Top 10 Reasons to Live in Rock Island, IL


There are a lot of reasons to live in Rock Island. I’ve now lived in Rock Island for over 20 years and we love it. My husband and I both work in Rock Island and our kids go to school here. It’s a great place to raise a family. 

Here are the Top Ten Reasons to Live in Rock Island

  1. The Murals
    I love all the murals around town. It makes biking, driving and living in Rock Island bright and beautiful.
    Top Ten Reasons to Live in Rock Island: murals. Two girls in front of Pocket Park mural
  2. The Green Space: areas of grass, trees or other vegetation set apart for recreational or aesthetic purposes in an otherwise urban environment.
    Rock Island has the most green space per capita in the QC. And, what space it is. The parks and trails are accessible, well maintained and plentiful! We especially like Blackhawk State Historic Site, Sunset Marina, Longview Park and Lincoln Park. There are so many smaller playgrounds and parks around town. It seems like every neighborhood has its own park. Of course, there’s also Douglas Park-home to the first ever NFL game!
    Top 10 reason to live in Rock Island: photo of RI parks date park - Longview Park
  3. Rock Island Milan School District 41 ROCKS
    There are a lot of impressive aspects of RI/Milan schools. I’m especially glad to live in Rock Island because of the gifted program offering advanced kiddos extra opportunities when some of the area schools are cutting gifted tracks. Gifted, Advanced, Advanced Placement and more are available for kids first grade through high school.
  4. Restaurants in Rock Island are hometown goodness
    It’s really unique that Rock Island doesn’t have any chain restaurants besides fast food. The choices are FANTASTIC and locally owned. The service and unique tastes are wonderful. When you live in Rock Island, you get to know the owners and enjoy a hometown closeness that’s pretty unusual in a metro area. Between Pee-Wee’s gumbo, the QC Coffee and Pancake House’s signature cinnamon pancake, Jim’s Ribs, La Rancharita burritos, Curry Out’s lamb vindaloo, Cool Beanz’s gourmet grilled cheese, Harris’ taco pizza and Whitey’s Ice Cream’s Oreo peppermint shakes, you can enjoy some of the best flavors the QC has to offer.
    Top Ten Reasons to live in Rock Island: restaurants. three pictures of food: gumbo, grilled cheese and taco pizza
  5. Water Fun!
    We love Whitewater Junction, the Schwiebert Riverfront Park fountain and splash pad, biking along the river, fishing, boating at Sunset Marina and kayaking on the Rock River.
    Top 10 reasons to live in Rock Island: water. boy running through water at Schwiebert Park
  6. Diversity
    Rock Island offers a welcome diversity of ethnicity and race. I grew up in an all white Chicago suburb. I wanted better for my sons. Every day they are exposed to new cultures and perspectives. Their schools celebrate diversity in the curriculum, at cultural night, and in the holiday program. Rock Island is the perfect place to raise our boys to be global citizens.
    Top 10 reasons to life in Rock Island: diversity photos
  7. Check out all the housing options
    I’m amazed at the variety of housing options: condos, apartments, lofts, starter homes, family homes, million dollar homes. Then, there’s the wide array of styles, from the lovely vintage homes in the Broadway National Historic District homes to modern lofts overlooking the River. Living in Rock Island, you’ll find whatever type fits your fancy.
  8. The Arts!
    Wow! What a place to raise a family involved in the arts. Besides the fantastic music and theatre programs offered at the schools, Rock Island is home to a lot of opportunities to attend or perform. Genesius Guild offers plays in Lincoln Park, Augustana has a thrust stage, a black box theatre and an outdoor performance space, Circa 21 offers a unique dinner theatre, and the Center for Living Arts puts on fantastic youth productions. With offices in Rock Island, the Quad City Arts is dedicated to enriching the quality of life in the Quad City region through the arts.
    Top Ten Reasons to live in Rock Island: arts. photo of three kids during the show Aladdin
  9. Less Traffic
    As someone who grew up in an area of traffic congestion, I love the wide one-ways, easy access, and low traffic throughout Rock Island. It’s so easy to get everywhere!
  10. Sports
    We LOVE being active in our family. There are so many amazing athletic opportunities for all ages. The Rock Island Parks and Rec program does a fantastic job and the school teams have tons of fans. There are also a lot of local organizations across the sports and seasons. The many fields, indoor courts and gyms that support athletics make Rock Island a great place to live.
    Top Ten Reasons to live in Rock Island: sports. Three pictures of kids playing sports: soccer, baseball, basketball

You’ll find Rock Island is Midwest friendly with big city advantages. I see people I know everywhere: friendly people that say hi. Four way stops can be slow…with cars politely waving each other on. Rock Islanders look out for each other. Our kids are safe riding their bikes to a friend’s house even though we live “in town.” This is a community of people who like to make connections, not just with each other but to help advance their neighbor. “I know a guy that can help” could be the area motto. Unlike smaller towns though, there are so many things to do, see and access. 

Read more at the Visit Quad Cities Insider blog about why I love raising a family in the Quad Cities. It mentions some of the amazing things on this list and a few others. One of the great things about living here is you get all the advantages of Rock Island and those of the surrounding towns, too!

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A committed member of the boymom club, Meghan has five active, adventurous, crazy sweet men in her life she often calls her “favorite boys”. Charles is 10, Oliver is 8, Bennett is 5, Simon is 3 and her husband, Luke is a fun, patient, loving father to all these crazy characters. For 18 years, Meghan worked in higher education at a private college in recruitment, marketing, and social media. Now, working from home, she balances four boys, a great husband, freelance writing and social media consulting. Meghan grew up in St. Charles, IL (a western Chicago suburb), attended Augustana College, and is a true Quad City transplant - she loves living in this area! She likes to read, sing, plan adventures, travel and just be with her favorite boys.


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