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Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Travel Tuesday: 10 Fun Things to Do in the Quad Cities

Hello all! It's time for my second Travel Tuesday post. This time, I'm taking it local. Welcome to the Quad Cities!
I've lived in the Quad Cities area my whole life. It's an area in Illinois and Iowa along the Mississippi River, composed of 4 main cities and their surrounding towns. The four cities are Davenport and Bettendorf in Iowa, and Rock Island and Moline in Illinois. We live in a smaller town, a little southwest from the cities on the Illinois side.

The Quad Cities (IA/ IL):

Trent and I have spent a lot of time in the Q.C. over the years. I went to college in both Moline and Davenport, so he would come up and visit me on the weekends, and we'd go out to eat, go to baseball or hockey games, concerts, etc. And we still enjoy eating out and attending different events there, all the time.

So, if you're not too familiar with this area, here are 10 of My Favorite Things to Do in the Quad Cities.

1. River Bandits Baseball Games
The Quad Cities River Bandits are a Class A affiliate of the Houston Astros. The baseball park is right on the Mississippi River, and it's been voted the best minor league park in the U.S.! There's an outdoor bar/party area, a zipline, and a huge Ferris Wheel. We've ridden the ferris wheel, and the view is pretty awesome. It is always a good time watching the Bandits play and hanging out with friends there.


2. Attend Summer Festivals and Fairs
Every summer in the Q.C., there are always a ton of festivals and fairs going on! There are outdoor music festivals like Heartland Jam, River Roots Live / Rib Fest, and Bix Fest. Then there's one of the biggest fairs in the area - the Mississippi Valley Fair. Tons of people flock to this fair in Davenport to attend the awesome country and rock concerts at night. We've seen a ton of artists perform there, including Blake Shelton, Montgomery Gentry, Miranda Lambert, and Darius Rucker.



3. Explore Area Breweries
The Q.C. is home to several small-town breweries, on both sides of the river. There is nothing better than sitting outside on the patio on a nice day, sipping a local brew and hanging out with friends. One of our favorite local breweries is Bent River in Moline, which makes the popular Uncommon Stout, as well as my favorites: Raspberry Wheat Ale, Mississippi Blonde, and JalapeƱo Pepper Ale. Another  brewery we enjoy is Front Street Brewery, located downtown Davenport.



4. Restaurants and Nightlife
There are so many good restaurants and bars in the Quad Cities, that there are even some we've wanted to try but haven't had a chance to go to yet. Some of my favorite restaurants in Moline include River House (pictured below)Johnny's Italian Steakhouse, and Brix. In Davenport and Bettendorf, there's Azteca, Antonella's, Crust, Biaggi's, and so many more. And the best bars are always downtown!



5. Mallards Hockey Games
The Quad City Mallards are a minor league hockey team that play at the iWireless Center in Moline. I had never been much of a hockey fan and had never gone to any games - until I met Trent. One of our first dates was to a Mallards game, and it was actually a lot of fun! We like to get groups of friends together and go from time to time, and we always have a blast.



6. Walks By the River
Sometimes when you're not sure what to do, or you just want to walk off that huge dinner, you can always take a walk along the beautiful Mississippi River. LeClaire Park in Davenport (pictured below), is one of our favorite places to walk along the river. There's also Ben Butterworth Parkway in Moline, which has a great river front area, too. Trent and I had a picnic day-date there for our third date. :)



7. Museums
There are a few big museums here that are always fun to visit. If you like art, there's the Figge, located in downtown Davenport. Bettendorf has a really nice family museum (though I haven't been there since I was a kid!), then there is the Putnam Museum in Davenport, which is a history and natural science museum. I've been there several times, both as a kid and as an adult. They have an IMAX theater, which shows some pretty cool educational films, and they even play The Polar Express at Christmas time.



8. Niabi Zoo
Niabi Zoo is a smaller zoo, but the only one in the Quad Cities area. It's located in Coal Valley, just south of Moline. I remember going there as a kid, and Trent and I have gone back from time to time as adults. Even though I feel sorry for the animals kept in captivity, it's a fun place to visit on nice days, and would make for a great place to take your kids or family. My favorite animals there are the giraffes!



9. Concerts at The I-Wireless Center and The Adler
The iWireless Center in Moline is the main event and concert arena in the Quad Cities. They get the biggest artists and acts, and Trent and I have been to countless concerts there! Together we've seen artists like Luke Bryan, Keith Urban, Dave Matthews Band, Brad Paisley, and Dierks Bentley there. Not a year goes by that we don't attend at least one or two concerts at the "i-Wi." The Adler in Davenport also books some great acts. They mostly have local plays, but we've seen both Counting Crows and O.A.R. there. It's a smaller, more intimate venue, so it's easier to get a better view of the stage.



10. Shopping and Antiquing
Last but not least, The Q.C. has plenty of shopping and antiquing going on, if that's your style. There are 2 main malls here - Northpark on the Iowa side, and Southpark on the Illinois side. The malls are a little bit outdated, but Davenport and Bettendorf also have a ton of stores independent from the mall, like TJ Maxx and Marshall's, Ulta, DSW, Old Navy, and a Banana Republic Factory store. I also love to go Antiquing, and downtown Rock Island and Moline have some great antique stores. Le Claire, Iowa, just up the river from Davenport, has some of the best little shops and antique stores in the area. It's a cute historic town that's also home to Antique Archeology, the American Pickers store.




So, no matter what your style, you're sure to find something fun to do in the Quad Cities! I hope this little travel guide to the Q.C. helps you find the best places this area has to offer. :) And if you have ANY questions about the area, I would be happy to help!

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