Around Tampa, there are quite a few unique spots for a casual night out. Sparkman Wharf, the open-air hot spot located on Channelside in downtown Tampa, is one of the best places for dining and outdoor recreation. Located at the former Channelside Bay Plaza, Sparkman Wharf is super convenient and accessible to downtown Tampa. With its proximity to Amalie Arena, it’s also the perfect pre or post show or hockey game hangout.

Names for former U.S. Rep. Stephen N. Sparkman, the area includes a stage, a 10’x17′ LED screen, and a dining garden.

Keep reading to check out everything it has to offer for the perfect night or day date!

If food is your top priority, then jump over to our guide to The Best Restaurants at Sparkman Wharf.


One of the biggest things that set Sparkman’s dining options apart from other places is that several of the restaurants operate out of shipping containers. Their Dining Garden boasts an assortment of options from Mexican to barbecue to gourmet popsicles.

Feeling adventurous? Try freshly baked Rou-jia-mo, stuffed Chinese style buns filled with lemongrass chili chicken, five spice pork, or ginger chili tofu at the Asian-inspired Dang Dude.

There are also several spots where you can satisfy your sweet tooth. You can indulge in some Frosé sorbet or Cream Puff ice cream at Jeni’s. Hampton Chocolate Factory has the best of both worlds. Split a sundae or a milkshake and grab an assortment of chocolates to take home.

Not feeling the whole shipping container thing? Not to worry. For a more upscale evening, Battery is a full-service restaurant and bourbon bar that serves up amazing charcuterie boards, prime steaks, pasta, and seafood.

Image Credit: Dang Dude at Sparkman Wharf


Explore more of The Best Restaurants at Sparkman Wharf.


What’s better than cocktails with a waterfront view? There are several places at Sparkman to get your drink on while hanging out in the sunshine or staring at the stars.

The Lighthaus Beer Garden pours local brews from Tampa area breweries such as 3 Daughters Brewing, Dunedin Brewery, and Keel Farms.

Sparkman Wharf waterfront
The Beer Garden at Sparkman Wharf

Jorito has an extensive list of craft cocktails and house-made margaritas such as the Blueberry Gin Fizz, Strawberry Sangria, and Spicy Watermelon Margarita. You can also try one of their signature agave and margarita flights that include a fresh lime and sangria chaser.

Need to fuel up on some caffeine first? Check out Shortwave Coffee for the ultimate caffeine fix (try the Mint Mayday – their signature sweet and creamy cold brew with fresh, muddled mint).

Image Credit: Jorito at Sparkman Wharf


Besides the appealing dining options, Sparkman Wharf also offers recreational fun. At Splitsville, you can challenge your significant other to a game of bowling while noshing on a Cone of Fries or a Poké Bowl and sipping on a hand-crafted cocktail or cold beer. Take part in a game of giant checkers out on the lawn or just relax and sit back while enjoying a cocktail and some people watching.

Every so often, Sparkman will also offer events such as live music, bingo, and trivia nights. There are even seasonal events and occasional arts and crafts nights too. Check out their events calendar to keep up to date on everything that’s going on. They’re also known for their awesome Lightning viewing parties on the lawn.

Image Credit: Sparkman Wharf Facebook


You can also get in some retail therapy while you’re digesting lunch or dinner. Find unique gifts or the latest fashion at Joyful Notion, pick up a sweet treat at Hampton Chocolate Factory or some fun swag for your furry friend at Modern Paws.

Image Credit: Modern Paws at Sparkman Wharf


Yes, we know going to the gym isn’t necessarily a “date.” However, sometimes it’s motivating to work out with your significant other (and what better way to reward your hard work than with a good meal or well-earned cocktail?). You and your partner can get stronger together at F45, get your spin on at Rukus Cycling Studios, or stretch it out at BodyRok Pilates. Keep an eye on Sparkman’s calendar and Facebook page for occasional free outdoor pilates, cycling, or yoga classes.

Image Credit: Sparkman Wharf Facebook


How to Get There

There are several parking garages and metered street parking around Sparkman. You can also get there via Coast Bike Share, TECO Line Streetcar, Pirate Water Taxi, or the Cross Bay Ferry.

Looking for more Tampa fun to explore on your next date night? Check out Tampa Bay’s Most Romantic Restaurants for a Great Date!

Feature Image Credit: Sparkman Wharf Facebook Page

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