The Tampa Riverwalk along the Hillsborough River and Garrison Channel is one of the best things to do in Tampa and home to fun festivals throughout the year, waterfront dining options, museums, and a plethora of activities on the water.
The Tampa Riverwalk is also going to be the place to be when you are looking for things to do during Superbowl LV.
There is something for everyone, whether you want to explore at your leisure or do something a bit more active. I’m excited to collaborate with VISIT Florida to bring you my top 10 favorite things to do on the Tampa Riverwalk.
1. Ride the River on a Waterbike or Kayak
The Tampa Bay Waterbike Co. offers a unique experience to pedal down the river on a waterbike or in a biyak. The views of the downtown Tampa skyline are worth the workout.
If paddle boards or kayaks are more your speed there is another outfitter on the marina that supplies rentals as well beneath the bridge called Tampa Bay Sup.
If you’re feeling extra adventurous, the pedaling floating bar cruise by Kracken Cycleboats may be a great option for an activity on the Riverwalk.
2. Cruise the Tampa Riverwalk by Bicycle or Electric Scooter
There are multiple bike share rental kiosks throughout the Tampa Riverwalk and downtown Tampa. Bikes can be rented by the hour or for the day.
If you’re more of a scooter type of person, then you have the option to rent an electric scooter from one of the many kiosks to cruise around the Tampa Riverwalk.
3. Curtis Hixon Park
Curtis Hixon is the largest park in downtown Tampa, with a children’s playground, water fountains the kids love to run through, and a dog park. It’s also the site of festivals like the Mayor’s Mac n Cheese Throwdown and Summer of Rum Festival.
At Christmas time the park really brings the Tampa Riverwalk to life with Christmas light shows and the Winter Village, complete with ice skating rink juxtaposed next to winter-themed sand sculptures.
4. Pirate Water Taxi
The Pirate Water Taxi allows guests to take in scenic views of the waterways while hopping on and off at various stops along the Tampa Riverwalk. Visitors can also ride to the Lowry Park Zoo on a longer dedicated route.
5. Take a Boat Ride Along the Tampa Riverwalk
There are several boating options to get out on the water at the Tampa Riverwalk. The marina behind the Tampa Convention Center is the place to plan your day out on the water.
Rent an eBoat to explore the downtown Tampa waterways. No boating license is required and docking is permitted at multiple waterfront restaurants. Visitors can also hire a captain if they would rather have someone else do the driving.
There are also several companies that offer dolphin tours, sunset tours, and sightseeing tours by boat.
One of the most unique boats is the Lost Pearl, the only pirate ship on on the Tampa Riverwalk.
6. Where To Eat On the Tampa Riverwalk
There are several places to eat in downtown Tampa along the Tampa Riverwalk.
The Public Heights Market at Armature Works is a hip food hall with lots of tasty options from sushi to brunch to BBQ to Cuban food and even vegan friendly options. There’s something for everyone.
Ulele is one of the most popular, serving an eclectic menu of native inspired dishes on the Hillsborough River waterfront. Their chargrilled oysters are a must try!
Sonos is located inside the Tampa Museum of Art and the menu changes to correspond with current exhibits.
Remedy is an open air restaurant and bar just beneath the Sykes building with delicious food and serious mixology options. You can take in breathtaking views of University of Tampa at night while enjoying a cocktail.
There are also restaurants in numerous hotels along the Tampa Riverwalk and the Columbia inside the Tampa Bay History Center.
Just across the channel at Harbour Island there is a gelato shop, Jacksons, and American Social.
Marriott Waterside Hotel has the Garrison Tavern, an indoor sports bar.
On the waterfront side of the hotel they have Anchor and Brine, which offers an indoor bar and spectacular covered waterfront outdoor patio seating area and an additional outdoor bar.
The Sail is a 360 degree waterfront bar behind the Tampa Convention center with great views and drinks.
For food service on the Downtown Tampa waterfront, you can have a seat at one of the many outdoor tables with views of the channel at Big Ray’s Fish Camp.
7. Get your steps
One of the best things about the Riverwalk is indeed walking it. There are almost 2 1/2 miles of paved walkway to enjoy.
There are plenty of benches and shade along the route which is very necessary in the Florida sun.
Along the walk you will see busts sculptures and information plaques of Tampanians that have helped to shape the city of Tampa. The Straz Center has interactive exhibits on display from time to time.
There are also other small parks along the route to stop for a rest and people watch. It’s a fun way to meet your step goals for the day, even while you’re on vacation. This is a must do to add to your list of things to do in Tampa.
If you’re looking for scenic nature trails to hike there are plenty of those nearby.
8. Visit the Museums
The Tampa Museum of Art has interesting art exhibits to explore and an onsite restaurant with relaxing waterfront views. Families can enjoy the educational and interactive exhibits at the Glazer Children’s Museum located next door.
Further along the Tampa Riverwalk near the arena, visitors can learn about Tampa and its unique origins at the Tampa Bay History Center.
9. Sparkman Wharf
Sparkman Wharf is one of the most popular things to do in Tampa right now. This outdoor food hall has lots of pet friendly green space, a beer garden and it’s located conveniently near the arena and right next to the cruise terminal.
The restaurants are all housed in recycled/repurposed shipping containers.
It’s a nice chill spot to grab a bite and a drink and soak up the Florida sun. It’s also a pet friendly hangout. There’s live music and activities happening all the time.
10. Yacht Starship
The Yacht Starship experience provides a 3 or 4 course dinner while cruising through Tampa Bay. There is dancing on the open air rooftop of the ship and the views of the city are amazing.
This is a great choice for a nice night out when you’re in town. They have also now added Sunday brunch cruises.
**This post was in collaboration with VISIT Florida. All thoughts and opinions on the attractions and businesses mentioned are my own and I do not have an ongoing businesss relationship with them. This post contains affiliate links. (Full Disclosure)