The Quad Cities area has many of the meeting venue amenities expected in a big city, but with the prices, convenience and affability of smaller Midwestern towns. Quad Cities venues run from gaming establishments to cultural centers to arenas that can accommodate thousands.
"Quad Cities" actually comprises the five cities of Davenport, Moline, Rock Island, Bettendorf and East Moline, with Bettendorf being the relative newcomer (although the nickname "Quint Cities" has yet to catch on). These flank the Mississippi River, Davenport and Bettendorf on the Iowa side, Rock Island, Moline and East Moline on the Illinois side. Together, they're the biggest metro area in the region, not quite belonging to—or overshadowed by—major metros like Chicago (160 miles), Des Moines (160 miles), Milwaukee (200 miles), St. Louis (230 miles), Omaha (300 miles) or Indianapolis (300 miles). Together, they feature 4,900 hotel rooms and the largest airport in Illinois outside of Chicago, Quad City International Airport in Moline.
The Quad Cities area offers the flexibility and options of five distinctive communities. Davenport is known for arts and cultural attractions, including the Figge Museum. In 2010 its historic Hotel Blackhawk, which connects to RiverCenter, reopened following a multi-million-dollar renovation. Moline is the world headquarters for John Deere, and its John Deere Pavilion, a sweeping agricultural exhibit, draws visitors from around the world. Festival-happy Rock Island opened a riverfront park in 2010 with a covered stage and lawn for concerts and performances and welcomed the opening of the Speakeasy, a multi-use facility next to Circa21 that seats 130. Family-oriented Bettendorf has the Family Museum and, in the Isle Casino Hotel, the largest hotel in Iowa. And the Loop, a circulating shuttle bus that serves all four downtowns, ties the downtowns together.
There are four major meeting venues in Quad Cities, the first of which is the Quad-Cities Waterfront Convention Center. Opened in 2009, the center has nearly 30,000 square feet of meeting space and is managed by and connected to the 500-room Isle Casino Hotel in Bettendorf. The others are RiverCenter/Adler Theatre in Davenport, a 100,000-square-foot flexible meeting space with skywalk connections to more than 400 rooms; the i wireless Center, a 12,000-seat multi-purpose arena in Moline; and the 60,000-square-foot QCCA Expo Center in Rock Island.
In spring 2011, the Jack Nicklaus-designed Fyre Lake National golf course, a public course, was slated to open in nearby Sherrard, Illinois. There is a legal battle over outstanding loans to be settled before the course opens.