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The 15 Best River Walks in the United States

From fine dining to open-air concerts, these gorgeous river walks combine the beauty of nature with some stellar riverside attractions.

What better way is there to enjoy the sunshine than a stroll or bike ride along the riverside? Explore the natural scenery stopping only to step into one of the dozens of local shops dotting a boardwalk or riverfront park, before indulging in a cocktail and trying some freshly made cuisine at a waterside eatery. Explore the endless opportunities for a day or night out at one of these 15 fabulous river walks across the United States.   

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PHOTO: Virrage Images/Shutterstock
1 OF 15

Breckenridge’s Riverwalk

WHERE: Breckenridge, Colorado

Located at 9,600 ft. above sea level, Breckenridge’s Riverwalk is one of the highest river strolls in the world and hosts unparalleled views of the Ten Mile Range and the Breckenridge Ski Resort areas. Stop by Blue River Plaza, which is the epicenter of the Historic Breckenridge and the Riverwalk path.

Nearby, Breckenridge’s Riverwalk Center is a hub of cultural experiences with regular performances from bands such as The National Repertory Orchestra, traveling headliners brought in by Breck Music, and many pieces of the public art collection choreographed by Breckenridge Creative Arts. Set your home base as Gravity Haus, a hotel that’s walkable to the south of the riverwalk and features an adventurous and youthful atmosphere on-site.

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PHOTO: James Bentley Photography/Shutterstock
2 OF 15

Governor Tom McCall Waterfront Park

WHERE: Portland, Oregon

Stroll along the Willamette River in Portland, Oregon, and visit Governor Tom McCall Waterfront Park. Here, visitors can take in panoramic views of the city and experience a multitude of annual festivals, including the weekly Portland Saturday Market. In the spring, the waterfront park’s 100 Japanese cherry trees bloom for an incredibly magical experience. Stop by The Lot at Zidell Yards, a new riverfront outdoor event and performance venue lining up to host an impressive collection of upcoming shows. Set your home base as Hotel Grand Stark, an artfully re-designed historic boutique property in the trendy Central East neighborhood.

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PHOTO: Arthur Paley/Shutterstock
3 OF 15

The Chicago Riverwalk

WHERE: Chicago, Illinois

Hosting a plethora of outdoor bars and restaurants that each offer stunning waterfront views—as well as a diverse collection of museums, pier fishing, boat trips, kayaking, public art, and bird-watching—there’s something for every age and interest to explore alongside the Chicago River. This riverwalk is made up of six “coves,” each with its own nickname, urban landscape, and activities.

Visit RAISED, an urban rooftop bar, for unparalleled views of the water and some tasty food and drink options. Check out the “floating garden” located in the Jetty portion of the riverwalk between Wells and Franklin Street. Book a stay at the Sheraton Grand Chicago, which is located right on the riverwalk, and is an ideal home base to explore.

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PHOTO: jbtphotos/Shutterstock
4 OF 15

The San Antonio River Walk

WHERE: San Antonio, Texas

The San Antonio River Walk boasts sightseeing, shopping, dining, and an incredibly rich history. This world-renowned 15-mile waterway has been setting the standard for river walks internationally for decades. Visit La Villita Historic Arts Village, a community and home to several art galleries and shops selling locally made jewelry, pottery, and folk art for a souvenir. Hungry? Step into Casa Rio, which is the oldest restaurant on the banks.

Next, visit the San Antonio Museum of Art to learn about the city’s rich cultural heritage. Finally, trek to visit the four historic missions at the San Antonio’s Missions National Historical Park. This section consists of four Mission buildings and the famous Alamo Mission in downtown San Antonio, which form a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Check into the Hotel Emma, which is housed in a former 19th-century brewery in the heart of the food-focused Pearl District.

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PHOTO: Don Mammoser/Shutterstock
5 OF 15

Reno's Riverwalk District 

WHERE: Reno, Nevada

Reno Tahoe’s booming downtown and lively Riverwalk District offer a friendly environment to actively celebrate Reno’s diverse arts, culture, and history. Here, visitors can experience an eclectic mix of shops, cafes, bars, and outdoor entertainment along the Truckee River. This stretch of water is home to over 75 businesses, four parks, and a collection of murals and sculpture parks (some even borrowed from the iconic Burning Man festival nearby).

Visit the Reno Wine Walk each second Saturday of the month. Discover Reno’s growing craft beer scene at the local-favorite outdoor beer garden and community space, The Eddy, which hosts three bars and outdoor games. Dine at local-favorite restaurants such as Wild River Grille, which boasts excellent river views, especially at sunset. Set your home base as The Whitney Peak Hotel, which is within walking distance to the river, with its own on-site vertical climbing wall right up the side of the building.

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PHOTO: Kevin Ruck/Shutterstock
6 OF 15

The Tennessee Riverwalk

WHERE: Chattanooga, Tennessee

Stroll along the nearly completed Tennessee Riverwalk, a 25-mile loop that invites visitors to immerse themselves in nature, culture, and cuisine found in Chattanooga. Explore a multitude of outdoor parks and an impressive collection of local art galleries and shops at the Bluff View Art District. This 1.5 mile stretch of breathtaking art galleries, charming coffee houses, lush gardens, and bakeries is a must-visit.

Next, step into a local favorite shop such as Tony’s Pasta Shop & Trattoria, Back Inn Café, or Rembrandt’s Coffee House. Explore the Bluff View Sculpture Garden, an extensive two-acre outdoor art exhibit. There are distance markers, restrooms, picnic tables, playgrounds, and Bike Chattanooga stations along the entire path. The ideal anchor to explore Chattanooga is Bode, a new style of hotel that blends the convenience of a vacation rental while offering the luxuries of a boutique hotel.

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PHOTO: VIAVAL TOURS/Shutterstock
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The Tampa Riverwalk

WHERE: Tampa Bay, Florida

The Tampa Riverwalk explores Downtown Tampa’s vibrant and growing entertainment scene with a walkable path along the Hillsborough River for a sun-soaked, scenic stroll on the waterfront. This 2.6-mile walk runs along the Hillsborough River to the Garrison Channel, taking visitors from the bustling Heights Market at Armature Works, through Curtis Hixon Park, to Sparkman Wharf.

Pass through the bustling Channelside Bay Plaza and grab a Cuban sandwich from the Columbia Café before entering the Tampa Bay History Center. Continue north to the Sail Pavilion, the perfect place for a relaxing drink in Tampa Bay’s only 360-degree-open-air waterfront bar. Afterward, grab dinner at Ulele, a notable Florida eatery located in the historic Tampa Heights Water Works Building. Set your home base as the Sheraton Tampa Riverwalk Hotel, which offers prime access to all the riverwalk’s best attractions.

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PHOTO: Paul Brady Photography/Shutterstock
8 OF 15

The Riverfront Wilmington

WHERE: Wilmington, Delaware

The Riverfront Wilmington runs along the Christina River, where visitors and locals can explore many outdoor activities, including outdoor dining, art attractions, and shopping. Visit the Constitution Yards Beer Garden, which offers a changing rotation of craft beers and outdoor games like cornhole, axe throwing, and live music on the weekends.

Stop by Mexigrill and Tequila bar, Taco Grande, which overlooks the riverwalk with outdoor seating, serving up delicious margaritas and made-to-order guacamole. Next, enjoy a craft beverage at the local brewery, Iron Hill Brewery, and finish off the day with some friendly competition at the Riverwalk Mini Golf. Book a stay at The Westin Wilmington, which is a short walk from the river and has great views of the water.

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PHOTO: Sean Pavone/Shutterstock
9 OF 15

Greenville’s Riverwalk

WHERE: Greenville, South Carolina

Live music, delicious cuisine, and impressive outdoor art installations are just a few of the standout attractions along Greenville’s river walk. Check out Papi’s Tacos and ask for the “Travelin’ Taco”—it’s not on the menu, but the resulting super loaded bag of Fritos and a fork won’t disappoint. Next, stop at the picturesque “Art Crossing,” where artists often bring their work outdoors on sunny days.

Other fan-favorite eateries include UP on the Roof and The Lazy Goat, both of which are perfect to pop in for a delicious meal. There’s also a splash pad for kids, and on warm evenings the outdoor amphitheater just across the Eugenia Duke bridge hums with live music. Set your home base as the Embassy Suites, which is right along the water, or the brand new AC Hotel nearby.

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PHOTO: J.A. Dunbar/Shutterstock
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The Detroit RiverWalk

WHERE: Detroit, Michigan

The Detroit RiverWalk sits in the heart of downtown Detroit and hosts great views of the city and neighboring Windsor, Ontario. This riverwalk is quickly expanding and currently spans more than three miles from Rosa Parks Boulevard to the Belle Isle Bridge. Stop by the RiverWalk Café to fuel up for an enjoyable walk, run, bike ride, or just to relax and people watch. The riverfront features several parks, splash pads, amphitheaters, and attractions. Check into the Roberts RiverWalk Urban Resort Hotel, which overlooks the river.

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PHOTO: ESB Professional/Shutterstock
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The Potomac River Waterfront

WHERE: Alexandria, Virginia

The Potomac River waterfront walk offers picturesque rambles along a centuries-old historic shoreline. Discover D.C.’s iconic monuments, ample riverside dining, photo-ready artwork, and more. Check out the African American Heritage Trail, a self-guided waterfront tour highlighting the local people, places, and neighborhoods from the time of Alexandria’s founding through the 20thcentury.

Discover Tide Lock Park’s Neoclassical sculptures, and stroll south toward Jones Point Park, home of the last remaining riverside lighthouse in the Chesapeake Bay area. Alexandria’s waterfront dining scene continues to grow, debuting new concepts such as BARCA Pier—a seasonal outdoor eatery inspired by Barcelona’s beach bars. Set your home base as Hotel Indigo—Alexandria’s first waterfront hotel, just a stone’s throw away from the Potomac River.

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PHOTO: CSNafzger/Shutterstock
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The Boise Greenbelt

WHERE: Boise, Idaho

The Boise Greenbelt is a 25-mile-long bicycle and pedestrian paved path that links over 850 acres of parks and natural areas along both sides of the Boise River. This tree-lined path connects several neighborhoods of Boise, Garden City, and Eagle, as well as 12 parks and dozens of restaurants, shops, and sights.

Explorers can access stops right on the Greenbelt like Boise State University, Idaho’s Anne Frank Human Rights Memorial, Push & Pour, Telaya Wine Co., The Yard Arm (a shipping container bar), Green Acres Food Truck Park, and Payette Brewing. Recharge at Whitewater Park to watch the excitement as river surfers and stand-up paddleboarders challenge the adjustable waves. Book a stay at The Riverside Hotel, which sits right alongside the water.

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PHOTO: JoanieB/Shutterstock
13 OF 15

The Vancouver Waterfront

WHERE: Vancouver, Washington

Following the curves of the Columbia River in Vancouver, Washington, the Vancouver Waterfront includes a two-mile paved path with fantastic views and a wealth of cultural and recreational experiences for visitors and locals to explore. Take the Waterfront Renaissance Trail and stop along the way at the World War II-era Kaiser shipyards, Ilchee Statue and Plaza, and Headwaters Wall, an interactive family-friendly water feature.

Head toward Grant Street Pier, the focal point of Vancouver Waterfront Park, designed to evoke the billow of a passing sailboat. Grab a meal at What a Catch Fishbar’s walk-up window for fares such as fish ‘n’ chips and fish tacos. Nearby, Barlows Public House invites people to experience a self-service beer wall with an impressive array of taps. Check into the trendy Hotel Indigo, Vancouver’s first boutique hotel with fantastic access to the riverwalk.

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PHOTO: Rosemarie Mosteller/Shutterstock
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The Napa Riverfront

WHERE: Napa, California

Downtown Napa is already known as wine country’s most walkable destination, but the Napa Riverfront, in particular, feels like a trip abroad to Italy with world-class dining, shopping, and accommodation options. Stroll along the riverfront to spot some local wildlife, or take a ride on an authentic Venetian gondola to experience the river from a new perspective.

Fun photo-ops include various public art displays such as “the big chair” and “cha-cha steps.” Pop into an award-winning restaurant such as Iron-chef’s Morimoto Napa, or enjoy a wine and chocolate pairing at Vintage Sweet Shoppe. Occasionally, visitors can even catch a live music performance at the riverfront Veteran’s Park or visit a vintage car show during the annual Napa’s Show and Shine event. Set your home base as the River Terrace Inn, which sits directly on the river. 

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PHOTO: Sean Pavone/Shutterstock
15 OF 15

Providence’s Waterplace Park and Riverwalk

WHERE: Providence, Rhode Island

Providence’s Waterplace Park and Riverwalk span roughly a mile, featuring plenty to do, see, and taste. Here, visitors will discover numerous quaint shops, restaurants, and a collection of historic landmarks. It’s the best place to experience the iconic annual WaterFire event, a multi-sensory art installation that draws hundreds of thousands of visitors each year.

There’s no shortage of dining options along Providence’s waterways. Visit Hemenway’s to satisfy any craving for locally caught seafood. There’s also the original Capital Grille, which opened in Providence in the 1990s overlooking WaterPlace Park, with expert internationally sourced pairings of dry-aged meats and wines. Just off the river, the trendy Rooftop at the Providence G, Providence, has a retractable glass rooftop and fire pits with a stunning and unobstructed view of Providence’s famous skyline. Book a stay at the Graduate Providence, a luxurious and historic property just steps from the water.

8 Comments
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georgeanneolive0773 August 14, 2021

I had to jump in and agree Savannah should have been listed. Savannah is a working port, not just a 'scenic place', one of the busiest on the east coast. Nothing is cooler than being on River Street, a street paved with old ballast stones from the days of sailing ships and seeing a HUGE container ship coming up the Savannah River right past you. That adds greatly to the ambiance of the area and that is in addition to restaurants, bars, museums, and other amenities right there in the area.

C
cheflefleur5533 August 12, 2021

No Savannah? And yet we have the Detroit Sewage Walk and the Reno Muddy Creek Walk? Ha! List is obsolete. No credibility.

J
johankahlstrom13 August 12, 2021

Cincinnati has an amazing riverwalk. It is nicer than many of the ones shown here.
Antonio's riverwalk is amazing!

C
CheliJetGirl August 11, 2021

I love that Napa made the list, my town!  Bend, OR should be on here as well.  The waterfront walking trails around the Old Mill District are terrific.

J
jpsartre3207 August 11, 2021

Alexandria is boring and often dangerous.  Get real.