The River's Edge - Official Blog of The Barrymore Hotel Tampa Riverwalk

5 Romantic Ways to Spend Valentine's Day in Downtown Tampa

Love is in the air in downtown Tampa. Our city's downtown has lots of romantic things to do with your sweetheart. Whether you love food or adventure, Tampa is a city that will surely win your heart.

 

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Picnics in the Park

Our downtown is filled with lots of public green spaces, like Curtis Hixon Park, Cotanchobee Fort Brooke Park and Lykes Gaslight Square Park. Pack a lunch, pick up sushi at Publix on Bayshore, or grab a bite "to go" at one of the many downtown gastropubs and restaurants, then cozy up on a warm blanket for an afternoon enjoying the outdoors together. Cotanchobee Park and Curtis Hixon Park both are directly on the Riverwalk, so a post-lunch stroll would definitely have to be in order after the picnic. 
photo credit: tampagov.net

 

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Take the TECO Line Streetcar to Ybor City

We don't know about you, but we think the streetcar is loads of fun to ride. However, it isn't only just entertaining; it's also a convenient way to travel between downtown Tampa and historic Ybor City. After your picnic in the park, hop on at one of the many stops in the southern part of the city (or, in front of Hattrick's Tavern on Franklin Street; this would be the closest place to embark if you are in Lykes Gaslight Park) and ride over to our quirky, Cuban-influenced area of town filled with the scent of cigars and home to one of Tampa's top breweries, Tampa Bay Brewing Company. Sample some local brews with a tasting flight, then head over to....
See the streetcar's schedule and maps
photo credit: bizjournals.com

 

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Dinner at the Iconic Columbia Restaurant
Columbia Restaurant is the oldest restaurant in the state of Florida, owned and operated by 5 generations for over 110 years. Their nightly flamenco dance show is a must-see and the "1905 Salad" is a must-try. If you love authentic (and did we mention) delicious Cuban food, Columbia is a must-visit for you and your Valentine. Sip sweet sangria with your sweetheart and share one of their many delicacies such as their signature "Paella de la Valenciana." 
photo credit: columbiarestaurant.com


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See a Film at the Historic Tampa Theatre

Historic places emanate romance! "Upon entering under the Theatre’s “blade sign” marquee, audiences are transported to a lavish, romantic Mediterranean courtyard, replete with old-world statuary, flowers and gargoyles." Over it all is a realistic night sky filled with twinkling stars. See the theatre's current showings here - however, this Valentine's Day they're showing Shakespeare in Love!
photo credit: tbo.com

 

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Activities on the Water

There's no shortage of amusing ways to get out on the water for those who prefer a nature-centric approach to their Valentine's Day. There's always our favorite spot along the Hillsborough River, Urban Kai, to rent kayaks and stand-up paddle boards, eBoats Tampa for an eco-friendly way to cruise and those crazy-looking "water bikes" for an unconventional way to paddle around and burn off some calories from all that Valentine's chocolate you've been eating.
photo credit: tampawaterbikes.com

 

 

Great Places to Enjoy the Water Around Tampa Bay That Aren't the Beach

1). Weedon Island State Preserve

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You want mangroves? They've got mangroves. On your paddle board or kayak, weave through the untouched beauty of nature at Weedon Island State Park. There is also a kayak rental place close to the boat and kayak launch if you don't own your own gear.
www.weedonislandpreserve.org
Photo from pinellascounty.org

 

2) Hillsborough River at Waterworks Park

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Literally located right outside our back door, Waterworks Park is technically within walking distance of our hotel. The recently opened park features plenty of place space for kids with a water park themed playground and the new boat docks and kayak/paddle board slips that were recently opened. Even if you don't like to get out on the water, the park is a great spot to relax and enjoy a bite at the new, trendy Ulele Restaurant on site.
Photo: tbo.com

 

3) Lithia Springs Park

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This park is a great attraction because the water temperate stays around a steady 72 degrees year round. This is also a popular spot for camping.
More about Lithia Springs: http://www.floridasprings.org/visit/map/lithia-springs/

 

4) Courtney Campbell Causeway

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This stretch of Highway 60 features a paved trail perfect for biking, running and walking that runs alongside the causeway. The trail starts near Ben T. Davis Beach (if you want to visit a bay beach, this is an option) and runs all the way across Tampa Bay to Clearwater. If you want to log some serious miles, enjoy great views of the water and enjoy the outside, the Causeway is for you. The recent completion of the Courtney Campbell Trail gives pedestrians a safe way to get from the Tampa side of the Bay to the Clearwater side, and also makes it much easier to sync up with the nearby Pineallas trail on the Clearwater side for those looking to go the distance.
Photo from http://www.tbrpc.org/scenic/cctrail.shtml

 

National Running Day

With today being National Running Day, we started thinking about all the fantastic ways you can stay fit and healthy in downtown Tampa, whether you're an avid runner or want to try other workouts. Exercise doesn't always have to feel like work; staying active in our city is actually pretty easy.

 

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1) The Tampa Riverwalk

This is a given! Our hotel sits only steps from the northern end of the Riverwalk (right where it stops just above the Straz Center) so you can actually get a decent jog, walk or even bike in. If you run from our hotel and back along the 1.8 mile trail, you can complete a good distance in our urban setting. The Riverwalk is well-paved, well-lit and it even has Wi-Fi so you can stream music without having to worry about chewing up your own mobile data plan. 

 

 

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2) Tampa Bay Water Bikes
These quirky-looking contraptions are actually quite fun and are a great way to scope scenic views of our city and the Hillsborough River, all while raising your heart rate. Find out more about renting them at www.tampabaywaterbikes.com.

 

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3) Zumba in the Park

Is dance-inspired cardio your thing? Then Zumba is for you. Again, you get great views of the River, as these free classes are held every Tuesday night (weather permitting) at 6:00 PM at Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park. Presented by the Downtown Tampa Partnership and the Downtown Tampa YMCA. Check out Zumba in the Park's Facebook page.

 

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4) 813 Fit Club At The Barrymore

Every Tuesday night, step into our hotel for free BeachBody/P90X group fitness classes. Yes, this class is free too, and they are challenging. Meet in our Monarch Ballroom every Tuesday night at 6:30 PM. Sometimes, they hold their classes outdoors also in Curtis Hixon Park, lead by an 813 Fit Club Fitness Coach. Check out 813 Fit Club's MeetUp page and Facebook page.

 

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4) Bamboozle Fit Club

The popular downtown Vietnamese fusion restaurants with a menu that's equally delicious as it is healthy also has their own fitness meet-up group. Also FREE and at Curtis Hixon Park at 6:00 PM on Wednesdays. The classes range from Tai Chi, Yoga, Pilates to Boot Camp. More info.

 

5) Tampa Urban Run Club at Duckweed Urban Grocery
Made possible by Duckweed Urban Market and Sweatshop Fitness downtown, run a 5k on Thursday nights. Meet at Duckweed Market at 5:30, run starts at 6PM (weather permitting). Stick around at The Duck for tasty beverages and snacks afterwards! 

Local Tampa Bay Breweries You Need To Visit

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No matter where you turn, it seems like a new microbrewery is popping up here, and there, and everywhere. That isn't a bad thing however, not for the beer connoisseur that wants to imbibe unique flavor profiles and support the local economy - all in the name of good booze. Here's some of our favorite Tampa breweries (in no particular order) to check out on your next weekend off or if you're visiting the Tampa Bay area. Drink local!

 

1) Tampa Bay Brewing Company: Nestled right in Historic Ybor City, Tampa Bay Brewing Company features 8 core and 38 seasonal proprietary beers, all made right here in Tampa. TBBC isn't only a brewery, but also houses a restaurant with a menu full of items far from your typical "bar food", and many are infused with their own beers. If you love hoppy, try an Old Elephant Foot IPA or a Reef Donkey IPA for a fruitier twist. If you're into deep, dark beers, try a Iron Rat Imperial Stout. It's much more than drinking a loaf of bread. Definitely try their True Blonde Ale - it's very crispy and dare we say refreshing. TBBC also features cask conditioned ales, which are naturally carbonated, unfiltered and served at cellar temperate. Find out more about TBBC at www.tampabaybrewingcompany.com

 

2) Coppertail Brewing Company: One of the newer breweries, Coppertail is also near Ybor City and uses the tried and true old-fashioned techniques such as whole-leaf hops and never filtering their brews. Kick back with a Free Dive IPA for that crisp, cool kick of hops or take a sip of the dark side with their rich and chocolately Porter. More about Coppertail Brewing Comapny at www.coppertailbrewing.com

 

3) Cigar City Brewing and Cigar City Brewpub: A Tampa favorite, Cigar City Brewing is known for some of its most popular beers including the Jai Alai IPA and Florida Cracker Ales, plus a wide array of seasonal beers, like the Cucumber Saison. Now that's one to try. The brewery is located just off I-275 and Dale Mabry, but for those hungry beer-lovers, Cigar City Brewing operates Cigar City Brewpub in Carrollwood. The Brewpub is also on North Dale Mabry, only a few miles from the brewery. Of course the menu isn't your typical run-of-the-mill tired bar food. Try the Swordfish Tacos, Chorizo Stuffed Peppers, the Yucca Fries, or even a Cheese and Charcuterie Board. More about Cigar City Brewing at www.cigarcitybrewing.com and more about Cigar City Brewpub www.cigarcitybrewpub.com

 

4) Angry Chair Brewing Company: That's a pretty unique name right? This brewery's name is about finding your "angry chair" - whether it's sitting in traffic, at work, at home - and getting away from it. It's about escaping the monotony of everyday life and things that make you "angry" - and getting back to things that make you happy. In this case, beer makes Angry Chair's staff very happy. Located in quirky and cool Seminole Heights, ACB brews up seasonal beers, currently featuring their Roundabout IPA, 3 Little Birds Florida Weisse and - are you ready? - a Germany Chocolate Cupcake Stout. We're heading straight for that one when we visit. More about Angry Chair Brewing at www.angrychairbrewing.com 

 

 

Row Tampa Christens Rowing Scull in Hotel's Honor

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This past weekend Lisa Reilly-Covington (Director of Sales) and Sherri Pearson (Front Desk Supervisor) attended the prestigious Tampa Mayor's Cup Regatta to accept the christening of a rowing scull in The Barrymore Hotel's honor.

"The Mayor’s Cup is one of the preeminent early-season rowing events featuring many of the top crews and athletes from around the country. With its inaugural event in 1975 as The University of Tampa’s President’s Cup Regatta, the races have become a key training event for many of the top universities and high schools such as The United States National Team, Yale, Dartmouth, Marietta, Temple, and The Kent School."

We are grateful to accept this honor as proud supporters of The Tampa Stewards Foundation/Row Tampa and are delighted to be the host hotel for many excellent rowing teams from around the country!

 

Source: USRowing.com

Barrymore Hotel's John Lennon Statue Featured in Article on TBO.com

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This week, our hotel was featured in an article by TBO.com about our John Lennon statue, featured on our hotel grounds. Sure, there may be no obvious ties of Lennon to our city, but surely everyone can relate to "giving peace a chance" in some way or another. As a downtown Tampa Arts District hotel, our acquisition of the statue, created by Cuban sculptor José Villa Soberón, coincides with our passion for the arts - all art: national, international and especially local Tampa area art. 

“When you came around the corner and you saw it, it just drew you right to it,” Cathy Ferguson said. “It was almost like he was going to talk to you. That was the kind of feeling.’’ Many passers-by stop and snap photos next to "Lennon," along with the Tampa skyline and Straz Center for the Performing Arts in the background. 

“Once it catches people’s eyes they are absolutely surprised when they see it there,” said Larry Collier Jr., general manager and director of hotel operations for H.I. Development, the Barrymore’s development and management company. “We’ve seen numerous people stop and take pictures with it. We’ve seen cars drive by, stop and turn around.’’

Read the full article on TBO.com.

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