601 Old Water St., Tampa, FL 33602
More in this neighborhood: Downtown Tampa
The Riverwalk concept has been around since the mid 1970s but didn't start taking shape until Mayor Pam Iorio made it one of her signature projects when she took office. The $27 million, 2.2-mile walkway will link the Channel District to Tampa Heights along Garrison Channel and the Hillsborough River. One mile, or 45 percent of the project, is complete, much of it built since 2008.
Fifteen interpretive displays are planned along the river to inform strollers about Tampa landmarks and traditions such as the University of Tampa minarets, Tampa Bay, Clara Frye Hospital, Gasparilla and the graffiti that lines the Hillsborough River banks left by college crews. About eight to 10 docks are in design behind the Tampa Bay History Center, and planners envision adding more by Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park.
The park is where the Friends of the Riverwalk, a nonprofit group, has sold space on 1- by 1-foot pavers for people's permanent inscriptions.
One of those pavers has become a landmark. On it are the words, "WILL YOU MARRY ME?" a Friends of the Riverwalk idea. A bench in front of the paver faces the Hillsborough River and UT. Called the "Proposing Bench," it's just one of the little treasures the city and Riverwalk donors hope to plant along the winding path to create a destination.
Another popular spot along the walkway is the Sail Pavilion, near the Tampa Convention Center, where downtown visitors can have a libation, listen to live music and enjoy the breeze coming off the channel.