Tampa’s Waterfront has undergone a remarkable transformation, from run-down warehouses in the 1970s to today’s modern, pedestrian-friendly boardwalk. The Riverwalk is not only perfect for a stroll by the water. It also connects Tampa’s most popular attractions, idyllic parks and top-rated restaurants. Whether you want to see marine animals at the Florida Aquarium, taste Caribbean flavors at the Columbia Cafe or cross beautifully illuminated bridges after dark – you can easily spend the whole day on the Riverwalk without feeling bored.
ATTRACTIONS ON THE TAMPA RIVERWALK
Tampa’s famous boardwalk measures a whole 2.5 miles in length – no wonder that there is so much to see here. Your perfect starting point is the Tampa Convention Center in the South. From here, you can walk your way up north and take a look at the Amalie Arena. This impressive stadium can seat more than 20.000 people and is home to the ice hockey team Tampa Bay Lightning.
If you want to learn more about the city’s past, you should visit the adjacent Tampa Bay History Center. This museum features exhibitions about Florida’s native people and the first pioneers in the Sunshine State, while also showing a cigar store from the year 1920. Thanks to interactive exhibits, the History Center is perfectly suited for children.
Speaking of little visitors: The Glazer Children’s Museum offers child-friendly infotainment and experiments showcasing the different branches of science. Equally popular with families is Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park with its extensive green spaces and playgrounds. Canine companions run around freely at the dog park, while their owners unwind with a beautiful view of Tampa’s skyline.
By the way: If you want to see Tampa’s Riverwalk from the water, you should go paddleboarding on the Hillsborough River. Kayaks are available for rent at the Tampa Convention Center.
More attractions on the Tampa Riverwalk include:
- Florida Aquarium: home to more than 20.000 marine animals, among them sharks, turtles and penguins
- Florida Museum of Photographic Arts: art center with countless works by American and international photographers.
- American Victory: original battleship from World War II, open to the public
- Cotanchobee Fort Brooke Park: large recreational area with playgrounds and a Splash Zone – perfect on hot days
- David A. Straz, Jr. Center for the Performing Arts: Tampa’s hotspot for musicals, operas and classical performances.
Visitors arriving by car can park their vehicle at parking garages near the Riverwalk. Parking north of Kennedy Boulevard is free on the weekends and after 6 pm on weekdays.
RESTAURANTS ON THE TAMPA RIVERWALK
Hungry guests have come to the right place: The boardwalk is full of culinary choices – from pizza, steaks and Caribbean dishes to American comfort food.
Florida’s cuisine has been strongly influenced by Spanish and Caribbean flavors. A perfect place to try “Floribbean” specialties is the Columbia Cafe, a true Tampa original since 1905. This upscale restaurant serves Cuban Sandwiches, tender suckling pig and Mahi Mahi filet in lavish surroundings that are reminiscent of Tampa’s Golden Age.
Fresh seafood in all varieties grace the menu at Harpoon Harry’s Crab House, and the Malio´s is known for its prime steaks. For the perfect start to your day, have a seat at the First Watch, a breakfast restaurant serving sweet waffles and pancakes. Looking for a healthy option? Then, the Tampa Salad Company is your ideal choice.
In Tampa, you cannot only dine on land, but also go on a Food Cruise with the Starship Yacht. This floating restaurant serves gourmand dishes and is perfect for birthday parties, weddings and big corporate events.
ACCOMMODATION OPTIONS ON THE TAMPA RIVERWALK
If you want to see all attractions the boardwalk has to offer, you should spend a whole day here. Thankfully, there is no reason to drive back on the same day: Tampa’s Riverwalk offers enough accommodation options for every taste and budget.
Not only visitors of the Tampa Convention Center love to stay at the Marriott Waterside Hotel. In addition to 700 rooms, this 4-star-hotel features a rooftop pool, a spa and fitness center and 3 restaurants. The numerous awards speak for themselves: If you want to reside in style on the Riverwalk, this is the perfect place for you.
For a particularly nice view of the Hillsborough River, book a night at the brand-new Aloft Tampa Hotel with its pool terrace. This waterfront hotel also amazes guests with its modern and spacious rooms.
At the Barrymore Hotel Tampa Riverwalk, theater fans can stay close to the David A. Straz, Jr. Center for the Performing Arts. And if you want to stay fit during your vacation, the Sheraton Tampa Riverwalk with its gym is worth a closer look. This 3-star-hotel is also known for its barbecue restaurant by the water.
Visitors who want to stay longer should check out the apartments overlooking the boardwalk on the other side of the river. The Manor Riverwalk Luxury Apartments, for example, combine the privacy of your own home with the amenities of a luxury resort.
EVENTS ON THE TAMPA RIVERWALK
No matter the season – there is always something going on at Tampa’s Riverwalk. A definite highlight is the Tampa Riverfest in May with its culinary treats, family-friendly activities and live concerts. At the same time, the Taco Fest celebrates the diverse flavors of Mexico, and the Wiener Dog Derby takes place at Curtis Hixon Waterfront.
On Halloween, little visitors fill their pockets with candy before having a meet and greet with cute monsters and superheroes. Snow is rare in Tampa, but if you want to get into festive mood, you should visit the 36 feet Christmas Tree during Holiday Harbour in December. Another feast for the eye awaits visitors at the Lighted Boat Parade when beautifully decorated boats race against each other on the Hillsborough River. On July 4 Tampa’s Riverwalk is illuminated by a 20 minute long display of fireworks.
Miami Beach has no shortage of attractions – from glamorous Ocean Drive and the soft, powdery sand of South Beach to the Art Deco houses of the Historic District. But hardly any tourist knows South Pointe Park at the southern end of this coastal city. Opened in the 1980s, the park underwent a 22 Million Dollar facelift in 2009 and presents itself more beautiful today than ever before. Locals love to come here for jogging, boat watching, fishing on the pier and soaking up the South Florida sun. With so many things to do, it is high time to take a closer look at South Pointe Park.
SOUTH POINTE PARK – INFORMATION FOR VISITORS
South Pointe Park is one of those places people fall in love with at first sight – no wonder thanks to the lush palm trees and grassy hills against the backdrop of turquoise Atlantic waters. The 17 acres area provides ample opportunities for walking, jogging, cycling and rollerblading. Other visitors spread their yoga mats on the well-maintained lawn. The park is still a hidden gem and far from being overcrowded. This is apparent in the laid-back atmosphere. Tall trees provide shade, and on a stroll along the coast you can watch the ocean liners on their way to exotic destinations.
In South Pointe Park you find pavilions in the shade, water dispensers and toilets, as well as barbecue and picnic areas. The observation deck with sun chairs and splendid ocean views is perfect for relaxing. And do not forget to pack swimsuits for your children, as there is a Wet Playground with fountains to cool off. Dogs are welcome in the park, as long as they walk on the leash. There is also a designated dog park for them to run around freely. On the boardwalk, you can watch some of the most beautiful sunsets that Miami Beach has to offer – only rivaled by the sparkling skyline in the distance.
SOUTH POINTE BEACH & PIER
Just a stone’s throw away lies South Pointe Beach – considered one of the city’s best beaches by many. Powdery sand, excellent cleanliness and crystal clear water awaits you here. South Pointe Beach is equipped with toilets, showers, sun chairs and umbrellas as well as snack bars for hungry beach-goers. Lifeguards are on duty around the clock. Besides relaxing and swimming, you can play beach volleyball or watch the scenery from above while parasailing. Guests who do get enough of strolls on the beach can walk the whole east coast of Miami Beach, make detours to the many restaurants and shops on Ocean Drive, and chill out in green areas like Lummus Park.
Situated at the southern most point of Miami Beach is South Pointe Pier, a popular spot for fishermen. But the water is not only teeming with fish. Sometimes Florida’s iconic manatees visit this coastal area. In the distance you can see the vacation island Key Biscayne. And if you love romantic sunsets, you have one more reason to visit the pier in the evening. The relaxed atmosphere makes South Pointe Pier a perfect place for the free meditation and yoga classes that are held here every week. Another sight awaits visitors who turn their head southward: Fisher Island, America’s most exclusive vacation spot, is home to famous celebrities like Arnold Schwarzenegger, Demi Moore and Oprah Winfrey.
Historically, the vicinity of South Pointe Park has been strongly influenced by the Jewish Community of Miami Beach. If you want to broaden your horizon after swimming and sunbathing, you should visit the Jewish Museum of Florida less than 1 mile from the beach. Here you find exhibitions highlighting 200 years of Jewish history in Florida.
RESTAURANTS IN SOUTH POINTE PARK AND THE SURROUNDING AREA
No matter if you prefer local or international cuisine – no visitor has to go hungry in South Beach.
Only one restaurant is located directly in South Pointe Park: the Smith & Wollensky. This restaurant is famous for its fresh seafood and tender steaks. If you want, you can dine outdoors with excellent ocean views. Additionally, the park also houses a café and a snack stand.
The award-winning Lobster Shack at the beginning of Ocean Drive attracts seafood lovers with its lobster creations, fresh shrimps, crabs and oysters.
Other culinary choices in the area include:
- Santorini by Georgis: a tavern serving traditional Greek specialties
- Lilikoi Organic Living: healthy dishes made with organic ingredients
- Big Pink: good old American cuisine in epic servings
- Rossella´s Kitchen: Italian delicacies at reasonable prices
- Sandwich Qbano South Beach: your top pick for Cuban Sandwiches in the area
- Joe´s Stone Crab: a popular sea food restaurant that celebrated its 100th birthday in 2013.
Besides its restaurants, South Miami Beach sports a multitude of cafés, cocktail bars and wineries.
SOUTH POINTE PARK – LOCATION, DIRECTIONS, PARKING AND OPENING TIMES
South Pointe Park is open daily from sunrise to 10 pm. You can access the boardwalk until 2 am, while South Pointe Pier is open from 7.30 am to 6 pm.
You can park your car next to the park for 2 USD/hour during the week. Parking on the weekend is more expensive. So why not leave the car at home and go by bicycle? This is easier than ever before thanks to the Sharing stations of Citi Bike. You can return your rental bicycle at any Citi Bike station you choose. Another popular transportation option is the free South Beach Trolley of Miami Beach.
West of Miami’s Downtown, just a 15 minutes drive from the ocean, lies the Little Havana district. Many exiled Cubans settled here in the 1960s, bringing with them their culture, music and culinary treats. Most descendents of those immigrants have left now. Nonetheless, Little Havana with its scenic parks, authentic restaurants, street art and live music is still the perfect place to immerse yourself in the Cuban way of life.
SIGHTS IN LITTLE HAVANA
Every trip to Little Havana should start on Calle Ocho. The “8th street” that runs through the district from east to west is lined with art galleries, bars and quaint little cigar shops. Calle Ocho also connects many sights – among them the Walkway of Stars, Little Havana’s answer to Hollywood’s Walk of Fame. Since 1988 the most famous Latin American celebrities have been immortalized here.
Domino Park is a popular place to meet and hang out. It is here that mostly older Cubans enjoy themselves playing domino, drinking espresso and chattering with their friends. The park is perfect if you want to soak up the Cuban flair – even though you will hardly understand a word if you do not speak Spanish.
Another institution of Little Havana is the Tower Theater, a historic cinema in the Art Deco style. Since the 1920s is has been the district’s top pick to watch movies in Spanish. Art lovers should visit the Cuban Memorial Boulevard with its statues by José Martí and Antonio Maceo. Nearby stands the Tall Ceiba Tree – a sacred place for Santeria worshippers who lay down offerings like chicken bones. In the nearby Santeria botanicas you can purchase all kinds of jewelry, talismans and ointments, and even have your future told.
If you are interested in Cuba’s most famous product (after Havana Rum) you should visit the Havana Cigar Factory. As we all know, it is illegal to buy Cuban cigars. However, connoisseurs confirm that the hand-rolled cigars at this Factory are second best to the original.
MORE ATTRACTIONS IN LITTLE HAVANA INCLUDE:
- Little Havana Welcome Center: visitor center offering brochures about the history and sights of the district
- Jose Marti Park: a shaded waterside park with playgrounds, picnic tables and basketball courts
- Bay of Pigs Museum: an exhibition about the failed invasion of Cuba planned by the US.
- Viventa Candles: a shop that sells handmade candles made from soy wax
- Havana to Go: a gift shop selling jewelry and Cuban garments
RESTAURANTS IN LITTLE HAVANA
One of the main reasons to visit Little Havana is the authentic Latin American cuisine.
Tourists and locals alike love Mi Rinconcito Mexicano, an old-school taqueria. Here, the tacos filled with minced meat, lamb, chicken, onions and hot sauce taste like in the motherland, and prices are more than fair.
A top spot to try Cuban Sandwiches, now a popular dish in Florida, is Sanguich de Miami. Only homemade ingredients like smoked bacon, tender pork and pickles are stuffed between to crispy breads in this traditional restaurant. And if you want to taste the “Cubano” in a truly glamorous atmosphere, you should visit the Versailles. Dubbed “the most famous Cuban restaurant in the world”, it is also perfect for having breakfast and coffee.
Known for its fish delicacies is La Camaronera – a seafood restaurant that even featured on the TV channel Food Network. Little Havana abounds with Old World specialties, too, which you can see and taste at the top-reviewed Spanish Restaurant El Rincon Asturiano.
The Cubaocho can best be described as a mix between bar, museum and performing arts center. Here guests sample Miami’s biggest rum collection before dancing Salsa to live music. Alternatively, you can always just grab a quick Mojito to go.
Located directly opposite the Tower Theater is the Azucar Ice Cream Company, a family business that creates ice cream out of fresh, regional ingredients. The variety is astonishing and even includes exotic choices like pumpkin, avocado and egg liqueur.
EVENTS IN LITTLE HAVANA
On the last Friday of every month, Little Havana hosts the Viernes Culturales. Then, the streets along Calle Ocho are filled with art exhibitions, live music, stages with Latin dancers and vendors selling handmade jewelry.
Calle Ocho Festival, one of the biggest carnivals worldwide, forms the highlight of the year. Not only Cubans, but dancers from all over Latin America proudly present their colorful costumes and make the crowd go wild with live music. Visitors might find themselves in a Conga Line, swept away by irresistible rhythms. This carnival is also perfect if you want to try a wide variety of Latin specialties.
Speaking of specialties: Little Havana houses so many restaurants that it can be hard to find the true gems. Therefore, it pays to join one of the food tours that bring you to the district’s well-kept culinary secrets – perfect if you want to taste them all.
ACCOMMODATION IN LITTLE HAVANA
If you want to spend more time soaking in the vibes of Little Havana, you can choose between many accommodation options for every taste and budget.
There is hardly a hotel in the heart of Little Miami that can match the Caribbean vibes of the Life House. Elegant furniture and traditional fabrics grace its interior, while the Parcela Café is ripe with nostalgic Havana flair. Ernest Hemmingway would have loved it here. The tropical lounge on the rooftop provides the perfect backdrop for some rest and relaxation.
Situated north of Jose Marti Park is the Casa Florida Hotel that attracts guests with its plantation style architecture, lush gardens, outdoor pool and cocktail bar. Visitors who also want to take a trip to the nearby beach feel right at home at the Aloft Miami, a laid-back 3 star hotel offering spacious rooms. And if you want to rent an apartment complete with living room, bedroom, kitchen, veranda and pool, look no further than the Little Havana Paradise.
The My Sweet Havana Hotel offers budget-friendly rooms just a few minutes away from Calle Ocho. This hostel features an extensive common area to hang out, a kitchen for guests to use, and clean dorms with 4 or 6 beds.
Roaring V8 engines make you tremble with excitement? Drivers like Richard Petty and Jeff Gordon are your heroes, and Monster Energy is more than a soft drink to you? Then, you absolutely must visit the Daytona International Speedway. In this epicenter of American motorsports, events like the Daytona 500 attract tens of thousands of fans. Countless NASCAR records have already been set here.
But the Daytona International Speedway is more than just a race track. It is a super-sized motorsports city. No matter if you want to cheer your favorite drivers from the ranks, pay tribute to racing legends in the Hall of Fame or go shopping at the One Daytona – the Speedway is a haven for guests with a passion for high-octane fun.
DAYTONA INTERNATIONAL SPEEDWAY IN A NUTSHELL
The Daytona International Speedway was opened in 1959, making it one of the true pioneers of American motorsports. NASCAR-founder Bill France was personally responsible for creating this permanent racetrack. Since its opening, the Speedway has been home to the Daytona 500, one of the most important and prestigious races in the USA. But high-powered sports cars are not the only stars here. At this stadium with a capacity of more than 100.000 people, you can also watch pick-up truck and superbike competitions. Even triathlons are held here.
The Daytona Speedway not only amazes with its 2.5 miles of tracks. Thanks to a 400 million USD overhaul, it also ranks among the most modern race tracks in the world. A state-of-the-art entrance system leads visitors to their zone in no time, the number of toilets has been doubled, and the seats are now more comfortable than ever. Tickets come in many different forms and price categories.
EVENTS AT DAYTONA INTERNATIONAL SPEEDWAY
No matter what kind of vehicles you want to see: at the Daytona International Speedway you are guaranteed to find the right event for you. Here is a short selection:
- Daytona 500: THE classic American NASCAR race
- Historic Sportscar Racing: four day event featuring legendary antique cars
- Rolex 24: 24 hour sports car race
- Bike Week: 10 days of exciting events for motorcycle fans
- Daytona Supercross: dirt bike race with daring stunts
- Challenge Daytona: three day triathlon.
Fans of American sports events already know: The warm-up to the race is as important as the event itself. At the Daytona Speedway, the fun begins when you enter the so-called injectors. These are more than just simple entrances to the ranks. Walking through the 4 injectors, you can admire high-powered cars by Toyota and Chevrolet, test your skills at the driving simulator and browse through tons of merchandise. In addition to the stands, the Speedway also features numerous fan areas and lounges, complete with air-con, TVs and catering.
TICKETS AND OFFERS AT THE DAYTONA INTERNATIONAL SPEEDWAY
If you want to experience events like the Daytona 500, you can choose from a wide range of tickets. The price is largely determined by one factor: How close to the action do you want to be? Tickets for the lower ranks, far away from the start/finish line and the pit road, are available for 98 USD. But if you want to sit on the highest ranks with a direct view of the starting line, expect to pay up to 700 USD.
In addition to basic tickets, there are special offers available at the Speedway:
UNOH FANZONE / PRE RACE ACCESS
The Fanzone in the center of the race track is nothing short of a sacred place for NASCAR enthusiasts. Here you can watch the teams refuel and change tires on the Pit Road, take a peak into the garages and get close to famous drivers on the Main Stage. Prior to the race, music bands get the fans in the right mood, and afterwards, you will experience the victory ceremony on Gatorade Victory Lane. Expect to pay 98 USD a day for this privilege.
It might seem strange to non-motorsports fans, but camping is a favorite pastime at the Daytona Speedway. For seasoned veterans, there is only one place to be: the Infield. During races, this area inside the tracks turns into a sea of RVs and caravans. Just put up your camping chair on the roof, grab your beer and snacks, and watch the cars fly by. This is the true NASCAR spirit! Unfortunately, it is also expensive, and spots sell fast. Camping at nearby sites in Daytona Beach and taking the free shuttle to the race tracks is by far the cheaper option.
ACTIVITIES AT DAYTONA INTERNATIONAL SPEEDWAY
Even when there is no race, the Daytona International Speedway offers many exciting activities for motorsports fans.
On a ride with the open-air tram, you will learn everything about the history of the “World´s first Speedway”. Afterwards, you can take a photo on the podium before admiring the winning car of this year’s Daytona 500 – with all the bumps and scratches it sustained in the race. Renowned trophies and race cars from 60 years of motorsports history are displayed at the Hall of Fame. In addition, the museum showcases drag cars, motorcycles, antique cars and even power boats.
The Speedway Tour takes 30 minutes and costs 19 USD for adults.
This tour takes an additional 60 minutes and also includes a trip to the start/finish line. Guests can walk the 31-degree high banks and take a look into the pit stalls and the press room. From the ranks, you will enjoy unmatched views of the race tracks. The All-Access Tour costs 26 USD.
If you are looking for the ultimate fan experience, you should book this 3 hour tour. With a small group, you will ride the air-conditioned tour bus across the Speedway. At the ISC´s Archives and the Research Center you can gaze at the most valuable trophies in NASCAR history, Sir Malcom Campbell´s famous “Bluebird” and a life-like replica of NASCAR founder Bill France Sr´s office. Of course, non-motorsports fans will hardly appreciate all the little details. For seasoned fans, however, this tour is a must. Included in the 55 USD ticket is a trip to the Press Box, plus all the activities of the Speedway and All-Access Tours.
Being a true motorsports city, the Daytona International Speedway offers many opportunities for shopping and dining. But guests who only expect merchandise shops for racing fanatics will be surprised. The One Daytona is a Lifestyle & Entertainment Center complete with 12 stores – from fishing shop Bass Pro and sweets-store It´Sugar to sportswear, sunglasses and guitars. The center also houses 16 restaurants. Here you can enjoy burgers, steaks, Italian and Mexican specialties, ice-cream, smoothies, coffee and much more. The newest blockbusters are presented at the Cobb Luxury Theatre, and “Painting with a Twist” offers creative arts and crafts workshops. In addition, you can get fit at Gold´s Gym and have your nails done at the Venetian Spa. Last but not least, the One Daytona also features 2 hotels for guests who want to stay close to the race tracks.
WHAT AWAITS YOU ON A TOUR AT THE DAYTONA INTERNATIONAL SPEEDWAY?
Check out this video and see what makes a day at the Daytona International Speedway so exciting.
To find out more about events, important dates and tour details, visit the official website www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com. Here you can buy tickets from the online shop, find an interactive map of the race tracks and stay up to date on the latest motorsports news.