Tampa Riverwalk is a great place for a date! And Tampa Riverwalk is fun for families of all ages!
Stretching just over 2.5 miles, the Tampa Riverwalk along the Hillsborough River by downtown Tampa has become a fun, festive and extremely popular destination for Tampa Bay locals and visitors alike! Since completion of the reconstructed Tampa Riverwalk in 2016, this stretch of walkway along the Hillsborough River and Garrison Channel has quietly become a hotspot for activities in the Downtown Tampa area. 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 waterside walkway stretching 2.6 miles 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 newly redeveloped Sparkman Wharf.
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 super affordable at around $15 per hour.
If you prefer to exert a little less energy, join a Magic Carpet Glide Segway tour along the Riverwalk. With sunset and night time tour options, this is a great way to experience the ambiance of downtown Tampa with your love.
The Downtowner is a completely FREE on demand ride service in an electric low-speed vehicle. Request a ride on the app and they will take you where you need to go. It’s a great budget friendly option to get from one point along the Riverwalk to another.
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. Check out the Downtown Tampa Events Calendar to get the latest on what’s happening when you are planning for your night out.
There are monthly events like Downtown Tampa Fourth Friday, food truck rallies, and fun events like the Margarita Festival and the Mayor’s Mac n Cheese Throwdown. Even if there isn’t a festival happening, Curtis Hixon Park is worth a stop along the Riverwalk.
Rent an eBoat to explore the downtown waterways. There are multiple restaurants where docking is permitted and no boating license is required. Be your own captain or hire a captain for a more luxury experience. Night time hours end at 10pm.
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.
The Tampa Bay Waterbike Co. offers a unique experience to pedal your way down the river on waterbike or in a biyak. While you can’t ride at night, they do offer early evening rides as late as 6pm.
Tampa Riverwalk Eat, Drink and Dine!
Astro Ice Cream Co., located inside the Height’s Public Market at Armature Works, creates ice cream to order, right in front of you! They use Liquid Nitrogen to flash freeze the freshest ingredients to make the best tasting, creamiest ice cream you’ll ever taste!
Ava’s pizza has been recognized as among the best in Tampa Bay by numerous publications. Chef Joshua Hernandez rolls his dough daily and allows it to rise slowly over three days with natural sourdough starter. Ava uses the finest Italian flour and tomatoes and sourced Florida made mozzarella for maximum flavor and texture. Ava also secured a second wood fired oven from Naples, Italy, similar to that in Ava’s flagship location on south Howard, to ensure the pizza produced along the Tampa Riverwalk at Armature Works will be outstanding. Located on the Tampa Riverwalk inside 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. With a belief in serving people, not cocktail, it’s an equal part cocktail bar, classroom, showroom and retail emporium.
Boat Run Oyster Company is a tide-to-table concept driven by the love for the water, commitment to sustainability, and taste for experience driven food. Their raw oysters are supplied with hand-raised tide tumbled oysters from a sustainable farm located in Cedar Key, Florida. The unique characteristics of the farm environment drive the taste of the oysters. Located in the Sparkman Wharf Dining Garden near the southern end of the Tampa Riverwalk.
The newest culinary creation of Vietnam-born Chef, restauranteur and food-genius BT Nguyen, BT in a Box offers healthy, flavorful and sustainable dishes that provide guests with unique samplings of Vietnamese & French tradition as well as a collection of creative recipes inspired by her travel. Her menu includes Fresh Rolls, Vietnamese Crispy Spring Rolls, Banh Mi Sandwiches, Chicken Curry Noodles and more.
BT’s Famous Chili Chicken Salad is made with steamed organic chicken, ginger, chili, garlic, sesame oil, crispy shallots, mixed herbs, and peanuts on a bed of shredded carrots, organic mixed greens with sesame, garlic, and rice vinaigrette. Also on the menu is the Rice Vermicelli Salad “Bun” Box, which is BT’s take on a favorite Vietnamese noodle dish. Bursting with flavor, this dish pairs grilled meat or tofu with lettuce, cucumbers, pickled radish and carrots, scallions, crispy shallots and chili-garlic sauce, served with your choice of 6 spice grilled pork loin, galangal organic chicken, or lemongrass organic tofu.
Butcher n’ Barbeque (BnB) specializes in custom handcuts including Florida-bred grass-fed beef from Steelbach cattle raised in Kenansville, FL and Heritage Berkshire Pork from Ocala. Offering made-to-order sandwiches, house-smoked meats and old school family favorites are available to-go or dine-in at the one of the communal tables within Heights Public Market. We can prepare our menu for any of your catering events or at-home barbecues. BnB uses the best barbeque selections from the butcher shop to cure, season and slow smoke to perfection. BnB offers daily smoked favorites like delicate brisket, pulled pork, spare ribs and whole or half chicken. Located in the Height’s Public Market at Armature Works, at the northern end of the Tampa Riverwalk.
Cafe Rae, at the end of the Tampa Riverwalk in the Florida Aquarium, is open from 9:30am to 4:30pm offering a wide selection of breakfast, lunch and dinner dining options. Foods offered include healthy and hearty salads, burgers, Panini sandwiches, pasta, pizza and much more. An international food option is offered, changing monthly, and alcohol is served inside the Aquarium. Self-serve drinks and snacks are also available.
The Corners Pizza, a labor of love, and the product of partners Chef Noel Cruz who famously introduced Tampa to ramen, and restaurateur Branden Lenz, bring Detroit-style pizza to Tampa’s Sparkman Wharf at Tampa Riverwalk. The crust is thick and airy with crispy cheesy edges, topped with the most simple and beautiful ingredients. Slices include White Spark, a kale, mushroom, ricotta and garlic delight, Ezzo Pepperoni made with marinara, brick cheese, and Ezzo pepperoni. And there’s the Classic Red with marinara and brick cheese.
Cru’s downtown outpost is a 400 square-foot stall inside the Armature Works building, part of the Heights Public Market, along the Tampa Riverwalk’s northern end. A mini Cru – this location features a more focused menu of steak frites, sandwiches, cheese & charcuterie and a retail selection of 100 bottles! The wines by-the-glass is just as extensive as our flagship location though – over 35 options! Cozy up to one of the seats at the bar, or order from our stall and sit throughout the market hall, in the courtyard, or on the lawn overlooking the water! All of our wines by-the-glass are available to take around the market as you visit other vendors or grab a spot to relax.
Not So Basic Empanadas, Tacos & Street Eats. Handwrapped with Love at Armature Works along the Tampa Riverwalk, Empamamas is not only great empanadas and tacos, but also an amazing story of entrepreneurial hard work, dedication, and refusing to take “no” for an answer.
The Biergarten at Sparkman Wharf, by the Tampa Riverwalk, offers over 30 beers, many of which are craft beers local to the Tampa Bay Area.
Flock and Stock presents a fresh, simple, and approachable focus on high-quality American roadside favorites, such as burgers, chicken sandwiches, tenders, and fries. Plus, you know any burger joint that quotes Scarlett Johansson’s “I still eat a burger at a counter with ketchup dripping down my face” has got to be awesome! 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!
Foundation Coffee at Sparkman Wharf along the Tampa Riverwalk is a “specialty coffee” shop dedicated to the art of craft coffee. For Foundation Coffee, delivering quality is not a goal, it’s a standard. They strive hard daily to learn and practice brewing methods from the best teachers in the industry and have a passion to make sure what’s in your cup represents the barista that extracted it, the roaster who roasted it, and the farmer who nurtured it all the way back at origin. Foundation is committed to serving only the highest quality ingredients, paired with outstanding customer service and dedication to the craft.
At the Sparkman Wharf end of the Tampa Riverwalk is Chef Ferrell Alvarez and restaurateur Ty Rodriguez’s Gallito. Gallito is a modern taqueria, putting a twist on classic Mexican street food while always maintaining a love for all things proper. With a menu ranging from Duck Carnitas to Barbacoa Butternet tacos, Gallito is a great spot for a bite!
Located in The Heights Public Market inside Armature Works along the Tampa Riverwalk, Graze 1910 is refined American fare serving breakfast all day. From house made waffles to classic egg dishes and artisan cheese burgers, Graze 1910 offers “comfort food” reminiscent of the classics we all love in an unexpected atmosphere of casual elegance. Seasonal gourmet toasts flank the menu along with some healthier options. Enjoy downtown Tampa skyline views on the Hillsborough River and Tampa Riverwalk.
Hemingway’s offers “Soulful Cuban” classics with a contemporary twist; serving breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. Located inside Armature Works at the northern end of the Tampa Riverwalk, Hemingway’s is the creation of Chef Owner Felicia (“Phe”) Lacalle, who says Cuban cooking is “in her blood” thanks to learning her skills in the most traditional way possible: from her mother. Since then, she’s been perfecting her signature spin on traditional Cuban cuisine as the former executive sous and regional pastry chef at Roy’s as well as executive chef at Samba Room and other notable restaurants. Hemingway’s bold and vibrant colors can be found in both the decor and on the plate, and is changing the Cuban food landscape in Tampa.
Ichicoro Imoto is a streamlined expression of the well known Ichicoro’s signature style ramen in Seminole Heights. Located inside the Height’s Public Market at Armature Works, at the northern end of the Tampa Riverwalk, Ichicoro Imoto’s feature ramen include Chicken Paitan, a double chicken broth, grilled chicken thigh, cloud ear mushrooms, bamboo shoots, pickled ginger, fried garlic, scallion, and black garlic mayu. The Tomato Miso ramen features miso broth, tomato, bamboo shoots, cloud ear mushrooms, bean sprouts, corn, scallion, while the Shoe (soy) / SHIO (salt) ramen is a chicken broth dish with grilled pork belly, soy seasoned egg, bamboo shoots, toasted seaweed, scallion, and fried garlic. And on Saturday and Sunday the menu features the Brunch Abura Soba, with shio tare, applewood smoked bacon, ontama, parmesan, black garlic, scallion, and katsuobushi.
Inside the Box Cafe in Armature Works along the Tampa Riverwalk serves contemporary Americana inspired and invented dishes to take home and in-house roasted, cured, and smoked meats and seafood, cheeses, specialty sandwiches and salads—all with locally sourced and produced ingredients. The grocery market offers a unique line of locally grown produce, breads, dressings, spreads, and specialty foods.
Montados by Mise En Place presents traditional Spanish-style tapas, shareable appetizers and snacks at Sparkman Wharf along the Tampa Riverwalk. With the addition of Spanish wines including cava and sangria, Montados offers the recipe for a good time.
The Riverwalk Cafe at the Tampa Museum of Art is situated next to Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park along the Tampa Riverwalk and overlooks the banks of the Hillsborough River. Accessible by boat, car, or on foot, through an admission-free entrance, the Riverwalk Cafe offers an unparalleled view of the iconic University of Tampa Minarets, Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park and the downtown skyline. The Riverwalk Cafe at TMA serves handcrafted lunch 7 days a week, a fabulous weekend brunch and local products including coffees and gelato, and they also feature dishes to highlight the Museum’s current exhibitions. The Riverwalk Cafe offer to go beer, wine, cocktails, and beverages to enjoy while strolling along the Tampa Riverwalk.
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 accessible by car, boat or foot! Whether you’re in town for a convention, taking a jog along the Riverwalk, or simply looking for a place to kick back and watch the sunset, The Sail has got you covered with a lively atmosphere and a menu packed with local favorites. Family-friendly and dog-friendly menu!
Soul Food Street Kitchen offers down home cooking with some street fair. This hit-the-spot- cuisine, is a local food truck that sells soul food (a cuisine increasingly in short supply in Tampa). Soul Food Street Kitchen is very flavorful, well balanced and reminds you of your moms cooking. At Armature Works along the Tampa Riverwalk.
A new bar and menu with a warehouse-chic vibe and a nod to the Old Tampa district surrounding the port. Located at Sparkman Wharf along the Tampa Riverwalk, the menu is inspired by two-time James Beard Award winner Chef Art Smith with classic Southern fare. Chef Art is bringing his World Famous fried chicken, made from-scratch cheese biscuits, shrimp and grits, short rib sliders, salads, and signature flat breads to the menu. And don’t forget the liquid courage — hand-crafted cocktails, specialty cocktails on tap and 45 varieties of ice cold canned beer. The new Splitsville Southern + Social is the perfect pre-game destination for food and drinks for Lightning hockey games and all events at the Amalie Arena.
Edison restaurant’s swigamajig bills itself a no-frills fish kitchen that’s all about the fresh catch and modern swigs. Reinventing Florida’s iconic seafood shack, Swigamajig combines the allure of outdoor bohemian dining with a serious seafood menu, craft cocktails, beer, and wine. Located in Sparkman Wharf’s dining garden at the end of Tampa Riverwalk.
Near the northern starting point of the Tampa Riverwalk, by Armature Works and the North Blvd. Bridge is Ulele. Ulele (pronounced You-lay-lee) celebrates the vibrant fusion of ingredients from Florida waters and land once home to many Native Americans, including the young princess Ulele. Expect intricately flavored, visually appealing dishes prepared on the 10′ diameter barbacoa grill. Located on Tampa’s Riverwalk.
Union is a coffee, tea, beer + wine bar inside of the Heights Public Market at Armature Works. Located at the northern end of the Tampa Riverwalk.
At Zukku inside the Height’s Public Market at Armature Works along the Tampa Riverwalk, the rice is your canvas… whether you want it as a roll, a burrito, or in a bowl; add only the freshest and highest quality ingredients available to make your own edible art. Not feeling creative? Don’t worry, you can choose from our selection of curated specialty rolls, burritos, or bowls.
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.