City Editor Travis here. Growing up in the Quad Cities, I spent my time along the Mighty Mississippi — watching baseball at the country’s No. 1 minor league park and eating world-renowned ice cream. Whether you’re just driving through on a trip across I-80 or you have a longer stay in mind, act like a local with these tips.
Fun fact: Although it’s called the “Quad Cities,” there are more than four towns in this region. But which are the main four? That can get... contentious. The oldest original “Tri Cities” were Davenport, Moline, and Rock Island. Later came East Moline, but then Bettendorf overtook it in size. People tried calling it the “Quint Cities” at one point, but it never caught on (even though the website still lists all five).
- This cluster of Midwest cities is one of the most slept-on metros I know. From coffee, beer, and public art self-guided tours to family passes and pro sports (yes, water ski shows count), you’ll always have something to do.
- The QC has an important role in America’s music history, which you can celebrate with the end-of-summer Bix Beiderbecke Festival + Blues Fest.
- These guides will help plan your trip and find activities.
Act like a local
- Food: Quad Cities-style pizza — it’s a thing. Aside from inventing taco pizza, the QC’s famous sweet crust, spicy sauce, and crumble sausage combo has been nationally featured.
- Dessert: Whitey’s Ice Cream (named after the owner’s hair color) is a 90-year-old family business with accolades like first place at the World Dairy Expo.
- Drink: My favorite hometown beverage is the Uncommon Stout at Bent River Brewing. For cocktail + charcuterie lovers, try a taste of RAW.
- Nightlife: It’s hard to beat downtown Davenport for local nightlife (especially UP Skybar). If you’re on the other side of the Mississippi, try paring music at The Rust Belt with views from the River Room.
- Outdoors: QC Trails’ interactive map lets you toggle types of activities (walking, biking, riding, and even paddling), amount of difficulty, and by surface types. I love the Ben Butterworth Parkway in the morning with a Milltown coffee in hand.
Where to stay
- Vrbo: Stay at Renwick Mansion with 17 of your closest friends and family, taking in this historic Italian Revival home with panoramic views overlooking the Mississippi. ($500/night)
- Airbnb: The Riverfront Cabin on the Rock River sleeps six and comes with a fire pit and kayaks. ($182/night)
- Splurge hotel: Hotel Blackhawk, Autograph Collection includes a restaurant and bar, a spa, an aquatic center, and a basement bowling alley. (~$136/night)
- Save hotel: Stoney Creek Hotel is located on the banks of the Mississippi with close-by access to Vibrant Arena at the Mark, the John Deere Pavilion, and Bass Street. (~$76/night)