire Cafe & East Mill Bakery
For a perfectly crafted artisan morning beverage, Inspire Cafe should be your first morning stop. Pair your drink with one of their baked goods or vegetarian-friendly breakfast options for a light morning pick-me-up in a super-cool and comfortable space.
If you’re in the mood for a breakfast sandwich, run by East Mill Bakeshop for one of their delicious breakfast sandwiches served on their famous fresh English muffins. If you’re trying to feed lot of people, walk out the door with one of their “breakfast bundles.”
Lunch: American Bombshell or 1st & Main
If you find yourself in Dubuque during the week, American Bombshell should be on your list. Their sandwiches are the hands-down favorite of locals, and for good reason. Our personal favorite is the Mississippi Queen with all its bacon and chicken stuffed between a bunch of cheddar cheese. Yes, please.
From the starters to the salads to the sandwiches, it’s all good at 1st & Main. Plus, the exposed-brick interior and full bar make for a pretty fantastic lunch experience.
While we’re talking about 1st & Main, they’re also an awesome option for a hearty weekend breakfast. Tell me this crazy combination of waffles and gravy doesn’t sound good…
Dinner: Brazen Open Kitchen, L.May, Flatted Fifth Blues & BBQ
Our first dinner pick is Brazen Open Kitchen, one of the most talked about restaurants in town. Located in a beautifully retrofitted space in the Millwork District, Brazen Open Kitchen features tons of locally sourced items. Most bigger cities don’t even have places this cool. (It’s a good option for brunch too!)
For crazy-good gourmet pizza, head over to L.May and try one of their offbeat pizza creations. Like Brazen, it’s also a pretty stellar atmosphere and features lots of salads, other tasty entrees, gluten free options, and plenty of locally sourced items.
If you’re up for a little 30 minute drive, we’ll also suggest Flatted Fifth Blues & BBQ for Iowa’s top-rated BBQ and a whole lot of great live music, all at Potter’s Mill, the state’s oldest grist mill.
Where to Drink Beer in Dubuque: Barhop from brewery to brewery!
Ok, while the wineries around Dubuque are wonderful, you know we’re beer folks. Lucky for us (and you), there are 3 local breweries all within walking distance of each other in downtown Dubuque. Let the bar crawl begin!
Start with Jubeck New World Brewing, an intimate and supremely awesome little nano-brewery with great beers and a vintage vibe (think old records spinning) sure to get your group relaxed.
After a beer or two at Jubeck, head up the street to 7 Hills Brewing Company, another cool space with plenty of outdoor seating and live music.
From 7 Hills, you’re off to Backpocket for a huge assortment of their tasty brews. While the beer is reason enough to stop by, we think the collection of arcade games really seals the deal.
Where to Stay in Dubuque: Hotel Julien
Hotel Julien is not only an elegant place to lay your head, but it’s full of colorful history and is even rumored to be one of Al Capone’s favorite hideouts. Its central location, remarkable history, and luxurious accommodations make it the ideal basecamp for a weekend getaway.
If bed & breakfasts or cabin rentals are more your speed, they have plenty of options there as well. Hop on over to the lodging directory on Travel Dubuque for a full list.
So there you have it folks, just a few hours outside of Chicago is everyone’s favorite movie baseball field and a charming river city sure to leave you with a smile. See you in Iowa.
For more information on Dubuque, visit Travel Dubuque
Cover photo via Field of Dreams Movie Site