Downtown Fort Myers: Visitor Guide to the River District

Located on the scenic Caloosahatchee River, downtown Fort Myers dates as one of the first bases during the Seminole Indian Wars. Today, this area preserves its past and houses a river district full of welcoming locals, shops, restaurants and things to do. And vacationers are taking notice. Read on to learn more about downtown Fort Myers and how to explore the area.

Guide to Downtown Fort Myers and River District

downtown Fort Myers river district itrip

Photo: Ebyabe

Where is the River District?

The River District, a.k.a. downtown Fort Myers, is the heart of the city and ranks as a top destination packed full of modernity paired with historical charm. Guests can find it between the Edison bridges and Caloosahatchee Bridge.

Downtown Parking

To accommodate visitors, those parking in downtown Fort Myers may use valet, meters, parking and garages, all at affordable prices. One of the best options are 10-hour meters that charge 25 cents per hour – that’s $2.50 for 10 hours.

In addition, Zip Zone parking areas offer free parking after 5 p.m. on Mondays-Friday and on weekends and holidays. Zip Zone includes areas of Bay Street, First Street, Main Street and Hendry Street. Other transportation options in downtown Fort Myers include public buses, trolleys, taxis, and Uber and Lyft.

downtown fort myers shopping

What to Wear

The River District offers guests a warm climate year-round with average July highs around 85 and January lows in the 60s. The area has a laid-back vibe, so dress according to the day’s activities. For example, those walking around all day should wear breathable fabrics, hats, comfy footwear and sunscreen. If planning on spending several days in the area, pack shoes and flip-flops, and a light jacket for evenings out on the town.

Downtown Fort Myers Restaurants

Need a break? There’s no better way to recharge than trying a new restaurant. From popular chains to local gems, the River District houses over 50 restaurants.

Chains include Starbucks, China Express, First Watch, Subway and Wise Guys. For a more local food experience, head to Downtown House of Pizza, Steve B. Waterfront Cafe, Oasis Restaurant and The Lodge.

Spend Time Shopping

Looking for fashion? What about a handmade souvenir to take home? Visitors will find those and more while shopping in downtown Fort Myers. Located throughout city streets, guests can explore over 55 stores, including art galleries, boutiques, record stores, antique and thrift stores, and apparel shops. Those looking for pampering will also find salons and spas, perfect for enjoying with friends or a significant other.

Before heading home, stop by Downtown Farmers Market. The market runs every Thursday year-round, until 1 p.m., and features local growers, farmers, artists, fitness classes and lots of friendly locals.

downtown fort myers harbor boat

Photo: Euku

Must-see Attractions

Perhaps the highlight of Fort Myers River District is the attractions located in proximity to one another. For example, water lovers can’t miss Legacy Harbour Marina and Marina at Edison Ford, each with their own amenities.

Families have a blast at Imaginarium Science Center where they play and learn through hands-on exhibits. Other sites to see include: Edison and Ford Winter Estates, Florida Repertory Theatre, Southwest Florida Museum of History, and Butterfly Estates.

Attend Family-friendly Events

While vacationing in Fort Myers, check ahead for family-friendly festivals. The city hosts signature events throughout the year that showcase art, music, food and even cars. Summer welcomes guests to enjoy Art Walks on weekends and a downtown Car Cruise-In on every fourth Saturday evening from May through October. In the spring, guests attend Pet Walk, Bike Night, fashion shows, block parties and more.

Those who can’t attend an event still have fun ways to experience local culture and see the city. One popular option is True Tours, which hosts tours that discuss, history, important figures, ghosts and culture. View all Fort Myers signature events.

Download the App

Many people also visit Fort Myers in the winter to escape cold temperatures. These snowbird residents – and those who visit regularly – should download the Fort Myers River District app, available on both Android and Apple devices. The app features helpful information, including upcoming events, directions, maps and special offers.

Read to go? Check out rentals available in Fort Myers.