About Davenport IA

What should I know about Davenport, IA?

Davenport Iowa was founded in 1836 by landowner Antoine Le Claire. He named the city after his friend George Davenport, a former English sailor who served with him in the U.S. Army during the War of 1812. The town is situated on the eastern border of Iowa, on the banks of the Mississippi River. The land on the opposing shore is part of Illinois. According to statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau, Davenport’s population was 101,590 in 2019, making it Iowa’s third-largest city. Davenport is also one of the four towns that comprise the Quad Cities metro area, joined by Rock Island, Moline and East Moline.

Davenport offers some notable indoor and outdoor destinations for visitors. Here’s a sampling of what you will find there.

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Cultural Amenities

  • The Putnam Museum and Science Center is dedicated to educating visitors about history and natural sciences. It was one of the first museums in the area, dating back to 1867. There are 160,000 pieces in the museum’s collections. The permanent exhibits include an aquarium and a Hall of Mammals filled with photographs and interactive displays. The museum also houses a theater where movies about history and natural sciences are screened.
  • The Figge Art Museum is considered the authority on all things art related in the region. Opened in 1928, the museum boasts over 4,000 pieces of art that span from the 16th century to the present. There are large collections of Colonial Mexican, Midwestern, and Haitian art on display, as well as a wide range of American pieces, by such celebrated artists as Andy Warhol and Winslow Homer.
  • The Adler Theatre is a beautiful live performance venue that was originally built in 1909 and restored in 1986. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the theatre retains a wide range of its period features including the original glass work, chandeliers and seating. Theatrical productions, musical performances, touring Broadway shows, standup comedy events and more are hosted here.

Historical Places & Landmarks

  • The Palmer Mansion, or the Palmer Family Residence as it is also known, is the former home of B.J and Mabel Palmer who lived in the property from 1912 until 1961. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1984, the house now showcases the Palmer’s period possessions and is full of antique memorabilia as well as unique design elements. Today, the mansion is open for guided tours that take you through the home and explain its historical and cultural significance in the area.
  • The Davenport Skybridge is a noted bridge in the city that offers visitors unparalleled views of both the downtown area and the Mississippi River. The Skybridge, which stands 50 feet tall and spans 575 feet, was built in 2005. The River side of the Skybridge contains an observation deck, while the entire structure is upfitted with over 8,000 lights that shine in kaleidoscopic patterns and colors and reflect seasonal holidays like Christmas.
  • Lock and Dam Number 15 is literally a lock and a dam on the Mississippi River between Rock Island and Davenport. Notably, it is the longest roller dam in the world and its style and design are unique along the River. For these reasons, it is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. This is also a great place to walk the surrounding nature trails and bird watch.
  • The Village of East Davenport is a popular shopping and entertainment district with its own eclectic style. It sits on the southeast side of the city in a historic area that was once an independent community. Many of the buildings date from the Civil War era; today, they house an eclectic mix of locally-owned retail businesses, bars and restaurants. The Village is where you will find the quirky side of the city.

Outdoor Adventures

  • Lindsay Park covers 31 acres in the Village of East Davenport. Visitors are treated to spectacular views of the Mississippi River, athletic fields and a major playground area for the kids. Art lovers like to stroll and browse the architectural sculptures along the Riverfront Parkway section. Lindsay Park is home to the annual Rivverssance Festival of Fine Art.
  • Vander Veer Botanical Park is a stunning 33-acre botanical garden located in the Vander Veer Park Historic District of Davenport. It dates back to 1885 and is listed on the Davenport Register of Historic Properties. Come explore the local flora and fauna of Davenport in a historic setting that includes a music pavilion, a stunning conservatory, and picturesque fountains that predate the Second World War.
  • Duck Creek Parkway winds 13.5 miles through several Davenport parks before culminating at Duck Creek. Originally dating from the 1930s, the parkway was upgraded with a bike path in the 1970s that allows visitors today to walk or cycle for hours surrounded by spectacular nature.
  • Credit Island sits in the Mississippi River to the southwest of Davenport. Once a Native American trading ground, which is reflected in the name, this popular recreational destination boasts a sprawling community park with a golf course, along with facilities for rugby, soccer and softball. Trail biking, fishing, picnicking and eagle watching are additional preferred pastimes on this 420-acre island.