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Let’s start with the heart of it all. Fort Myers’ River District is filled with culture, cuisine, and shopping. Take advantage of year-round event programming at Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center. Catch a show at the Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre, featuring Broadway-style shows paired with a full lunch and dinner menu. See an original community play at The Laboratory Theater of Florida, which focuses on cutting-edge stories and unique viewpoints on classic stories. Or pay a visit to Florida Repertory Theatre, a professional theatre company producing a wide variety of comedies, dramas, and musicals. For a truly one-of-a-kind experience, check out the Murder Mystery Dinner Train.
On Friday nights, the River District really comes alive. The first Friday of every month is Art Walk. Galleries, museums, and shops open their doors with special exhibits and activities. Local artists line the streets to showcase their works. And on the third Friday of every month, Music Walk happens, with local bands and performers taking to the streets. From jazz to rock to top 40s, there’s something for everyone.
Ready to nosh? The River District is filled with top-rated restaurants. The Veranda Restaurant features Southern regional cuisine inside two romantic turn-of-the-century homes. For casual fare in a relaxed, welcoming atmosphere, check out 10TwentyFive. Get authentic brick oven pizza at Capone’s Coal Fired Pizza. Comfort food abounds at Ella Mae’s Diner. And Oxbow Bar & Grill is known for its incredible waterfront views and delicious coastal cuisine.
If you’re looking to escape the hustle and bustle, Bonita Springs is a welcome retreat. This quaint neighborhood features relaxing resorts -- like Shangri-La Hotel, where you can dine on farm-to-table food, relax in the spa, and enjoy boutique accommodations -- plus a charming downtown area. A must-visit is The Wonder Gardens, a botanical garden and refuge for over 300 birds and reptiles. You can see flamingos, alligators, parrots, and so much more.
Be sure to wander around the historic downtown area, where you can grab a bite to eat at the Survey Café, attend an event at Riverside Park, or even kayak along the Imperial River.
With 400 miles of canals, Cape Coral has earned its reputation as a waterfront wonderland. Take advantage of the spectacular sights with a romantic dinner on the water at Fathoms in Cape Harbor, where the promenade comes alive with live music on the weekends. Or catch a waterfront sunset during dinner at the High Tide Social House in Tarpon Point Marina. Cape Coral also boasts small-town charm, with artistic treasures and a bustling downtown culinary scene drawing visitors. Be sure to check out the bars and restaurants along 47th Terrace, perfect for an evening out on the town.
While strolling around town, keep your eyes peeled for the burrowing owls who call this town home. These friendly owls are nicknamed “howdy birds” because they appear to nod in greeting when you see them.
If you’re looking for a scenic spot for your destination wedding, The Westin Cape Coral Resort at Marina Village has you covered, with its waterfront location and spacious indoor and outdoor reception spaces.
The largest island on the Gulf Coast of Florida, this island is pure Old World charm. This secluded island offers a quiet, laid-back atmosphere where you can go fishing, take a stroll, and enjoy the undisturbed natural environment. Plus, you can spend a day island hopping and catch a charter or water taxi to Cabbage Key (an ancient shell mound island only accessible by boat) or North Captiva, a quiet island filled with nature preserves.
Back on the mainland, be sure to check out Tarpon Lodge & Restaurant, a historical waterfront lodge that is perfect for a romantic stay or an intimate destination wedding of your dreams.
Find excellent shopping and stunning natural beauty in a single neighborhood in the Village of Estero. One of the premier shopping destinations is Miromar Outlets, featuring over 100 designer outlets; it’s easy to spend an entire day wandering around this diverse outlet center. After you’ve indulged in some retail therapy, switch gears and take a different type of stroll – under the towering oaks along the banks of the Estero River at Koreshan State Park, a quiet and peaceful preserve. Here, you’ll find 11 restored and nationally registered historic buildings from the original settlement, plus botanical gardens and native tortoises. You can also rent a kayak or paddleboard to explore the Estero River.
No matter which neighborhood you choose to explore, the opportunities are endless in Southwest Florida. From gorgeous natural paradise to bustling downtown scenes, you can discover it all.