Review: After visiting with high expectations, I was disappointed in this site as a place to come hang with the kiddos. For a night out sans kids, go for it, it rocks everything South Florida has come to be known for- live music, boat drinks, and exotic… cars. With kids, stick to the gorgeous river walk and grab a delicious burger, fries and a craft beer at BurgerFi’s Jupiter outpost.
Oh boy. Billed as “One Place, So Many Reasons” we were excited to check out this huge new development in the once sleepy “funky fishing village” of Jupiter, Florida. Designed to give the Town a new downtown and up the luxury hotel opportunities in northern Palm Beach County, I was excited to believe the hype. When the complex promoted a kids day out, it was the perfect opportunity to check out the property and scope it out for more trips in the future. Not only is Harbourside located on Florida’s beautiful inter coastal waterway, but it sits along the “Riverwalk” a multi use, multi mile path that links some of Jupiter’s nicest parks and beach areas. (See map here). I was particularly excited about the addition of all of the restaurants along the path- a perfect opportunity for exercise, a little lunch, and some playtime in a much advertised splash pad.
When we came in, I noticed two large and well concealed parking lots. I chose to drive towards the one furthest away from what seemed like quite a bit of congestion in the center of the complex (on a Wednesday, at 11 am, in the summer, in South Florida). While I could see the lot, there were no signs indicating where to turn in. I circled back around and found my way. After driving up several levels to find out that the majority of the parking was either reserved or for the valet, I eventually found a spot and set about changing the bear in the trunk. Cue skateboarders riding down the parking garage. Oh boy. We arranged ourselves and headed toward the elevator bay. Looked great. Chic white floors, crisp stainless doors and brightly colored wall mounted TV’s pointed us where to go. I pushed the down button and was greeted by …. a construction elevator. Tools and drop cloths piled high, carpentry supplies, and a plywood floor.
Scuba divers, deliverymen, children and lobster hunters trying to navigate the central drop-off point of Harbourside Place
15 minutes later, after carrying the stroller, child, diaper bag down the stairs (NOT air-conditioned) we arrived at the street level sweating profusely. As we walked towards the center of the complex, I window shopped along the way there are a few stores open (White House Black Market, Chico’s, a luxury dog clothing shop), services including a nail salon and blow dry bar, and then 6 sit down restaurants, a Burger-Fi, and a coffee spot. In what seems like either poor planning or some sort of catwalk style design, the restaurants’ with outdoor waterside seating had patios and no where to walk… unless you 1) pushed a stroller or walked through the rows of diners or 2) crossed the street to walk along the water.
We arrived at the event- a bounce house and a face painter (about it), and saw that the complex must have seriously double booked. There was a troupe of very serious looking divers (tanks and all) trying to off load into the area set up for the bounce house, while spiny lobster fishermen attempted to navigate the long line of children waiting for face paint. Thinking that now would be a good time for lunch, we strolled over to Tommy Bahama Cafe where the look of horror from several older patrons when the stroller peaked around the door. We left and headed for BurgerFi, and as usual had an excellent experience. After lunch we headed to check out the splash pad, but it wasn’t a splash pad! It was some dinky fountains with lots of toddlers in standing water.
Maybe Harbourside is on its way up, maybe it was just a bad day, but for me it wasn’t a place I’ll take the bear in the future. With a gorgeous beach moments away, the Jupiter lighthouse down the road and great local restaurants that a built for a younger crowd here and here, Jupiter has more to offer.
Splash pad with no splash