Like all the Quad Cities, Davenport has some of the most racial diversity in the state. It’s a big manufacturing town, and home to a few smaller universities, so it draws a pretty varied crowd. While it may not have a lot of ground breaking historical significance, it was once home to a few significant folks, including a handful of famous Jazz musicians, and the inventor of the first industrial automatic bread-slicing machine. We’re sure there’s a sliced bread joke in there somewhere…
Taming the Mighty Mississippi: Davenport is the largest city on the Mississippi river that has no floodwall, and as a result, the city is quite prone to flooding. It may seem a little counterintuitive not to take some action against Mother Nature’s destructive tendencies, but with a permanent wall or levee, there would be no riverfront parks and river access for citizens to enjoy. The city takes action to adapt to flooding by putting building ordinances in place for houses along the flood plain.
Transportation: The Quad Cities have their own individual transit systems that interconnect for easy transportation to wherever you go. A quarter of that is Davenport’s CitiBus system, which has 16 fixed routes that operate from morning until evening on weekdays, and occasionally on Saturdays.
Finding an Apartment
Being your standard Midwestern family city, only about 35% of the population in Davenport rents, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible to find a place. There are plenty of rental homes and a decent number of small apartment buildings and complexes available for surprisingly low prices. In fact, Davenport was actually ranked the best metropolitan area for cost of living in 2010 by Forbes Magazine.
Fully Equipped: While most of the places you’ll find aren’t ultra-suave luxury rentals, they sure aren’t falling apart, either. Rental houses are modest and equipped with all the appliances you’ll need for daily living. Most have a garage or parking area and plenty of yard space for running around. Apartments may have a lot of these same amenities, but they’ll potentially be shared with other tenants, as well.
Utilities and Fees: It’s not difficult to find an apartment in Davenport with some or all utilities included, but in single-family houses, it’s not common. On the whole, the city’s rentals are pet friendly, but you’re more likely to find a cat-friendly place than a dog-friendly place, and there may be restrictions or fees tacked on.
Where to Look: If you’ve exhausted Internet resources, locals recommend checking out the website for the Quad City Times – the regional newspaper – which has a regularly updated rental section. But you're not exhausted yet are you?
Davenport, like most of Iowa, is a wholesome, corn-fed kind of place. It’s a safe city, but like anywhere else in the world there are some less desirable areas. There are tons of smaller neighborhoods, but the area can generally be divided up into five sections.
Downtown: Downtown is more commercial than anything, with quite a few museums, music venues, and other attractions in addition to office buildings and small businesses. The east side of downtown is a historic area known as Bucktown, which was once notorious for its speakeasies and brothels, but is now on the artsy side. As you continue west of downtown, you’ll find many apartment buildings and small pockets of residential neighborhoods.
Central: The area immediately surrounding downtown has older buildings, and remnants of the large German immigrant population that once resided here. The campus of Palmer Chiropractic College is in the Central area, just north of downtown. Neighborhoods are tucked away on side streets, and bear examples of a range of architectural housing styles, both large and small. Though Davenport, on the whole, is a safe place, some neighborhoods in the Central part of the city are a little more run down.
East: The east side is considered the “nicer” part of town, and is one of the largest residential areas. Along the hills overlooking the river, the property is prime, and houses are larger and more expensive (some are old mansions!), with fewer rentals available. A little area called “The Village” lies further east of Downtown, with patches of locally owned shops and spacious, historic houses with large yards. The neighborhoods here are more rural and woodsy on winding roads.
Near North: The north side becomes less urban the further you go. Near north quickly turns from being a little run down with pockets of small neighborhoods to being spacious and green, with expansive houses and beautiful Vander Veer Botanical Park, in the historic district of the same name. Developed at the turn of the century, many vintage homes in this area are still standing. The northern most parts of town are increasingly rural.
Northwest and West End: The northwest and west sections of the city were once large German working class neighborhoods. The west end and the area due north have larger houses of more architectural significance, while the northwest side is more modest and suburban feeling into the rural edges of town.
All in all, Davenport is a modest city of quiet Iowa suburban families. Though it has a lot to offer, and a lot of things that make it unique, Davenport doesn’t boast and brag. There’s a lot of talk about all the Quad Cities being pretty interchangeable, but maybe we should let you explore a little and find out for yourself.
-By Kera Zacuto
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