Downtown Fort Myers River District: Things to Do in One Day

Lighted downtown streets pave the way in the Fort Myers River District

From trendy restaurants to historic homes, there’s plenty to enjoy in the Downtown Fort Myers River District. If you’re on a tight schedule but want to get the most out of your visit, consider this one-day itinerary.

Morning

First things first – the most important meal of the day: Grab a healthy bite to eat complete with a smoothie or coffee at Green Cup Café. Or indulge your taste buds at Bennett's Fresh Roast, a local favorite offering hand-cut-from-scratch donuts. Once you’re energized, head to the Edison and Ford Winter Estates. There, you can explore 20 acres of botanical gardens and historic homes, including Edison’s Botanic Research Laboratory.

Science lab at the Edison and Ford Winter Estates
Edison's Botanic Research Lab at Edison and Ford Winter Estates

Another stunning site to visit is the Burroughs Home & Gardens, which transports you all the way back to 1901. This Georgian Revival mansion played host to brilliant minds like Thomas Edison, Henry Ford and other affluent families in its time. More than 100 years later, you can still walk among the gardens or lounge in a rocking chair overlooking the river. The home itself is filled with period furniture and historical artifacts.

Afternoon

When lunchtime rolls around, you’ll find quite an assortment of eateries. Embrace your inner Brit with tea, sandwiches and sweets at the quaint Wisteria Tea Room, or indulge in great beer selection and delicious gastropub fare at 10 Twenty Five. If you're looking for a quick bite to eat, you can't go wrong with the famous DHOP (Downtown House of Pizza).

Downtown House of Pizza
@@SomedayIllLearn Downtown House of Pizza

After eating, stroll down First Street and browse through some of the local shops and take in the sights of of the public artworks. If you're looking to plan out some of your activities ahead of time, consider a True Tour, which will guide you through the history and haunts of the downtown River District.

Evening

Try to plan your trip around a Professional Live Theater show at The Florida Rep or one of the many events hosted at the Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center. Pro tip: Be sure to check out Sidney's, the new rooftop sculpture garden and bar that is open every Friday night 7pm-midnight.

When hunger calls, you can relax at quaint restaurants that line First Street or enjoy Southern cuisine and timeless charm at The Veranda. The Oxbow Bar & Grill offers waterfront views of the Caloosahatchee River. And while the sun is setting, sip on a craft cocktail at the Beacon Social Drinkery, a rooftop bar atop the Luminary Hotel & Co.

No evening out is complete without something sweet. Gulf Coast Fudge and Scoops on First have you covered for all your sweet tooth cravings.

Restaurants on First Street
Restaurants on First Street

Late Night

What’s a vacation without a bit of bar hopping? Start at the newest bar in downtown, the Lucky Screw. Then pay homage to the prohibition era at The 86 Room, where jazz music and moonshine embody speakeasies in every way. Finally, round off a night well-spent at the open-air downtown Social House.

 Has the Downtown Fort Myers River District piqued your curiosity yet? Uncover other activities by exploring this eclectic community here

Girl examining lighted exhibit in the Fort Myers River District
Caloosahatchee Manuscripts Sculpture outside Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center

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