48 Hours in Davenport, Iowa

Davenport is located in East Iowa right on the Mississippi River.  It is one of the 4 Quad Cities (Davenport, Bettendorf, Moline & Rock Island) that cover both Iowa and Illinois!  Here is my tried and tested mini trip itinerary to show you how to make the most out of your time in the Quad Cities!

Trip Notes

Duration: 2 nights, 1 full day (Friday – Sunday)

Month of Travel: October

Things to See & Do in Davenport

Day 1 Afternoon:

Putnam Museum & NatGeo Giant Screen Theatre

Museum Entrance Only – Adult: $8, Child: $7 ($5 extra for Giant Screen Movie)

Giant Screen Movie Only – Adult: $8.50, Child (2-18): $7.00

The Putnam Museum is great for both adults and kids.  I LOVED the hands on science exhibit which explained how things work such as: mechanics, electricity, animation etc.  Other exhibits include History and the Natural World.  The Giant Screen Theatre shows both 3D and 2D movies.  When I visited, I saw a 3D film about the life of Monarch butterflies and their migratory patterns.  For the travel obsessed, there are also movies about airplanes, the oceans and various countries around the world!

Day 2:

Figge Art Museum

Downtown Davenport.  Entrance – Adults: $7, Child (4-12): $4

(Closed on Mondays)

The museum is located right on the Mississippi River.  I visited on a Saturday and the museum was very quiet and peaceful.  As a lover of photography, the photo based exhibits were my favourite, especially this one shown below called the “Portrait of Maquoketa”, unfortunately it’s only a temporary exhibit (Oct 2016 – Feb 2017)!  The Spirit of Haiti is full of brightly coloured paintings that almost make you feel as if you are right there in the Caribbean!  There is also a Grant Wood exhibit, an Iowan artist from the early 1900’s, a fun little booklet is available for free and allows younger visitors to recreate some of his works of art…of course I picked one up too…!

Maquoketa Art

Take a Stroll along the Mississippi & See Lock and Dam 15

There is a nice ‘boardwalk’ that runs alongside the Mississippi with people jogging and cycling.  Davenport is full of interesting bridges such as the Rock Island Centennial Bridge (as shown in the featured image at the top of the page!) and the Davenport SkyBridge which glows different colours once it gets dark!  The Mississippi has Lock and Dams scattered along it’s length, Davenport is home to the ’15th’ and it’s pretty impressive to see!  It’s a Roller Dam which can be opened and closed depending on the height of the river.

Visit a Casino

Once upon a time, Casinos were illegal in Iowa.  To get around this they were built on old school river boats floating in the Mississippi which is kind of a No-Mans Land between States.  Both of Davenport’s River Boat Casinos have since moved onto land now that they are legal.  The boats now stand unused, which is sad as the Casinos no longer have that unique character.  The Isle Casino is a little further up the river in Bettendorf and was built next to its boat!  I’m not a gambler but the free coffee is good and on a lot of the machines, you can play with $1!  I was worried about if I would be dressed right to enter, in the UK Casinos are, for want of a better word, posh.  Smart clothes only.  No jeans, no sports shoes etc.  There was no need to be concerned, I saw one guy wearing a button up shirt, with surf shorts and 2 different shoes…

Day 3 Morning:

Have a Swim in the Hotel Before Check-Out!

This one is obviously accommodation dependant (both hotels I stayed in during my trip had pools though)!  It’s something I love to do when I travel, I may even be part fish.  When Check-Out is at 10am, I find that unless you leave really early it’s a bit of a limbo time so I like to fill it with going for a swim!  If you go early enough you get the pool to yourself too!

Where to Eat & Drink in Davenport

Davenport is jam packed with every chain restaurant going.  On my first evening, I went to Golden Corral.  I have a bit of a soft spot for the chain, all you can eat buffet…what’s not to like?!  But in Downtown there are more unique places to eat and drink with a whole range of cuisines on offer.

Whitey’s

One word.  ICE CREAM.  These ice cream parlours are amazing.  There are so many flavours to choose from.  On my first visit, I opted for a $6 Boston…it’s a milkshake float (yup, ice cream, on top of ice cream), I also had pineapple chunks on mine!   It probably had a million calories in it but there was definitely no regrets!  Whitey’s was founded in Moline, Illinois, just across the river from Davenport, in the 1930’s.  There are now several chains across the Quad Cities, including 3 locations in Davenport and 2 in Bettendorf!

whiteys-ice-cream

Boozie’s Bar & Grille

Located in Downtown Davenport on West 3rd St, very close to the Adler Theater.  I loved Boozie’s!  It’s a cute little pub style restaurant with loads of memorabilia on the walls.  The food is awesome, typically American, I had a giant burger and the owners are so friendly and chatty.  Someone recommended this place to me and now I’m recommending it to you!  Word of warning, when there is a show on at the Theater, all the restaurants are fairly full around show time, my group ended up sitting at the bar as it was the only space left but that was fine with us!

Analog Arcade Bar

Also located on West 3rd St!  This Retro Bar is Every Gamers Dream!  I visited twice during my stay, once in the day time when we had the place to ourselves and then again in the evening when it was completely packed!  It’s full of old school arcade machines that cost $0.25 to play!

Analog Arcade Bar

Where to Stay in Davenport/Bettendorf

Econo Lodge – Bettendorf

Lower Budget: $49pn (breakfast included)

One thing that I like to look for when I travel is a hotel that includes breakfast!  For $49 the Econo Lodge was a bargain!  It’s located in the industrial area where all the big chain shops and restaurants rather than in Downtown so it is a little drive away.

Positives:

  • The price
  • The rooms had USB charging ports on the bedside tables
  • The swimming pool was open until 11pm
  • There’s a pool table for $0.50 a play
  • Breakfast is included
  • Plenty of car parking space.

You can find Econo Lodge Inn & Suites on booking.com HERE

Isle Casino Hotel – Bettendorf

Higher Budget: $112 (for a Saturday night stay)

The good thing about the Isle Casino is that the rooms have 2 double beds and they allow 4 adults to stay in each room (this is unheard of in the UK!), which obviously brings the cost down.  The Isle is a HUGE hotel with 2 accommodation towers, one with river views and recently renovated or the older tower which is where I stayed but it was still really nice!  The casino is between the 2 towers and is open 24hours.  There are restaurants and food places that are open until the early hours of the morning.

Positives:

  • Endless free coffee in the casino
  • The swimming pool is SO warm and lovely
  • It’s open between 6am and midnight and there’s even a hot tub
  • There’s a really nice gym, one of the restaurants has a buffet breakfast…it’s expensive (not included in the room rate) but is yummy and has loads of different options to choose from!

48 Hours in Davenport, Iowa

This itinerary includes everything I done during this particular visit.  What are your favourite things to do in Davenport?

Disclosure: Please note some of the links in this post are affiliate links, which means I will receive a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking.  It comes at no extra cost to you but it helps me with the running of this site!  As always, opinions are my own.

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