Downtown Rock Island

The District is a downtown neighborhood located along the banks of the Mississippi River in Rock Island, Illinois. Beautiful historic buildings, modern residential living, outstanding art galleries, vibrant nightlife, innovative dining options, and a jam-packed festival calendar have made The District synonymous with fun.

Downtown’s renaissance started in 1992, when a new casino was coming to town. At that time, there was a live music club, a dinner theatre, and an arts center. It only made sense to create a new identity for Downtown Rock Island – one based on arts & entertainment. The goal was to encourage people to come Downtown, to have fun, to visit the businesses, and to return for some more fun. The first festival produced by The District was Ya Maka My Weekend, held in the summer of 1992 with only six weeks of planning.

Since then, vacant store fronts have been filled, long dormant upper floors have been transformed into loft apartments, and new businesses have opened. The renaissance is still not complete and plans are well underway to continue to improve Downtown.

In 2017, The District went through another transformation becoming the new Downtown Rock Island Partnership. With this new branding comes a new 9-point approach to aid in synchronizing a revitalization strategy in downtown Rock Island. To discover more about our new downtown visit:



Live music, martini bar, sports bars, neighborhood pubs, brew pub, a daiquiri bar and a coffee house. They’re all downtown. Over a dozen night spots all within walking distance. It’s a party just waiting for you. Any given weekend in the summer you’ll find great live music outside. Visit the Downtown Rock Island Partnership website:




Whether you’re looking for a quick bite to eat or a nice dinner, you can find it downtown. Varieties include: Thai, Chinese, Italian, Mexican, and American. Soups and sandwiches, casual to formal dinners, but one thing is consistent – it’s all scrumptious. There are enough options to fill up your entire week. During the warmer months, many restaurants provide outdoor dining.


Local Events

The Downtown Rock Island Partnership hosts a series of events each year in Downtown Rock Island.

Gallery Hop! – Galleries, shops, clubs and restaurants offer a variety of music, visual & performing arts. Presented in conjunction with Midcoast Fine Arts.

Gumbo Ya Ya -Cajun, Zydeco, Jazz and Blues on two outdoor stages. New Orleans style food, crawfish eating contest, trip give-away, street performers, vendors and beads!

Red, White & Boom – Food, activities for children, spectacular fireworks display over Mississippi River.

Ya Maka My Weekend – Caribbean festival with reggae music, steel drums, Caribbean food, open air marketplace, island activities for children and sand, sand, sand!

Rock Island Grand Prix – Labor Day Weekend, – Professional karts racing event through downtown streets. Food and beverage vendors, children activities, and top notch racing action!

Fright Night – October- Children’s costume contest, treasure hunt, ghost stories, magicians, and make-and-take activities.

Gallery Hop! – December – Galleries, shops, clubs and restaurants offer a variety of music, visual, and performing arts. Great gift ideas! Presented in conjunction with Midcoast Fine Arts.




Schwiebert Riverfront Park, named after former mayor, Mark Schwiebert, for his tireless efforts to promote public use of the riverfront. The downtown park offers spectacular views of the Mississippi River, and includes an open-air stage, digital playground areas, interactive fountain, observation shelter, waterfront promenade, bike trail, and beautifully landscaped grounds.

For more information on the park visit: Schwiebert Riverfront Park


Downtown Magazine