Your Guide to Fun Along the Tampa Riverwalk

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Stretching 2.6 miles, the Tampa Riverwalk along the Hillsborough River by downtown Tampa is a fun, festive and extremely popular destination for Tampa Bay locals and visitors alike! With a growing list of waterfront dining options, three museums, a steady stream of outdoor festivals, and a growing list of water activities, it’s easy to plan the perfect Tampa Riverwalk date night.

Whether you prefer a leisurely stroll or a more active itinerary, the Tampa Riverwalk has something to fit every style.

What is the Tampa Riverwalk?

The Tampa Riverwalk is a unique 2.6-mile waterside walkway along the shores of downtown Tampa. Great for biking, walking, jogging, strolling and (for parents) strollering, the Tampa Riverwalk connects parks, museums, restaurants, bars, hotels, sporting venues, meeting spaces, offices, convention spaces and cultural landmarks.

The Tampa Riverwalk walkway begins north of downtown Tampa at the Heights Public Market inside the Tampa Armature Works building, by the North Blvd. Bridge. It continues south along the shores of the Hillsborough River, finally terminating by the Tampa History Museum and Channelside Drive, home to the redeveloped Sparkman Wharf.

Our Favorite Tampa Bay Events for Date Night this Month
Photo Credit: Fourth Friday Tampa

Things to Do Along the Tampa Riverwalk

Tampa Riverwalk Bike Tour

With multiple Coast Bike Share rental kiosks along the Riverwalk, it’s easy to explore along the paved walkway on two wheels. This is a fun, active option to see Tampa from a whole new point of view. It’s also affordable at around $15 per hour.

Bike ride on the Tampa Riverwalk
Image credit: Tampa Riverwalk

Festivals and Events

Festivals and special events have become a mainstay along the Tampa Riverwalk with most of the festivals happening at Curtis Hixon Park. There are monthly events like Fourth Friday Tampa, food truck rallies, and fun events like the Margarita Festival and FREE concerts in the park on the first Thursday of each month.

Check out our curated events calendar for happenings along the Riverwalk and beyond each month.

Fourth Friday Tampa along the Tampa Riverwalk
Image credit: Fourth Friday Tampa

 

Water Activities

Rent an eBoat (open late until 10pm) or mini powerboat (last rental at 6pm) to explore the downtown waterways. There are multiple restaurants where docking is permitted and no boating license is required. For more of a workout, Tampa Bay Waterbike Co. offers a unique experience to pedal your way down the river on waterbike or in a biyak.

Alternatively, hop on and off the Pirate Water Taxi at various stops along the Riverwalk while taking in scenic views of the waterfront, including stops at Channelside for shopping, Harbor Island, and Davis Island’s restaurant row.

Prefer a booze cruise? Enjoy pedal-powered fun on the Kraken Cycleboat or make your way down the river on a floating tiki boat with Cruisin' Tikis Tampa Bay. Both tours are BYOB.

Outdoor activities in Tampa - rent a mini boat
Image Credit: Riverwalk Boating Company

 

Tampa Riverwalk Eat, Drink and Dine!

Most of the food and drink spots along the Tampa Riverwalk are concentrated within Armature Works and Sparkman Wharf. You can find the full Armature Works vendor list here, and the full Sparkman Wharf vendor list here. Below, we've highlighted a few of our favorites.

 

Astro Craft Ice Cream

Astro Craft Ice Cream, located inside the Height's Public Market at Armature Works, creates ice cream to order, right in front of you. Make your own indulgent creation from a variety of flavors and add-ons, including a fun “shot” of honey, caramel or chocolate injected into your masterpiece by way of a plastic syringe. You'll want to put this ice cream on your Instagram.

Related: Over The Top Tampa Ice Cream Shops

Ava

For those times you're craving an authentic Italian Neapolitan pizza cooked in a piping hot oven straight from Italy, Ava delivers. Aside from pizza, the menu also features other rustic Italian flavors. Eat your pizza with a fork and knife if you want to do it the true Italian way! There are three locations throughout the Tampa area, including one inside of Armature Works along the Riverwalk.

Bake'n Babes

Also located inside of Armature Works, it doesn't get more Instagram-worthy than Bake'n Babes' over the top desserts. From the unique taiyaki cone to Nutella stuffed chocolate chip cookies, this is the spot to let your sweet tooth go wild. Exclusive to this location is “The Works,” an over the top ice cream treat topped with an assortment of sweets (think donuts, oreos, popcorn, candy, etc) that rotates monthly.

Bake'n Babes Tampa dessert
Image credit: Bake'n Babes

BAR at Armature Works

Bar at Armature Works, at the northern starting point of the Tampa Riverwalk, is a creation from the cocktail masters at Ciro's Speakeasy in south Tampa. It's hard to miss the stylish bar standing proud inside the market. Stop and stay awhile for a delicious craft cocktail made with care.

Butcher n' Barbeque

Butcher n’ Barbeque (BnB) serves up tasty made-to-order sandwiches, house-smoked meats and more within Heights Public Market. Feast on house-smoked meats like brisket, pulled pork, spare ribs and whole or half chicken. 

Coming Soon: 3 Corners Pizza

While The Corners Pizza closed its original Sparkman Wharf location, it will soon be expanding into a full restaurant space on Water Street. 3 Corners Pizza will serve NY style pizza when it opens — stay tuned for more details.

Cru Armature Works

Cru’s downtown location is a cozy fixture inside the Armature Works building, part of the Heights Public Market, along the Tampa Riverwalk's northern end. The location offers a smaller menu highlighting dishes like sandwiches, cheese & charcuterie and wines by-the-glass. Oh and, you can take that wine to go as you peruse the rest of the market!

Edison's Swigamajig

Swigamajig bills itself a no-frills dive bar and fish kitchen. Seafood loves will delight in tasting Chef Pierola's seafood menu alongside craft cocktails, beer, and wine.  Find it in Sparkman Wharf's dining garden at the end of the Tampa Riverwalk.

Empamamas

Handwrapped with Love at Armature Works along the Tampa Riverwalk, Empamamas serves delicious empanadas and tacos.

Flock & Stock

Over the top burgers and tasty waffle fries are a few fixtures on the menu at Flock and Stock. Burger choices range from Cooter Brown's Favorite F&S Southern Swag Burger with sauce, cheddar cheese, bread and butter pickles to the Hugh Heifer with truffle oil, aged Swiss, bacon jam and sauteed mushrooms. Also with a great selection of chicken sandwiches, a la carte sides (can ya say Moon Pie?), and a good kids menu, this place is a gem!

Amazing Flock & Stock Chicken Sandwiches at Sparkman Wharf by Tampa Riverwalk

Gallito Taqueria

At the Sparkman Wharf end of the Tampa Riverwalk is Chef Ferrell Alvarez and restaurateur Ty Rodriguez's Gallito. Gallito is a modern taqueria serving up a twist on classic Mexican street food. The menu includes everything from Duck Carnitas to Barbacoa Butternet tacos.

Graze 1910

If you're looking for a place where breakfast is served all day, Graze 1910 in The Heights Public Market inside Armature Works is your spot! The menu includes breakfast and brunch favorites like house made waffles, artisan burgers, and gourmet toasts. There are also some healthier options available. Soak up scenic downtown Tampa skyline views while you dine.

LightHaus Biergarten

Beat the heat with a cold one at the reimagined waterfront biergarten at Sparkman Wharf by the Tampa Riverwalk. This outdoor biergarten offers over 30 beers, many of which are craft beers local to the Tampa Bay area.


Check out our sister site at TampaBayParenting.com for more ways to enjoy Tampa Bay's Riverwalk!


M. Bird Rooftop Bar

Take in the spectacular views of downtown as you venture to the rooftop of Armature Works to M.Bird. Treat yourself to craft cocktails and small plates while you enjoy the view. Rain or shine, M.Bird has a covered patio to keep the party going.

Murph's Barbecue

New at Sparkman Wharf, Murph’s Barbecue made its debut in January 2021. Sink your teeth into pulled pork, chopped chicken, brisket, mac-and-cheese, baked beans and coleslaw. Named after co-founder Scott Roberts’ childhood canine, Murph’s welcomes all friendly pups and even offers homemade dog treats.

Tampa Bay Events - Sparkman Wharf
Image credit: Sparkman Wharf

Oak & Ola

Created by a group of close friends, Oak & Ola is a EuroAmerican romantic restaurant located right in Tampa's Armature Works. Enjoy a classic and comfortable setting with a timeless design. Check out the Blue Crab Spaghetti for a fun twist on a classic Italian dish.

The Sail

Located directly on the Tampa Riverwalk by the Tampa Convention Center is The Sail, a 360 degree waterfront bar.  The Sail is a great spot for a cocktail and a bite to eat while strolling along the Tampa Riverwalk. It offers unparalleled views of the water and is also a great place to watch the sunset.

Splitsville Southern + Social

Splitsville is a one-stop shop for bowling, arcade games and a tasty bite. You'll find it located at Sparkman Wharf along the Tampa Riverwalk. The menu comprised of Southern fare is inspired by James Beard Award winning Chef Art Smith. Hang out here before attending a Lightning hockey game or event at Amalie Arena.

Steelbach

Located inside of Armature Works, Steelbach's chophouse menu includes local grass-fed beef and Southern-inspired favorites. Steaks are cooked over a 1000-degree oak fire grille, lending a unique flavor. Looking for something other than a dinner date? Check out the sweet and savory brunch menu while sipping on mimosas.

Related: Tampa Bay’s Best Brunch Spots

Ulele

Near the northern starting point of the Tampa Riverwalk, by Armature Works and the North Blvd. Bridge, is Ulele. Ulele features a seafood-heavy menu utilizing ingredients from Florida's waters. It also pays homage to the many Native Americans who once lived in the area.

Image credit: Ulele

Zukku Sushi

At Zukku inside the Height's Public Market at Armature Works, you create your own sushi creation in roll, bowl or burrito form. The DIY-menu approach allows you to pick a style, protein and a few finishing touches to make a one of a kind sushi creation. Or, choose from a selection of Zukku's own sushi rolls, bowls and burritos.


About the Author
Lauren Gay is a local travel blogger, photographer, and foodie with a passion for adventure, all things water, and glamping. Find her online on her blog Misadventures of an Outdoorsy Diva and Outdoorsy Diva on Instagram.

 

Feature Image Credit: The Tampa Riverwalk


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