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Downtown Rock Island
For other places with the same name, see Rock Island (disambiguation).

Rock Island is one of the Quad Cities in Western Illinois. Downtown Rock Island has art galleries and theaters, nightclubs and coffee shops, and restaurants of all flavors. Golf courses, parks, a casino, botanical center, marina, historic tours, bike paths, and festivals offer entertainment opportunities.


Rock Island is the county seat of Rock Island County, with a population of 37,000 in 2020. It is one of the Quad Cities, along with neighboring Moline and East Moline in Illinois and the cities of Davenport and Bettendorf in Iowa. The city was the site of one of the largest Native American villages in the 18th and early 19th centuries. The first railroad bridge across the Mississippi River was built between Arsenal Island and Davenport in 1856. Lock and Dam No. 15, completed in 1934 as a federal Works Progress Administration (WPA) project during the Great Depression, is the largest roller dam in the world.

Visitor information[edit]

  • Rock Island - The District, 226 17th St., Suite 11, +1 317 277-0937 ext 118. Summer hours: M-F 9AM-5PM, Sa 9AM-4PM; winter hours: M-F 10AM-4PM, Sa seasonal. A full-service visitor center and gift shop that offers visitor information, maps, gifts, souvenirs, postcards, locally-made food and drink, and Quad Cities merchandise.

Get in[edit]

Map of Rock Island

By car[edit]

Rock Island is about 170 miles west of Chicago, and midway between Minneapolis-Saint Paul to the north and St. Louis to the south. Rock Island and the rest of the Quad Cities form the largest urban concentration between St. Louis and Minneapolis-St. Paul along the Mississippi River. Major interstates I-80, I-88 and I-74 provide ready access to the area, making the region a preferred location for logistics and distribution facilities. Interstates 80 (east and north) and 280 (south and west) form a beltway around the metro area. Interstate 74 comes up from the south and for a short distance joins I-280 on the beltway before it travels into Moline. Rock Island is generally accessed from I-280 and Illinois Route 92. From the Interstate to just west of the downtown area Illinois 92 forms the Centennial Expressway. It is a regular 4-lane street downtown (First Avenue).

From Davenport the Centennial Bridge, which carries US Route 67 traffic, is the typical way into the city on the west side of downtown. The Government Bridge on the east side of downtown is also an entry point, however the bridge sets low above the water and has a swing-span to allow barge and other river traffic to pass through. This will cause delays.

Rock Island and Moline share a border and several streets which act as entry points. The street names are different in each city. Fourth Avenue in Moline (Illinois 92) becomes Sixth Avenue in Rock Island and connects the two downtown areas. In the mid-town sections of the two cities 16th Avenue in Moline becomes 14th Avenue in Rock Island and 19th Avenue becomes 18th Avenue. On the south side John Deere Road (Illinois Route 5) in Moline connects with Black Hawk Road (Illinois Route 5) in Rock Island via an interchange before it becomes the Rock Island-Milan Parkway and crosses the Rock River towards Milan, Illinois and Rock Island's south side.

By plane[edit]

  • Quad City International Airport in Moline has non-stop flights from major markets primarily in the Midwest, the South and Southwest United States.

By bus[edit]

Interstate bus terminals are at the Charles Wright Ground Transportation Center in downtown Davenport and at Centre Station in downtown Moline. Both locations are served by Greyhound and Burlington Trailways. Greyhound has a bus stop, but no services, at Augustana College in Rock Island.

By train[edit]

  • Amtrak Moline (MLI), 1200 River Drive, Centre Station, Moline. Station with waiting room but no ticket office or amenities. As of March 2016, Amtrak is still busing passengers from Moline to Galesburg IL (50 minutes away) to catch onward trains to Chicago; work is in progress to inaugurate Amtrak direct service between Chicago and Moline.

Get around[edit]

By car[edit]

Rock Island is generally an easy city to navigate. The city streets are basically laid out in a grid pattern with the avenues traveling east to west and streets north to south. Very few streets are named and instead are numbered. The numbers for the avenues begin at the Mississippi River and progress in order as you travel south. The street numbering system begins in the west and progresses in order as you travel east. The Mississippi River generally travels through the Quad Cities from east to west before heading in its normal southerly direction. Thus, Davenport, Iowa is to the north of Rock Island and not to its west.

The Quad Cities has a wayfinding color code system for signs that direct people to various venues and attractions in the area. The area is divided into quadrants with their own colors and identifying headers on direction signs have the appropriate color for each quadrant so that you will know, by color, which quadrant you are in and to which color you will have to travel to reach other attractions. Rock Island is in the southwest quadrant and its attractions are on signs that use the red color in the header. The southeast quadrant (Moline-East Moline) is blue, the northeast quadrant (Bettendorf) is yellow, and the northwest quadrant (Davenport) is green.

By bus[edit]

Public transportation via city buses is available in the Illinois Quad Cities by MetroLINK buses. There is a connection with Davenport's CitiBus at the downtown bus terminal along Third Avenue.


Quad City Botanical Center
  • 1 Black Hawk State Historic Site, 1510 46th Avenue, +1 309 788-9536. Hauberg Museum: Mar-Oct: 9AM-5PM, Nov-Feb: 9AM - 4PM, (closed year-round noon - 1PM for lunch). Black Hawk State Historic Site is a wooded 208-acre tract along the Rock River. The area is most closely identified with the Sauk nation and the warrior-leader for whom it is named, Black Hawk. Black Hawk State Historic Site (Q4920887) on Wikidata Black Hawk State Historic Site on Wikipedia
  • Mississippi River Visitor Center, 200 Rodman Ave. (Rock Island Arsenal near the Government Bridge from Davenport), +1 309 794-5338. Memorial Day to Labor Day: M-F 9AM-5PM, Sa-Su 9AM-7PM; Labor Day-Memorial Day: M-Su 9AM-5PM, except Christmas Eve 9AM-noon. Closed Thanksgiving, Christmas Day and New Year's Day. The Mississippi River Visitors Center gives visitors the opportunity to view navigation through Lock & Dam 15. There are also displays about the river's past and present. The Visitor Center is on a military installation so you will need to pass through a security checkpoint as you enter the island. People over the age of 16 will need to show a photo ID (driver’s license) and tell the security guard where you are planning to visit.
  • 2 Quad City Botanical Center, 2525 4th Avenue, +1 309 788-9536. Nov–Mar: M-Sa 10AM-4PM, Su noon-4PM; Apr–Oct: M-Sa 10AM-5PM, Su noon-5PM. Tropical Sun Garden, Rare Conifer Collection, Physically Challenged Garden,Ornamental Goldfish Pond & Aquatic plants (open year round); Wildflower Prairie Garden, Scrambled Alphabet Garden, Secret Garden, Perennial Gardens, Garden Train Railway Exhibit (seasonal) Adults (16 years and older) $6, seniors (60+) and military $5, youth (ages 6 to 15) $4, children (ages 2 to 5) $2.00, toddlers (ages 2 and under) free. Quad City Botanical Center (Q7268267) on Wikidata Quad City Botanical Center on Wikipedia
  • 3 Rock Island Arsenal, +1 309-782-1337. The largest government-owned weapons manufacturing arsenal in the United States Army. It comprises 946 acres on Arsenal Island (originally named Rock Island). It was the sight of Fort Armstrong in the early 1800s and a Confederate Prison during the American Civil War. Located on an island in the Mississippi River, it contains factories, country club, museum, Col. George Davenport House, National Cemetery and Confederate Cemetery. The public entrance is from Moline, however some parts of the island are restricted. Rock Island Arsenal (Q4396797) on Wikidata Rock Island Arsenal on Wikipedia
  • 4 Rock Island Arsenal Museum, Building 60, intersection of Rodman and Gillespie Avenues, +1 309 782-5021. Tu-Sa noon-4PM. The museum tells the history of the Arsenal. It began in 1905 with the U.S. government's exhibit from the 1904 World’s Fair in St. Louis and items from the warehouse for Civil War ordnance. The collection of arms includes one of only four copies known to exist of the Rappahannock rifle. It is the second oldest U.S. Army museum after West Point Free. Rock Island Arsenal Museum (Q29034111) on Wikidata Rock Island Arsenal Museum on Wikipedia



  • Quad City Symphony Orchestra, +1 563-322-7276, fax: +1 563 322-6864. Box Office: M-F 8:30AM-4:30PM. Since 1915. Based in Davenport, subscription concerts are held at Centennial Hall on the campus of Augustana College on Sunday afternoons.


Circa 21
  • Circa 21 Dinner Playhouse, 1828 3rd Ave., +1 309 786-2667, fax: +1 309 786-4119, . Wednesday-Sunday evenings, and a Wednesday matinee performance. Broadway musicals and comedies are performed onstage after a buffet dinner. The Speakeasy offers adult themed improv comedy shows, comic open mic nights, burlesque shows and cabarets on Friday and Saturdays. Located in the former Fort Armstrong Theater, listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
  • ComedySportz / The Establishment Theatre, 220 19th Street, +1 309 786-1111, . 6:15-9:30PM. Improv comedy played as a sport. The Establishment Theatre is a multi-use venue and the home of ComedySportz. Featuring a full bar, expanded menu, adjustable seating capacity, and a full-size movie screen.


  • Indian Bluff Golf Course, 6200 78th Ave., Milan, +1 309 799-3868. Su M 10AM-1PM, Tu-Sa 10AM-10PM. 18-hole public golf course, public use area and two daily fee pavilions. Owned and operated by Rock Island County, it is south of Quad City International Airport
  • Saukie Golf Course, 3101 38th St., +1 309 732-2278, fax: +1 309 788-6323. Su M 10AM-1PM, Tu-Sa 10AM-10PM. Designed by Thomas Bendelow, Saukie was built in 1927 and opened the following year. This public course is considered to be an “executive length" course and is a classic example of a short course that will challenge every golfer.


Main Library
  • Rock Island Public Library The Rock Island Public Library traces its beginnings to 1872, making it the oldest public library in Illinois.
  • Main Library: 401-19th St., +1 309 732-7323
  • 30/31 Branch: 3059 30th St., +1 309 732-7369
  • Southwest Branch: 9010 Ridgewood Rd., +1 309 732-7338
  • Augustana College A private liberal arts college affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.



  • Blue Cat Brewing Co. (Blue Cat Brew Pub), 113 18th Street, +1 309 558-6063. Tu-Th 11AM-10PM, F Sa 11AM-midnight, closed M. Craft beers and good quality pub grub. $5-20.
  • Jim's Rib Haven, 531 24th St, +1 309 786-8084. Tu–Sa 10:30AM–10PM, Su 11AM-8PM. A great place in the Quad Cities for ribs.


  • Rock Island Brewing Co. (RIBCO), 1815 2nd Ave, +1 309 793-1999. Tu 4-10PM, W-F 4PM-2AM, Sa 3PM-2AM. Features a full dinner menu, daily drink specials and live entertainment Thursday through Saturday evenings. Over 100 selections of domestic, import, and micro brew beers. A Rock Island landmark.


Victorian Inn Bed & Breakfast

Bed and Breakfast[edit]



Go next[edit]

Routes through Rock Island
Ends at Davenport  W  E  MolineEnds at
ClintonDavenport  N  S  MacombSt. Louis

This city travel guide to Rock Island is a usable article. It has information on how to get there and on restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.