Quad Cities Trip Guide | Midwest Living

Quad Cities Trip Guide

Despite the name, the Quad Cities actually consists of five cities straddling the Iowa-Illinois border along the Mississippi River: Davenport and Bettendorf in Iowa, and Rock Island, Moline and East Moline in Illinois.

What to do

John Deere Pavilion Walk among vintage and modern tractors, climb into the cab of a giant combine and test your skills in a farming simulator. Even city slickers enjoy this hands-on look at the farm experience in Moline. (309) 765-1000; johndeereattractions.com

John Deere Pavilion.

Celebration Belle Riverboat Live music entertains guests as they learn about the history along the river and enjoy views of wildlife on a cruise down the Mississippi. This 800-passenger excursion riverboat in Moline has a mix of shorter scenic tours, themed cruises like the Fall Foliage or Oktoberfest cruises, and even daylong and overnight trips with meals included. (800) 297-0034; celebrationbelle.com

Celebration Belle Riverboat. Courtesy of the Quad Cities Convention and Visitors Bureau

Rock Island Arsenal Museum Explore displays of pre-Civil War muskets and modern-day missiles at this U.S. Army base (on an island in the Mississippi River). Before you leave, pay tribute to service members and POWs at the cemetery. (309) 782-5021; arsenalhistoricalsociety.org/museum

Whitewater Junction Aquatic Center Five slides, including two steep drop-slides, thrill kids and adults alike; the shallow play area allows little ones to splash around at this Rock Island center. (309) 732-7946; rigov.org

Quad City Botanical Center Both tropical plants and plants native to the Quad Cities area flourish here in Rock Island. An outdoor butterfly garden, plus events like the Chocolate Festival and Pumpkin Extravaganza, make for a well-rounded experience. (309) 794-0991; qcgardens.com

Schwiebert Riverfront Park Stroll among art sculptures along a jog path, catch a concert by the river, and let your kids splash through the fountain or play on the digital playground (which combines outdoor play and digital game technology) in Rock Island. (309) 732-7275; rigov.org

Schwiebert Riverfront Park - Fountain. Courtesy of the Quad Cities Convention and Visitors Bureau

Riverfront Bike Trail Grab a bike or your own two feet and explore this 7.6-mile trail along the Mississippi River between Davenport and Bettendorf. (563) 326-7812; inhf.org

Modern Woodmen Park Baseball Stadium The umpire calls a strike as the Mississippi flows past in the background at the home of Davenport's Minor League Baseball team the Quad Cities River Bandits. (563) 324-3000; milb.com

Modern Woodmen Park. Courtesy of the Quad Cities Convention and Visitors Bureau. Credit Sean Flynn Photography

Figge Art Museum Its collection of more than 4,000-plus pieces in Davenport dates from the 16th century to the present and includes one gallery dedicated to Frank Lloyd Wright's work. You and the kids can create art at a family activity center. (563) 326-7804; figgeartmuseum.org

Freight House Farmer’s Market Fresh produce, flowers and works of art are available every Tuesday and Saturday at this farmers market by the historical Freight House Building in Davenport. (563) 322-6009; freighthousefarmersmarket.com

Putnam Museum Get up close to polar bears in the Hall of Mammals, learn the way of the samurai in the Asian Gallery, or have fun with hands-on experiments in the new Science Center. In Davenport. (563) 324-1933; putnam.org

Where to eat

River House Bar and Grill Photos of the old Quad Cities hang on the walls, wood floors and TVs tuned to The Big Game set the mood at this family-friendly destination in Moline. The menu includes thick burgers and Reubens slathered in sauerkraut and dressing. (309) 797-1234; riverhouseqc.com

Lagomarcino’s Soda Fountain Indulge in hot fudge sundaes, banana splits, ice cream sodas and chocolate-covered toffees at this century-old Davenport store. (309) 764-1814; lagomarcinos.com

Blue Cat Brew Pub This Rock Island restaurant displays a big catfish on the outside of the building, which might suggest fishier fare, but the food is more pub-style grub. Grab one of their specialty beers, like the Off the Rail Ale and a half rack of ribs for the complete pub experience. (309) 788-8247; bluecatbrewpub.com

Fresh Deli by Nostalgia Farms Next to the Freight House Farmers Market in Davenport, Fresh Deli uses local ingredients in artful recipes such as chilled beet buttermilk soup or bison sliders. (563) 424-4561; Fresh Deli on Facebook

The Machine Shed Stuffed pork chops, pot roast, and creamed chicken and biscuits are among the hearty, from-scratch meals at this farm-theme restaurant in Davenport. (563) 391-2427; machineshed.com

Where to stay

Radisson on John Deere Commons A heated pool, whirlpool tubs, a selection of newspapers and a fitness center with new Nautilus equipment make this hotel a great choice in Moline. (309) 764-1000; radisson.com/molineil

Hotel Blackhawk The refurbished 11-story Hotel Blackhawk blends classic and contemporary styles to create a chic overnight spot in downtown Davenport. (563) 322-5000; hotelblackhawk.com


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