Part One | A Tour Of Downtown Stuart, Florida

Are you looking for a place to experience everything that Florida has to offer? In this video, I’m going to take you on a tour of Downtown Stuart, an amazing seaside spot you won’t want to miss. We’ll explore the food, drinks, shopping, and sites you can explore here so you get a good idea of what Downtown Stuart is all about.

Welcome To Downtown Stuart

When visiting Downtown Stuart, there’s so much you can see and do. At the epicenter of the area, the local tree is put up at Christmas time. Nearby is Osceola and Flagler where all the shopping is, while the amphitheater has live music every Saturday and Sunday.

We also have a public marina, allowing you to get to Downtown Stuart by boat. You can also come by car and take advantage of the free public parking. While you can't stay there overnight, you can bring your boat in to visit Dockside or the Board Room, a little bar on the water.

The Boardwalk is another cool feature of Downtown Stuart, as it stretches all the way down under the Roosevelt Bridge as well. You can fish under that bridge, have a picnic, or relax at the public Flagler Park. Every Sunday the Green Market is held year-round, offering a variety of vendors selling local wares.

The Boathouse

One of my favorite spots to enjoy fantastic outdoor dining is The Boathouse. This restaurant’s building is an old house that was built in the 1920s, which they’re currently doing some renovations on. Many neighborhoods here in Stuart are what’s called “mixed use.” Some of them have residential uses as well as commercial uses.

The Boathouse is a great place to come down with friends. They have a boat that you can reserve, though you have to book it a day or so ahead of time. This old fishing rowboat is a fun option you’re sure to love.

Down By The Water

While Stuart used to have all residential homes along the street, it’s now become open to commercial use. There is a luxury residential project called River House, and it’s completely sold out. Those units are going for about $1,000,005 and it features a private marina with boat slips.

The Boardwalk, which goes all along the water, is where I often walk my little Jack Russell, Bruiser. The Roosevelt Bridge at the end is what separates the southern part of Martin County from the northern part, where we are. The small section on the other side is North Stuart.

Further down is Jensen Beach Sewall’s Point, and nearby is the hospital. Interestingly, Martin County has an ordinance where you can't build over four stories in Martin County. This means you don't see the high rises; rather, you see out to the beach.

The Riverwalk Cafe And More

The next spot I'm going to take you to is a few of the shops and restaurants—including the barber shop where I got a haircut earlier. One of the best spots is the Riverwalk Cafe, one of my favorite restaurants in downtown Stuart and probably in all of Martin County.

Two other great options are District Table and The Black Marlin, which is around the corner. While Riverwalk Cafe is a very quaint little restaurant, District Table is a little more modern. You also have the Gafford, which is also great. We have so many amazing restaurants here in Stuart, but make sure to check out the Riverwalk Café. It's quite an awesome experience.

Bars And Pubs

The Lush Lounge is about as close to a club in Downtown Stuart as you're going to get. Amanda, the owner, has made this space unique and a bit classy. It actually used to be the Fellowship Hall, used by Alcoholics Anonymous. Now it’s a bar—which is a little ironic.

Lush is a great spot to come and have a drink. While they don't serve hard alcohol here, you can enjoy a beer, wine, a little bit of music, and a little bit of brightness. You’ve got to come into Lush Lounge. Another great spot is Spritz City Bistro, giving you upscale bistro pub food you’ll love.

You’ll also want to check out The Black Marlin, which I mentioned before. This place is a staple, as it’s been here since the 1980s. It was also one of the few restaurants that made it through the recession in the 1980s. The food is good and the locals love it. While I don't drink anymore, I've heard that their martini is to die for.

Local Art

One of the amazing things about Stuart is that the art life is fantastic here. During season, we have multiple art festivals, including murals from Brenda Leigh. She's a fantastic local artist here in Stuart, with murals dedicated to Stuart’s status as the chrysanthemum capital of the world. The paints that she used were made by Disney. They developed and patented the paint so that it was strong, vibrant, and resistant to all kinds of weather.  

As you drive around Stuart, you're going to see many different murals across the sides of the buildings. There's an ordinance in Downtown Stuart that if you build a new building, 10% of the building has to have artwork on the side. How cool is that?

Another must-see is the Geoffrey Smith Gallery, which has everything from paintings to sculptures—including statues of pelicans. While the prices to own your own Geoffrey Smith original are a little bit high, art aficionados will enjoy browsing the collection.

Coffee And Chocolates

Walking across the street from the Geoffrey Smith Gallery is one of my favorite coffee shops in downtown Stuart. Gilbert’s Coffee Bar, which is by Sailor's Return, makes fantastic cappuccinos. There’s another coffee shop in Downtown Stuart called Stuart Coffee, featuring plenty of outdoor space to enjoy delicious brews along with muffins, brownies, and more.  

Another spot you’ll need to visit is Kilwin’s. While I’m keto, this place is one of my vices. Kilwin’s offers fudge, candy apples, shakes, and more treats that you’ve got to try. They make all of their own chocolates in-house, so make sure you check them out.

Luna Italian Cuisine And The Gafford

Make sure you visit Luna Italian Cuisine, which has the best garlic knots in town, bar none. You can roll up, get a slice, and grab some garlic knots. If you're an Italian food fan and love ravioli, lasagna, and more, you’re going to love this place.

Another local restaurant is The Gafford, which also includes a cool, outdoor eating area. Their chicken and waffles are phenomenal and are one of the staples here in Downtown Stuart. It’s a great place to enjoy good food and hospitality while you hang out. With their phenomenal service, The Gafford’s food is on point.

You also might notice a little trolley rolling around Downtown Stuart. This free service will take you around Downtown, and the driver is going to show you what's up in the area.

Café Martier And Joseph Lynn Gallery

Café Martier is an eclectic, modern European restaurant that used to be a speakeasy back in the 20s. This super classy place features beautiful architecture, great food, and refreshing drinks. While it’s not quite a martini bar, it’s just classy enough. Don’t forget to enjoy the live music held every night.

Nearby is the Joseph Lynn Gallery, another great collection of art. While I’m not an art aficionado, you’ll find a lot of statues with more of an aquatic feel. From dolphins and mermaids to a lady with her jewels and guitar, there’s some pretty badass stuff going on here. If you want a taste of art, you’ll definitely need to check it out.

Osceola Café, Signature Sweets, And Duffy’s

The next Downtown Stuart stape is the Osceola Café, which is only open for breakfast and lunch. I always go for the avocado stuffed salad with curry chicken. And if Kilwin’s wasn’t enough for you, head over to Signature Sweets.

Signature Sweets has soft serve fro-yo, candy apples, fudge, and a large selection of gelato made fresh. They also have a variety of toppings for your fro-yo to take it to the next level. You can sit outside at one of the many seating areas to relax while you enjoy your sweets.

The next spot you need to check out is Duffy’s Sports Grill, a great local sports bar that’s a lot of fun. It’s filled with TVs for all your sports games, from Monday Night Football to UFC fights. It’s a really cool thing to do right here in Downtown Stuart.

Community Events

As you walk around the streets of Downtown Stuart, you’ll see plenty of cool sights. The trolley will go by and people wave, making you feel like being on a small island in Maine. There are also a variety of local events, such as Market on Main and Rock’n Riverwalk every Sunday and Mornings On Main Street, a networking event held every month.

You also have yearly events like Brews, Blues, Bourbon and BBQ, the Downtown Stuart Art Festival, and the February Spring Craft Festival. In April, enjoy the Spring Sidewalk Sale and the Spring Stuart Stroll in May. July has a Summer Sidewalk Sale, and there’s a Fall Crafts Festival in October.

November brings the Fall Sidewalk Sale, followed by the Winter Stroll in December. As you can see, there's always something going on in Downtown Stuart.

More Local Eateries

Walking around Stuart, you’ll see plenty of classic architecture and cool statues—like the one with the lady and her jug with water coming out. You’ll see examples of this architecture in the buildings of local eateries, such as Oak & Ember.

For steak, head to Kyle G’s Prime Seafood & Steaks. It has one of the best views in Martin County and provides you with one of the best dining experiences on the beach. Passion Of Sushi offers great noodles and sushi, including Thai and Japanese flavors.  

The Sneaki Tiki restaurant and bar has a Polynesian feel with a thatched roof. With TVs inside and beers on tap, it’s a great place to hang out. It’s currently off-season, so you're not going to have as much going on in the area. However, the thatched huts and outdoor seating areas in Stuart allow you to feel like you’re relaxing in Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville. It’s a great place to bring the entire family.

The Colorado Inn

A prominent feature of Downtown Stuart is The Colorado Inn, one of the older buildings in downtown Stuart. With the feel of Bourbon Street (without the beads from the balcony), you can rent one of the rooms and explore Stuart from there.

The Colorado Inn has been here since there was sand on the other side of the street. Owner Steven Vitale is a local attorney—and one of the good ones. One of the accommodations at The Colorado is the Owl House, which is named for the four-pointed gable that makes it look like an owl.

A lot of the buildings from the past didn't make it, as some of them were blown over by hurricanes. The Colorado and a few other buildings have been here since the 1920s. While people worry about hurricanes in Florida, modern buildings are still standing. They’re made from big concrete blocks with storm shutters, allowing us to withstand any storms.

Hurricanes are one of the things that we certainly deal with here in Florida. In 2004, we had three hurricanes come over Stuart—and I was here for two of them. While it was scary, at the end of the day, we ended up being okay. It wasn't quite as big as the media made it out to be.

Historic Neighborhoods

The next spot that I'm going to take you to is one of the oldest residential neighborhoods in Downtown Stuart. It's within walking and biking distance to Downtown Stuart, just across the railroad tracks. You're going to see many old buildings, some businesses and others residential. This mixed-use neighborhood is called the Historic Downtown District.

This area has high curbs, beautiful streetlights, and a great small-town feel. I almost bought a house here in 2010, and I always kick myself that I didn’t. So if you're thinking about buying a house in Florida, this is a great spot. When I lived in New England, I experienced that small-town feel, saying hello to everyone you pass on the street and having a conversation with business owners.

This is exactly what Stuart is like. People are nice to each other. I moved down here to work on private yachts, looking all over Florida for a place to settle. I didn't want to live in Fort Lauderdale, and what attracted me to Stuart was that people actually say hello.

Lyric Theatre And Hudsons On The River

Another really cool thing about Stuart is the Lyric Theater. When they’re not doing live shows, they play old movies during the off-season here. Good Fellows, All the President's Men, and The Great Thunderbolts are queued up, so make sure to visit in October when the movies start.

The next cool spot—which is on the water—is called Hudsons on the River. It's one of the newest businesses in Stuart, occupying a city-owned building that used to be the Pelican Café. It’s very classy and a must-visit when you’re in Downtown Stuart.

City Buildings

The City of Stuart has a variety of buildings that are located Downtown. This includes the building where you pay your utilities, such as your water bill. You’ll also find Stuart City Hall, an amazing piece of real estate. The view that these people have is incredible.

One of the oldest buildings in Stuart is the Parks House, built in 1903. Despite Florida’s hurricanes over the years, this building is still here. Nearby is the Stuart Feed Store, which offered general merchandise and Stuart’s feed supply. It’s now a museum where you can see some of the old artifacts that have been dug up around Stuart.  

Downtown Stuart is also home to the congressman's office. Our congressman, Brian Mast, is a veteran that we're proud to have in our city’s ranks.

Mulligan’s And The Water Bar

Over on the dockside is Mulligan's, which also features a water bar. There are two different spots where you can walk in, as it’s divided into two different sections. You can spot this place by the giant marlin out front. Downstairs is the Board Room, also known as the water bar.

Why do they call it the water bar? Easy: because you're right on the water. It kind of feels like you’re walking into a garage, only there are drinks and live music on Saturdays and Sundays. The space actually used to be part of the parking garage but was opened up during COVID. Now, there’s plenty of seating right on the water.

The water bar is the perfect spot to have a drink, get some food delivered, and enjoy the scenery, with the public marina close by. While this won’t be a fine dining experience, you can enjoy beer on a tap, a margarita, and crunchy shrimp tacos. They also serve oysters and other fresh seafood you’ll want to sample.

So if you want a cool experience and feel like a real Floridian, Mulligan’s Board Room water bar is it. Watch the sun go down with a drink in your hand and you’ll know what it’s like to live in Florida.

Flagler Center And Park

Downtown Stuart is also home to Flagler Center, a local event space. If you want to have a wedding, birthday party, or some kind of gathering, this is the place to do it. I've had multiple business events down here at the Flagler Center, as it’s a really cool spot to gather friends and colleagues.

The Center is right next to Flagler Park, with beautiful views of the water. The boardwalk runs right next to it, and it’s also the site of the Stuart Green Market we mentioned earlier. This farmer’s market happens every Sunday and offers local produce, fish, shirts, candles, flax seed, and all kinds of oils and incense. You can even get a massage here at one of the many booths and tents.

The Green Market also features live music every Sunday. I highly recommend bringing the family and your pets down to enjoy the outdoors, browse local produce, and purchase some orchids. Bruiser loves it, so I know you will, too. It’s also near the Roosevelt Bridge, which gets all lit up at night.

Exploring The Coastline

As we continue on, a great restaurant option is Sailor’s Return. The nearby coastline features views of an old barge that ran aground. Walking on the boardwalk, you’ll get a chance to look at all the mangroves hanging down into the water. Stuart is one of the areas of the world that actually has mangroves in it.

When looking out into the water, you’ll notice little stakes sticking up. These mark oyster beds, as they’re trying to bring the oyster population back up here in Stuart. Nearby picnic benches and live oaks offer more seating options to enjoy the view.

Back To The Start

After our tour, we’re back at the epicenter of Downtown Stuart where we started. If you were to walk this big loop, it probably would only take you about 15 to 20 minutes to walk along. Of course, that time depends on if you end up at Kilwin’s with a big candy apple in your hand.

As you can see, Stuart’s cute little downtown is a quaint, historic place you’re sure to enjoy. You can walk up and down the streets and enjoy all of the historic buildings that Downtown Stuart has to offer. Enjoy the sidewalks as you note the white picket fences and old Key West-style homes. You’ll find the metal roofs and big porches, essential before there was A/C.

Housing Options

If you want to live in Historic Downtown Stuart, prices will start at three-quarters of a million. However, you might be able to grab something for around $600,000. Remember that the area is mixed-use, so you could have a massage place, attorneys, or chiropractors next door amongst the residential.

All of the buildings are super old and have a lot of character to them. The area is also in the community redevelopment area, or CRA. For every property that's sold here, a certain portion of the proceeds go into the CRA fund. They had enough property turnover here that there were enough to redo all the streets and put storm drains in.

This was one of the first areas that were settled in Stuart, but it’s been revitalized within the last 20 years. You might find some newer, Key West-style homes in the mix that were built in 2006. Overall, it’s a great community that anyone would be happy to be a part of.

An Ideal Community

Just across the railroad tracks is the Lyric Theater, while Terra Fermata is across the street. You’ll have live music every Friday, Saturday, and sometimes during the week in season. However, they do have to stop the music at 10:00 pm because this is a residential area. The music can get a little bit too loud, and they don't want to have neighbors woken. This is just one example of how tightly knit this community is.

There’s another area that has Max’s Barber Shop and a fantastic little Mexican restaurant that has the best fish tacos in town. I actually live in Downtown Stuart, and our office is located here as well. The house our office is in was built in 1920, making it over 100 years old. Inside, we have cubicles, standing desks, and a little fireplace where we can enjoy a great view.

Across the street from our office is one of my favorite restaurants, Casa Bella. They make all of their own Italian food from scratch, and the service is fantastic. This restaurant—and all the other places we mentioned—are just a few of the reasons to call Stuart your home.

Finding Your Dream Home

I hope you enjoyed our tour of Downtown Stuart. If you want to live in Stuart, we want to help you find the right property. In the end, it might not be in Stuart. Maybe it’s in Palm City, Jensen, Salerno, or Port St. Lucie. Either way, this area of Florida has nice people that will be courteous, nice, and wave when you go by.  

Make sure you reach out to me if you have any questions about living on the Treasured Coast. Don’t forget to subscribe to my channel so you never miss an episode of my show, and stay tuned to see what I feature next!

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