Some call it downtown Fort Myers. Others know it as the River District, or the City of Palms (drive down McGregor Boulevard to see why). Whatever you call it, it’s easy to be in the center of it all.
Downtown Fort Myers, also known as the River District, forms the core of a city that stretches for miles south along the Caloosahatchee River and east to the rural interior. Named for a Civil War-era army colonel, Fort Myers' history parallels that of Florida itself.
The Calusa Indians inhabited the islands nearby. Later, pioneers settled the pine flatwoods, and cattle drivers escorted their charges down what is now McGregor Boulevard to ships docked at Punta Rassa. Thomas Edison and Henry Ford brought national recognition to the town when they chose the City of Palms as their winter getaway.
Today, Fort Myers bustles with ecological, historical and cultural attractions. There’s also a range of shopping featuring high-end outlets, antiques, boutiques and outdoor malls. For dining and nightlife, explore the River District – Fort Myers’ beautiful historic and cultural center. Explore this colorful, historic, sub-tropical city along the waterfront of the Caloosahatchee River with its original brick-lined streets and charming restaurants, shops, art galleries, and performing arts venues. Take the historic downtown walking tour or hunt for antiques before lunch at The Open Door Shoppes on Hendry Street.
It’s been well over 100 years since Thomas Edison put down roots in “The City of Palms,” and yet the Luminary Hotel & Co. pays tribute to the electric history of downtown Fort Myers. Tapping into the collective energy of a city built by a cast of inventors and innovators, the 243-room waterfront property has revitalized Fort Myers’ River District. Check out one of their six food and beverage outlets, including its signature restaurant, Silver King Ocean Brasserie, and the Beacon Social Drinkery rooftop lounge that offers sweeping views of the Caloosahatchee riverfront.
With kids in tow, head to the Imaginarium Hands-On Museum & Aquarium for an afternoon of activities and exploration. Budding historians, scientists and inventors will want to take a narrated tour of the Edison & Ford Winter Estates, just south of downtown. While children of all ages will enjoy the indoor/outdoor celebration of the prolific inventors’ and industrialists’ lives, kids ages nine and older get the most out of the experience.