Tampa Riverwalk main attractions and activities
The city center of Tampa, formerly silent after dark, is now a lively hub around the clock after the Riverwalk turned its attention towards the water. Along the newly-restored Hillsborough River, canoeists and paddleboarders mix with pirate-themed water taxis that carry guests to museums, restaurants, parks, and shopping centers lining the 2.6-mile Riverwalk.
If you are looking for things to see and do, how about you try these?
The Florida Aquarium
The Florida Aquarium, which features animal habitats, a range of displays, and interactive activities, will please visitors of all ages. The habitats are set up to mimic Tampa's waters appropriately, allowing visitors to experience a diverse diversity of aquatic life and fish. You'll see a variety of invertebrates, as well as some terrestrial species like lemurs.
The Florida Aquarium offers fast-track admission, plus a water play area that kids can enjoy. Shows at the 4-D cinema are also offered, where a 3-D film is combined with sensory elements for a truly immersive viewing experience. Additionally, you can meet African penguins for a small extra fee, swim alongside turtles, or choose any other in-depth experience.
Tampa Bay History Center
The Tampa Bay History Center is a 60,000 square-foot complex on Tampa's Riverwalk. It covers the '12000 years of culture and history of Tampa Bay and Florida as a whole. Here you'll find exhibition galleries and the Florida Center for Cartographic Education.
It's a good place to explore the history of the region's original inhabitants, such as the Seminoles, the regional geography, and the multicultural influence that followed white settlers, slavery, and immigration. For a taste of Cuban cuisine, head over to the Columbia Café at the museum.
WWII American Victory ship
This is one of the only four functional WWII ships in America and is a landmark of national historical significance. It attracts visitors for educational tours, semi-annual cruises, and event hosting.
It has a spooky feel, making it perfect for Halloween experiences. It reveals a lesser-known aspect of merchant mariners during WWII. While you are allowed to walk through most of the ship by following the designated pathways, you cannot wander off on your own.
This beautiful piece of American history offers a wonderful insight into how sailors lived during the war. Tours cost $10 for adults and $5 for kids aged 4 to 15. Stairs are a bit steep and narrow, though, so you may experience difficulties if you are not fit. After exploring the ship, you can take a hydro bike tour on Tampa's waterfront.
Historical Monument Trail
If you are staying in the city and want to get some fresh air, the historic monument trail awaits. This attraction, which winds for kilometers along the waterfront, affords breathtaking views of the river and is lined with a stunning array of marble and bronze murals and sculptures. It chronicles the tale of many notable people and important historical events in Tampa's past.
It serves as an educational tool for children, adults, and visitors. The city did this project in partnership with the non-profit organization Friends of the Riverwalk. It acts as a memorial to the ancestors who have made significant contributions.
Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park
For family fun on the Riverwalk, the Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park has two splash pools, a modern kid's playground, a pet park, outdoor seating, a public dock, and a food court. This is the best park in the city.
A large slopping grassy lawn overlooks the Hillsborough River and is a focal point of the Riverwalk. The park connects the Riverwalk to the Tampa Museum of Art, the Glazer Children's Museum, and downtown.
How's the parking and transportation situation?
Parking is accessible in various sizes, all of which are nearby the Riverwalk. The downtown parking spots are available Sunday to Saturday between 8 in the morning and noon. You can look for additional parking alternatives on On-Street Parking.
Be it family fun, shopping, photo tour, dining, history, or a brush with flora and fauna, the Tampa Riverwalk has you covered. It's an inviting outdoor destination that attracts both visitors and residents. Even if you don't have time for a tour, you can just walk this beautiful Tampa Riverwalk to your other downtown destinations and enjoy the views and atmosphere while passing through. Wondering what it takes to become a Florida resident? Read here.
Even if you don't have time for a tour, you may simply take in the views and ambiance as you use this route to go to other downtown spots. You can use Coast Bike Share, Lyft, or Uber to travel on the Riverwalk. You can't use scooters on the route but can use them to access it. Learn about moving to Florida here.