My wife and I recently celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary and, wanting to do something special, we decided to spend the weekend in Dubuque, Iowa just because it was 2 hours away and neither of us has been there.
One thing that has become an anniversary tradition for us is visiting casinos. This time around, we had the opportunity to visit two of them, the Mystique Casino, located on Greyhound Park Road, and Diamond Jo Casino, located downtown on Bell St. Since it was attached to our hotel, my wife and I spent most of our time at the Mystique and, overall, didn’t think it was a terrible experience. However, for a number of reasons, if we were to do this trip again, I would find a hotel closer to the Diamond Jo Casino instead.
The first reason is location. The Mystique isn’t necessarily in a horrible spot if all you are looking to do is gamble. However, this was our first time in Dubuque and we wanted to see some of the city’s attractions. As a result, in my opinion at least, Diamond Jo Casino was in a better location because there’s just so much more to do. It’s across from the National Mississippi River Museum and within walking distance of historic downtown Dubuque. And, I’m not even counting the upstairs bowling alley (which my wife and I would have definitely tried out).
The Mystique, in comparison, had a really nice nature trail my wife and I were able to walk on. But, if we wanted to do anything else, we had to hop in the car.
Another thing I liked about the Diamond Jo Casino was the restaurants. Our service was somewhat lousy at Mojo’s Sports Bar (we had a heck of a time paying our bill because our server decided to take a break and the bartender couldn’t accept our money). But, this was actually an improvement over the Mystique’s version, The Players Choice, where my wife and I were ignored for about 15 minutes before finally just leaving.
When it came to the other two restaurants inside the Diamond Jo Casino, the Woodfire Grille and Kitchen Buffet offered better value than the Mystique’s choices and the Ice Harbor Restaurant across the parking lot was an accessible and affordable extra option that my wife and I enjoyed having breakfast at.
Most importantly, I like my chances at the Diamond Jo Casino better. I’ve gone to enough casinos to know the house is ultimately going to win and, for that reason, my wife and I never take more money with us than we intend to lose. However, that being said, we normally can make $50 last us the whole weekend and, more often than not, do come away a couple dollars richer.
That simply was not the case at the Mystique. Don’t get me wrong, we still had fun. But, while I’ll chalk a lot of it up to plain-old bad luck, at the same time, there were times when we just felt like we were being teased. My wife won about $60 on one machine the first night we were there. But, that was after we almost spent our entire $50 gambling budget in the first few hours. The rest of the time, we were only winning enough to keep us from going completely broke.
In fact, the only reason we managed to break even over the weekend was our visit to Diamond Jo Casino. We spent $2 of our own money there and came away with $53. Granted, we spent about 6 less hours there than we did at the Mystique and, if we had stayed longer, I might not have been able to say that. But, based on my experience, I think it would be worth taking that chance.
As I said before, the Mystique is a decent casino and, if you are looking for someplace a little more outside of town and a bit less crowded, it’s not a bad choice. But, based on overall experience, I have to say the Diamond Jo Casino is definitely the better of the two.