Population: 350,000

Location: As the name suggests, Quad Cities is comprised of four distinct areas—in two states: Moline/East Moline and Rock Island, Illinois, and Davenport and Bettendorf, Iowa. With such a robust metro area, Quad Cities has become increasingly accessible by Illinois interstates I-80, I-88 and I-74 and is 180 miles from downtown Chicago. The Quad City International Airport serves 11 nonstop destinations via United, American, Delta and Allegiant. A unique feature is that it is the only area along the Mississippi River where the water runs east to west; a number of convention centers and hotels now have been built along the riverfront and adjacent 60-mile bike trail. Bike rentals and Segway tours can be coordinated through the CVB.

Must-Sees: “Rock Island is known as the arts and entertainment district so there’s a lot of local art galleries and late nightlife activities,” says Lynn Hunt, vice president of sales. As well, she says the Rock Island Botanical Center and outdoor gardens are a must-see, as is Schwiebert Park, a standing riverfront venue named after a former mayor with an amphitheater, event space and boat dock.

The Moline area houses the John Deere Commons with John Deere Pavilion and store, as well as the TPC Deere Run where the John Deere Classic PGA tournament is held. There is also a public golf course. “The entire downtown Moline area is known as Moline Centre with 22 locally owned restaurants and pubs,” Hunt says. “You can get anything from Thai food to Mexican and German fare and American pub menus.” For entertainment, there is the 11,000-seat iWireless Center, a conference center and 30,000-square-foot arena floor that also acts as a concert venue for top billed acts. On Thursday nights the Bass Street Landing has a free concert night with food and beer vendors.

Hotels & Convention Center: The Quad Cities has a total of 5,800 beds from five-star to budget hotels with most of the major brands present including Hampton Inn, Radisson, Holiday Inn and Choice properties. A hallmark is the newly renovated Holiday Inn Rock Island with 10,000 square feet of space in the ballroom and 175 guest rooms. Nearby is the Jumers Casino and Hotel with a modern design, 7,500 square feet of meeting space and an outside patio for receptions. In addition to the iWireless Center, there is also a Stoney Creek Inn with 12,000 square feet of space and the QCCA Expo Center with 60,000 square feet of exhibit space.

Restaurants: “Because of our agricultural heritage, you’re going to get hearty meals with great cuts of meat and the farm-to-table experience,” says Hunt of the dining scene in the Quad Cities. She points out Bass Street Chop House as a “corporate favorite” with an aged-selection of meats and the DJ Steakhouse inside Jumers Casino. Hunt also says a majority of the restaurants are locally owned, including perennial favorite Lagomarcino’s Confectionary, which has been in the same family since 1906.

How the CVB Helps: The Quad Cities CVB just launched a new website aimed to play up the destination and calendar of events. “We are still working on the planner pages to better enhance them with a searchable database for square footage and number of rooms at each venue,” says Hunt.

In addition, Hunt says, “What differentiates our CVB is that we go above and beyond to be proactive with providing services and connections a planner can benefit from such as help with site selection, getting bids and providing the best amenities.”

When Built: Constructed in 1936, originally as a door factory. The Chandelier Room was used as a production space and the Edison Room as a showroom. 

Design Style: Urban industrial artistry 

Highlights: Rotating moss wall, brick exterior, exposed rafters, polished cement floors, large factory-style windows and surrounding arts district 

Event Spaces: 

 

Though in recent years Waco has gained attention as being the home of Chip and Joanna Gaines,
hosts of HGTV’s show “Fixer Upper,” it has long been a city of note. It’s known as the heart of Texas, not only for its central location, but also its spirit of Texan ingenuity and resourcefulness. After all, this is where the suspension bridge that allowed the Chisholm and Shawnee trails to cross the Brazos River was built. And it’s here that Dr Pepper and Big Red were invented and Baylor University and the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum are located.
 

 

The Hyatt offers meeting planners headed to San Antonio three completely different experiences depending on which of the brand’s hotels you choose to stay at. This past fall, I was lucky enough to score a FAM trip that included stays at two of the three hotels, with a tour of the third.