Earth : North America : United States of America : Midwest (United States of America) : Iowa : Eastern Iowa : Quad Cities
The Quad Cities has been passingly referred to as "forgottonia". Without a sizable core city, a major sports team or even formal recognition as a single urban entity from many planning comissions, it remains undetected on the national radar. As a result, it is frequently derided for its lack of stature when it achieves national attention. Such derision is more a reflection of the ignorance of those outside the area than it is legitimate fodder for amusement. Visitors are encouraged to check their biases at the door and explore everything the area has to offer.
Non-stop destinations include Chicago, Minneapolis, Memphis, Dallas, and Denver.
The Quad Cities are accessible from the east by Interstates 80 and 88, from the west by Interstate 80, and from the south by Interstate 74. US Route 61, a highway that runs alongside the Mississippi, also leads into the area. Interstates 80 and 280 form a beltway which is bisected by Interstate 74, making the entire area easily accessible by freeway. The area is also served by several bus stations.
The nearest city with Amtrak service is Galesburg, Illinois, about 50 minutes south of Moline on Interstate 74.  It is served by four routes: California Zephyr, Southwest Chief, Illinois Zephyr, and Carl Sandburg, all of which originate in Chicago.
Understand that despite its relatively small size, the politically fractured nature of the area has eliminated any central planning, making the area unusually difficult to get around in. For the public benefit, most gas stations post large, comprehensive free maps near their restrooms. Public transportation via city buses is available, but not widely used.
Though not officially named, the Quad Cities could well be another city called "The City of Bridges". Numerous pedestrian-friendly bridges span the Mississippi River, providing breathtaking views of several downtowns. Additionally, the newly completed "Skybridge" in downtown Davenport provides a bird's-eye view of that city's immaculate core while treating street-level pedestrians to an ever-changing array of colors from light emitting diodes embedded in the bridge's structure. The area lies in a steep valley, allowing those approaching the Mississippi an astonishing view of the surrounding area.
Quad-City Times - Davenport-based newspaper.
Any visitor to the Quad Cities should know that the world headquarters for the familiar yellow on green John Deere farm equipment is located in Moline. A visit to the John Deere Pavilion is a must - you can view the history of John Deere plows and tractors in one big room. This is also a fantastic gift shop with everything from t-shirts to golf balls to paper plates for your next John Deere party!
The downtown Moline area includes the original Lagomarcinos, 100 years old in 2008, a confectionery shop with delicious homemade candies and chocolates. Isabel Bloom Studios, where world famous sculptures are created, is located very close by the John Deere Pavilion.
Visitors are strongly encouraged to explore the Village of East Davenport, a converted residential neighborhood that now houses a thriving arts community.
Another notable shopping experiences is the District of Rock Island, a pedestrian mall which hosts several exotic bars and coffee shops, and maintains a near continuous series of music and ethnic festivals throughout the summer.
Arsenal Island is a federally owned 900+ acre island in the Mississippi River. The dreaded Civil War era Rock Island Prison (to which Ashley Wilkes is sent in the novel Gone With the Wind) was located here, and a cemetery of nearly 2,000 Confederate soldiers as well as a National Cemetery reside on the island. Other island attractions include the Colonel Davenport house, huge limestone buildings over 100 years old, and a lock and dam system that includes a swing-span on the iron Government Bridge. Public entrance is from Moline only, and visitors must register at the gate.
A visit to Black Hawk State Historic Site in Rock Island brings you to an area that served for millennia as a location for Native American villages, particularly Sauk and Mesquakie.
Any of the areas numerous riverfront casinos are recommended to those seeking to blend an old-time Mississippi riverboat cruise with the excitement of modern gambling.
For those interested in a more engaging experience, the Quad Cities plays host to the world-class Bix race, Sturgis on the River motorcycle rally, and the chance to use those golf balls at TPC Deere Run, home of the PGA John Deere Classic (held each July).
Moline's iWireless Center (formerly the Mark of the Quad Cities) is the main concert and event venue, with concerts played year-round, the Quad City Flames AHL hockey team, and the Steamwheelers arena football team.
At Modern Woodmen Park (formerly John O'Donnell Stadium), spectators can watch the Quad City River Bandits baseball team (formerly the Swing of the Quad Cities) devour their opponents. It is located near the North End of the Centennial Bridge, along the Mississippi River in Davenport.
An article  in the popular satirical newspaper The Onion once questioned where the gay district of Moline could be found. Moline's gay district is located a few minutes away, in nearby Davenport.
Observe the bald eagles feeding along the Mississippi River in the wintertime. The most opportune locations are locks and dams.
The Quad Cities is home to two unique styles of pizza. The first type is found at a number of restaurants, but the best example is Frank's Pizza in Silvis, Illinois (a small town abutting East Moline.) Founded in 1949, Frank's was one of the first (if not the first) pizza parlor in the Quad Cities. It serves a fantastic pizza, with a crispy-chewy crust and a great tomato sauce. The iconic version is the sausage, but you can get other toppings as well. It really is a unique style of pizza (it is even cut a different way -- in long thin strips) and is a treasure of the region. In addition to Franks, other local restaurants such as Harris Pizza serve a similar style pizza.
The second unique style of pizza can be found at Happy Joe's pizza. This small chain offers a well-loved taco pizza (not traditional, but still tasty) and a pizza topped with Canadian bacon and sauerkraut. You can get more typical toppings at Happy Joe's too. It also doubles as a n ice cream parlor, and is very family-friendly.
Speaking of ice cream, the surprisingly expensive Whitey's Ice Cream provides numerous flavors of delicious premium grade hard-pack ice cream and should not be missed. An excellent alternative is the less expensive local soft-serve ice cream shop Country Style which offers a variety of fresh ingredients. Both establishments can be found throughout the area, and any local would be happy to direct visitors to the nearest one.
The Iowa Machine Shed celebrates the American farmer, cooking from scratch right down to peeling the potatoes.
Anyone looking for family dining, family owned and operated Steakhouse, check out Tappa's Steak House located in downtown Davenport for 25+ years.
For those seeking something with a more unique flavor, The Filling Station provides delicious American fare at low prices. Visitors are strongly encouraged to pay it a visit.
The Blue Cat Brew Pub serves very good fare ranging from burgers to seafood. Be sure to check out a few of the beers brewed at in the in-house microbrewery.
Those seeking a more upscale experience can visit the Wood Fire Grill (previously called Centro), an italian-based restaurant in downtown Davenport. John Deere Commons in Moline also hosts an upscale dining establishment, Johnny's Steakhouse.
Moline Centre (which is located next to the John Deere Pavilion) is a host to a wide range of food, from Pizza to Thai.
The District of Rock Island is a pedestrian mall which serves as home to numerous bars, and should not be missed. It also plays hosts to local several local festivals.
Davenport's downtown plays host to several large upscale nightclubs. Visitors need only park their car and follow the crowds.
Davenport's "Rainbow District" is a (very) small gay village located on the outskirts of the city's downtown. It consists of a handful of gay-oriented bars, nightclubs and restaurants, and is known for its popular drag shows. As with many areas in questionable parts of town, visitors are advised to proceed with caution when visiting the area at night. A string of recent violent incidents has garnered greater police protection, but has also illustrated some of the area's downsides.
As with many other working class cities, Davenport has a number of small neighborhood pubs located among its residential developments.
The Moline Centre is a good place to park and walk. There are several bars including Bent River Brewery, try out there house beers. Also, Beir Stube located both in the Moline Centre and Village of East Davenport. Looking for outdoor music go to the River House.
Like larger cities, visitors to the Quad Cities should make an effort to avoid traveling on foot when alone at night, especially in the west ends of Davenport and Rock Island. That said, the area's greatest dangers tend to be experienced on the road; in the summertime deer make unfortunate moving roadblocks, and most locals know of someone who has demolished their car against one. The winter months proudly represent the Midwest's unpredictable weather and leave much of the area icy and unnavigable with little notice.