In a community built on Florida’s biggest bay, it’s easy to find dinner and drinks with stunning water views in Tampa Bay. Downtown sits at the confluence of the Hillsborough River and the bay, creating many opportunities along the Tampa Riverwalk. In the West Shore district, your seat offers expansive views of the bay and a gorgeous sunset over the water. South of downtown, Apollo Beach offers expansive views and gorgeous sunsets.
CHANNEL DISTRICT / HARBOUR ISLAND
At the mouth of the Hillsborough River, Garrison Channel separates the mainland from fashionable Harbour Island. On both sides, you’ll find stylish hang-outs such as American Social, Blue Harbour, Jackson’s Bistro & Sushi Bar, Cry Baby Cafe, WaterVüe, and Cafe Dufrain. Recently upgraded docks make it easy to drop by boat! Or book a dinner cruise on the Yacht StarShip, departing from Channelside, and enjoy a water view from every window.
The 2.6-mile Tampa Riverwalk links hotels, cultural centers, parks and restaurants like gems on a string. Slow your stroll and drop in at Sparkman Wharf overlooking Port Tampa Bay or Columbia Cafe at the Tampa Bay History Center. Big Ray’s Fish Camp and the newly renovated Sail Pavilion sit just across from Harbour Island. River’s Edge at the Sheraton Tampa Downtown, Bar WXYZ at Aloft Tampa Downtown, Malio’s Steak House, Four Green Fields, Riverwalk Cafe at Tampa Museum of Art, and Maestro’s at the Straz Center for the Performing Arts are all accessible from the Tampa Riverwalk. A special Tampa Riverwalk to-go cup lets you take your drink along as you explore the waterfront. After sunset, the Hillsborough River becomes a work of art with the shifting colors of “Agua Luces” reflecting on its surface.
A short jaunt southeast of downtown on weekends, you can savor authentic Thai tastes in the tranquil setting along the Palm River. Wat Mongkolratanaram, a Thai Buddhist temple, hosts a weekly Sunday Market that includes a variety of Thai specialties prepared by temple volunteers — and seasoned to your liking from mild to fiery.
Follow the Tampa Riverwalk north from downtown to this up-and-coming neighborhood. Pack a picnic and spread out on the green of Water Works Park. Stake your claim to the lawn at Ulele restaurant for an unforgettable sunset over the river. Choose from a dozen local food vendors at Heights Public Market at Armature Works, then enjoy your meal while you watch the boats move along the river.
Old Tampa Bay
The waters of Old Tampa Bay spread far and wide when you’re settled in to a cozy spot at fashionable Oystercatcher’s and Armani’s, both part of the Grand Hyatt Tampa Bay, or stylish Aqua at the Westin Tampa Bay. You’ll find a more laid-back vibe at Caribbean-themed Bahama Breeze or enjoy the beach at Whiskey Joe’s Bar & Grill. The Rusty Pelican’s perch above the bay has made it a popular venue for weddings.
Away from the hustle and bustle of downtown, the quiet eastern edge of Tampa Bay lets you kick back with a cold drink and a dazzling view of the water stretching to the horizon. Circles Waterfront Bar is a popular spot for locals along with a way to get away from it all just a few minutes from Tampa’s towers. A few minutes farther south, Sunset Grill at Little Harbor lives up to its name with dramatic vistas tucked into a beachfront resort.