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.
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: The museum has reopened, according CDC guidelines, for safety during the pandemic. Expect limited capacity and health screenings.
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: There's not much shade, so bring hats, sunscreen and water on hot days.
The Straz Center is Tampa's world-class center for the performing arts that 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 such as Lena Horn and the Isley Brothers. The Straz also hosts a full calendar of Broadway musicals. The facility is modern and beautiful with a variety of venues. The largest and most impressive is the 2,610 seat Carol Morsani Hall that features state-of-the-art acoustics and a 120 foot stage. In addition to another, smaller concert hall, the 268 seat Jaeb Theater can be set up cabaret style for more intimate performances.
Recommended for Romantic Things to Do because: The Straz Center is Tampa's world-class performing arts center featuring indoor and outdoor stages. It's the perfect choice for an elegant night out.
Skye's expert tip: There may be no Broadway musicals, but following stringent COVID-19 guidelines, the Straz has reopened smaller theaters for local productions. There are also free outdoor performances scheduled. Check the website for details.
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.
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.
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.
Wild animals and wilder rides await visitors to Busch Gardens Tampa Bay. The 335-acre Africa-inspired theme park's six infamous roller coasters, 2,000-plus animals and entertaining live shows provide truly unforgettable thrills. There is something for kids of all age at this world-class park. Adventure lovers can brave SheiKra, a floorless dive coaster with a 200-foot, 90-degree plunge while animal enthusiasts might enjoy hand-feeding kangaroos at Walkabout Way or enjoying majestic views of free-roaming giraffes, zebras and white rhinos on the Serengeti Railway. Be prepared to walk in order to explore all areas of the park. There are several restaurants and numerous vendors throughout the park to keep you fueled on your journey.
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: The park has introduced a variety of COVID-19 safety precautions including requiring reservations prior to visiting. Check their website for details.
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: There are several outdoor venues in the historic district where you can safely enjoy dinner and cocktails during your stroll.
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.