The city of Rock Island is divided into 21 neighborhoods; the sense of community that has developed at the neighborhood level varies.

The Black Hawk Neighborhood covers 12th to 30th Streets and 31st Avenue to the Rock River. These boundaries are lucky enough to include Arthur's Garden Deli, a popular fast casual restaurant. It derives its name from the Black Hawk State Historic Site, which includes a nature preserve, hiking trails, picnic areas, the Hauberg indian Museum, a lodge that may be rented for events (such as wedding receptions), and a nature center. It is no coincidence that the professional hockey team in Illinois bears the same name -- warrior-leader Black Hawk and the Sauk nation resided in modern Rock Island's borders, just west of the park's current location.

Central Neighborhood, true to its name, is in the center of Rock Island. It includes many residential areas, businesses, parks, schools, cemeteries, and a hospital. Its boundaries are 18th Avenue to the north, 31st Avenue to the south, 12th street to the west, and 30th street to the east. The Central Neighborhood is, for the most part, set up well for walking and biking if residents would rather not drive everywhere. The area is primarily serviced by MetroLink bus routes 30 and 53. There are also four bus routes that specifically serve the Rock Island public and private schools during school/peak hours. Many residents are within walking distance of major amenities, such as a grocery store, a library, several drugstores, and restaurants. The latter include local favorites such as Dr. Gyros and the Rock Island locations of Hungry Hobo and Whitey's Ice Cream. Central Neighborhood is also home to Boetje Foods, which manufactures award-winning Boetje's Mustard, a stone-ground mustard developed by German immigrant Fred Boetje in 1889.

The KeyStone neighborhood is located at the northeastern edge of the city, spreading south to 14th Avenue, and bounded by 38th street to the west. The area benefits from an active neighborhood association that includes such activities as a neighborhood cleanup and an annual picnic. Within KeyStone's borders, one can find a high school, an elementary school, and two parks. It also catches just the far eastern edge of the Augustana College campus.

The College Hill District is a business district that has become more organized since 2011 due to the leadership of small businesses located there. The College Hill District has two hubs:  the western area composed of the intersection of 14th Avenue and 30th Street and its surroundings; and the eastern area that includes the stretch of 14th Avenue between 37th and 42nd Streets.. Its name is derived from its near neighbor, Augustana College (mostly situated between 7th and 14th Avenues and between 30th and 38th Streets). It has seen several popular new businesses added in the last five to ten years, particularly in the western section. This area includes newer favorites Cool Beanz Coffeehouse and Radicle Effect Brewerks, a nanobrewery, in addition to mainstays like Kavanaugh's Hilltop Tap. Residents also enjoy services like a chiropractic clinic, barbers and cosmetologists, antique shops, and a comic book store within a close radius. The eastern section includes Quad Cities legends like La Rancherita, Harris Pizza, and Bike & Hike.  This area regularly hosts the Retro Rally in June, College Hill-o-ween in October, and a holiday walk in December.


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