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Rock Island, made up of the original communities of Stephenson and Farnamsburg, is home to 40,000 residents and tied for second place as one the best mannered cities in the United States. Rock Island received the prestigious City Livability Award - along with Davenport, Iowa in the Quad Cities - by the U.S. Conference of Mayors.
Rock Island is known for its strong historic neighborhoods, and its exciting new neighborhoods. The city is surrounded by two great rivers, the Mississippi and the Rock River. These rivers support many leisure activities in the area and have beautiful scenic views. Rock Island is home to Augustana College and Quad City Graduate Center.
Choose Rock Island for the fun of it, and discover so much more to life. It's the vibe of downtown - everything from arts and culture to a rockin' nightlife to delicious dining options. Spend one weekend in Rock Island, and you will understand why we are the pulse of the Quad Cities area.
The District is known for its festivals. The season starts with the Quad Cities Criterium bicycle races on Memorial Day. June brings Gumbo Ya Ya-Mardi Gras in The District, featuring Cajun and zydeco music and New Orleans style food. August features Ya Maka My Weekend with reggae music and Jamaican food. During Labor Day weekend, America's largest go-kart street race, the Rock Island Grand Prix, provides fast-paced professional go-kart races. The Irish folk festival Erin Feis is also in September. A children's costume contest and scavenger hunt is featured during Fright Night. Twice per year, Gallery Hop! showcases the arts in galleries, studios, restaurants, and shops.
In addition, the QCCA Expo Center offers a variety of trade shows and special events throughout the year including Bald Eagle Days, Quad Cities Home & Garden Show, Outdoor Shows, Antique Spectacular and more.
Choose Rock Island as your own personal playground! Hit the links at either of Rock Island's two rolling golf courses - Saukie and Highland Springs. Enjoy nature, hiking through miles of trails in Black Hawk State Historic Site. Grab your bike and enjoy the beautiful riverfront trails that are part of the Great River Trail that begins in Rock Island and ends 62-miles later in Savanna, Illinois. Also, be sure to wander through Lincoln Park and enjoy the beautiful views or take in the tropical plants and waterfall at the Quad City Botanical Center.
Black Hawk State Historic Site, a 204-acre wilderness park and home to the Hauberg Indian Museum, has more than four miles of hiking trails and plenty of picnic areas. This area was once the home site of the Sauk and Fox tribes who settled in the area in the late 1700s and early 1800s. For the history buffs, there are many places to explore! Chippiannock Cemetery, which was established in 1855 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, provides an opportunity to learn about the locals.
The Downtown Architectural Tour covers a six-block area in the core of Rock Island's downtown and features 37 structures. Rock Island's downtown is the most walkable in the Quad Cities and many of the historical buildings remain in tact.
The Broadway Historic District, a grand Victorian neighborhood is the premier historic area in Rock Island, where old houses are regarded as treasures. Great architecture, constant restorations, and a first-rate neighborhood association have made this area the place to be in the Quad Cities for old home lovers. More than 550 homes make up the Broadway collection, which features Queen Anne, Italianate and Colonial Revival architecture.
Highland Park gains its special ambience from outstanding architecture and the beauty of original brick streets. Collectively, Highland Park homes make up one of the most beautiful neighborhoods in Rock Island. Individually, each home is an architectural gem.
The Road to Perdition novels and movie have made the characters and exploits of John Rooney and Michael Sullivan well known. What you might not know is the inspiration for John Rooney came from a true Rock Island gangster, John P. Looney. This is the story of John Patrick Looney, the leader of vice, gambling, prostitution, and murder in Rock Island in the early 1900s, as told through our buildings and sites.
When people come back to Rock Island to visit, one of the first stops is to satisfy their hunger pains. Here are the tempting treats people miss when they're not in Rock Island: Whitey's Ice Cream, Jim's Rib Haven, Happy Joe's pizza, and Harris Pizza.
If you've got company coming, there are some things it seems everyone should do. Gamble at Jumer's Casino & Hotel. Tour the Quad City Botanical Center. Gaze at the Mississippi River. Take a drive through our historic neighborhoods. Watch the sunset at Sunset Park & Marina.
If you just want to meet some locals doing their "everyday thing," you'll find them hanging out at: Blue Cat Brew Pub having a bite to eat or enjoying a specialty brewed beer. Catching a live music show at the Rock Island Brewing Co., and enjoy a tasty drink at one of the establishments in The District. The best fine dining in town is at Le Figaro Restaurant. For the traditional supper club experience, head to O'Melia's. Grab a quick coffee at Theo's Java Club. For those dog lovers, Hasselroth Dog Park is a happening place for owners and their dogs. During the summer, the water slides at Whitewater Junction are refreshing. And if you're looking for some great nightlife - you'll find it all within walking distance in The District.
If you need a local souvenir, here are some items that are made in Rock Island: Boetje's Mustard and Old Arthur's barbeque sauce.
Cool things to do include: Any District festival. A Backwater Gamblers ski show. Shakespeare in Lincoln Park by the Genesius Guild. Bike or walk the Great River Trail bike path along the Mississippi River. Eagle watching in the winter. Shows at Circa '21 Dinner Playhouse. Comedy Sportz improv comedy champions. Art gallery openings at Quad City Arts and MidCoast. Dance at its finest with Ballet Quad Cities. St. Patrick's Day Parade and Labor Day Parade. Check out the Chippiannock Cemetery Tour. For information on Rock Island go to http://www.liveri.com. If you want to contact the local Chamber of Commerce, go to the Quad Cities Chamber.