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

Gasparilla and Barrymore hotel featured in Roanoke Times

Photo: Dr. Bill Carson courtesy of

January isn't only the beginning of a new year, but it's also the month one of Tampa's biggest festivals takes place - but only if you're willing to dress and talk like a pirate. The Gasparilla Pirate Festival on January 28th celebrates the legendary pirate Jose Gaspar and his invasion of Tampa, complete with a reenactment of the siege - it's basically Tampa's answer to Mardi Gras, but with pirates and yes, beads. 

The event is family-friendly, with a parade through the streets of South Tampa after the mayor "surrenders" the key to the city when the Gasparilla, Tampa's replica pirate ship with functioning cannons, docks at the Tampa Convention Center. Local bars and nightlife also partake in all the swashbuckling fun for landlubbers and seafarers alike. 

The Roanoke Times recently published an article about the Gasparilla Festival, featuring the Barrymore Hotel, which is located along the Riverwalk and near much of the Gasparilla action in Tampa. 

Enjoy the full article on the Roanoke Times website.

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.


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. 
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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
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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." 
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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!
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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.
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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.


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. 




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


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.


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.


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! 

Barrymore Hotel's John Lennon Statue Featured in Article on


This week, our hotel was featured in an article by 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