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Old 11-13-2014, 08:15 AM
 
231 posts, read 291,565 times
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OK, so I'm stopping in the Quad Cities for a day and a 1/2 and sightseeing. Don't ask why, that's just what I'm doing. I WILL not go anywhere else but the Quads. I'll be staying at The Lodge in Bettendorf. I know it's not really in a primo location, but I like the cheesy decor and especially the rate I got.

I really like observing the culture of cities, even mundane everyday things, and casinos and whatnot don't interest me. Outside of Vegas, all the casinos I've been to are basically identical. It's like a void that expunges any local culture.

Here's a quick list I made of places I might visit, in random order:

Lagomarcino (love ice cream)
Floreciente District
Village of East Davenport
Figge or Putnam Museum (any other museums that are worth a stop?)
Harris Pizza
Olde Towne Moline
Vander Veer Botanical Park (might not be a good time of year for this... anything of interest there in November?)
Credit Island
Ross' Restaurant
The Iowa 80 Truckstop (on the way out, of course)
The District in Rock Island

Any recommendations based off of my list? I want to go to places that scream "QUAD CITIES!", even if it's a bit boring. A nice historic library can entertain me for an hour or more. Is there a bar that's the cool place to go?

I'm not going to lie, part of my interest in visiting the Quads stems from having read Ben Miller's River Bend Chronicle. It was your typical Midwest rough and tumble memoir, and a bit ridiculous - the guy's obsession with any and all childhood slights he experienced was borderline neurotic. But still, it made me want to see the place up close and personal.
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Old 11-13-2014, 09:09 AM
 
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I'd say skip the I-80 Truck Stop. I never understood why anyone would go there! Or Harris Pizza for that matter. I thought it was the worst pizza ever

I always liked the Village of East Davenport.
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Old 11-13-2014, 03:19 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by one is lonely View Post
OK, so I'm stopping in the Quad Cities for a day and a 1/2 and sightseeing. Don't ask why, that's just what I'm doing. I WILL not go anywhere else but the Quads. I'll be staying at The Lodge in Bettendorf. I know it's not really in a primo location, but I like the cheesy decor and especially the rate I got.
The Lodge will soon be undergoing a huge renovation/conversion into a Hilton Doubletree. It has been overdue for years.

Quote:
Originally Posted by one is lonely View Post
Here's a quick list I made of places I might visit, in random order:

Lagomarcino (love ice cream)
Floreciente District
Village of East Davenport
Figge or Putnam Museum (any other museums that are worth a stop?)
Harris Pizza
Olde Towne Moline
Vander Veer Botanical Park (might not be a good time of year for this... anything of interest there in November?)
Credit Island
Ross' Restaurant
The Iowa 80 Truckstop (on the way out, of course)
The District in Rock Island
Lagomarcino is more about chocolate/candy than ice cream. If you want the penultimate QC ice cream experience, try Whitey's instead. It recently won some Conde Nast award for world's best ice cream.

Floreciente is a total dump. There's nothing much to see there.

The Village of East Davenport has its charms. That will probably be the highlight of your trip.

The Figge is a decent art museum. Its right next to River Music Experience, which is worth visiting if you like blues/jazz music. Putnam is okay, but not outstanding. The John Deere Pavilion in downtown Moline is marginally interesting and FREE!

Harris Pizza? Overrated. Quad City pizza in general is overrated.

Olde Towne? You'll see all you need to see in about 15 minutes. The College Hill District in Rock Island is actually better in terms of charm. Visit both of them. Neither will occupy a tremendous amount of your time.

Vander Veer and Credit Island are completely worthless this time of year, especially under this awful cold snap which is projected to last into Thanksgiving.

Ross' Restaurant... See Harris Pizza.

Iowa 80 Truckstop is big, but nothing you're going to write home about.

The District on a Friday/Satruday night might be worth your time. Any other day of the week, it's a ghost town.
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Old 11-13-2014, 04:34 PM
 
231 posts, read 291,565 times
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Thanks! It's appreciated.

I've been to the Iowa City Whitey's, so I wanted to shake things up with Lagomarcino. But duly noted.

I see what you're saying about Floreciente, but I read good things about El Mexicano. I love my authentic Mexican dives, and I think a good tour of a city/region shouldn't just include the spit-shined areas.

Sad to hear people trashing QC pizza. Nonetheless, that makes me all the more eager to try it. I want to be able to say I was also bitterly disappointed. That's part of the fun, right? At least then it'd be memorable.

Thanks for the tip about College Hill. That's definitely going on the list. You talked me out of Credit Island. I'm a hardy guy, but if it's not even going to hit 40 anytime soon (looking unlikely), it probably won't be much fun. God, I hope we're not in for another winter from hell. This isn't a great start.
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Old 11-13-2014, 04:50 PM
 
231 posts, read 291,565 times
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Also, Old Towne Moline fascinates me. It has one of the most condensed collections of "Deep Midwest" bars I've ever seen. You know what I'm talking about, those little box-shaped bars that only have like one or two windows on the ground floor, and there's a square sign projecting from the side that lights up. Where when you walk in, it's clear you're not from the neighborhood. Somebody will kinda try to talk to you, but as soon as they get the chance they fall into their usual routine and it's like you're not even there. Yeah, that kind of bar.
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Old 11-14-2014, 03:31 AM
 
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Credit Island is cool for eagle watching but it might be too early idk.

I always liked harris pizza. I prefered Fat Boys. Tho' they're pretty much the same thing.

I-80 truckstop is lame.
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Old 11-14-2014, 03:34 AM
 
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The Lodge is actually in a decent location cuz it's on the Dav.- Bett. border and it sits next to I-74 which takes you to Moline.
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Old 11-14-2014, 07:20 AM
 
379 posts, read 423,340 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by one is lonely View Post
Also, Old Towne Moline fascinates me. It has one of the most condensed collections of "Deep Midwest" bars I've ever seen. You know what I'm talking about, those little box-shaped bars that only have like one or two windows on the ground floor, and there's a square sign projecting from the side that lights up. Where when you walk in, it's clear you're not from the neighborhood. Somebody will kinda try to talk to you, but as soon as they get the chance they fall into their usual routine and it's like you're not even there. Yeah, that kind of bar.
State Street in Bettendorf has a collection of those bars as well. Muddy Waters, Fumbles, Tiddley Tap, and Purgatory are all within four blocks of each other in what you might call "downtown" Bettendorf. Fumbles has really good food, too. Sports Fans Pizza is also within walking distance, and I've heard many locals rave about their pizza. Might be a nice alternative to Harris. Just a thought.

There's also a bar up on Central Avenue near 27th Street that has the boxed-shaped vibe going. It's right in the middle of a lower-class residential neighborhood, which is a rare sightin Bettendorf. If you like cheesy neighborhood bars, this place (Central Avenue Tap, I believe it's called) should be on your list.
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Old 11-14-2014, 08:47 AM
 
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Please report back after you sight-see, with pictures if you can! I'd like to hear about your experience.
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Old 11-17-2014, 09:21 AM
 
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So I took my trip to the Quads over the weekend. My quick takeaway is that it's the most interesting area in Iowa, even if half of it is in Illinois. Des Moines is bigger and nicer, but it's also very sanitized in comparison. It doesn't have the same urban grit and character as the Quads. Des Moines is the poster child of urban renewal.

The longer version: I got into the Quads early Saturday, stopping in downtown Davenport for a bite at Central Perk. The girlfriend and I are both vegetarians, and that was the main motivator behind our choice. I audibly GROANED at the Friends reference, but it was a decent urban coffee shop (maybe less bland restaurant diner furniture would've enhanced the feel) and the food was pretty good.

We walked around downtown for a bit after and were impressed by the architecture. Davenport had some very nice office buildings and homes, and while the Skybridge is indeed quite a waste of money, it was fun for me as a visitor. The nautical theme was a nice touch.

There was a decent amount of people out and about on the weekend, and that was great to see. A lot of Iowa downtowns are just DEAD on weekend afternoons.

From Davenport, we drove through East Davenport (which was nice, but small) and Bettendorf, stopping in Moline. We checked out the John Deere Pavilion and made ironic observations about the Tango autonomous lawn mower, which I'm sure is tiresome for any Quad Cities native. Then we walked to Lagomarcino's, which I really liked. Old soda shops aren't that easy to find, at least not in this good of shape. It was a nice peak into the world of my grandparents. The sundae was solid.

After that, we got a jalapeño beer at Bent River (I love jalapeño beer) and walked around Moline for a bit. I noticed that there was a sizable Hispanic population, which reminded me a lot of the Mexicantown area back in my hometown of Detroit.

By then it was snowing, so we decided to check into our hotel, the dreaded QUAD CITIES INN (we decided to be ridiculously cheap), and plot our next move. The roads were awful, but after some deliberation we decided we were going to Harris Pizza anyway. We picked the one on Locust because it was closer and ordered a taco pizza. It was delicious. No, it wasn't a pizza I'd order too often, but it was fun to try once. That cheese, man.

Emboldened by grease, we trucked on to Rock Island. The roads were better now, and the hills were even salted! We slowly nursed a few beers at Blue Cat (all to the chagrin of the waitstaff, since they just want to push food and then get you out of there, which is why I normally avoid brew pubs if I actually want brews) and called it a night. Rock Island was nice, but I couldn't really see why it's regarded as the premier spot for nightlife. It had a little more going on than Moline or Davenport (and, obviously, Bettendorf), but it didn't blow me away in comparison to those cities.

Some people a the Quad Cities Inn got a little loud a few times that night, but overall I considered it a good value at $40. It was more memorable than a Motel 6 - for what that's worth - and the staff was actually really cool.

Sunday morning, we got breakfast at Lee's On 14th, a cute little friendly diner in Rock Island. After, we drove to Old Towne Moline just so I could say I saw every historic downtown of note (probably?). I even drove through Floreciente on the way to the Quad Cities Botanical Center.

The atrium of the Botanical Center looked really cool in photos, but the reality was underwhelming. It was pretty dinky for $6 a person, I thought, especially in late fall. And is usually the case with places like this in smaller metros, the staff greets you like dropped in from outer space. Ah well. Should've went to the Figge.

After that, we poked around Davenport for a bit, but couldn't find anything much to do on a Sunday. Had the weather been better, I would've been more than satisfied to walk along the Mississippi and check out some parks, but the cold was wearing on me a bit. I hadn't brought any thermal clothing, unfortunately.

We concluded our trip at the I-80 Truckstop, which no one here recommended. I enjoyed it, however. When you throw in the free museum, it's a fun place to poke around for a bit. I learned a little bit about trucker culture that I didn't know before. I wouldn't visit it again unless I had to fill up, but I'm glad I went.

All in all, I thought the Quad Cities were fun. It was a condensed, manageable dose of traditional urban Midwestern culture, smack dab on the beautiful Mississippi. It reminded me of a miniature version of Detroit, without the rampant decay and crime. The diners, the dive bars, junk food institutions, and outmoded downtowns are all Midwest hallmarks.

I'd definitely point someone that wants to get a quick, very affordable taste of what living in the urban/suburban Midwest is like to the Quad Cities. It has some real vibrancy to it. It's not a dead or even dying area.
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