Paradise! That’s what we who live in Cape Coral call our beautiful city. You can see it everywhere you go — from our magnificent sunsets, fantastic restaurants, nature parks, 400 miles of canals and tropical weather.
Just about all of us who live and work here in Cape Coral were once visitors, too. Just a short stay in our beautiful city and county will show you why we, along with 10,000 others yearly, choose to call Cape Coral home. Cape Coral is ranked among some of the safest cities in the country.
Our community is large in size but with a small-town feel, complete with hometown activities and festivals.
We are home to more than 3,200 local businesses, we have good schools, including a city-operated charter system, a great climate, and most of all, our waterfront lifestyle.
Cape Coral is a large peninsula just west of Fort Myers on the Caloosahatchee. Being home to more than 400 miles of canals — more than the city of Venice — you can well imagine that we love the water and related amenities. We have been long known as a boater’s and fisherman’s paradise. You will not come across many canal-front properties that do not have a boat out back. We also are home to the Cape Coral Yacht Club, our very own marina and beach right on the river.
While visiting, please don’t forget to take part in the many festivals that attract so many of our residents and visitors alike. A complete list of these events can be found on this site. Be sure to check back often. Cape Coral has a lot to offer.
In 1957 two brothers, Leonard and Jack Rosen, from Baltimore, Md., spent weeks looking over Southwest Florida for a piece of property to develop. Late that year they purchased a parcel of land from Grandville Keller and Franklin Miles, (owner of the Alka Seltzer Company) for $678,000. The land once known as Redfish Point was renamed Cape Coral. The development company, Gulf American Land Corporation started what was to be known as the “Waterfront Wonderland.” Ground was broken on Nov. 4, 1957. On June 10, 1958, the first residents moved into their home in the southeastern part of the Cape. At that time a waterview homesite sold for $990, waterfront, $1,990 and riverfront $3,390. Property sales reached over $9 million the first year. By 1965 approximately 500 prospects a day toured the property. When sales reached a peak in 1969, Cape Coral was sold to General Acceptance Corporation of Allentown, Penn., for $250 million.
In 1970 with the population at 11,470 the City of Cape Coral was incorporated becoming Florida’s second largest in area, trailing only Jacksonville. Barely a decade old, Cape Coral was poised and ready for the future, destined to become one of the nation’s fastest growing and most desirable cities.
In the ensuing years since incorporation, the city population has steadily increased to exceed 170,000. At buildout it is estimated Cape Coral will have a population of approximately 400,000.
Cape Coral’s downtown area is truly the heart and soul of the city. Though it is currently under redevelopment, downtown is the home of dozens of independent restaurants, retailers and other establishments.
The downtown district centers itself around Cape Coral Parkway and is bounded by Southeast 44th Street and Southeast 46th Lane to the north, Tudor Canal and Palm Tree Boulevard to the west, Mirarmar Street and Bimini Basin to the south, and Southeast 17th Place and the river to the east.
When re-development is finally complete, downtown Cape Coral will have a Mediterranean feel, complete with Italian-style architecture and features. The Community Redevelopment Agency’s goal is to make the downtown a real destination for the whole region, one that proponents say will outshine 5th Avenue in Naples.
But today’s downtown Cape has its own flair and attraction, especially for those who love to stop in at locally owned and managed storefronts.
Since the early days of Cape Coral, Big John’s Shopping Center has been the main attraction for locals and visitors alike. The statue of Big John itself has something of a novelty for those visiting the Cape, and while the grocery store which he used to represent closed in 1986, John has remained and is an official citizen of Cape Coral. His shopping center is home to a bevy of the family owned businesses of which the Cape is renown. One visit to Big John’s and you’ll start to understand what the downtown has been all about.
Club Square’s La Venezia has played host to numerous corporate events, private parties and event the occasional concert.
Downtown Cape Coral is home to a number of locally owned watering holes, some of which double as attractions for visitors. The Tiki Hut adjacent to the Cape Paradise hotel has been a mainstay in the downtown area for years and is one of the most popular and well-known bars in the city. Visitors who want to see where Cape pioneers went to wet their whistle should visit Cruiser’s Lounge, the oldest bar in the city. Leapin’ Lizard, Twisted Conch and The Monkey Bar are also popular places to grab a drink and enjoy the beautiful evenings in the Cape.
There is something for everyone in the downtown area. If you are an antiquer, there are several local establishments to choose from. Want to grab a slice? Hit Paradise Pizza, Chicago Pizza or Maria’s or dine Italian at Taste of New York or Wine & Roses. Visit Paesano’s on Lafayette Street, where you can find some of the best subs in town.
And if you are looking for breakfast, Annie’s at 814 S.E. 47th Street is a must. (Try the everything omelet if you’re really hungry - it’s huge.)