Davenport, Iowa, is between Des Moines and Chicago, Illinois, right on the state line. Located on the Mississippi River, the first railroad bridge in 1856 over the great river connected Davenport to Rock Island, Illinois. While Davenport became an important commercial hub, Chicago gained significantly more commerce. Davenport along with Rock Island, Illinois, were awarded the 2007 City Livability Award in the small-city category.
Figge Art Museum
The Figge Art Museum is the major art museum in eastern Iowa and western Illinois. It serves as a collection hub for several major universities. It has more than 4,000 works of art, including the premier Grant Wood collection. Along with its sizeable American collection that includes Andrew Wyeth, Andy Warhol, and Ansel Adams, it has a major collection of European art by Auguste Renoir, Toulouse-Lautrec, and Joshua Reynolds. It also has many pieces from East Asia, including famous Japanese artists. The Figge Art Museum offers several programs for adults, teens, and families, including free days for families and children’s art workshops. Thursdays at the Figge provide the chance for you to meet friends at the bar for a drink and stroll through the galleries or attend a performance, lecture, or class. (Photo Credit: http://figgeartmuseum.org/)
The Putnam Museum & Science Center
For about 150 years, the The Putnam Museum & Science Center has offered children and adults the opportunity to experience the region's historical and natural treasures in a unique and hands-on way. It has science, history, cultural, and environmental exhibits that offer education and entertainment on topics from the past and potential future. It is a Smithsonian Affiliate, which means it can borrow exhibitions from the Smithsonian Institution to enrich its offerings. It is also home to a National Geographic GIANT Screen Theater, one of the first three in the world, offering a huge array of films. If that is not enough, you can participate in a live call to the International Space Station through a partnership with NASA. The museum is truly one of the highlights of living in Davenport.
The Adler Theatre is a center for performing arts and a cultural icon in Davenport. Much of the original Art Deco style remains in the renovated RKO Theater that was opened in 1926. Today, it presents a diverse selection of live theatrical productions with celebrity headliners, comedians, and top Broadway shows such as Elf the Musical, Annie, 42nd Street, Once, and Stomp. Events may include The Nutcracker, the Quad City Symphony Orchestra, and Home Free with their gorgeous all-vocal music and light-hearted humor. The Adler Theatre offers you first-class live theater and entertainment throughout the year.
B.J and Mabel Palmer Mansion
The B.J and Mabel Palmer Mansion is a major part of the history of Palmer College and Chiropractic. The mansion is on the National Register of Historic Places and is a showcase of the Palmer collections. It also has a unique architecture. As was the custom during the early years of the 20th century, people who could travel the world collected art, crafts, and historic objects from just about everywhere, and the Palmers were no exception. Their collections are extraordinary and an intricate part of Davenport culture. Since the collection is so extensive, even locals see something different every time they visit. Tours are arranged for Monday through Friday and on the weekends by prior special arrangement.
Vander Veer Botanical Park
The Vander Veer Botanical Park is one of the first botanical parks established west of the Mississippi River. It covers 33 acres and is listed on the Davenport Register of Historic Properties. The park offers gardens with perennial and annual beds, a conservatory, and a formal Rose Garden. The Grand Allée is a walkway that ends at the fountain on the lagoon. There is even a Children’s Sculpture Garden where you will find benches in the shade or sun. For more than 100 years, the Vander Veer Botanical Park has presented many floral shows, tropical plants, and continuous displays. The most famous are the Chrysanthemum Show, the Poinsettia and Lights show, the Winter Azalea Show, and the Spring Floral Show. There are many trees along the pathways, and the formal Rose Garden features 1,800 roses of 145 varieties. The park is a lovely place to spend a few relaxing hours at any time of the year.
Quad City Symphony Orchestra
The Quad City Symphony Orchestra is 100 years old and still going strong. Its aim is to inspire, entertain, and engage the Quad City community through symphonic music, educational programs, and cultural events. Auditions are held each year for students who want to become a member of the orchestra. It also supports a youth choir for which it holds singing auditions. The Quad City Symphony Orchestra gives clear instructions about what will be expected of them at their audition for each type of instrumental and vocal applicant. Members and visitors can expect world-class performances in the Masterworks Series, Pops Series, Signature Series, and more. Educational programs include Symphony Day, when up to 6,000 fourth and fifth grade children experience a live orchestra performance. It also offers a Private Lesson Program to give talented youngsters the chance to experience high-quality instruction.
Me & Billy Kitchen and Bar
Me & Billy Kitchen and Bar is a friendly, local bar that serves great food. The décor is stylish and comfortable and the atmosphere is welcoming. The menu consists of simple food featuring local, fresh ingredients. It offers an excellent, traditional burger throughout the year and other homemade items on a seasonal basis. Whether you are looking for fresh-made soup, salads, a fantastic sandwich, or special entrees that are served after 4:00 pm, you will not be disappointed. There are even considerations for children with child-size portions of fries and traditional mac and cheese. At the bar, they offer a different drink special every day along with the friendly service locals have come to expect. The Quad Cities Chamber of Commerce awarded Me & Billy Kitchen and Bar the Hot Spot of the Year in 2015. You can look for the daily specials or peruse a huge selection of draft beers or wine from all over the world.
Barrel House 211
Barrel House 211 is a restaurant and bar that offers lunch and dinner that includes Barrel House originals and local favorites. Some of its specials include Chicken Twists with their specialty sauce and Firecracker Shrimp Quesadilla. They offer a children’s menu that contains all of the food they like. The bar has an extensive wine and beer selection, and there is live music to entertain you on weekends and selected days of the week. Barrel House 211 was awarded the Quad Cities Chamber of Commerce Hot Spot Award in 2013 as well as The Best Food Bar designation. It has a private mezzanine that is perfect for birthday parties, family reunions, rehearsal dinners, or corporate events.
Modern Woodmen Park
Modern Woodmen Park is a minor league baseball stadium on the banks of the Mississippi River. With the Centennial Bridge in the background, home run balls often fly into the river. According to Ballparkdigest.com, Modern Woodmen Park won the Best Ballpark Improvement award for two consecutive years. It is considered the top minor league ballpark in the U.S. It has hosted many exciting all-star games as well as many live concerts featuring artists such as Johnny Cash, The Beach Boys, Def Leppard, Bryan Adams, and many more. The first stadium on the river was opened in 1931 so that the teams could play night games. Today, you can enjoy minor league baseball games as well as some of the most spectacular views in Davenport. (Photo Credit: https://www.cityofdavenportiowa.com)
Machine Shed Restaurant
Machine Shed Restaurant is a restaurant that serves fresh, healthy food to honor the American farmer because the farmer is everyone’s bread and butter. It also offers unique specialties such as Baked Potato Soup, roasted, stuffed Iowa chop, and its Heartland Combo with three of its prize-winning entrees. Along with fresh, healthy food, it has a gift shop with unique items where you will find a gift for every occasion. You will also find tips for cooking pie crusts, whipped toppings, fruit compote, and more. They serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner and offer a gluten-free and a healthy children’s menu with all of the food they love. They also have a special menu for catering and banquets.