1987I came to Davenport, Iowa, in search of a fun, affordable family vacation spot. What I found is a place that also would be a fun, affordable girlfriends getaway. The Quad Cities Convention and Visitors Bureau invited me to drive the three hours west of Chicago to check out some cool arts venues.

They’re all fine for families, but even better for girlfriends. The nearly new, nearly $50 million Figge Art Museum (it opened in 2005) unveils a fabulous Jackson Pollock exhibit April 19.

The amazing works are owned by the University of Iowa, which was flooded in 2008 and is building a new arts museum. In the interim–perhaps for as long as five years–the university’s $500 million, 12,000-work collection is being stored and displayed at the Figge.

The building that houses the Figge is an arts piece itself, a soaring glass structure that seems a little out of place in this Mississippi River town of 95,000 people. And the Pollock works seem even more out of place. Yet here they are, offering a classy stop on a girlfriends getaway weekend.desiree-300x225After a morning at the Figge, it’s time to shop. Wander down Second Street to the Bucktown Center for the Arts, a building full of artist’s studios and galleries. I couldn’t pass up the one-of-a-kind jewelry made by Desiree Border, who makes her glass beads right in the shop. The necklace I bought for $62 would have been twice that in Chicago. She offers private lessons in making glass beads, but I was too chicken to take a turn in front of that flame. 


The weekend of May 2, Bucktown hosts a free all-female arts and crafts fair called Venus Envy (get it?), a “celebration of female creativity.” It includes visual and performing artists such as belly dancers, live bands and original theater Too cool. They’ve got a couple of spas here, too, which I consider a requisite part of a girlfriends getaway. I won’t be visiting a spa on this trip (unfortunately) so if you’ve been to one in the Quad Cities–Davenport and Bettendorf, Iowa, and Rock Island and Moline, Ill.–let us know how it was. 

Tonight I’m off to the Circa 21 Dinner Theatre in Rock Island, courtesty of the Quad Cities CVB. The show is “Church Basement Ladies.” Sounds like a hoot. And check out these eight free things to do in the Quad Cities to help you have an affordable family vacation.Iowa Vacations