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Historic River District

In the early days of downtown Fort Myers, herds of cattle often paraded down First Street as ranchers guided their livestock from the fields far east of town to the Punta Rassa shipping port located a few miles west of town. Today, many of the old buildings the cattle passed by still stand, although the dirt roads have been replaced with brick pavers.

Downtown Fort Myers, which is located on the Caloosahatchee River, is steeped in history. And although much of it was once left vacant and neglected, years of revitalization has again made it a cultural, social, shopping, dining and recreational nexus featuring more than 70 fun and unique businesses, all within walking distance of each other.

Several noted hotels including Hotel Indigo and the Marriott Autograph, as well as the Harborside Convention Center attract residents and visitors to the downtown area, while the Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center hosts exhibitions, performances and educational events. Just a short drive away is the Broadway Palm Dinner Theater which puts on wonderful shows year- round. Visit Fort Myers Historic River District day or night. But be forewarned. After one visit, you just might decide it’s the perfect place to live – as well as play.

Nature & Parks

Just west of downtown Fort Myers is the city’s best known and most visited attraction – the Thomas Edison and Henry Ford Winter Estates. These two adjacent homes, surrounded by lush, tropical plants and exotic trees, are a walk through history on a site reminiscent of olde Florida.

Both men originally arrived in Fort Myers via a boat which docked on the riverfront in downtown. Today, that site is home to Centennial Park, which honors Edison and Ford, as well as their good friend Harvey Firestone, with a statue of all three gathered around an evening fire. Centennial Park is also the site of many festivals and social events.

The city of Fort Myers has a total of 33 parks. It also has several fishing piers that extend out into the Caloosahatchee River. Two public golf courses are just a prelude to numerous championship golf courses within a 30-mile radius.

Just a short drive south of downtown Fort Myers is the phenomenal Lakes Park. This 279-acre treasure, which consists of 158 acres of freshwater quarry lakes, has 2.5 miles of paved and natural paths. With plenty of covered picnic areas, watercraft to explore the lakes and even a children’s play area, Lakes Park is a treasure local families visit time and time again.

Sports and Activities

Sports & Activities

Fort Myers has been a sports mecca since its earliest days. Originally it was sports fishermen that were looking for something to catch. By the 1920’s, locals and visitors alike discovered something else to catch – a baseball.

It all started with Terry Park, located about one mile east of downtown Fort Myers. The four lighted fields attracted some of the best baseball teams and players of their era and put Southwest Florida on the map as a sports destination.

Today, two major league baseball teams conduct their spring training in Fort Myers – the Boston Red Sox and the Minnesota Twins.

The Red Sox practice and play at JetBlue Park, also known as Fenway South. It has a capacity of approximately 11,000 fans. Just a few miles away is Hammond Stadium, home of the Twins. The recently refurbished park has a capacity of about 9,300.

Hockey is also big in Southwest Florida. Germain Arena, which has a seating capacity of around 7,000, is home to the Florida Everblades, a minor league hockey team associated with the Carolina Hurricanes.

Basketball enthusiasts have two college teams to cheer on. The first is the Eagles at Florida Gulf Coast University, the first 15 seed team in the March Madness tournament to make it to the Sweet 16 round. There is also the Buccaneers of Florida Southwestern State College, which started playing in its new arena in 2016.

Dining & Shopping

Downtown Fort Myers is home to some of the area’s best restaurants, and they are all within walking distance of each other. From fine dining, at places such as Veranda, or casual dining at Ford’s Garage, culinary delights can be found throughout the River District, with several restaurants offering both inside and outside seating.

More than 70 restaurants and businesses can be found in downtown, including many boutique shops, gift stores and art galleries. There’s also a store which specializes in homemade candies made right on the premises. With so many restaurants and stores it’s not unusual to see people shop, then dine – and vice versa.

For those who enjoy an indoor shopping experience, the Fort Myers Edison Mall, the largest of its kind near the downtown area, is just minutes from the River District on US 41. It features some 160 retail and specialty shops, including many national names.

The Fort Myers area has way too many shopping and dining options to mention. But rest assured, no matter where you are within the city, you’re within minutes of finding exactly what you need.

Growth and Jobs

Growth & Jobs

Fort Myers is one of the fastest growing metropolitan areas in the county. That’s according to 24/7 Wall Street, who used U.S. Census Bureau data to create its list of the Top 20 cities in the nation with the biggest population growth in the past five years. The Fort Myers area ranked #5 on that list.

Another recent survey released by 24/7 Wall Street, revealed the cities in the country with the highest increase in job opportunities. Once again, Fort Myers ranked #5 nationally.

Growth and jobs go hand in hand. For example, a shortage of medical professionals in the Fort Myers’ area is often reported. But, there’s also great opportunities for entrepreneurs who wish to make their mark – and live in a tropical paradise at the same time.

Downtown Fort Myers has become the epicenter for such entrepreneurs. Doctors. Lawyers. Restaurateurs. Business Owners. Tech Wizards. Innovators. Dreamers. They all work here. Many live here.

The growth in population and jobs has been extremely beneficial to downtown Fort Myers. It has become the place to live. To work. To play. And, it’s all on the river.

Downtown Entertainment

Living just a short stroll to the Fort Myers’ River District places our residents just minutes from the many cultural and entertainment events that occur on a daily and regular basis in the downtown area.

The Arcade Theatre is perhaps the oldest venue. It’s been entertaining locals and visitors alike since 1908 and is today the home of the nationally renowned Florida Repertory Theatre, which brings more than 80,000 people to the River District every year.

Every third Friday of the month, the streets of downtown are lined with musicians, playing many genres, in an event known as Music Walk. At Centennial Park, located on the riverfront, events such as ArtFest and The Taste of Lee are held, among many others, including a Farmer’s Market.

Perhaps the largest downtown crowd occurs during the two-hour-long Edison Festival of Light Parade, which marches past the historic buildings where Thomas Edison once walked or drove past.

The Fort Myers River District. It’s the happening place to play. To be entertained. To live.