Tampa Riverwalk

Tampa Riverwalk MapThe Tampa Riverwalk marks a giant step in the transformation of a once sleepy business-oriented downtown to a modern mix of residential, cultural and entertainment driven landscapes. From North Boulevard, the Riverwalk follows the bank of the Hillsborough River for 2.4 miles past Curtis Hixon Park, the Convention Center, and Amalie Arena. It bends to Channelside Drive near the cruise terminals where it joins the Greenway Trail connecting historic Ybor City.

There is no shortage of things to see or do along the walk. It’s popular for not only walking or jogging, but friendly for bikes and roller blades. Pets are allowed so bring the entire family. See Tampa history before your eyes as you stroll along the shore. The Lafayette Street Railroad Bridge dates back to 1889 and coincides with H.B Plant’s construction of the Tampa Bay Hotel, now the University of Tampa. The University campus stretches along the opposite river bank. The Riverwalk offers spectacular views of the famous minarets. You’ll probably get to watch the UT rowing team in action as they glide down the river in perfect unison!

Curtis Hixon Park is a hub for outdoor entertainment in downtown Tampa. From festivals to concerts, something is usually going on at Curtis Hixon. Rock the Park is a free local concert series held on the first Thursday evening of each month. Leaving Curtis Hixon Park behind, the Riverwalk provides access to some of downtown Tampa’s most iconic attractions including The Straz Center for the Performing Arts, The Tampa Convention Center, The Marriott Waterside, The Glazer Children’s Museum, The Tampa Museum of Art, The Tampa Bay History Center , The StarShip Dinner Cruise,  Amalie Arena, The American Victory WWII Battleship and Memorial, and The Florida Aquarium. The cruise terminals are only a few blocks away.

Check out monuments to some of Tampa’s founders and historic figures scattered along the path. Tributes to our military heroes and markers to identify historic points like Fort Brook, a historic military post at the mouth of the Hillsborough River dating back to  the late 1800s, also line the walk. Fort Brooke saw action during the Civil War, though minor compared to other historic battles. Grab a hot dog at a snack stand while the kids play in one of the play areas or even the water park with its fountains springing from the pavement to cool off on a hot summer day. The Sail near the Convention Center offers a full menu and bar for adult playtime and relaxation. With plenty of outdoor seating along the water, The Sail has amazing views of Harbor Island across the bay. Rent a water bike, a kayak, or simply a traditional bike to explore the Riverwalk from land or sea. There is no shortage of activities for the pets either. The four-legged family members will have a great time in the pet play area.

Quickly becoming the center of Downtown Tampa’s social scene, the future of the Riverwalk is brighter than ever. It is slated to be the focal point of a multi-billion dollar district revitalization spearheaded by Tampa Bay Lightning owner, Jeff Vinik. The project will transform Tampa’s Channelside District into a residential, commercial and nightlife mecca. With streetcars and water taxis, the Riverwalk connects the Channelside District to other popular destinations like Ybor City and eventually St. Petersburg. Visitors can take a Dolphin-sighting cruise, a sunset cruise or get married on the water! The possibilities are endless for all lovers of the outdoors.

Every city has a point in its history that historians look back on and decide to classify as a turning point. It took eleven years to complete the entire Riverwalk project under the supervision of two mayors. While it’s too early to say for certain that the completion of the Riverwalk in 2015 was a true turning point for Tampa’s downtown, it is clear that it lit a flame that had been only a spark for many decades. Time will tell if that flame becomes a fire. What is quite evident, however, is that the Riverwalk downtown is one of Tampa’s most popular hangouts!

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  1. The Hillsborough River-A Capsule of Time | Exploring Florida and More - October 10, 2016

    […] Tampa Riverwalk […]

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