Location: 26811 South Tamiami Trail | Bonita Springs, FL 34134
While Cape Coral is the largest city between Tampa and Miami, its downtown strip is one of the smallest. Downtown Cape Coral might be fairly new, but it’s constantly expanding, and growing into its own.
Where is Downtown Cape Coral?
Since downtown Cape Coral is only a few blocks long, sometimes people miss it and ask, “Where is downtown Cape Coral?” It’s generally considered to be the first developed commercial area in the southwest corner of the city.
Once you cross over the Cape Coral Bridge from College Parkway and pass the first light at Del Prado Boulevard, you’re in what’s known as downtown Cape Coral.
It might be fairly tiny, but it still has everything you need. You can find a CVS, grocery store, schools, coffee shop, restaurants, museum and bars.
According to the City of Cape Coral’s website, the boundaries of the redevelopment areas of downtown Cape Coral are Southeast 44th Street and Southeast 46th Lane, to the north; Southeast 17th Place and the Caloosahatchee River to the east; on the south side the area is bordered by Miramar Street and Bimini Basin, and Tudor Canal and Palm Tree Boulevard to the west. The entire Redevelopment Area consists of 432.2 acres.
Cape Coral is known for its 400 miles of canals, and some refer to it as a “Waterfront Wonderland,” because it has more miles of canals than anywhere else in the world. In fact, most of them are navigable and will take you to the Caloosahatchee River, Matlacha Pass and the Gulf of Mexico beyond. Some can even take you pretty darn close to your favorite downtown Cape Coral shops and restaurants. Besides, who doesn’t love waterfront living and vacationing?
Cape Coral was founded just 60 years ago, so it hasn’t experienced the type of gradual evolution from a pioneer settlement to a contemporary city that larger, more established cities like Fort Myers have. It also wasn’t initially designed for commercial development. Cape Coral’s early plans were to be a residential subdivision of Fort Myers. However, that doesn’t mean downtown Cape Coral doesn’t exist. In fact, downtown Cape Coral has plenty to offer. In fact, Forbes ranked Cape Coral as the fastest growing city in 2017.
The cool part about downtown Cape Coral is that most of the shops are locally owned and save for a few of them, they aren’t chains.
Some of Our Favorite Downtown Cape Coral Things to Do Include:
There are so many restaurants to choose from. The previous list doesn’t even scratch the surface. These restaurants are all unique and each offers something different. A handful are open late and turn into downtown Cape Coral bars for the over-21 crowd. What type of food are you craving? Chances are we have it here.
Some of Our Favorites Include:
Nice Guys is so much more than a pizza place. So. Much. More. It’s like walking into your cool friend’s dimly lit basement in high school. There’s rock band décor everywhere and even a sweet retro pinball machine. Their cocktails are unique and anything we say here won’t do them justice. You’ve just got to try ’em for yourself. They also have a great selection of local beer. But, the pizza. The recipes are eclectic, creative and just wonderful. Have you ever had pizza with prosciutto and chili-infused local honey? You can now.
Slate’s has a delicious menu full of Caribbean and Cajun cuisine, designed to make your taste buds sing. If you’ve never been to New Orleans, you’ll at least be able to try some bites that’ll take you there in your mind. Slate’s owners created an award-winning restaurant and jazz club in St. Croix and they’ve successfully recreated the same concept here. The Sidedoor, Slate’s jazz club, offers live jazz music throughout the week. Doors open at 5 p.m. The best part? There’s no cover charge.
This place is a gem. Owned and operated by Merrick Seafood, one of Cape Coral’s oldest fish markets, you know the food has to be good. The inside is sleek, modern and whimsical. The outdoor deck is breezy and open, perfect for brunch and sangria. Fish Tale Grill serves everything from oysters to ginger tuna salad to bacon-wrapped scallops to sandwiches, lobster rolls and tacos.
This fun wine bar has a new take on pub fare, and the atmosphere is fun and casual. Delicious entrees include a bacon-brie sandwich sticky with fig jam, and fried bologna topped with a gooey egg and a healthy smear of roasted-poblano aioli. Users on Yelp also praised the deviled eggs.
This is Cape Coral’s most popular dive bar in downtown Cape Coral. A local food reviewer from the Fort Myers News-Press praised the burgers, volcano spring rolls, the chorizo pate and the specialty cocktails. It’s a great place to go with the family, and an excellent place to wind down with friends and loved ones.
During tourist season, the South Cape Hospitality and Entertainment Association hosts pub crawl events in downtown Cape Coral. The trolley service will take you to nine different bars along Cape Coral Parkway. It typically runs on Friday and Saturday nights.
Nice Guys Pizza and Nevermind Awesome Bar, and a few other places on the downtown Cape Coral strip, are also open late.
Dixie Roadhouse is the most popular spot for downtown Cape Coral nightlife.
A favorite among locals from all over Southwest Florida, Dixie Roadhouse is a country bar through and through. It features nightly drink specials and free line-dancing lessons, if you want to try something new. Check their event calendar for specific event details.
As you wander around downtown Cape Coral and take in the sights, you’ll find many appealing shops you’ll want to learn more about. These are a few to get you started:
Perk & Brew is located in the heart of downtown Cape Coral just a few doors down from the popular Iguana Mia restaurant. Catch up with your loved ones or just enjoy a lazy Sunday. Perk & Brew features brewed coffee, craft beers, Sunday brunch, Monday night trivia, mouthwatering pastries and a Thursday open mic.
Revolution Records adds a little something different to the Cape Coral downtown scene. The store is modern and a bit shabby, but it matches the unique band memorabilia on the wall. Revolution Records buys and sells records along with CDs, cassettes, record players and memorabilia. It’s a good way to spend the weekend or one of those rare vacation days when you have nothing planned. When you’re done, you can visit Perk & Brew and marvel over your new record purchases.
This art boutique and gift shop is unlike any other you’ll find in the area. Over 80 local artists are featured and the store also sells sage, incense and crystals. There’s also an onsite studio that has classes five days a week.
Who doesn’t like chocolate? All products are made in the store’s Cape Coral factory, and Noela Chocolate uses nothing, but natural spices, juices and organic and fair-trade certified chocolate suppliers. Noela is not only a French word meaning Christmas, but it is the combined name of the owners’ two sons. Stop in sometime and see what the magic is all about.
Not only is their ice cream amazing, but they offer 75 flavors. The ice cream is gourmet homemade and Ice Sssscreamin also has frozen yogurt, sherbets, Italian ice and sugar-free ice cream. The best part? It’s a traditional ice cream shop where you order through a window and eat your treasure outside.
Downtown Cape Coral is also home to a farmers market on Saturdays. Enjoy the Florida sunshine, catch up with friends, hear the latest gossip and get the freshest fruits and vegetables around.
Also look out for prepared foods, baked goods, made-on-site guacamole, homemade jams and jellies, pickles and olive mixes, salsa, cheeses and take-home foods.
The farmers market is normally on Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., and it typically runs from October to May.
There are a variety of events and festivals in Cape Coral throughout the year, including Mango Fest and Coconut Fest. These are a few events in downtown Cape Coral:
This is one of the most popular events in Downtown Cape Coral. Come out and enjoy the best in Cape Coral culinary arts and music. Normally, about 20 area restaurants participate. There’s usually a variety of wine, craft beers and margaritas, too. You can sip on those while you catch up with friends and family and enjoy performances from local bands. Admission is free and food and beverage tickets can be purchased at the event. Proceeds go toward local student scholarships and community music outreach programs.
This is probably the most popular event in downtown Cape Coral each year. In fact, people from all over Fort Myers come out to enjoy the Fourth of July show. The event takes place on Cape Coral Parkway at the foot of Cape Coral Bridge. Tickets are limited and include drinks, food and ride tickets.
Cape Coral Bike Night is also an attractive downtown event. Southwest Floridians come from all over to get together, talk about their favorite passion, listen to live music and eat great food. Each year, Bike Night takes place on the second Saturday of April, February, December and October.
This event has been taking place for decades and it’s hosted by the Rotary Club of Cape Coral. It is the largest juried art show in Southwest Florida. According to the Lee County Visitors and Convention Bureau, this is Lee County’s largest special event of the year. In fact, more than 300 juried artists and artisans participate each year. Mediums include sculpture, fine art, photography, pottery, jewelry, mixed media and metal works.
Cape Coral is a hidden gem, and it’s beginning to get noticed even more as the years go by. That’s partly due to its attractive downtown area. Even if you’re staying on Sanibel or Captiva Islands or about a half hour away in Fort Myers and Naples, Cape Coral is certainly worth a visit. And now you have the comprehensive guide to everything downtown Cape Coral has to offer.