Moving to the Quad Cities, IL/IA. Recommendations?
July 20, 2010 7:33 PM   Subscribe

My husband and I are moving to the Quad Cities, Illinois/Iowa and we need some recommendations. He grew up there, so we are familiar with general geography and institutions like Jim's Ribs, Whitey's ice cream, and Maid-Rite. But he hasn't lived there since high school-- we need a realtor, neighborhood suggestions, doctors, etc. My Google-fu has given me plenty of lists but I'd like info from real people.

The Mr. and I are both in our early 30's, no kids yet but thinking of having some soon-ish. If you have recommendations for any (or all!) of the following, please let me know. Thanks, MeFites!
  • Iowa vs. Illinois: Do you have a strong preference for one side of the river or the other? My husband grew up on the Illinois side, but we're willing to consider both sides based on factors like neighborhoods, schools, shopping, property taxes, and whatever else you can think of.
  • Neighborhood: Would you recommend any particular areas for us to live? What do you like about them?
  • Real estate agent: We'd like someone who can work in both states and help us make that decision.
  • Home improvement contractors: We are willing to buy an older place and do some updates as needed, like kitchens and bathrooms, but nothing super huge. I'd love to have some names of high-quality reliable people to keep in mind as we househunt.
  • OB/GYN: Please recommend a doctor or a practice for me, someone who treats the couple as full members of the team rather than just people who should shut up and do as told. Bonus points for practices that include midwives!
  • Catholic parish: I'm looking for one that is welcoming, has an active parish community life, and recognizes that there is a stage of life between single and mommy. (My current parish has a singles group and a mommy group-- I don't feel like there is a place for us.)
  • What else am I missing?
posted by scarnato to Grab Bag (5 answers total)
I grew up in the neighborhood surrounding Denkmann Elementary School. Though it was 30 years ago, I have great memories of the neighborhood.
posted by whatisish at 8:32 PM on July 20, 2010

I went to school at Augustana, in Rock Island, as as far as liveability, it always seemed like the Iowa side was nicer, especially in Davenport up on the hills above the town. Then again, Davenport is the only one of the cities without a flood wall, so I wouldn't live too close to the river.

I wish I could help with more, but by all means, do try out the Blue Cat Brew Pub. Good local beers, good food. Probably more Augie students than you'd want, but pretty nice.
posted by Ghidorah at 1:02 AM on July 21, 2010

I grew up in the QC --- was raised in LeClaire (the other side of Bettendorf) and then went to college at Augustana in Rock Island. Having lived on both sides of the river, I would strongly recommend considering Bettendorf, on the Iowa side. Bettendorf and adjacent Pleasant Valley are two of the nicer areas in the QC, and are warm, welcoming communities with nice homes and wonderful schools.

The public schools in the area (the Iowa side much more notably than the Illinois side) are fantastic; particularly PV and Bettendorf. For churches I'd recommend Our Lady of Lourdes on (I think) 14th St in Bettendorf, though there are many churches in the area that would likely meet your needs. The Davenport area has some gorgeous old homes as Ghidorah refers to above; the Village of East Davenport is painfully adorable. But the public schools there do NOT compare to PV/Bettendorf in terms of test scores/opportunities/overall safety. (But note --- the public schools in Iowa, even Davenport's, still are some of the best in the nation.) If it's any indication, my brother and his gf recently purchased a home in Bettendorf over Davenport due in part to their desire to be in the Bettendorf school district rather than Davenport.

Seconding Blue Cat Brew Pub in the District of Rock Island; it's awesome. Also check out Huckleberry's Pizza and Theo's Coffeeshop, both also in the QC. Mama Compton's down there is a great quirky-gourmety foods store and old-fashioned ice cream parlor. Also be sure to check out Harris Pizza, Erawan if you like Thai, Le Mekong for Vietnamese, and either Habaneros or Azteca for Mexican.

Shopping is kinda eh, though presentable. The malls have a few higher-end stores, I like Dillard's or Younkers for deals. Bettendorf now has a Burlington Coat Factory, too, there's at least one Bed Bath, and Schnucks is the closest thing I know of to a gourmet/more upscale grocery. The thing is, no matter where you live in the QC, you're not *that* far from any other section for things like shopping. My family and friends who still live in the area river-jump with regularity for certain restaurants and stores.

Sorry to ramble... good luck!
posted by scwebd at 9:48 AM on July 21, 2010

Wow. The internet makes the world so small. I grew up in Clinton - about a half hour north of the QC, and went there at least once a week for music lessons and the like.

The Iowa side, imo, is nicer. Davenport is a pretty nice town with a lovely downtown area, nice residential neighborhoods, and pretty decent eateries and bars.

Seconding the quality of the public schools on the Iowa side. Having lived in many large cities since, I have gained a new respect for the quality of the public schools in Iowa.

I can't respond specifically to all of your questions. You mentioned Whitey's which, despite its incredibly un-PC name, is still the best ice cream I've had. But yeah, river jumping is no big deal, as far as shopping and eating are concerned. As far as taxes, schools and neighborhoods go, I think you're better off in Iowa - of course, I am biased.
posted by Lutoslawski at 10:47 AM on July 21, 2010

lived on the IL side for a couple years and hated it, got out as soon as I could.

if I had to go back there, I'd go for the Iowa side. It does generally seem nicer. The mall is better and the restaurants are better. Plus, then you're closer to Iowa City, which is even better for shopping, I think. (well, coralville.) And it's a bit early to be thinking about high schools, since you haven't had kids yet, but I definitely think PV (Pleasant Valley, in Bettendorf) is the best one in the area.
posted by lblair at 10:49 AM on July 21, 2010

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