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by Jessica Waytenick •

In the Quad Cities there’s so much to see and do it takes two states and four cities to hold it all! The Quad Cities lines the Mississippi riverbanks with Illinois on one side and Iowa on the other. With a combined population of more than 400,000 people, the Quad Cities is comprised of Davenport and Bettendorf, Iowa; Rock Island and Moline/East Moline, Illinois; and surrounding communities.

The Quad Cities is the largest metropolitan area on the Mississippi between Minneapolis,Minnesota, and St. Louis, Missouri.  The region is just a 2 ½ hour drive from Chicago, Illinois,and is served by the Quad City International Airport (MLI).  The QuadCity InternationalAirport has a choice of 10 non-stopdestinations on four major airlines, including United Express to Chicago O’Hareand Denver; Delta to Atlanta,Detroit, and Minneapolis; American Airlines from ChicagoO’Hare and Dallas/Ft. Worth; and Allegiant Air to Las Vegas, Phoenix-Mesa,Tampa Bay, and Orlando.  There is also an art gallery featuring regional artists and works from corporate collections, agift shop, new restaurant, snack bar, lounge and visitor center.  The airport completed a new runway in 2011.

The Quad Cities has a Wayfinding signage system to help visitors and newcomers navigate the area. The Quad Cities is divided into four color-coded quadrants to let people know when they are entering or leaving a community. There are around 200 signs directing visitors to 85 different destinations. There are signs along state highways and city streets identifying the city entered with directional signs to attractions, venues, public parking, and adjacent cities. The consistent use of one color in a city should also help it make it more identifiable, and provide directional information when individuals need it most.

In 2009, National Geographic Traveler named the Great River Road from Minneapolis to Davenport as one of the 50 “Drives of a Lifetime.” With the museums and attractions that have cropped up along the way, it is “not only one of the most scenic drives in the country, but also one of the culturally richest.”

Each city offers its own history and atmosphere. Moline, Illinois, with roots tied to John Deere and Deere & Company’s World Headquarters, has gone through a major re-development process and continues to expand and improve its beautiful downtown riverfront. Gift shops, antiques, ethnic and traditional restaurants, riverboat cruises, water taxi rides, and riverfront trails make this city a place to be enjoyed by all ages.

Bent River Brewery serving up a fine selection of homemade brews, Lagomarcino’s in its original soda fountain, the Celebration Belle Riverboat, Channel Cat Water Taxi, i wireless Center, John Deere Pavilion, Deere & Company World Headquarters, and John Deere mansions are just a few of the highlights of Moline. Just a short drive from downtown you can enjoy shopping at SouthPark Mall where over 150 stores offer everything from clothing and jewelry to gifts and food.

Head west from Moline and you will enter Rock Island, Illinois, a city built from the beginnings of steamboats, railroads, lumber, and a taste for fun! Downtown Rock Island, called The Downtown Rock Island Arts & Entertainment District, features art galleries, pubs, nightclubs, and restaurants.

Arts and entertainment make Rock Island a hot spot for thenight owl. Stop in and enjoy a beer at the award winning Blue Cat BrewPub.  You’ll find an interestingselection of micro-brewed beers in a variety of flavors, including hearty darkstouts and ales.  Visit Quad City Artsand Midcoast Fine Arts galleries for inspiring works from regionalartists.  Take in a musical at Circa ‘21Dinner Playhouse - set in an amazing vaudeville-era theatre.  Or, if comedy is more your style, try TheSpeakeasy or the entire family will enjoy ComedySportz (now in a new locationcalled The Establishment Theatre).  Foroutstanding French cuisine, make a reservation at Le Figaro.  Live music is also abundant in Rock Island.  Visit RIBCO (Rock Island Brewing Company) forgreat indoor and outdoor concerts.  Checkout the new Schwiebert Riverfront Parkfeaturing a digital playground, the latest in playground equipment and thefirst installation in the Midwest. 

The Downtown Rock Island Arts & Entertainment District is also the hub for seasonal, outdoor music festivals and special events. The season kicks off Memorial Day weekend with the Quad Cities Criterium National Bike Race and is followed by such music festivals as Gumbo Ya Ya Mardi Gras in the District, Ya Maka My Weekend Caribbean Festival, various Gallery Hops and more.

Be sure to travel outside the downtown area to enjoy gaming at the new Jumer’s Casino & Hotel, waterski shows by the Backwater Gamblers and American Indian history at Black Hawk State Historic Site. This was the site where the Sauk & Meskwaki tribes once called their home, and the famous Sauk warrior, Black Hawk, lived.

Cross the Mississippi River from Rock Island and you’ll find yourself in downtown Davenport, Iowa—thelargest of the four cities.  Davenport has gonethrough an impressive change as new attractions have opened and continuedrenovation and new development takes place throughout the downtown area.  Located in Davenport,the new guided Segway tours let riders glide effortlessly along the scenicMississippiriverfront bike path learning about area history and landmarks.  

A few of Davenport’s attractions include the Figge ArtMuseum, River Music Experience for live music, the Skybridge,Putnam Museum, Modern Woodmen Park baseball stadium, AdlerTheatre, German American Heritage Center, Bucktown Center for the Arts, andRhythm City riverboat casino.  You’ll also find a nice selection of stores, pubs, coffee shops, and restaurants in thedowntown area. 

Head east out of the downtown area on River Drive and you will find yourself at the historic Village of East Davenport. This six-square block shopping district is filled with quaint shops, restaurants, pubs, antique stores, and galleries. And if you like to really shop, you’ll have your choice of over 200 stores at NorthPark Mall and along the area’s 53rd Street shopping corridor.

Like the other cities, Davenport’s riverfront hosts avariety of world-class festivals including the Bix Beiderbecke Memorial JazzFestival, Mississippi Valley Blues Festival, River Roots Live Music Fest, QuadCity Symphony’s Riverfront Pops Concert, Brew Ha Ha,and Celtic Festival & Highland Games.

If you head east on River Drive from downtown Davenport you’ll find yourself in Bettendorf, Iowa, -- home of the Family Museum, Isle Casino & Hotel, 53rd Street Shopping Corridor, and just a 15 minute drive from a wonderful little town called LeClaire – a true river town from the past and the birthplace of the wild west’s Buffalo Bill Cody.

Other Quad Cities Highlights
Besides the downtown areas, the Quad Cities’ Rock Island Arsenal Island - a 3-mile long island set in the middle of the river - showcases Lock & Dam river tours, the Mississippi River Visitor Center, the first permanent house built in the area, a Civil War and National Cemetery, and a military museum that tells the history of the island from its beginnings as a fur trading post. Bring a valid picture I.D. to get passage onto the Island. Non-U.S. citizens must make reservations at least a month ahead to enter the Island as it is also a working military installation.

The Quad Cities is also home to a variety of parks and Niabi Zoo. You’ll also enjoy Scott County Park, Loud Thunder Forest Preserve, West Lake Park and a variety of botanical centers including VanderVeer Botanical Park, Longview Conservatory, and the Quad City Botanical Center.

Golf courses are also abundant in the Quad Cities. Choose from more than 25 courses including TPC Deere Run, home of the John Deere Classic PGA TOUR. Golf is big in the Quad Cities, but the price tag is not. The average cost for 18-holes of golf with a cart is about $35. In fact, Golf Digest magazine voted the Quad Cities as one of the top 20 golf destinations in the United States.

If you like the outdoors, biking trails are as abundant as parks and golf courses. Hop on the Great River Trail for a 62-mile ride along the Mississippi River from Rock Island to Savanna, Illinois. Or cruise along paved riverfront trails and city trails in Davenport and Bettendorf where public works of art and historical markers add interest to the riding experience. Bike rentals are available through the Quad Cities Convention & Visitors Bureau by the hour or for the entire day.

The Quad Cities offers a fun, interesting and unique getaway destination. The area lets visitors experience a riverfront city atmosphere along the mighty Mississippi River with great historical attractions and neighborhoods, riverboat casinos, non-gaming riverboat cruises, delicious Midwestern style cuisine, outdoor recreation, world-class festivals, luxury accommodations, wonderful museums, galleries, and unique shopping experiences.

For more information on the Quad Cities, contact the Quad Cities Convention & Visitors Bureau at 800-747-7800 or visit the official website of the Quad Cities at www.visitquadcities.com.

Contact – Jessica Waytenick, 800-747-7800, ext. 827 or jwaytenick@visitquadcities.com

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