Things To Do In The Quad Cities This Summer

Are you a student who’s planning to stick around the Quad Cities area this summer? Looking for something to do? Maybe you want to explore the surrounding towns, or show your friends or family members what draws you to the QCA. As someone who’s lived in the area all her life, I’ve compiled a list of local events that I may or may not have attended in the past. Enjoy!

Rhubarb Fest, Aledo, IL (June 2nd and 3rd) Rhubarb Fest takes place in a small town just south of Rock Island. It takes about 40 minutes to drive from the Augustana campus to Aledo, so it’s not out of the way by any means. If you’re into live music, trolley tours, antiques, crafts, or pies, there’s enough to go around at this two-day event. The star of the show is obviously rhubarb and it’s featured in various treats at the event. There’s also an annual 5K Run/Walk at 8AM, so if you need the exercise, join in!

My advice: Bring money and a lawn chair if you plan to stick around. This is an outdoor event, so bring sunscreen or bug spray, depending on the weather. Get there early or be ready to walk from a slightly distant (for a small town) parking spot.

More info: [link]

Soul2Soul World Tour With Tim McGraw and Faith Hill, Moline, IL (June 17th) Concert-going country fans should be excited to see country’s favorite couple take the stage together at the local iWireless Center in Moline! If you’ve never visited the QCA’s largest venue for live entertainment, I recommend you do so if you’re sticking around this summer. This place usually hosts Monster Jam, Mallards games, WWE events, graduations, and plenty of concerts.

My advice: Be careful about parking because the venue will charge you for it. You could try the parking lot (good luck getting out after the show) or the parking garage, but if you’re close enough or you have a nearby friend who isn’t going, ask them to drop you off and pick you up, take a bus, or walk if it’s nice enough! I’ve gone to a few shows here myself, and just recently watched the Dixie Chicks perform in October. The iWireless Center (formerly The Mark) has great sound quality and excellent views no matter how far away from the stage you are. If you want to check out these two live, don’t worry about getting the cheaper tickets and risking the chance of getting good pictures—I promise they’ll be decent enough to put up on Facebook or Snapchat! (Here's an photo I took from the Dixie Chicks show, from the 200 section)

More info: [link]

Red, White & Boom!, Rock Island, IL and Davenport, IA (July 3rd) This event takes place over the Mississippi River between Rock Island and Davenport. If you can spot a viewing area on the riverfront, you’re good to go. Out of the suggested locations, I think Schwiebert Riverfront Park would be an ideal spot (close to Augie, too). Admission is free. The website warns that outside alcohol is not permitted at this location specifically, and cooler checks are possible, so take that into consideration. At Modern Woodman Park, no outside food/beverages will be allowed. There’s also some other areas you could sit and watch the fireworks at, so just look around and pick out a good place.

My advice: I usually go to Milan’s fireworks at Camden park (I live very close by) so I don’t know the perfect Red, White, & Boom! location, but it’s very popular as far as Independence Day-related events. Like with any fireworks display, arrive early and claim your spot. Bring a blanket, a jacket, bug spray, or chairs, just in case, and remember to be responsible if you’re going to drink!

More info: [link]

Rock The District Concert Series: Here Come the Mummies, Rock Island, IL (July 7th) Writing this makes me so happy. I was introduced to this band in high school when my friend moved to Moline. She saw her first HCTM show with her family and invited me the next few years. This band, in my opinion, is a mix of jazz, funk, rock, and R&B. The bandmembers also dress as mummies and their lyrics are, well, suggestive, but amusing and enjoyable nonetheless. The crowd is always enthusiastic. There’s merch available. There’s also drinks and food nearby at the bars. The band typically sticks around after the show for autographs and photos, and they’re very sweet about it.

My advice: Outside drinks and lawn chairs aren’t usually allowed. If you think you’ll be thirsty during the show (which lasts from the opening acts at about 7 or 8PM until about midnight), bring money. I’ve never had to bring bug spray, but if you’re worried, think about it. It’s a standing event unless you’re on the Daiquiri Factory patio, so be ready to get up and step to the beat. I’ve never been bothered by people under the pavilion, but I don’t go to this show alone, so I have backup just in case. (Here's my best friend's poster; I got her the autographs after the show)

​More info: [link] [link]

Bix 7 Run/Walk, Davenport, IA (July 29th) My dad’s been a runner all my life, so I’ve heard of this race since I could run myself. I’ve participated in the Jr. Bix many years ago, but since I’ve not ran competitively for years, you’d have to pay me a hefty sum to try the Bix 7. The 7-mile race begins at 8AM. There are cash prizes, so if you think you can run with the best of ‘em, try it out! You’ll be running alongside Olympic athletes as well as your average QC residents. Also, you get a free shirt and poster with your registration!

My advice: With such an early start time, you’ll obviously need to get up early if you want to find a parking spot and especially so you don’t miss the race! Also: train, train, train. If it’s not too late (I’m no athletic expert) or you’ve been running/jogging for months anyway, you’ll probably be in good shape. There’s always a post-race party at the Bix, so even if you think you didn’t do so hot, enjoy some drinks with fellow runners or meet back up with your friends until the awards ceremony.

More info: [link]

Great Mississippi Valley Fair, Davenport, IA (August 1st-6th) This place is always packed. You’ll see kids, parents, and a buttload of country fans. This year will feature Dustin Lynch, Tyler Farr, Lynyrd Skynyrd, John Mellencamp, Randy Houser, and an unnamed act for August 4th. There are carnival rides, plenty of food vendors, and games to play with your friends or family members. The Fair lasts six days, but if you can’t help but visit the whole week, buy a FunCard for $55 before June 30th ($60 after June 30th) from local Hy-Vee stores or at the Fair Office. FunCards are the only way to see the main musical guests as well. Otherwise, there are much cheaper admission prices if you only want to visit the ground attractions.

My advice: If you’re a big country fan (and if you enjoy all the performers), I think buying that FunCard is the best way to go. I don’t remember attending any MVFs, but I always hear about it from friends. The acts are usually pretty entertaining, and the kids love the carnival attractions. Apparently, parking is free if you can find a spot on the property, so you might want to get there early or during a time when attendance seems low.

​More info: [link]

New Windsor Fair and Rodeo, New Windsor, IL (August 17th-19th) Need a place to hang out with some friends and win some prizes? Looking to finally sport some cowgirl boots? Have you always wanted to watch a rodeo live? This local town and the area surrounding it go crazy for this event every year. Everyone’s inner cowboy/girl comes out as they splurge on big belts and hats at the Fair. Kids love the rides and the games, parents love the food, and everyone grabs a seat for the rodeo at 7PM.

My advice: Not here to take sides, but some jokes during the rodeo get a little conservative, so bring an open mind and a sense of humor. The country attire gets pricey, so if you are looking to stock your wardrobe, bring some cash. Parking is mostly, if not completely, free, but if you’re parking on grass, hope for little to no rain because mud exists. You can also park along the highway.

More info: [link]

Remember that the Quad Cities area is a huge place with a lot more to do. There are more fairs, concerts, fireworks shows, races, and live events to go see throughout the summer. There are also a bunch of cool movie theatres, waterparks, museums, and the Niabi Zoo which you should check out, too. Need some more recommendations? Check out these links here and here and enjoy your summer in the Quad Cities!