Outside Boyne Highlands Resort
Green it up at the country’s only interstate St. Patrick’s Day parade

Shamrocks Be Here

To celebrate St. Patrick’s Day beyond Chicago city limits, consider the comparatively understated charms of the Quad Cities region of Rock Island and Moline (in Illinois) and Davenport and Bettendorf (in Iowa). Among the area’s weekend festivities:

  • The nation’s only interstate St. Patrick’s Day Parade
    Tens of thousands of spectators are expected to line the St. Patrick Society’s 27th annual Grand Parade as it winds from Illinois to Iowa, through Rock Island across the Mississippi River into downtown Davenport. The parade kicks off at 11:30 a.m. on Saturday, March 17 at the corner of 4th Avenue and 23rd Street in Rock Island. This year’s Grand Marshal—as well as the parade’s “Irish Mother of the Year”—will be revealed Friday, March 16 at the annual Gathering of the Clan Luncheon, which starts at 11 a.m. at Davenport’s Col Ballroom (1012 West 4th St.); luncheon tickets are $15 at the door. Post-parade, the revelry continues at the Col Ballroom: From 1 p.m. until 4 p.m., Iowa City’s Begger-men will perform Irish music. Admission to the after-parade party is $15. For more information, call 563-322-7505 or email vkequinn@aol.com.
  • A short race through Davenport
    Runners can select a 5K or a one-miler (the latter geared toward families with children in tow). The race starts at 9 a.m. on Saturday, March 17 at 129 Main Street in Davenport. Prizes will be awarded in the 5K across a variety of gender/age categories. For more information, call 563-386-7477.
  • A whiskey primer
    Stop by the year-old Mississippi River Distilling Company (303 N. Cody Rd., LeClaire, Iowa) and you can follow the process wherein local grains are transformed into bourbon whiskey, as well as vodka and gin, from grain grounding to cooking, fermenting, distilling, blending, and bottling. You’ll end the tour in the tasting room where sampling is encouraged. For more information, call 563-484-4342 or go to missriverdistilling.com.


Where to stay: The Victorian Inn Bed and Breakfast (702 20th St., Rock Island, 309-788-7068, victorianinnbandb.com) has six guest rooms, appointed in the Victorian fashion of the mansion’s 1876 construction; rates range from $80 to $160 a night. The Quad Cities Stony Creek Inn (101 18th St., Moline, 309-743-0101, stonycreekinn.com) has in-room whirlpools, stone fireplaces, and a hunting lodge aesthetic throughout; rates range from about $77 to $255 a night.

Where to eat: Duck City Bistro (115 E. 3rd St., Davenport, 563-322-3825, duckcitybistro.com) specializes in the titular bird with raspberry sauce and a smoked (on the premises) pork chop stuffed with ham and Swiss cheese. Trattoria Tiramisu (1804 State St., Bettendorf, Iowa, 563-323-2787, trattoria-tiramisu.com) has from-scratch pastas and traditional Italian seafood dishes.


Photograph: Courtesy of Quad Cities Convention & Visitors Bureau