Stretched along the mighty Mississippi River, Davenport, Iowa, is a modern city with strong German roots, a rich art scene, and outdoorsy citizens. The city parks are buzzing with activity regardless of the season, and there is always a game going on, whether it is golf, baseball, or ice hockey.
You can get a great view of the city from The Davenport Skybridge, one of the city’s icons, glimmering with bright lights that change all the time.
1. Figge Art Museum
© Figge Art Museum
The Figge Art Museum started its life in 1925 as the Davenport Municipal Art Gallery with a gift of 330 artworks from Charles A. Ficke, a former mayor of Davenport. The gallery changed its name to the Davenport Museum of Art in 1987 and got its current name in 2005 after it received major donations from the V.O. and the Elizabeth Kahl Figge Foundation. At that time the museum moved to the new modern glass building designed by David Chipperfield, which quickly became a city landmark. Besides Mr. Ficke’s collection of American, European, and Spanish Viceregal art, the museum’s permanent collection also contains the Grant Wood Archive, works by several other American Regionalist artists, a significant collection of Haitian art, and a number of contemporary works. The museum’s art studios, auditorium, and large lobby are always active with art classes, events, and lectures for art admirers of all ages.
225 W 2nd St, Davenport, IA 52801, Phone: 563-326-7804
2. Vander Veer Botanical Park
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Take a stroll through the Grand Allee, a beautiful wide walkway in the spectacular Vander Veer Botanical Park lined by mature trees and blooming flower beds. It is one of the century-old traditions in Davenport. The path leads to the bubbling Stone Fountain with dancing water and ever-changing lights. For those who want a bit more speed, there is another path on the outside perimeter of the garden, which offers about one mile of jogging track. You will also find gardens that were first established in 1885, including the Municipal Rose Garden, the Hosta Glade, the Old World Gardens and Fountain, the Children Garden, and so much more. The Conservatory is one of the jewels of the park with a year-round display of fragrant blooms: spring azaleas, lilies, daisies, summer tropical flowers, fall colors with the Chrysanthemum Festival, and the winter Poinsettia Lights Display.
215 W Central Park Ave, Davenport, IA 52803, Phone: 563-326-7818
3. Putnam Museum, Davenport, Iowa
© Putnam Museum
If you want to see the faithful recreation of the Egyptian King Tut and the famous treasures discovered in his grave, you should head to the Putnam Museum in Davenport. This renowned museum of history and natural sciences was established in 1867, and ever since it has been bringing to light the mysteries of regional history, ethnology, anthropology, and natural science through a series of permanent and visiting exhibits. The museum holds 160,000 major artifacts and specimens. Some of the most significant are Black Earth, Big River, the past and present natural habitats of the Quad-Cities. The Hall of Mammals uses photographs, exciting dioramas, and hands-on activities to create a multi-sensory exhibit about Arctic polar bears, African zebras, and other mammals. The museum has excellent outreach and education programs in cooperation with NASA , Smithsonian, and other renowned institutions.
1717 W 12th St, Davenport, IA 52804, Phone: 563-324-1933
4. Village of East Davenport
© Village of East Davenport
What was once a historic Civil War military and logging community and parade grounds for Civil War soldiers from Camp McClellan is now a popular Davenport entertainment and shopping district full of galleries, pubs, restaurants, and boutiques. The Village, as it is called by the locals, is the oldest neighborhood in Davenport. It is stretched along the Mississippi River in southeast Davenport and includes the popular Upper and Lower Lindsay Parks. There is always something going on – the area is a popular venue for local events and celebrations, a place to come for a pleasant stroll and browse through unique shops, or to look for a special gift, have a massage, or book a room in one of the quaint B&Bs. The Village is registered on the National Register of Historic Places.
E. River Dr. (HW 67) and Mound St., Davenport, IA 52803, Phone: 563-324-9224
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5. Davenport Skybridge
© Davenport Skybridge
The Davenport Skybridge is a pedestrian bridge over River Drive or Highway 67 in downtown Davenport. Its practical purpose is to provide a safe way to cross River Drive on the way to the Riverboat or LeClaire Park. But when the sun goes down, the Skybridge becomes something else. The entire span of the bridge is covered with a series of Led Lights that illuminate the bridge in a constantly changing kaleidoscope of bright colors, creating a magical vibe. The bridge is 575 feet long and 50 feet tall, and at the end facing the river, it has an observation deck with a spectacular view of the Centennial Bridge, Mississippi River, and the Davenport Levee. It is one of the most striking Davenport landmarks.
6. Chocolate Manor, Davenport, Iowa
© Chocolate Manor
Chocolate Manor is a chocoholic’s heaven; in this elegant store in downtown Davenport there are 100 mouth-watering kinds of chocolates, truffles, toffees, cupcakes, cookies, and even chocolate-covered potato chips. Everything is made on site, so the smell coming out of the store is divine. They use only the highest quality ingredients and only Belgian and French chocolates. What you see in the store is not all they make; they accept custom orders, and some of them are a bit out of the ordinary. They made an eight-foot tall chocolate menorah for an orthodox Jewish rabbi, 300 toothbrushes made of chocolate for a dentist’s wedding, life-sized all-chocolate shoes, 350 chocolate tulips for a wedding, and many other chocolate delights. If you can imagine it, they can make it, and it will be delicious.
110 E 2nd St, Davenport, IA 52801, Phone: 563-355-6600
7. River Music Experience
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Located in the Redstone Building, a historic Petersen Harned Von Maur store, The River Music Experience is a music venue and non-profit organization that offers space for musicians of all kinds to share their art and for local residents to enjoy true live American music of the Mississippi River. Besides the Redstone Room, which is the live music venue, the River Music Experience also has the RME Cafe, the café and community stage that features about 150 performances per year, from local band shows to a weekly open mic. River Music Experience offers a wide range of educational programs such as Rock Camp USA, the Sound Lab, an educational recording studio, music lessons, open mic nights, jazz jams, the "Songwriters in the Round" workshops, and much more.
129 Main St, Davenport, IA 52801, Phone: 563-326-1333
8. Lagomarcino's Confectionary
© Lagomarcino's Confectionary
Ice cream parlor, soda fountain, chocolate shop, candy shop – call it what you want, but visiting Lagomarcino’s is like going back to childhood and going with grandpa to get a piece of candy, hot fudge, or an ice cream cone. The store in Davenport, once a pharmacy, was designed to look as much like the original 1908 Lagomarcino’s in Moline as possible, with a shiny black walnut bar and stained glass lamps. It is reminiscent of another time, full of smells and flavors that call to mind the very best of memories. Try their famous Easter eggs or fabulous hot fudge that comes with homemade ice cream.
2132 E 11th St, Davenport, IA 52803, Phone: 563-324-6137
9. B.J. and Mabel Palmer Residence
© B.J. and Mabel Palmer Residence
The B.J. Palmer House is located on the campus of Palmer College of Chiropractic and has a special place in Davenport history. The house, actually a mansion, was built in 1874 in the Second Empire style for Louis C. Dessaint, a local lumber mill owner. B.J. Palmer, who is considered a father of the chiropractic practice, bought it in 1912 for the School of Chiropractic. The mansion also held the radio station that became WOC. The house has an unusual wrap-around porch and contains a strange collection of unrelated objects such as an Aeolian pipe organ, the trunk and branches of four oak trees, wicker furniture from a Philippine prison, a humidor made out of elephants’ feet, a kangaroo from Australia, and much more – these are only a part of the original collection the Palmer family gathered during their travels. The house has been registered on the National Register of Historic Places. The first floor of the house is open to tours.
808 Brady St, Davenport, IA 52803, Phone: 563-884-5714
10. Freight House Farmers Market, Davenport, Iowa
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The Davenport Freight House Farmers’ Market is the place to come when you are out of ideas about what to cook. You can also get the fresh local produce, chat with the local farmers and artisans who bring their produce to your door, or just hang out and enjoy the buzz and lively atmosphere. Located on the picturesque Mississippi Riverfront by the historic Freight House Building in downtown Davenport, the market offers fresh farm fruits and vegetables, eggs, poultry, meets, cheeses, jams, honey, baked goods, salsas, candies, fresh flowers, handmade soaps, high quality crafts, doggy treats, and much more. Everything on the market is fresh and seasonal, so it changes with the time of the year. The market is open year round on Saturday, Sunday, and Tuesday.
421 W River Dr, Davenport, IA 52801, Phone: 563-322-6009
11. German American Heritage Center
© German American Heritage Center
The German American Heritage Center was founded in 1994 with the goal of preserving the heritage of the German speaking population and of supplementing the knowledge of younger generations of the German immigrant experience. The center is located in the historic Standard Hotel, the first home for many German immigrants as they arrived in Davenport in the 1800s. The center has grown into a museum with two rotating exhibits and the main permanent audio-visual interactive exhibit, the German Immigrant Experience. The permanent exhibit has six education stations, an orientation theater, and two restored hotel rooms. The former hotel is an important part of the museum and is registered on the National Register of Historic Places.
712 W 2nd St, Davenport, IA 52802, Phone: 563-322-8844
12. Beréskin Gallery & Art Academy
© Bereskin Fine Art Gallery
Beréskin Gallery & Art Academy is an interesting combination of a gallery, an artists’ studio, and a classroom offering a range of art classes. The gallery offers works from a range of Midwest artists in different media, including painting, sculpture, and drawing. This mix is meant to provide artworks that appeal to almost any taste in art, where anyone can come and buy a piece for their office or home. At the same time, buyers and visitors can meet the artists working in a friendly, collaborative setting. The gallery also offers a range of classes for all levels, from beginners’ to advanced levels. The gallery’s associated local artists teach these courses. Bereskin is located in Bucktown Center for the Arts in downtown Davenport.
2967 State St, Bettendorf, IA 52722, Phone: 563-508-4630
13. Nahant Marsh
© Nahant Marsh
Nahant Marsh is a 513-acre nature preserve, one of the last large urban wetlands on the Mississippi River. Located on the outskirts of Davenport, Nahant Marsh is what is called an oxbow wetland system. Oxbow wetlands are relicts of prehistoric channels off Mississippi River. Besides permanent wetlands, Nahant Marsh also has wetlands that are seasonally inundated, some saturated sedge meadows, upland prairies, bottomland forest, and a few small pockets of wet and prairie meadows. Protected under the Nahant Marsh Ecological Area, wetland habitats and wildlife can be enjoyed by the community through the use of a boardwalk, maintained trails, a dock, and bird blinds.
4220 Wapello Ave, Davenport, IA 52802, Phone: 563-323-5196
14. Things to Do in Davenport: Adler Theatre
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The Adler Theatre is a stately Art Deco style 2,400-seat theatre and performing arts center in downtown Davenport. Opened originally as the RKO Orpheum in 1931, the theater was designed by A.S. Graven, while Henry Dreyfuss did the interior. The old RKO Orpheum’s restoration began in 1981, and the theatre was renamed the Adler in honor of E.P. and Philip Adler, newspaper publishers who significantly contributed to the restoration. The theater is home to the Ballet Quad Cities and Quad City Symphony Orchestra. It frequently hosts Broadway shows by touring companies and other popular performances and productions. The theater and the adjoining former Hotel Mississippi are registered on the National Register of Historic Places.
136 E 3rd St, Davenport, IA 52801, Phone: 563-326-8500
15. Credit Island
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Credit Island, a historic Davenport island on the Mississippi River, is today a 420-acre park that is popular among locals and visitors for a range of activities and facilities such as a golf course and fields for soccer, rugby, baseball and softball. The park is great for walking, hiking, biking, boating, and fishing. Parts of the multi-state Great River Trail called RiverWay in Davenport run through the island. Along the biking and hiking trail you can enjoy the Art in the Park wooden sculpture exhibit, a fascinating 3-D replica of Seurat's "A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte." There are also several playgrounds and picnic areas. You can also enjoy this beautiful spot by sitting on one of the benches and watching the lively traffic on the Mississippi River or trying to spot eagles that live in the area.
16. Quad Cities Symphony Orchestra
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The Quad City Symphony Orchestra was established and had its first concert in 1916 with only 60 musicians, including amateurs and professional. Today, the orchestra performs a full season with six concerts from the masterwork series, three pop concerts such as a tribute to the Eagles, and five chamber concerts that are part of the signature series . The orchestra has 96 professional members who perform at several different venues, including the Adler Theater in downtown Davenport, which hosts the annual Holiday Pops Concert and many other performances. Centennial Hall on the Augustana College campus in Rock Island, Illinois is another frequent host of the orchestra. The chamber concerts from the signature series are mostly performed in Wallenberg Hall in Augustana. The orchestra supports five youth ensembles and conducts concerts and events in area schools.
327 Brady St, Davenport, IA 52801, Phone: 563-322-7276
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17. Rhythm City Casino Resort
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There is never a dull moment at the Rhythm City Casino Resort in Davenport. Whether you are just visiting for a few hours or checking in for a fun getaway, you will find plenty of activities to keep you busy. Day visitors can easily spend a few hours on the slots and video poker floor which has dozens of new and classic slot machines for you to try, several of which are linked to progressive jackpots. In addition to the slots there are 17 table games for you to try. The resort offers elegant accommodation in a selection of modern and comfortable guestrooms and suites. Amenities include an on-site spa, indoor swimming pool and hot tub, fitness room and 3 dining options.
7077 Elmore Ave, Davenport, IA 52807, 563 328 8000
18. Palmer Museum of Chiropractic History
© Palmer Museum of Chiropractic History
The Palmer Foundation for Chiropractic History founded the Palmer Family and Chiropractic Museum, and its exhibits are located all over the three Palmer campuses. The museum focuses on the history of the chiropractic profession with specific emphasis on the role of the Palmer family and Palmer College. Occasionally, the museum displays a select artifact in the main atrium of the Vickie Ann Palmer Hall, asking visitors to guess what it is. The most significant collections in the Museum are Osteological Display, D.D. Palmer’s Office, Roycroft Collection of hand-made furniture, Women in Chiropractic, the Wall of Pioneers, and the Special Collections and Archives.
115 W 7th St, Davenport, IA 52803, Phone: 563-884-5245
19. Camp McClellan Cellars
© Camp McClellan Cellars
Camp McClellan Cellars is a wine store established in 1991. They have a large selection of locally produced wines and a nice selection of wines from all over the world. They also have all sorts of wine-related items you might need at home or want to buy as a gift, such as wine racks. They also have food that goes with wines and fancy gift baskets. For those who don’t know, there is a number of respectable wine producers in Iowa, such as Wide River Winery in Clinton, The Ackerman Winery in Amana, Tabor Home Vineyards in Baldwin, and many others. You can find them all at the Camp McClellan Cellars, and since there is always some kind of wine tasting event going on, you can try them all before buying them. The Cellars are also famous for having everything you need to make your own beer and wine. They have bottles, carboys, chemicals, and all sorts of other ingredients. You can try your hand at making your own wine, and if it does not work, you can always come back to the Cellars and get a few bottles of some good wine.
2302 E 11th St, Davenport, IA 52803, Phone: 563-322-2100
20. Modern Woodmen Park
Located in downtown Davenport, Modern Woodman Park was previously known as the John O’Donnell Stadium. The park is a minor league baseball venue which is home to the Quad Cities River Bandits and the Kansas City Royals. The stadium can accommodate more than 4000 seated fans while still having plenty of standing room and open seating bleachers. In the left corner of the grounds there is a giant Ferris wheel (which operates during all games) and various amusement park rides to keep the kiddies amused. Before, during and after the game you can enjoy a meal and drink from one of the concessions.
Modern Woodmen Park, 209 Gaines St, Davenport, IA 52802
21. West Lake Park
West Lake Park is the perfect place to bring your whole family to have a fun day out. The park covers 620 acres, which include four lakes for fishing, swimming and boating. There is a boat dock where you can launch your own boat or kayak and pedal boat rentals are available on-site. If you prefer to keep your feet dry you can have a go at fishing from the dock (which is handicap accessible) or just relax under a shady tree and enjoy the fresh air. You could also play a round of disc golf. There are picnic facilities, restrooms and camp sites, should you wish to stay overnight.
West Lake Park, 14910 – 110th Ave, Davenport, IA 52804, 563 328 3281
22. Cafe d'Marie
© Cafe d'Marie
Café d’Marie is located in a beautiful historic home which was built back in 1865 in downtown Davenport. The warm and inviting café/restaurant serves a delicious blend of American and French/European dishes which are sure to delight your taste buds. The café is a popular meeting place for locals who enjoy stopping by for coffee and cake or a delicious lunch or brunch. The menu starts off with a choice of mouth-watering quiches before moving on to list a good selection of Panini’s, soups, salads and daily specialties. These can be enjoyed alongside your favorite coffee, latte, tea, smoothy or frappucino.
614 W. 5th Street, Davenport, IA 52801, 563 323 3293
23. Duck City Bistro
© Duck City Bistro
Duck City Bistro is well known for their ambiance and wonderful food. The food could definitely be considered to be fine-dining quality and the chef visits every table to check that guests are happy with their meals. Appetizers include everyone’s favorite crab cakes, an elevated version of the classic prawn cocktail and delicious artichoke fritters. You will have difficulty decided on your entrée – everything on the menu sounds delicious. A few of the house specialties include their Duck City Duck Breast with Duck Confit, Horseradish Crusted Salmon, the Chef’s Veal Selection and their Prime New York Strip Steak with brie cheese risotto.
115 E. 3rd Street, Davenport, IA 52801, 563 322 3825
24. Live Action Games and CQB Airsoft
You can round up your friends and family and head to Live Action Games for an evening of fun entertainment. You can book your axe throwing lane in advance – everything you need for a fun 1 hour session is provided (except your drinks which you need to bring along). There is no need to worry if you are new to axe-throwing, the on-site instructors are there to show you how it’s done. Considered by many to be a more macho form of darts, axe throwing could well become your new best hobby. The center will soon be opening their fun escape rooms where you and your team can pit your wits against the clock.
320 W. Kimberley Rd, Davenport, IA 52806, 563 389 8282
25. Me and Billy Kitchen and Bar
© Me and Billy Kitchen and Bar
Me and Billy Bar and Kitchen is based on a simple plan to provide a comfortable and inviting place where people can come to enjoy a great drink and good food under one roof. The venue is perfect for celebrations of all kinds and has a tasteful function room with its own bar where you can celebrate your next special event. The kitchen features a comprehensive menu of flavor-forward dishes which are mostly made using seasonal, locally-sourced ingredients. Examples include their famous “build your own” burger, with a choice of beef bison, chicken or vegetarian patty. The Bar menu features a daily special cocktail, a selection of house cocktails, craft beers and wines.
20 W. 3rd Street, Davenport, IA 52801, 563 323 1195