Cities across the country are reclaiming their riverfronts, usually the focal points of astute designs to revitalize downtown areas. Once urban blights, these riverfronts now feature beautifully landscaped walkways, wide open green spaces, meeting and event venues and attractions along the banks of the river.

Rivers are natural attractions. For early settlers who gathered by a river and formed a city, the river was the economic engine fueling agricultural and industrial growth and the lifeline for importing and exporting goods to the outside world. Years later, many riverfronts fell victim to industrial pollution, growing urbanization, floods or other disasters. With revitalization of these natural gathering places, cities showcase their beauty, history and architecture as they develop their riverfronts into major attractions for local residents and tourists to enjoy.

In this issue, selected 17 cities across the country that developed their riverfronts into must-see attractions - River Walks - that are ideal for groups to visit.

People are an important part of these 17 river walks; they bring the river walk and city to life. Some people may picnic or sit on benches enjoying a sunny day overlooking the water while nearby artists sketch and vendors sell their art, jewelry or souvenirs. People walk, bike, jog, even segway, on the networks of paths connecting river walks to public transportation, neighborhoods and offices. Others take guided or self-guided tours by boat or foot gaining a perspective of the city from a variety of views. River walks are vibrant areas.
17 Riverwalks

History plays an important role in these river walks. The earliest riverfront buildings have been renovated into historic sites, hotels, restaurants, shops, and offices. Monuments, fountains, markers and statues note important milestones in American and local history for all to see.

Major attractions are within walking distance of the river walk and each other. After arriving at the river walk, people spend hours visiting cultural hot spots, other attractions, restaurants and shops. They enjoy public art displays, scenic overlooks and lush landscapes with native plants and shrubs.

River walks host festivals, concerts and events throughout the year. They are popular for weddings, reunions and meetings. Their convenient location and wide-open area create natural gathering spots, just as the early settlers found.

The River Walk or "Paseo del Rio"
San Antonio, TX

About: Founded in 1941, improved, renovated and extended ever since, the San Antonio River Walk sets the standard for river walks across the U.S. Beginning as a 21-block section in downtown San Antonio, the River Walk today is a 15-mile network of parallel walkways, trails, bridges & seating areas along the banks of the San Antonio River. The River Walk is a free public park, open 365 days a year. It is also a top tourist attraction in Texas.

Points of Interest: One story below street level and accessible by foot or water taxi, the River Walk connects its restaurants, bars, shops and hotels to major tourist attractions. A pedestrian connector, the Paseo del Alamo, links the Alamo with the River Walk. On the downtown River Walk are the 1.3-million square foot Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center, Rivercenter Mall, La Villita Historic Arts Village, Briscoe Western Art Museum, Arneson River Theater, San Antonio Children's Museum and Marriage Island. Museum Reach, completed in 2009, extends the River Walk north of downtown connecting the San Antonio Museum of Art, the historic Pearl Brewery complex and Brackenridge Park. River taxis pass through this section's lock and dam system going to and from the downtown area. To the South, the Mission Reach extension, completed in 2011, provides new hiking and biking trails and access to four Spanish colonial missions - Concepcion, San Jose, San Juan and Espada. The River Walk hosts 20+ events each year.

San Antonio River Walk
In the heart of historic downtown San Antonio along the banks of the world famous River Walk is the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center hosting 300+ events each year.

North Shore Riverfront
A part of the North Shore Riverfront Park, the Water Steps are fun for kids and adults during the steamy days of summer. The Water Steps are located next to PNC Park.
North Shore Riverfront
Pittsburgh, PA

About: Established in 2001, the North Shore Riverfront Park is a 7-mile stretch of trail along the banks of the Allegheny and Ohio Rivers across from Downtown Pittsburgh. The North Shore is part of Three Rivers Park, the city's urban waterfront park along its three rivers.

Points of Interest: While providing stunning panoramas of the Pittsburgh skyline, this walking and biking trail connects cultural and entertainment attractions including PNC Park, home of the Pittsburgh Pirates; Heinz Field, home to the Pittsburgh Steelers & University of Pittsburgh Panthers; the Carnegie Science Center and Andy Warhol Museum as well as nearby attractions like National Aviary; the Children's Museum of Pittsburgh and Rivers Casino. Other things to see along the trail are Water Steps, an interactive fountain; a statue of Bill Mazeroski, depicted running the bases after hitting the winning home run in the 1960 World Series with the NY Yankees; a historical marker noting the site of the first World Series played at Exposition Park in 1903; the Great Lawn; a Tribute to Children and Mr. Rogers, a memorial statue; the Korean War Veterans Memorial; the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and the Pittsburgh Law Enforcement Officer Memorial.

WaterPlace Park & Riverwalk
Providence, RI

About: Completed in 1994, WaterPlace Park and the connecting cobblestone and brick Riverwalk are situated at the foot of the State Capital hill on the Providence River in downtown Providence.

Points of Interest: Popular with walkers, bikers and joggers, this pedestrian-friendly area is full of activity throughout the day. The Venice-inspired pedestrian bridges crossing the river and group-friendly gondolas on the river add to the uniqueness of this riverwalk. WaterPlace Park and the Riverwalk host many free activities and events throughout the year, but WaterFire on the Riverwalk is Providence's signature event - held May-October usually on Saturday evenings about twice a month. During a WaterFire, thousands of spectators line the Riverwalk watching the illumination of a series of 100 bonfires blazing on the river surface through the middle of downtown Providence. A flotilla of performers travel along the river in torchlit vessels playing music from all over the world.

?WaterPlace Park & Riverwalk

WaterPlace Park at Night

RiverPlace & Falls Park on the Reedy
RiverPlace & Falls Park on the Reedy
Greenville, SC

About: Steps from Greenville's Main Street is the Downtown RiverPlace business, entertainment and dining district along the Reedy River.

Points of Interest: Walking or biking on RiverPlace leads to the Art Crossing at RiverPlace, a gathering of artists' studios; several restaurants; entertainment venues and Falls Park on the Reedy in the historic West End. The 32- acre park features the Reedy River with its impressive series of waterfalls, scenic river overlooks, public art displays, nature trails, picnic areas, outdoor amphitheater, a pond with footbridge, excavated mill ruins and a series of landscaped gardens. One hour-long garden tours are available for interested groups. A focal point in the park is the geometrically unique Liberty Bridge, a curved, pedestrian suspension bridge spanning 345 feet long, 12 feet wide and 8 inches thick with a 12 feet incline from east to west over the river. The bridge is supported by cables on only one side and cantilevered toward the Reedy River Falls providing an unobstructed view of these beautiful waterfalls in downtown Greenville. The Old Mill Garden, capacity of 100 people, is a popular spot for small weddings & events.
Downtown Greenville's Liberty Bridge and Falls Park on the Reedy is a must-see for any visit to Greenville.

Riverwalk Arts & Entertainment District
Fort Lauderdale, FL

About: Located on the New River and easily accessible from the beaches via Water Taxi, cab, Sun Trolley or Ocean View Rickshaw, the Riverwalk Arts & Entertainment District in downtown Fort Lauderdale connects cultural entertainment venues.

Points of Interest: This brick-lined promenade connects the Broward Center for Performing Arts, Museum of Discovery and Science, Florida Grand Opera, Museum of Art | Fort Lauderdale, Fort Lauderdale History Center, Bonnet House Museum and Gardens and the Historic Stranahan House Museum. These cultural attractions are all within walking distance of parks, shops, art galleries and a variety of dining spots. Visitors can look forward to enjoying year-round events, world-class concerts, plays and musicals as well as watching boats cruise the New River.

Riverwalk Arts & Entertainment District

The Stranahan House that was built in 1901 by Frank Stranahan, the father of Fort Lauderdale and his wife, the town's first school teacher. The building has served as a trading post, community center, post office, bank and home.

Jacksonville Riverwalk
Jacksonville Riverwalks
Jacksonville, FL

About: Lining the banks of the St. Johns River in Downtown Jacksonville are the Southbank Riverwalk, the Northbank Riverwalk and Jacksonville Landing. River taxis shuttle visitors between the Northbank and Southbank.

Points of Interest: At the center of Northbank Riverwalk is the 9-acre Jacksonville Landing. Home to year-round entertainment, 350+ events each year, many waterfront dining options, a shopping mall and the Jacksonville Maritime Heritage Center, the Landing has been a Jacksonville hotspot since opening in 1987. Across the St. Johns River from the Landing is the Southbank Riverwalk which is currently undergoing reconstruction. A new concrete Southbank Riverwalk should open September 2014. The Museum of Science and History is next to Southbank's Friendship Fountain, one of the world's largest and tallest fountains pumping water 10 stories high and presenting a nightly show.
Downtown Jacksonville's Northbank Riverwalk is home to many festivals and The Jacksonville Landing.

Historic River Street
Savannah, GA

About: As Georgia's first city founded in 1733 along the Savannah River and America's first planned city, Savannah is filled with historic sites, public squares and parks. The focal point of the Savannah Riverfront is a 9-block brick road called River Street, a popular tourist destination.

Points of Interest: Lining River Street across from the Savannah River are century old buildings, once cotton warehouses. Today, these building are restored and converted into hotels and inns, restaurants, brew pubs, nightspots, gift and antique shops, boutiques and galleries. Visitors take riverboat tours to see the beauty of this historic city and its sites. One beloved site is the statue of "the waving girl," a symbol of Savannah's southern hospitality and charm, in Morrell Park. Also located in this riverside park is Savannah's Olympic Flame that burned during the 1996 games in Atlanta as Savannah hosted yachting events. River Street is also home to many festivals and events held throughout the year including Oktoberfest on River Street, Christmas on the River and celebrations of the Savannah Saint Patrick's Day Parade, claiming the second largest parade in the world.
Riverwalk Arts & Entertainment District
The Waving Girl is a popular monument in Morrell Park at the east end of Savannah's River Street.

New Orleans, LA

About: With beautiful views of the Mississippi River from a myriad of angles when it opens in 2014, the Outlet Collection at Riverwalk is in the heart of Downtown New Orleans and within walking distance of downtown and French Quarter hotels, casinos, attractions, the Morial Convention Center and cruise terminals.

Points of Interest: The Riverwalk Marketplace is transforming into the Outlet Collection at River, the nation's first upscale outlet center in the heart of a downtown. In its 250,000 sq. ft of retail space, the new shopping destination will showcase many national retailers for the first time in New Orleans, Louisiana and the Gulf Region and also feature local shops, dining spots and entertainment.

Riverwalk New Orleans

Coming to New Orleans in 2014 is a vibrant waterfront destination offering upscale fashion and restaurants.

Memphis Riverfront & Mud Island
Memphis Riverfront & Mud Island
Memphis, TN

About: Sitting at the broadest point of the Mississippi River, the Memphis Riverfront offers stunning views of this celebrated river.

Points of Interest: Memphis traditions include visits to Mud Island River Park, featuring an exact scale model of the Lower Mississippi River, Mississippi River Museum & Cobblestone Landing.
Mississippi River from Mud Island

Tennessee Riverwalk
Chattanooga, TN

About: The Tennessee Riverwalk is a 13-mile concrete trail beside the Tennessee River from the Chickamauga Dam to downtown Chattanooga near the Tennessee Aquarium.

Points of Interest: Look for picnic facilities, fishing piers, boat ramps, meeting facilities, open spaces and plenty of wildlife on this landscaped and lighted walking and biking trail. The Riverwalk links parks, attractions, museums, shops, galleries and restaurants.
Tennessee Riverwalk
This zigzag portion of the 13-mile Riverwalk is below the Hunter Museum of American Art.

Naperville Riverwalk
Naperville Riverwalk
Naperville, IL

About: The 1.75-mile Naperville Riverwalk, recognized as one of the most beautiful places in the Midwest, meanders along the DuPage River. The riverwalk was created in 1981 to celebrate Naperville's Sesquicentennial.

Points of Interest: This Riverwalk is a symbol of the city's historic past as the oldest settlement in DuPage County. Fredenhagen Park, its landmark clock tower and fountain are on the east. Midway is Dandelion Fountain, Paddleboat Quarry and the bell tower. Centennial Beach and Centennial Park are on the west.
The Naperville Riverwalk features covered bridges, fountains, beautiful landscaping and shepherd's crook lights.

Chicago Riverwalk
Chicago, IL

About: The Chicago Riverwalk is a pedestrian-friendly, open public promenade on the south bank of the Chicago River running about 3 miles from Franklin Street to Lake Shore Drive.

Points of Interest: Get to know Chicago, its history and celebrated architecture on this Riverwalk. Many of the city's landmarks - Wrigley Building, Tribune Building, NBC Building, Centennial Fountain, Trump International Tower - border the Chicago River providing ideal sight-seeing vantage points. One of the most popular things to do here is to catch an architectural boat tour available from the Michigan Avenue bridge. The Riverwalk features green spaces with seating areas along the water's edge, cafes, water taxis, bike rentals, tours and art displays. This walkway also passes the McCormick Bridgehouse & Chicago River Museum celebrating Chicago's river and world-famous movable bridges and the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Plaza located at the riverwalk's widest point between State and Wabash Street. Plans are underway for a Riverwalk extension of six blocks featuring a marina plaza, cove, river theater, swimming hole, jetty and fishing piers.

Chicago Riverwalk

Catch an architecture boat tour on the Chicago River in downtown Chicago from the Chicago Riverwalk.

White River Canal
White River Canal
Indianapolis, IN

About: In the heart of downtown Indianapolis is the 1.5-mile Central Canal running beside the White River in the 250-acre White River State Park, Indiana's only urban state park.

Points of Interest: The Central Canal is part of a walkable pathway system built in White River State Park to connect its cluster of attractions. These attractions include the Lawn at White River State Park, an outdoor waterfront concert venue with seating for 8,000; the Indianapolis Zoo, the only accredited combined zoo, aquarium and botanical garden in the U.S.; the Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians & Western Art, the only museum of its kind in the Midwest; Victory Field, home of the Indianapolis Indians Baseball; the state's largest IMAX Theater; the Indiana State Museum; and the NCAA¨ Hall of Champions Museum. The Central Canal is a popular place to run, walk, bike, Segway (rentals available), or boat via gondola, kayak or pedal boat.
The Central Canal in White River State Park is a popular location to run, walk, bike or boat in the heart of downtown Indianapolis.

Mississippi Riverwalk
Dubuque, IA

About: Opening in 2002, the Mississippi Riverwalk is considered one of Iowa's finest tourism attractions. It is part of the 44-mile Heritage Trail connecting America's River to the Field of Dreams movie site in Dyersville, IA.

Points of Interest: The Mississippi Riverwalk connects the Mississippi River to major tourism components: The National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium; Grand River Center, a meeting facility located on the banks of the Mississippi River; Grand Harbor Resort and Waterpark, a 193-room hotel & indoor waterpark; the River's Edge Plaza and Alliant Energy Amphitheater; restaurants and winery, the historic Hotel Julien and two casinos.
Mississippi Riverwalk
The Mississippi Riverwalk is home to America's River Festival in the Port of Dubuque.

Riverfront Park
Spokane, WA

About: Created for World Expo '74, Riverfront Park is a 100-acre public park in downtown Spokane located along the Spokane River. At the heart of Riverfront Park is Spokane River Falls, the city's finest natural attraction.

Points of Interest: Riverfront Park features beautifully landscaped paths, spacious lawns, park benches as well as a variety of public art displays. Popular attractions include the Pavilion, an amusement park in the summer and one of the nation's top 10 outdoor skating rinks in the winter; Riverfront Park Carousel, a historic hand-carved 1909 Looff Carousel; an IMAX Theatre, the iconic Clocktower, the last remnant of the 1902 Great Northern Railroad depot; Spokane Falls SkyRide, the gondola skyride over the river with a spectacular view of the falls; and a giant Radio Flyer wagon, whose handle doubles as a slide. The downtown segment of the Spokane River Centennial Trail also passes through Riverfront Park. The park features outstanding indoor and outdoor venues for weddings, reunions, and events.

Riverfront Park

One of the best ways to see the Spokane River Falls is from the gondola cars of the Spokane Falls SkyRide
at Riverfront Park.

Waterfront Park
Waterfront Park
Portland, OR

About: The 36.59-acre Governor Tom McCall Waterfront Park, on the banks of the Willamette River, replaced a freeway in downtown Portland in 1978, and was recognized as one of the "Top 10 Great Public Spaces" by the American Planning Association in 2012.

Points of Interest: Today, the Waterfront Park is one of Portland's main attractions. This stretch of green lawns, riverside paths and fountains is popular for jogging, in-line skating, bicycling and picnicking. With beautiful views of the Willamette River, the Park's attractions are: Battleship Oregon Memorial; Founders Stone; Salmon Street Springs, a fountain whose water patterns change; Japanese American Historical Plaza including 100 ornamental cherry trees; Friendship Circle and sculptures; and the Police Memorial. Waterfront Park is well-known as the site for summer events including the Portland Rose Festival, Oregon Brewers Festival and the Waterfront Blues Festival.
A view of Tom McCall Waterfront Park and the Waterfront Bike Trail beside the Willamette River from Morrison Bridge.

Historic Arkansas Riverwalk
Pueblo, CO

About: Located in the heart of historic downtown, the award-winning Historic Arkansas Riverwalk of Pueblo (HARP) is a 32-acre urban waterfront.

Points of Interest: The Pueblo Riverwalk spans a 2-mile loop using original Arkansas River stone throughout to create a historic setting and unique theme. The riverwalk is perfect for peacefully strolling beside public art displays, interactive fountains and plazas - great for family reunions or private celebrations. Excursions on the river via pedal boats or gondolas add to the experience. Other Pueblo attractions, either on or near the riverwalk, include the Center for American Values, El Pueblo History Museum, Lake Elizabeth, Amphitheater, Medal of Honor Memorial, the Pueblo Convention Center, shops and restaurants. The Pueblo Riverwalk hosts many annual special events and festivals like Wild, Wild West Fest, held in conjunction with its rodeo series in late May; Boats, Bands, and Barbecue, an officially sanctioned barbecue competition held in early June; Rollin on the Riverwalk, one of Pueblo's top events held over the July 4th weekend.
Historic Arkansas Riverwalk
The Riverwalk spans a 2-mile loop over what was the natural course of the Arkansas River prior to its diversion to the current location.

Reprinted from TRIPinfo Resource Atlas & Handbook.

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