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.

By Dallas Daws
John Deere Pavilion. Courtesy of the Quad Cities Convention and Visitors Bureau

What to do

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. celebrationbelle.com

Celebration Belle Riverboat. Courtesy of the Quad Cities Convention and Visitors BureauFigge 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. 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. freighthousefarmersmarket.com

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. johndeereattractions.com

John Deere Pavilion.

Mississippi Riverfront Trail Grab a bike or your own two feet and explore this 11.6-mile trail along the Mississippi River between Davenport and Bettendorf. http://iowabikeroutes.com/trails/mississippi-riverfront-trail/

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. milb.com

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

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. putnam.orgQuad 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. qcgardens.com

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. arsenalhistoricalsociety.org/museum

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. rigov.org

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

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. rigov.org

Where to eat

Barley and Rye Bistro Locavores flock to the Rock Island spot for cheese boards, charcuterie, burgers and sandwiches. barleyrye.com

Bent River Brewing Company Coffee-infused Uncommon Stout is a top seller at the Moline restaurant. Pair it with fried pickle chips. bentriverbrewing.com

Lagomarcino's Indulge in hot fudge sundaes, banana splits, ice cream sodas and chocolate-covered toffees at this century-old Davenport store. lagomarcinos.com

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. machineshed.com

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. riverhouseqc.com

Theo's Java Club Find a funky, friendly vibe at the Rock Island home to coffee, breakfast burritos and sandwiches. Theo's Java Club on Facebook

Where to stay

Element Moline Open-concept, ecofriendly design sets off the hotel, newly carved out of a former 100-year-old warehouse. elementmoline.com

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

Hyatt Place and Hyatt House Stay your way at either of these two brand options under one roof along the river in East Moline. hyatt.com

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. radisson.com/molineil

Stoney Creek Hotel and Conference Center Lodge-look rooms enhance the sense of escape in Moline. stoneycreekhotels.com







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