celebrating the Latinx food, culture and local businesses of Peoria and the Quad Cities

Both Peoria and the Quad Cities are home to local businesses, beautiful art, and community assets that foster a unique Hispanic cultural identity, making them ideal destinations for celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15 -October 15). That being said, if you appreciate Latinx food and culture, you can’t go wrong planning a road trip during any season of the year.

Many attractions have reopened with limited capacity or different operating hours. Inquire with attractions ahead of time for up-to-date travel policies and health and safety information.

  • Peoria
  • Rock Island
  • Moline

Explore the Highlights
  • Day 1: Peoria

A proper road trip begins with a tasty boost of energy, which is why your first stop is Cafe Santa Rosa. Grab a specialty coffee or tea, enjoy the delightful ambiance, then set out on your adventure. 

Move on to Wildlife Prairie Park, where taking advantage of the fresh air and scenic surroundings is the name of the game. This 90-acre restored prairie is home to bison and elk, with miles of trails, five fishing lakes, and activities galore for the kids. 

If perusing local shops is your thing, swing by Succulent Natural Skincare, a Latinx-owned health and beauty shop off the downtown strip. Once you’ve worked up an appetite, head over to El Zarape Mexican Food and Bar. This no-frills, authentic Mexican restaurant offers a wide variety of dishes, and you can even seek out their food truck while you’re out on the town.

Once you’ve had your fill, catch a Peoria Chiefs minor league baseball game. A pillar of the community, the team celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month with special bobblehead nights. 

If you’re in town on a Friday, keep in mind the Contemporary Art Center of Peoria may be holding Latin dance lessons as part of its “Salsa at CAC” program. Just make sure to check in advance, and don’t forget your dancing shoes.

For dinner and drinks, Case de Arte is the place to be. Located in the Warehouse District, this trendy modern space is an intriguing blend of lounge, art gallery and Mexican restaurant. If you’re lucky, you may even see a resident artist working on a piece while you're there.

When it’s time to retire for the night, make camp at the Peoria Marriott Pere Marquette, a historic and elegant downtown hotel.

  • Day 2: Peoria, Rock Island & Moline

When you arrive in Moline, introduce yourself to the vibrant local culture by exploring the Floreciente neighborhood. This primarily Hispanic district of first, second, and third-generation families has recently undergone revitalization, including beautification projects and a new Fourth Avenue gathering place.

Take a quick break at La Canasta Bakery & La Michoacana Ice Cream in nearby Silvis. Deciding on a treat may be challenging, but with ice cream, mangonadas, paletas, churros and more to choose from, you’re sure to find something that tickles your fancy. 

Several blocks outside of downtown Moline you’ll find Restaurante El Mariachi nestled into a residential area. It’s a local favorite, offering an array of authentic dishes that’ll make for a delightful lunch. If you keep your eyes peeled, you may see their food truck around town as well.

Next, see the cities from a new perspective the water. To experience this historic stretch of the Mississippi River, board the Channel Cat Water Taxi, which allows you to hop on and off at four different stops. 

Once you’ve steadied yourself on solid land, it’s time for drinks and appetizers at Jennie’s Boxcar in Moline. This new Latina-owned restaurant has a stylish vibe, with an extensive menu of tacos, tequila, beer and cocktails.

If you’re in town on a Friday during the summer or early fall, head back to Floreciente for Mercado on Fifth, a weekly outdoor event with food trucks, live entertainment, and activities for children. 

It may be time to check into Bally's Quad Cities in Rock Island, but your night is far from over. Play your hand at casino gaming and check out the sports bar before heading downtown for dinner and drinks at one of the many bars and restaurants in the heart of the action. 

Any night owls in the group can pop into the nightclub back at the hotel, and everyone else can pack it in for some well-deserved shuteye.

  • Day 3: Rock Island & Moline

Make a quick stop at the family-owned Coya’s Cafe in Moline on the way out of town for coffee, fresh-squeezed juice, and a bite to eat.