What’s great about living in the QCA: Moline edition

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Bass Street Landing Moline, IL

I’ve been living in Moline since 2004 and have really come to appreciate this great city. I grew up in the small town of Aledo about 30 miles south of the Quad Cities, so I’ve always considered myself a native of the area. But it wasn’t until my husband and I had to think about practical things like raising a family and proximity to work and amenities that we needed to decide where to plant our QC metro area roots. We chose Moline.

We’ve lived in three houses in Moline during our 17 years here, so you might also say we have chosen Moline three times. And we’ve never looked back.

Here are six things our family loves most about living in Moline:

  1. Location, location, location. Both my husband and I work on the Illinois side of the river, so living in Illinois was important to us to keep our commutes short. We chose Moline because it’s in the center of the Quad Cities. From our house, we can get to everything in the metro area within 15 minutes! We love having convenient access to the entire region.
  2. Great neighborhoods. Our current neighborhood is full of traditions that we love, like the charming 4th of July parade that’s gone on for decades. It’s a great area to come for trick-or-treating, too, with friendly people, hot dogs, hot chocolate, amazing decorations, and a haunted house! But beyond that, and more importantly, we know our neighbors, and we value that immensely on a day-to-day basis.
  3. A school district full of opportunities and diversity. The Moline-Coal Valley School District is the largest school district in northwest Illinois and the 26th largest unit district in the state. It may seem counterintuitive that someone like me, who loved growing up in a small town, sees the large school district as such a positive. While our family has only experienced the elementary level so far (inside the fantastic and modern Hamilton Elementary), I frequently meet Moline graduates through my work at Augustana College. The co-curricular experiences, facilities, and academic preparation at Moline is competitive with any other district in the state.
  4. Downtown Moline Centre. From shopping and dining to entertainment and the John Deere Pavilion, there is a lot to explore downtown (especially when we aren’t in a pandemic). Some of our family’s favorite things about downtown Moline are: Mercado on Fifth, Bass Street Landing Summer Concert Series, Lagomarcino’s, Splash, The Market: A Journey to Joy, The TaxSlayer Center, The Catalina Rose Boutique, River House Bar & Grill, Bent River Brewing Company, Analog II Arcade, Cruz Cutz, Watermark Corners… and more!
  5. Local food. Moline has some of the best food in the area, especially local favorites. You can get a quick sandwich from The Hungry Hobo or The Little Brown Box Delicatessen. You might pick up sweet treats at Whitey’s Ice Cream (Moline is where this “Best In the Midwest” ice cream started) or Olde Town Bakery. If you’re feeling like authentic Mexican food, head to Maria’s, El Mariachi or La Rancherita. For some of the best Thai food, go to Lemongrass or Exotic Thai. You can also find comfort food at Miss Mamie’s, grab lunch at Cafe Fresh, have a date night at Johnny’s Italian Steakhouse or The Fifth Avenue Syndicate, or order pizza from Happy Joe’s or Clint’s. When you’re living in Moline, you’ll never be far from great food.
  6. Places to enjoy the outdoors. We love to go on walks, ride bikes and go fishing. Luckily, Moline offers great options for all of those things! It’s awesome to load up our bikes and ride along the Mississippi River on the Ben Butterworth Parkway (you can also get a Channel Cat Water Taxi ticket to connect to the Iowa side!). For my walks, I love living close enough to stroll through Prospect Park and see others enjoying its amenities, like a fishing pond and disc golf course. Riverside Park is another great spot for young anglers. 
Morgan Park 4th of July Parade
Prospect Park
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Summer Concert Series

As I put together my family’s list of things we love about living in Moline, I also asked some friends about their favorites. While there were many overlaps with what I’ve already listed, I heard about other points of pride.

Here are a few of those things:

  • We have some of the best drinking water in North America.
  • We are home to the iconic 93-year-old Wharton Field House.
  • The trails at Sylvan Island are a hidden gem.
  • There are four theaters in Moline: The Spotlight Theatre, The Black Box Theatre, Quad City Music Guild and Playcrafters Barn Theatre.
  • We have great coffee shops like Dead Poet’s Espresso and Milltown Coffee.
  • We’re home to the Quad City International Airport.

Beyond the lists of favorite local businesses, restaurants, events and attractions, though, what you hear most from Moliners is how great the people are. My family and I would agree. In Moline, you’ll find people proud of their hometown, supportive of local schools, eager to help their neighbors, and actively involved in their community. 

Whether you live in the Quad Cities or are just passing through as a visitor, I’d encourage you to spend time exploring Moline. You might be surprised by just how much you find here.

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