Things to Do In Tampa
Tampa Travel Guide
Get Your Bearings in Tampa
Where to Stay
The best accommodations in Tampa are found downtown, on Rocky Point Island or in the Westshore/Airport district. Downtown hotels are close to Tampa’s top cultural attractions, offer convenience for business travelers and have easy access to the entertainment districts of Ybor City and Channelside. Hotels nestled on Tampa’s scenic Rocky Point Island offer direct access to Tampa Bay and watersports, beachy food and entertainment options, and are still a quick drive to downtown and the airport. Westshore/Airport hotels are located next to some of the best shopping and dining in town while still being close to downtown and the airport as well.
Hot Tips: Get the best deals during low season - June to September and December (before Christmas).
What to Eat
Tampa’s most flavorful areas for dining include Ybor City, Westshore/Airport and the So-Ho/Hyde Park district. All types of food can be found in Ybor City, but it’s best known for authentic Cuban and Spanish restaurants. In the Westshore/Airport area, restaurants offer some of Tampa's more contemporary, high-end dining options. And with so many eclectic eateries lining South Howard Avenue (aka So-Ho), it’s also known as “Restaurant Row” with something to tempt all palates.
Caution: Make sure to ask your server if the seafood is fresh and local before ordering.
Be Sure to Sample: Fresh-and-buttery Cuban bread with a Café con Leche, fresh and local seafood, gator for the more adventurous.
Things to See
Due to its wonderfully warm and sunny weather, many of Tampa’s attractions involve playing outside. Canoeing, paddle-boarding and dolphin cruises are just a few water activities available. On land, visit Busch Gardens or our nationally-recognized zoo. Stroll down the Tampa Riverwalk or check out one of our world-class golf courses. Explore Tampa’s wild side at the many parks and wilderness areas. When you get tired of the outdoors, or are sent inside due to the heat or sudden summer downpour, come inside and visit our world-class aquarium or one of the many local museums and galleries.
Avoid: The heat of the mid-day sun (especially in summer). Sunstroke can quickly ruin your visit.
Take It or Leave It: Tampa is very casual, so shorts and flip-flops are usually the order of the day.
Places to Party
Once the sun goes down in Tampa, the party scene heats up. In Ybor City, clubs and bars of all kinds provide a variety of after-dark fun. International Plaza, So-Ho and Hyde Park host trendy and upscale offerings mixed with a few less fashionable pubs and bars. If you’re craving more of a beach vibe, there are several spots on Rocky Point with fantastic water views, open-air dining and tiki bars. More cultured activities are available downtown at Tampa’s performing arts center. Depending on the season, you can catch a Lightning NHL hockey game or a Buccaneers' NFL football game.
Caution: Daytime Ybor City is great for family fun, but after 10pm it can become pretty R-rated and not suitable for all ages.
Where to Shop
From upscale malls like International Plaza (very convenient to the airport), to quaint shopping districts such as Hyde Park Village, there are a lot of fun ways to spend money in Tampa. Many are located in the So-Ho/Hyde Park, Westshore/Airport and the Ybor City areas. Looking for deals? Visit the local flea market. There are several very good and very large options in the Tampa Bay area. And if that’s not enough, only an hour away by car is some of the best outlet mall shopping in the country, located in nearby Orlando and Ellenton.
Best Local Souvenir: Fresh Florida oranges when in season; a box of cigars from Ybor City, a photo of you riding SheiKra (one of Busch Gardens' thrilling roller coasters).
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Tampa Is Known for...
Five of Tampa's most unique features and characteristics.The Cigars
Tampa's extensive Latin culture springs from the cigar factories that were located in Ybor City and West Tampa at the end of the 1800's to the early 20th century. When Vicente Martinez Ybor moved his cigar factory from Key West to Tampa, it increased the population of the sleepy town by many thousands in just a few years. At its height, Tampa was considered the "Cigar Capital of the World". Most of the cigar factories are long gone, but a couple still exist. There are still quite a few small cigar shops in Ybor City where you can watch a tabaquero hand-roll a custom cigar.The Sports
It might have taken a little while (or decades), but all three of our major sports teams have experienced success in recent years. The National Football League Buccaneers play in Raymond James Stadium. The National Hockey League Lightning play in the Tampa Bay Times Forum in downtown Tampa. Finally, the Rays baseball team plays in Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg. If you aren't quite a professional sportsperson, there are still plenty of opportunities to get active in Tampa. In a place with 300 days of sunshine per year, golf is very popular, including courses visited every year by the PGA and Champions Tours. Of...
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