What are the five best things to see and do in Quad Cities?

Caroline Patek

Since the Quad Cities is made up of five different destinations in Illinois and Iowa, it’s fun to explore the various parts. Here’s our Forbes Travel Guide editors’ list of the best things to see and do in the Quad Cities:
 
1. Rock Island Arsenal. Located on the Mississippi River between Davenport and Rock Island, this active U.S. Army facility is a weapons manufacturing arsenal and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Check out the Rock Island National Cemetery on the grounds, which houses graves from soldiers who served in combat reaching back to the Civil War.
 
2. John Deere Pavilion. Visit the Moline center that explores the agriculture brand’s development with various exhibits and interactive displays. You can see machines displayed in their working environments, try your hand at machine simulators and learn about the John Deere legacy. Plus, the pavilion is a free attraction and open year round.
 
3. Putnam Museum. This Davenport spot has exhibits on everything from ecosystems of the Upper Mississippi River Valley to the history behind the Quad Cities region to Asian and Egyptian civilizations. The giant screen theater showcases 2-D and 3-D current films and educational movies.
 
4. TPC Deere Run. Built on the grounds of a former Arabian horse farm, this golf course was designed by former PGA Tour pro and architect D.A. Weibring. While it’s home to the annual John Deere Classic on the PGA Tour, you can book a tee time to try your hand at the par-71 course.
 
5. Quad Cities River Bandits. The minor league baseball games are hugely popular with a stellar location at Modern Woodmen Park along the riverfront. If you catch a game during a steamy summer day, you’ll appreciate the recently installed misting stations.

  • On August 23, 2012
    Caroline Patek answered the question: Caroline Patek

    What is the presence of John Deere in Quad Cities?

    The Quad Cities’ Moline is the birthplace of John Deere, which is now a massive brand in the agricultural arena. Touting its local legacy, Moline has various John Deere attractions, including factory tours, Deere’s former home, a store to purchase branded goods and the John Deere Pavilion. At the pavilion, kids can head to the Discovery Zone to learn about agricultural production or make their way to the interactive exhibits and simulators for hands-on learning.
     
    If golf gets you excited, there’s an annual John Deere Classic — which is the only PGA tournament in the region — held at TPC Deere Run in Silvis, Illinois. Whether you’re a hardcore John Deere fan or just want to know more about the great American brand, there’s plenty to see and do in the Quad Cities.
  • On August 23, 2012
    Caroline Patek answered the question: Caroline Patek

    What is the best thing to bring home from Quad Cities?

    It’s always fun to snag a little souvenir from any trip you take, and a visit to the Quad Cities is no exception. While seeing the sights and getting out on the Mississippi River are surely must-dos on your travel itinerary, but we suggest you also take a moment to pick up some local favorites. The Quad Cities is home to Boetje’s Mustard, which you can pick up in local grocery stores. For those with a sweet tooth, head to Davenport or Moline for Lagomarcino’s chocolates. Choose from goodies like caramels, English toffee, truffles, lemon and peppermint bark and hot fudge.
  • On August 23, 2012
    Caroline Patek answered the question: Caroline Patek

    What are the best Quad Cities food experiences?

    The Quad Cities’ unique location — with towns in both Illinois and Iowa along the Mississippi River — means it’s not know for one signature food item, but there are certainly still spots around town worth checking out. Here’s our Forbes Travel Guide editors’ list of the best Quad Cities food experiences: 
     
    1. Whitey’s Ice Cream. Established back in 1933, this popular Moline ice cream spot has won the hearts of locals. You’ll find all the classic dairy products you’d want, including malts, milkshakes, ice cream, floats and yogur in flavors such as chocolate chip, butter pecan, strawberry, chocolate chip cookie dough and black cherry.
     
    2. Happy Joe’s Pizza & Ice Cream. This franchise has locations in Iowa (Bettendorf, Davenport), Illinois (East Moline, Rock Island), Minnesota, Missouri, North Dakota and Wisconsin, and offers a slew of pizzas loaded with toppings. Try one of the specialty pizzas such as the BLT or Taco Supreme.
     
    3. Rudy’s Tacos. What once started out as a small Mexican restaurant in East Davenport back in 1973 has now grown into seven outposts throughout the Quad Cities area. You’ll see all the usual suspects on the menu — quesadillas, tacos, nachos, enchiladas, burritos, tamales and tostadas.
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  • On August 23, 2012
    Caroline Patek answered the question: Caroline Patek

    Where is the best nightlife in Quad Cities?

    You won’t find many nightclubs or overpriced lounges in the Quad Cities, as the area is most known for its bar scene. The Rock Island District has plenty of places to explore, including the Blue Cat Brew Pub and Rock Island Brewing Company (RIBCO). Other notable places to check out include the 11th Street Precinct (East Davenport), The Mound Street Landing (East Davenport) and Front Street Brewery (Davenport).
     
    There are also casinos in the area, like Jumer’s Casino & Hotel, Isle Casino Hotel, Rhythm City Casino and Trackside Quad City Downs. The Celebration Belle river cruise features evening dinner and dancing trips and departs from Moline in Illinois.
  • On August 23, 2012
    Caroline Patek answered the question: Caroline Patek

    What is the best way to see Quad Cities in one day?

    Somewhat deceiving in its name, the Quad Cities is comprised of five different towns situated along the Mississippi River in Illinois and Iowa. To get a good feel for the area, drive along River Road through quaint towns like Le Claire (home of the History Channel show American Pickers). For those looking to get active, there are bike paths along River Road near Muscatine, Iowa.
     
    The best way to get out and see the area is by taking the Channel Cat Water Taxi, which stops in Moline, Bettendorf and John Deere Commons. After the water taxi, you can either make a trip to the John Deere headquarters (Moline is the birthplace of the brand) or hit up either the Putnam Museum or the Family Museum if you’ve got kids in tow. If there’s time, catch a River Bandits minor league baseball game, or grab a bite to eat at one of the nicer restaurants in town, like Bix Bistro inside Hotel Blackhawk in Davenport or Le Figaro Restaurant in Rock Island.
  • On August 23, 2012
    Forbes Travel Guide Inspector answered the question: Forbes Travel Guide Inspector

    Where are the best places to eat in Quad Cities?

    The laid-back vibe in the Quad Cities is carried into the restaurant scene, too. Our Forbes Travel Guide editors’ picked the best places to eat in and around the Quad Cities:
     
    1. The Red Crow Grille. Located in Bettendorf, Iowa, this long-standing eatery is popular with locals. The cozy dining room has black and red walls with brushed nickel and pewter accents. Only the freshest ingredients are used in the dishes — all from the chef’s network of more than 30 vendors and growers. Nosh on items like steak tostada with chorizo oil and Fuji apple jalapeno slaw, or Colorado rack of lamb with tomato coconut jus, tarragon potato puree and pickled vegetables. 
     
    2. Duck City Bistro. This cute bistro’s menu changes weekly, but you can expect a variety of meat, poultry and fish. Seasonal dishes include horseradish-crusted salmon, duck confit, and Iowa smoked stuffed pork chop. If you’d rather stop in for a drink or want to arrange a private party, the restaurant’s living room — open on Friday and Saturday evenings — features club chairs, leather couches and cherry paneling that make the space ideal for groups.
     
    3. Bix Bistro. The cozy restaurant located inside Hotel Blackhawk is bathed in cream, black and purple hues, and serves up contemporary American cuisine like butternut squash ravioli, honey citrus glazed salmon and beef tenderloin. Come in for wine night on Wednesdays for half price bottles, and on the weekends, stop by for Sunday brunch and live jazz.
     
    4. Le Figaro Restaurant.
    Chef Rachid Bouchareb whips up classic French dishes like escargot, chateaubriand, duck a l’orange, frog legs and rack of lamb, all served in a romantic setting with exposed brick walls and sparkling chandeliers. Choose from more than 90 wines and champagnes from around the globe. The adjacent Star Bar is great for small plates and a round of cocktails.
  • On August 23, 2012
    Forbes Travel Guide Inspector answered the question: Forbes Travel Guide Inspector

    Where are the best places to stay in Quad Cities?

    The Quad Cities is made up of five different locations straddling the Iowa and Illinois border along the Mississippi River, and there are a couple of top hotels in the area. Our Forbes Travel Guide editors’ have rounded up the best places to stay to make booking your Quad Cities trip a little easier:
     
    1. Jumer’s Casino & Hotel. Located in Rock Island on the Illinois side of the river, the hotel is a great spot to try your luck at the slots or the blackjack table. Jumer’s has a whopping 43,000-square-foot casino floor filled with 1,000 slot machines and 24 table games. There’s also an in-house nightclub — Edje — as well as a spa, indoor pool, golf range and putting green.
     
    2. Hotel Blackhawk. Recently reopened after a multimillion-dollar renovation, this historic hotel in Davenport — which originally opened its doors in 1915 — is both sophisticated and welcoming. In fact, it might be the most stylish place to stay in town. Rooms are outfitted in rich earth tones and contemporary décor. The first floor Bix Bistro offers a charming Sunday brunch, complete with live jazz and unlimited mimosas and bloody mary’s. If you’d like to play a round, the hotel can arrange for an exclusive tee time at the TPC Deere Run golf course. The hotel’s basement bowling alley is a family favorite.
  • On August 23, 2012
    Caroline Patek answered the question: Caroline Patek

    Where is the best shopping in Quad Cities?

    The Quad Cities has two major shopping centers in Davenport and Moline with standard mall retailers like Dillard’s, Foot Locker, Sears and Sunglass Hut. If you’re looking for something a little more unique, there are a number of antique stores sprinkled throughout the area in Rock Island, Moline, Davenport and Bettendorf. For local, fresh food, head to the Davenport’s Freight House Farmers Market situated along the riverfront — bring your walking shoes, as it features more than 100 vendors. No trip to the Quad Cities would be complete without experiencing a bit of the John Deere legacy, so head to Moline to shop the John Deere store, where you can purchase items like licensed clothing, umbrellas and golf t-shirts.
  • On August 23, 2012
    Caroline Patek answered the question: Caroline Patek

    What are the five best things to do with kids in Quad Cities?

    Feel free to bring the whole family along during your next jaunt to the Quad Cities — there’s plenty for everyone to do. Here’s our Forbes Travel Guide editors’ list of the five best things to do with kids in the Quad Cities:
     
    1. Visit the Family Museum. This  museum is located next to the Bettendorf Public Library and features 44,000 square feet of space, including a massive 9,600-square-foot exhibit hall. Kids can explore the various exhibits, including one with a focus on the healthy human body where you can walk through a 14-foot human heart replica.
     
    2. Explore the Putnam Museum. The Davenport museum features a variety of exhibits to check out — from ecosystems of the Upper Mississippi River Valley to Asian and Egyptian civilizations. The giant screen theater shows educational films including a world adventure series featuring Hawaii, Ireland, Mongolia and Prague.
     
    3. Hitch a ride from the Channel Cat Water Taxi. Take advantage of the Quad Cities’ riverfront location — the water taxi is a great way to get around and get out on the water. Tickets can be used all day, and stops include Moline, Village of East Davenport, Bettendorf and John Deere Commons.
     
    4. Have fun at the Niabi Zoo. Animal-gazing is usually a go-to attraction for kids, and the Niabi Zoo — located about seven miles outside of Moline — is home to hundreds of birds, mammals, reptiles and amphibians. Try to secure a spot for the Breakfast with Animals program offered throughout the year, in which you can get a post-meal behind-the-scenes peak at elephants, giraffes and lions.
     
    5. Ride the Celebration Belle. For an extended amount of time on the water, board the Celebration Belle for a river cruise on the Mississippi River. The company offers all-day excursions or shorter, narrated experiences to learn about the local attractions. For daylong or two-day trips, meals are provided onboard.
  • On August 23, 2012
    Caroline Patek answered the question: Caroline Patek

    What are the five best things to see and do in Quad Cities?

    Since the Quad Cities is made up of five different destinations in Illinois and Iowa, it’s fun to explore the various parts. Here’s our Forbes Travel Guide editors’ list of the best things to see and do in the Quad Cities:
     
    1. Rock Island Arsenal. Located on the Mississippi River between Davenport and Rock Island, this active U.S. Army facility is a weapons manufacturing arsenal and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Check out the Rock Island National Cemetery on the grounds, which houses graves from soldiers who served in combat reaching back to the Civil War.
     
    2. John Deere Pavilion. Visit the Moline center that explores the agriculture brand’s development with various exhibits and interactive displays. You can see machines displayed in their working environments, try your hand at machine simulators and learn about the John Deere legacy. Plus, the pavilion is a free attraction and open year round.
     
    3. Putnam Museum. This Davenport spot has exhibits on everything from ecosystems of the Upper Mississippi River Valley to the history behind the Quad Cities region to Asian and Egyptian civilizations. The giant screen theater showcases 2-D and 3-D current films and educational movies.
     
    4. TPC Deere Run. Built on the grounds of a former Arabian horse farm, this golf course was designed by former PGA Tour pro and architect D.A. Weibring. While it’s home to the annual John Deere Classic on the PGA Tour, you can book a tee time to try your hand at the par-71 course.
     
    5. Quad Cities River Bandits. The minor league baseball games are hugely popular with a stellar location at Modern Woodmen Park along the riverfront. If you catch a game during a steamy summer day, you’ll appreciate the recently installed misting stations.