9 Fun Things To Do In Davenport Iowa (& The Surrounding Area)! USA

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 are some fun things to do in Davenport Iowa!

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Things To Do in Davenport Iowa

Putnam Museum & NatGeo Giant Screen Theatre

🗺1717 W 12th St, Davenport, IA 52804

💰Museum Entrance Only – Adult: $9 | Child: $8 ($5 extra for Giant Screen Movie)

💰Giant Screen Movie Only – Adult: $9 | Child (2-18): $8

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!

Putnam Museum Davenport Iowa

Figge Art Museum

🗺225 W 2nd St, Davenport, IA 52801

💰Adults: $10 | | Students with ID: $6 | Child (4-12): $4

🕖(Closed on Mondays)

The Figge Art 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.

SkyBridge Davenport Iowa

Visit a Casino

Once upon a time, casinos were illegal in Iowa. To get around this they were built on 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…

Bettendorf Capri Casino Riverboat Casino
Old river boat casino in Bettendorf Iowa

Niabi Zoo

🗺13010 Niabi Zoo Rd, Coal Valley, IL 61240

💰*Online in advance prices*: Adults (13-61yrs) $9 | Children (3-12yrs) $6.50 | Parking $4

Niabi Zoo is located just across the river into Illinois, around 20 minutes from Davenport. It’s a fairly small zoo but still worth a wander around. There are a lot of ‘additional charges’ though. On top of the entrance fee, you’ll then be required to pay a parking fee per vehicle and all the experiences are priced individually too.  

We paid to go on the train and to feed the parakeets. I really enjoyed feeding the parakeets, you are given a stick with bird seed stuck to it. The birds come and sit on the stick and eat from your hand! You can feed the giraffes too, but this is something I’ve done before at a different zoo so didn’t think paying another $8 was worth it.

Niabi Zoo Quad Cities IL

Iowa 80 Trucking Museum

🗺755 W Iowa 80 Rd, Walcott, IA 52773

💰Free although a donation is appreciated.

20 minutes north east of Davenport, on the I-80, is Iowa 80, the world’s largest truck stop! The truck stop itself, is just a big gas station with food, shops etc. Across the forecourt is the Iowa 80 Trucking Museum. The museum is free to visit (donation appreciated) and  has a large collection to trucks dating back to the early 1900’s!

Iowa 80 Trucking Museum

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

🗺114 W 3rd St, Davenport, IA 52801

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

🗺302 Brady St, Davenport, IA 52801

Analog Arcase Bar is 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

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!

Sun Lakes RV Resort

🗺3333 290th St N, Hillsdale, IL 61257

Quad Cities Sun Lakes RV Resort Illinois

Sun Lakes RV Resort is located across the river in Illinois. As the name suggests, it’s a campground! You can take your own tent or RV or they do have 2 bedroom ‘cottages’ to rent.

Amenities include:

  • Swimming pool
  • Mini golf
  • Canoe/paddle boat rentals
  • Fitness centre
  • Wifi
  • Jumping pillow and more
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5 thoughts on “9 Fun Things To Do In Davenport Iowa (& The Surrounding Area)! USA

  1. So glad to see a post about the Quad Cities! This is my neck of the woods. My husband and I were married at The Figge.

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