10 Best Things To Do In Rock Island, Illinois

things to do in rock island illinois

In 2015, Rock Island was ranked the 32nd “Best Small City” in the country based on economic health, affordability, and quality of life, according to a 2015 Nerdwallet article on the best cities in America. Rock Island also made the list of the nation’s “25 Most Affordable Housing Markets,” a ranking released by 24/7 Wall Street. Even if you’re planning on a light vacation or stay, be sure to check out the affordable, fun, and exciting activities that run the gamut from historic sites to botanical centers to fun parks.

Read on to find out about the top 10 things to do in Rock Island, Illinois.

1. Black Hawk State Historic Site

Black Hawk War Mem 2016-07-12 010
Source: Photo by user Chris Light used under CC BY-SA 4.0

This wooded 83-hectare (208-acre) park transcends time, where you can go to avoid the stresses of modern city life and just simply be. Located in the middle of Rock Island, you can explore the trails throughout and remember a time not that long ago, when things seemed a little simpler. There are amenities like restrooms and vending machines, which you can find in the lodge. You might also be interested in having a picnic at the picnic tables, too. With 10 kilometers (6 miles) of marked hiking trails and helpful information pamphlets, you’ll grow to really love this historic park that’s full of history.

Black Hawk State Historic Site

Address: 1510 46th Ave., 61201 Rock Island, IL

Website: Black Hawk Park

2. Connor House

Conner House RI IL
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Smallbones used under CC0

It has been told that this Queen Anne styled house was built around 1870 for marketing and distribution, and over the years, parts of the foundation have been changed, altered and modernized. After 1906 it was owned by the Connor family, but it has been more recently owned by the Parker family since 1944. Such a timely, archaic type of home is full of old energy that’s worth a look if you’re interested in history.

Connor House

Address: 702 Twentieth St., Rock Island, Illinois

Website: Connor-Parker House

3. Quad City Botanical Center

Botanical Gardens
Source: Pexels

Rain or shine, you can expect tons of fun at the many special events held at Quad City Botanical Center. Full of family friendly fun and lots to do and see, including Art in the Garden, a new summertime event partly thanks to River Music Experience! According to the site, “Art in the Garden will be a day of nature and flower gardens, paired with art, music, and food. Guests can browse and purchase works of art inspired by nature, enjoy live music and poetry in the air-conditioned events canopy, and enjoy cuisine from various food trucks staged throughout the grounds.”

Quad City Botanical Center

Address: 2525 4th Avenue, 61201 Rock Island, IL

Website: Quad City Botanical Center

4. Rock Island Arsenal Museum

Rock Island Arsenal Museum collection
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Mike Bassett, ASC...

A museum full of history and mainly aimed at guns and military armory, the Rock Island Arsenal Museum is regarded as one of the best museums out there on military artifacts. A unique experience, this is for anyone interested in guns, military, and armory.

Rock Island Arsenal Museum

Address: 1 Rock Island Arsenal, Building 60, 3500 North Avenue, Rock Island

Website: Rock Island Arsenal Historical Society

5. Colonel Davenport House

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

This Federal-style mansion (a mansion of 1833, more specifically) was built by a carpenter whose angle of putting it together was considered maybe slightly unconventional. Later on, additional parts were added on, including east and west wings. This historic house’s events center around settler, provider, homesteader, and businessman George Davenport. Not only was he in the U.S. Army during the Black Hawk Wars, but he prospered as an agent of the American Fur Company. There is much more to the unique back story and you can check out some of the events on the website’s event page.

Colonel Davenport House

Address: Davenport Ave, 61201 Rock Island, IL

Website: Colonel Davenport House

6. Denkmann-Hauberg House

Denkmann Hauberg RI IL
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Smallbones used under CC0

Built between 1909 and 1911, this 4-hectare (10-acre) prairie-style property is a vital piece of history attached to Rock Island. Today, volunteers can enjoy fun activities at the house, like Starlight Revue, where you can enjoy live music under the stars at Lincoln Park, or you can watch vintage 1920s football. Take in the History Talk, which is only 5 USD at the door.

Denkmann-Hauberg House

Address: PO Box 3174, 61201 Rock Island, IL

Website: Hauberg Center

7. Fryxell Geology Museum

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

Named after Dr. Fritiof Fryxell, its origins begin in the late 1880s, during a time when archaeology, science, and evolution all tied into each other. The purpose of education (and its access to people) was to be the beginning of the modern museums, where you can observe prehistoric skeletons and read plaques telling their own unique, individual story. The best part about this museum, in particular, is that admission is free.

Fryxell Geology Museum

Address: 639 38th Street, 61201 Rock Island, Illinois

Website: Fryxell Geology Museum

8. White Water Junction

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

Family fun begins here! Plan your birthday or holiday or special event here, where the lucky person has different package options: Caboose Party, Boxcar Party, Corporate Party, and Party Train. Don’t worry if you or your little ones don’t know how to swim. The instructors at White Water Junction have got you covered for that, too!

White Water Junction

Address: 17 Street & 18 Avenue, 61201 Rock Island, IL

Website: White Water Junction

9. Jumer's Casino & Hotel

Source: MaxPixel

Las Vegas style gambling in this stunning Midwestern location is perfect for those wanting to have some fun. According to the site: “Our facilities are equipped with the best in slots, table games, dining options, and world-class hotel accommodations, including an indoor pool and nearby golf course access.” Who knows? You could win big on your next vacation!

Jumer's Casino & Hotel

Address: Jumer’s Casino & Hotel 777 Jumer Dr., 61201 Rock Island, IL

Website: Jumer’s Casino and Hotel

10. Schwiebert Riverfront Park

Schwiebert Riverfront Park Great Lawn, Main Stage
Source: Photo by user Farragutful used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Take in nature, beautiful scenic views of the lake and amazing live music at Schwiebert Riverfront Park in Rock Island. There are all sorts of entertainment going on that you can get a piece of. An amazing playground for kids, this relaxing, tranquil space is great for clearing your head, having fun, and appreciating all that surrounds you.

Schwiebert Riverfront Park

Address: On the riverfront between 17th and 20th Streets, 61201 Rock Island, IL

Website: Schwiebert Riverfront Park

Rock Island is a fun city

Rock Island has no shortage of cool, exciting things to take part in. As you can see from this list, there’s a little something for everybody.

Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.

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A lover of history and eccentric , colorful and intriguing cultures, I'm interested in the human aspect of travel; what travel means to each person you meet. We have stories and goals. Who we are...Read more

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