No matter which city you call home, you will find a mix of small-town charm and big-city amenities in the Quad Cities, Iowa area. From museums and historic landmarks to lively restaurants perfect for Friday night dinner, the Quad Cities, IA area has something for everyone. Check out this video to learn more about all of the activities in the Iowa Quad Cities downtowns.
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Davenport and Bettendorf together comprise 90% of the population in the community with 100,000 people living in Davenport and 35,000 people living in Bettendorf. The Iowa Quad Cities has a total of 150,000 residents.
Whether your family is looking for something to do this weekend or you need a unique dinner spot for a Friday night, you will find it within a 15-minute radius in the Iowa Quad Cities.
Comprised of 946 acres, the Rock Island Arsenal sits on the Mississippi River between Davenport, Iowa and Rock Island, Illinois. Home to the First Army headquarters, the Rock Island Arsenal now provides manufacturing, logistics, and base support services for the Armed Forces. The Rock Island Arsenal Museum was established on July 4, 1905, and is the second-oldest US Army Museum in the US.
Arconic, a division of Alcoa, is located along the river between Bettendorf and LeClaire in Iowa. It employs a large percentage of Quad City residents. Alcoa invented the aluminum industry in 1888 and continues to innovate with new technologies and processes.
The Iowa Quad Cities parks range from simple playgrounds to vast fishing lakes. Davenport is home to West Lake Park, where you can rent paddle boats or fishing equipment in the summer. Along the Mississippi in Buffalo, Iowa, a sandy beach oasis awaits you at Buffalo Shores. Bettendorf maintains multiple parks along multiple bike paths including Devils Glen Park and Crow Creek Park. Walcott has five parks with various amenities.
Davenport, Bettendorf, LeClaire, Blue Grass, and Eldridge all have their own library branches, but all branches make it convenient to check out and return books from any location at any time. The Iowa Quad Cities, and beyond, are part of the RiverShare Libraries, where your library card grants you access to books from multiple branches within multiple cities. Can’t find the book you need in Bettendorf, but it’s at a Davenport branch? Reserve it online and pick it up at your desired location!
In 1832, Antoine LeClaire made a deal with the Native Americans in the area that is now known as LeClaire. Soon after, settlers came to the town and it thrived off the Mississippi as a river community.
In 1835, George Davenport bought land from Antoine LeClaire on the west bank of the Mississippi, and helped to form the town that would become Davenport. Scott County was then formed by an act of the Wisconsin Territorial legislature in 1837.
Blue Grass was originally on an Indian trail between the Mississippi River and the Cedar River, where grass had a bluish tint. The township was given the name “Blue Grass” when the post office was established in 1840.
In 1846, Jacob M. Eldridge moved permanently to Davenport from Philadelphia and purchased land north of Davenport from the U.S. Government. The city finally began growing in population during the 1950s, starting with the formation of the Scott County Library System in 1950, and the North Scott Community School District in 1956.
The City of Walcott was originally platted in 1854. The first passenger train route west of the Mississippi River started in 1855 and helped Walcott grow. William Walcott, who was a director of Chicago and Rock Island Railroad, donated $500 in 1855 for the construction of a school building, with the stipulation that the fledgling town be named after him.
The founders of Bettendorf originally named the town Lillienthal, after a tavern and dance hall, but merged with an adjacent village name Gilbert in 1858. Around 1900, the Bettendorf brothers took over Gilbert with their ironworks. Their business evolved into the Bettendorf Axel and Wagon Company, which subsequently became the largest railroad car shop west of the Mississippi River. In recognition of their importance, the town was incorporated as Bettendorf in 1903.
The demand to live in the Iowa Quad Cities is high. In the past 20 years, Davenport’s population grew by 2.9%, and Bettendorf’s population grew by 7.6%. New construction homes are being built across the community to fill the need of the growing population.
The schools in the Iowa Quad Cities are a major factor in the population increase. Pleasant Valley High School in Bettendorf has been ranked in the top 20 in the state for its excellence. North Scott High School in Eldridge, Bettendorf High School in Bettendorf, and Assumption High School in Davenport have all won state titles in varying sports as well.
The average home in the Iowa Quad Cities is a three bedroom, two bathroom that costs about $200,000. However, the home type varies from the luxury million dollar listings of Bettendorf to the affordable bungalows of West Davenport. LeClaire and Eldridge are unique, as they contain both luxury new construction homes and affordable starter homes.
Modern Woodman Park: Home to the Quad Cities River Bandits, this “ballpark meets theme park” hasn’t stopped expanding since its opening in 1931. The facility located in downtown Davenport has also hosted many concerts including Johnny Cash, The Beach Boys, and AC/DC. It features miniature amusement park rides, a 110-foot ferris wheel, and a double-decker carousel for a night full of family fun. A schedule of games and events held at Modern Woodmen Park can be found here.
Village of East Davenport: Located in the heart of East Davenport along the Mississippi, the “Village” incorporates a unique blend of history, shopping, confectioneries, galleries, pubs, dining, lodging, events, celebrations and scenic parks. The Village was established in 1851, and hosts annual events like the Quad Cities Criterium and Christmas in the Village. View a list of shops in the Village here and learn more about the history here.
Downtown Davenport: Downtown is the heart and soul of Davenport, Iowa, and is a hub for entertainment, business, art and culture, shopping and civic service. Whether you’re here to live, work, or play, there’s always something to do downtown! Daytrotter, a local recording studio and music venue, is located in Downtown Davenport. Learn more about living, working, and playing in Downtown Davenport here.
Putnam: Whether you’re 2 or 92, there’s always something new to discover at the Putnam in Davenport! The Putnam is a place where people connect with history and ideas by doing, making and experiencing. Their classes and special events are a great complement to their hands-on exhibit galleries. View a calendar of events here.
Family Museum: With an emphasis on role play and interactive learning, the Family Museum in Bettendorf invites families with young children to Play and Learn Together! Their classes and special events are a great compliment to the hands-on exhibit galleries. Learn more about visiting The Family Museum here.
Isle: The Isle Casino Hotel in Bettendorf combines hotel, casino, restaurants, bars and entertainment in one land-based venue not far from the original riverboat casino. The Isle offers multiple dining experiences, in addition to a wide variety of entertainment every weekend. Book your trip today! The Isle is also connected to The Waterfront Convention Center, a popular place to host meetings, conventions, banquets and receptions.
Rhythm City: Great for locals and escape artists alike, Rhythm City Casino Resort is your one stop game shop! Treat yourself with all they have to offer or pick your favorite form of relaxation: gaming, dining, shopping, spa-ing, or just relaxing in their luxurious hotel rooms! Rhythm City, located in east Davenport, is also the only Quad Cities casino fully owned by Iowans.
Mississippi Valley Fair: The Mississippi Valley Fair is one of the largest celebrations in the Quad Cities, bringing in thousands of attendees at the end of each summer. From dusk to dawn, your day at the fair can start with funnel cakes and frozen lemonades, move to carnival rides like the swings, and end with a grandstand concert. The fairgrounds located in west Davenport also host many other events throughout the year.
Bix 7: This annual road race in late July attracts runners of all skills from all across the world. It begins in downtown Davenport and loops through neighborhoods like the Village of East Davenport and McClellan Heights. If you’re not up for the full seven mile course, there is also a two-mile Quick Bix option, or the Jr. Bix for kids. The race was founded in 1975 and had a field consisting of 84 runners. Today the race is often run by 12,000 to 18,000 runners.
Adler Theatre: The Adler Theatre was opened in 1931 and is now home to the Quad City Symphony Orchestra and Quad City Ballet. The 2,400 seat auditorium located in downtown Davenport also hosts various concerts, performances, and plays, including Broadway at the Adler. Find more information about the events held here.
Figge: The Figge Art Museum is the premier art exhibition and education facility between Chicago and Des Moines. Its landmark glass building on the banks of the Mississippi in downtown Davenport, designed by British architect David Chipperfield, is home to one of the Midwest’s finest art collections, and hosts world-class traveling exhibitions. Its studios, auditorium and spacious lobby are alive with art classes, lectures and special events that attract visitors of all ages.
St. Ambrose University: St. Ambrose University, located in central Davenport, was founded in 1882 as a seminary and school of commerce for young men. It has since transformed into a spirited community, known for its athletics, special events and outstanding residence halls.
Blue Grass Homecoming Days: Located in the Blue Grass Community Club Park, this annual celebration invites people from all over the community to help the town celebrate its rich history and exciting future. Activities include fun runs, food vendors, fireworks and a parade!
LeClaire Downtown: Situated along the beautiful bend on the upper Mississippi River at the intersection of I-80, the City of LeClaire offers several options for visitors and residents alike. Attractions include shopping, dining, antiques, and so much more. LeClaire also hosts several annual events, including Tug Fest, when LeClaire takes on Port Byron, Illinois for a tug of war across the river. Other area attractions include the historic River Pilot Homes and the Buffalo Bill Museum, honoring LeClaire’s most famous native, William F. “Buffalo Bill” Cody. There’s so much to do and see in LeClaire, click here to view upcoming events.
Antique Archaeology: LeClaire, Iowa is also home to Antique Archaeology, the storefront from the History Channel show “American Pickers.” Rummage through antiques or pick up show memorabilia at this famous spot for tourists and residents alike.