Rock Island

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.


Rock Island is the county seat of Rock Island County, Illinois, United States, with a population of 39,018 in 2010. 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

Get in

By car

Rock Island is located approximately 170 miles west of Chicago and midway between Minneapolis 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

  Quad City International Airport is in nearby Moline and serves the regional Quad City area. Currently, four airlines offer non-stop flights to Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas-Ft. Worth, Denver, Detroit, Las Vegas, Memphis, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Orlando-Stanford, Phoenix-Mesa, and St. Petersburg. Major rental car companies serve the airport and there are also taxi and shuttle companies available. There is generally not a line of taxis at the airport, but there is a list of taxi companies, as well as shuttle services, associated with the airport on the Ground Transportation page of the airport's website. It is best to make arrangement before arrival. MetroLINK Route 20 bus, also known as Route 20 Blue, makes two stops an hour at the terminal near the baggage claim area. Connections to other MetroLINK buses may be made at Centre Station in downtown Moilne.

By bus

Interstate bus terminals are located 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

Get around

By car

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 one travels south. The street numbering system begins in the west and progresses in order as one travels east. It is important to note that 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

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.

The LOOP is a riverfront circulator bus that crosses two bridges in two states and services downtown Moline, Rock Island, Davenport and Bettendorf. Ride for $1 per trip, during these hours: Thursday - Saturday 5 pm - 1:30 am; Sunday 11:30 - 6 pm. Buses run approximately every 20 minutes.


Quad City Botanical Center




Circa 21



Main Library
  • 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




Victorian Inn Bed & Breakfast

Bed and Breakfast


Go next

Routes through Rock Island

Davenport  W  E  Moline
Clinton Davenport  N  S  Macomb St. Louis

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Sunday, March 13, 2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.