Most Romantic Things to Do in Tampa

Top Tampa attractions turn up the heat on romantic rendezvous

Visitors to Tampa will find a variety of romantic activities and attractions to enjoy during their stay. When you have beautiful sunsets and warm tropical breezes, there are tons of outdoor options to explore. But, whether indoors or outdoors, there are plenty of things to do with your loved one to celebrate a special occasion or spend some quality alone time. 

There is nothing more romantic than strolling hand-in-hand, especially if there are great views or intriguing wildlife as well. One of Tampa's best strolls is the Tampa Riverwalk. Showcasing many downtown attractions, this walk is a great way to get acquainted with the city if it's your first time. Along the way you will enjoy views of the Hillsborough River and Garrison Channel. Stop for a drink at the Sail Pavilion, then relax and watch the boats go by.

If you're looking for some adventure, then a day at Busch Gardens might be just the ticket. Featuring six of the country's most amazing roller coasters, there are more than enough thrills to experience. Slow things down with a romantic trip on the Skyride, providing panoramic views of the hundreds of animals roaming the 65-acre natural habitat.


Ben T. Davis Beach
Photo courtesy of Dylan Stinson/Film Tampa Bay

If you're vacationing in Tampa and are looking for a beach close-by that offers powdery white sand for lounging, calm water for cooling off and shelters for picnics, then Davis Beach is for you. This is the closest beach to downtown Tampa and the locals' favorite tailgate spot. Davis offers ideal proximity to the airport for travelers who value efficiency. Tuesday evenings and Saturday mornings see the beach populated by local volleyball players. This is one of the best spots in town to watch the sunset and is located adjacent to the new Courtney Campbell Trail, a four-mile biking and pedestrian bridge.

Recommended for Romantic Things to Do because: Lounge on the luxurious sands of Ben T. Davis Beach beach until sunset, then head next door to Whiskey Joe's expansive waterfront patio for dinner.

Skye's expert tip: Lifeguards are on duty from Memorial Day through Labor Day.

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Henry B. Plant Museum
Photo courtesy of Skye Rodgers

Built in 1891 by railroad magnate Henry B. Plant, this history museum is located in what was originally the Tampa Bay Hotel, an extravagant resort that drew such guests as Teddy Roosevelt and Babe Ruth. Now home to the University of Tampa, Plant's accomplishment is made all the more amazing when you realize that when it was built, the hotel was surrounded only by swampland. Now exquisitely restored, the hotel's striking minarets architecture, lavish furnishings and vibrant gardens provide a rare glimpse into the early years of Florida tourism. Sure, it makes returning to a modern-day hotel room a bit sad, but this Moorish beauty is a definite must-see.

Recommended for Romantic Things to Do because: The Henry B. Plant Museum recreates the romance and opulence of the extravagant and historic Tampa Bay Hotel.

Skye's expert tip: After exploring the museum, check out the lobby next door and take a stroll through the grounds, now part of the University of Tampa.

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Bayshore Boulevard
Photo courtesy of Skye Rodgers

Yes, a sidewalk is one of Tampa's best attractions. Before you start with the jokes, this is a very special sidewalk. Running from just north of MacDill Air Force Base to downtown Tampa along Hillsborough Bay, the sidewalk that runs along Bayshore Boulevard is the longest continuous sidewalk in the US. It is south Tampa's unofficial gym, where at all hours of the day you can find many people walking, jogging, biking, and rollerblading down the nearly flat pavement. With the water on one side and some of Tampa's most expensive real estate on the other, the scenery can't be beat. It's also the location of our most important celebration, the annual Gasparilla parade in late January. Bayshore is simply the city's most distinctive feature.

Recommended for Romantic Things to Do because: A moonlit walk down Bayshore Boulevard features grand mansions, reflective bay waters and the lights of Tampa's downtown skyline.

Skye's expert tip: For extra romance, catch a ride to Bayshore Boulevard on the Pirate Water Taxi, a hop-on hop-off service with stops all along the downtown waterfront.

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David A. Straz, Jr. Center for the Performing Arts
Photo courtesy of Skye Rodgers

The Straz Center is Tampa's world-class center for the performing arts and hosts most of the area's major cultural performances. Here you can enjoy performances from the Florida Orchestra and Opera Tampa, as well as popular music greats, dance troupes, and comedy acts. The Straz also hosts a full calendar of Broadway musicals and local theater productions. The facility features five individual theaters and several on-site dining options including Maestro's Restaurant, Café, and On the River that are open before most events. The largest and most impressive theater is the 2,610 seat Carol Morsani Hall with state-of-the-art acoustics and a 120 foot stage. In addition, most weekends the Straz center hosts free concerts featuring local music acts on their outdoor stage.

Recommended for Romantic Things to Do because: The Straz Center is Tampa's world-class performing arts center featuring indoor and outdoor stages. The perfect choice for an elegant night out.

Skye's expert tip: The Straz has reopened but is following stringent COVID-19 protocols, check their website for details.

Read more about David A. Straz, Jr. Center for the Performing Arts →

Lettuce Lake Regional Park
Photo courtesy of Skye Rodgers

Lettuce Lake Regional Park is located along the Hillsborough River about half an hour north of downtown Tampa. The river at this point is in its natural state, untouched by houses and development giving visitors a chance to experience natural Florida at its best. The park features 240-acres of wooded picnic areas, a playground and a paved path for bikes and joggers complete with a fitness course. A haven for nature lover lovers and bird watchers, the park features an amazing 3,500-foot boardwalk and observation tower where visitors can view a variety of wildlife. Visit the interpretive center for exhibits on the local birds, vegetation, and animals. Saturdays and Sundays at 8:30 am the park features a free guided nature walk. You can also explore the river by canoe and kayak as the features a boat launch and rentals.

Recommended for Romantic Things to Do because: Quiet and secluded, couples can stroll the lakeside boardwalk and admire the unspoiled natural beauty and abundant wildlife.

Skye's expert tip: There is a $2 fee for park entrance which is cash only.

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South of downtown, in Tampa's oldest and most affluent neighborhood, is one of the city's most upscale shopping destinations. The 265,000-square-foot Hyde Park Village shopping district covers seven blocks of street retail, offices and dining. The open-air environment offers a park-like atmosphere with outdoor pathways and seating and is a fantastic place to people-watch and window shop. Thankfully most of the walkways are covered, so you don't have to pay too much attention to the changeable Tampa weather. Many of the shops are local and independent, but there are also some prominent chains such as Restoration Hardware, Anthropologie, Williams-Sonoma, Brooks Brothers, Tommy Bahama and Pottery Barn.

Recommended for Romantic Things to Do because: Browse for the perfect gift for your special someone while enjoying the romantic ambiance of this charming outdoor shopping district.

Skye's expert tip: After you're done shopping, take a foray into the adjacent neighborhood to enjoy some of the most beautiful and historic homes in the city.

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eBoats is an electric boat rental company that operates out of a kiosk on the docks in front of the Tampa Convention Center and Sail Pavilion. These 21-foot, electric boats are quiet, eco-friendly, come with a sun cover, and only go about 6 mph. They are safe and easy to operate for almost anyone, but if you have concerns, you can spend a little additional money and get a Captain to do the steering for you. Renting one of these charming boats is a great way to explore Tampa's harbor, feast your eyes on some of the largest and most beautiful houses in town, and to head up-river to explore the bridges, parks, and landmarks that line the riverbank.

Recommended for Romantic Things to Do because: eBoats offers couples the opportunity to tour Tampa's tranquil waterways safely and privately while enjoying a romantic sunset or admiring the downtown skyline.

Skye's expert tip: Make it a date and pack a romantic picnic! Avoid the restaurant altogether and enjoy your dinner while cruising the river.

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Busch Gardens Tampa Bay
Photo courtesy of Skye Rodgers

Wild animals and wilder rides await visitors to Busch Gardens Tampa Bay. This 335-acre, Africa-inspired theme park boasts several scream-worthy roller coasters, 2,000-plus animals and a host of entertaining live shows. There is something for kids of all ages at this world-class park. While adventure lovers flock to the many adrenaline-inducing thrill rides, animal enthusiasts can enjoy hand-feeding kangaroos at Walkabout Way. While there is a gondola and a train to help negotiate the distances, be prepared to walk in order to explore all areas of the park. Luckily, there are plenty of areas to linger for rest and refueling, with shops, restaurants, and entertainment stages located throughout the park.

Recommended for Romantic Things to Do because: The fear-inducing roller coasters at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay are guaranteed to keep your honey close. Hang on tight!

Skye's expert tip: You can access the best deals by buying your tickets online.

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Ybor City
Photo courtesy of Skye Rodgers

This historic district, named after a 19th-century cigar maker, lies northeast of downtown and is pronounced "Ee-bore" City. Notable for its Latin culture and historic architecture, there are also eclectic boutiques, nightclubs and restaurants lining the streets. Perhaps the most lively neighborhood in the city, Ybor is a pedestrian-friendly, people-watching haven for explorers, strollers and club-goers. The district is a great place to buy cigars, listen to jazz, and get a feel for the heartbeat of Tampa. Centro Ybor, a one-stop shopping and entertainment venue at the junction of Seventh Avenue and Nineteenth Street, attracts crowds with upscale restaurants, clubs and shopping.

Recommended for Romantic Things to Do because: The quaint cobblestone streets and charming architecture of Ybor City are the perfect backdrop for a romantic stroll.

Skye's expert tip: For an added dash of romance, jump on the free TECO streetcar that runs between Ybor City and downtown to see more of the sights.

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Tampa Riverwalk
Photo courtesy of Skye Rodgers

The Tampa Riverwalk is a scenic exploration of the downtown waterfront and connects many of the city's most popular attractions, parks, and restaurants. The broad paved path follows the banks of the Hillsborough River and Garrison Channel and is easily accessible to everyone including the disabled, kids, and furry friends. There are also many ways to navigate the Riverwalk which accommodates walkers, joggers and bikers. A few of the landmarks you will pass include the Heights Public Market, Waterworks Park, Tampa Museum of Art, Curtis Hixon Park, the Convention Center, and the Tampa Bay History Center. Along the way, you can discover numerous interpretive exhibits highlighting Tampa's history and public art exhibits. The path is almost 3 miles long, but there are plenty of spots to stop for a rest and grab a drink or a quick bite along the way.

Recommended for Romantic Things to Do because: An evening stroll down the beautifully lit Tampa Riverwalk offers romance and a great introduction to downtown attractions.

Skye's expert tip: You can also explore by bike. Rentals are available at several hubs along the Riverwalk.

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Meet Skye Rodgers

Skye is a freelance writer that adopted Tampa as her hometown over a decade ago and never looked back. As a native of Canada, Skye has happily embraced the no snow climate, and in her spare time...  More About Skye