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It should take about 50 minutes to walk the Tampa Riverwalk from end to end, but chances are, it'll take you much longer than that. Tampa's waterfront abounds with attractions for the whole family - parks, museums, hotels, restaurants and recreation spots, tempting visitors to pause, sit, read, eat, play and take pictures. Every step on the riverwalk presents something new to see and experience. It's no wonder that the path is so popular.
The path is located in downtown Tampa, along the Hillsborough River. It is lined with beautifully landscaped parks and plazas, each offering something different. Cotanchobee Fort Brooke Park at the south end of the riverwalk features a playground for the kiddos, and includes a memorial to Tampa's First People, as well as one dedicated to fallen soldiers and first responders. The Kennedy Boulevard Plaza is 0.3 miles of over-water paths, punctuated with shade features reminiscent of ships' sails. The plaza leads to Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park, hugely popular, with a million annual visitors coming for its events, its Great Lawn, terraced seating, dog park, high tech playground and interactive water fountains. Waterworks Park lies at the north end of the riverwalk, and is great for kids, with its playful splash feature - a giant yellow bucket dumps water onto the kids below. In the park, a natural spring known as Ulele flows directly into Hillsborough River. The spring was restored after being built over for decades of industrial use. Now it attracts wildlife including crustaceans and even manatees.
Aside from the parks, the Riverwalk also provides access to many downtown destinations in Tampa including the Tampa Bay History Center, Tampa Museum of Art, Tampa Theater, Henry B. Plant Museum, Glazer Children's Museum Straz Center for Performing Arts and the Tampa Convention Center, in addition to hotels and restaurants. There are also opportunities to get out on the water, by water taxi, on waterbikes or by paddleboard.
The Tampa Riverwalk is open year-round, day and night. Nighttime on the riverwalk means scenic aesthetic lighting, offering even more photo opportunities. Bikes and scooters can be used on the trail but have to maintain a slow cruising speed of 5 mph to accommodate the pedestrians on this popular amenity.
The primary parking spots for the Tampa Riverwalk are:
Current parking fees can be found at the Tampa Parking Division website.
I have mixed feelings about this trail. I love it as a walking trail but it is not very skate friendly. If you are a beginner or a novice roller blader/skater I would not recommend this trail. It has multiple surface types that are not conducive for skating. Again, I do highly recommend for walking or jogging.
Walking it is better than taking a lot of time to unload a bike!
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