Have you ever visited Tampa? This vibrant city on the west coast of Florida is bursting with exciting things to see and do. Whether you are a history buff, an outdoor enthusiast, a food lover, or someone who enjoys a buzzing nightlife, Tampa has something for everyone. Join us as we explore 25 exciting things to do in this fantastic city.
Exploring Tampa’s Rich History
Step back in time and discover Tampa’s rich history. One must-visit destination is the Tampa Bay History Center. This interactive museum takes you on a journey through the city’s past, showcasing exhibits that depict Tampa’s transformation from a small fishing village to the bustling urban area it is today.
As you enter the Tampa Bay History Center, you are immediately transported to a different era. The museum’s architecture reflects the city’s unique blend of old-world charm and modern vibrancy. The grand entrance, with its towering columns and intricate detailing, sets the stage for the historical wonders that await inside.
Inside the museum, you’ll find a treasure trove of artifacts and exhibits that bring Tampa’s history to life. Explore the early days of the city, when it was a humble fishing village inhabited by Native American tribes. Learn about the arrival of Spanish explorers and the impact they had on the region’s development.
One exhibit that stands out is the replica of a 19th-century cigar factory. Step into the world of Tampa’s cigar industry, which played a significant role in shaping the city’s identity. Discover the craftsmanship and artistry behind hand-rolled cigars, and gain a deeper understanding of the cultural heritage that continues to thrive in Tampa today.
Another historical gem is the Henry B. Plant Museum. Housed in the iconic Tampa Bay Hotel, this museum provides a glimpse into the opulent world of the Gilded Age. Admire the stunning architecture and learn about the hotel’s role in shaping Tampa’s history.
The Tampa Bay Hotel, now known as the University of Tampa, was once a luxurious resort that attracted the elite of society. As you wander through the museum, you’ll be captivated by the grandeur of the hotel’s interior. Marvel at the ornate chandeliers, intricate woodwork, and lavish furnishings that transport you back to a time of elegance and sophistication.
Explore the rooms that were once occupied by famous guests, such as Teddy Roosevelt and Babe Ruth. Imagine the conversations that took place within these walls and the stories that unfolded during the hotel’s heyday. The Henry B. Plant Museum offers a fascinating glimpse into the lives of the wealthy and influential who shaped Tampa’s history.
As you delve deeper into the museum, you’ll discover the hotel’s role in the development of Tampa as a transportation hub. Learn about Henry B. Plant, the visionary entrepreneur who transformed Tampa into a major port city. His efforts in establishing a railroad system and steamship line connected Tampa to the rest of the world, opening up new opportunities for trade and commerce.
Step outside the museum and explore the surrounding area to fully immerse yourself in Tampa’s rich history. Take a leisurely stroll along the Tampa Riverwalk, a scenic pathway that winds along the Hillsborough River. Admire the historic buildings that line the riverfront, each with its own story to tell.
Visit the Ybor City neighborhood, once the heart of Tampa’s cigar industry. Walk down the streets lined with colorful buildings and soak in the vibrant atmosphere. Explore the Ybor City Museum State Park, which offers a glimpse into the lives of the immigrants who worked in the cigar factories and contributed to the city’s growth.
Whether you’re a history buff or simply curious about Tampa’s past, exploring the city’s rich history is a fascinating journey. From the Tampa Bay History Center to the Henry B. Plant Museum and the surrounding historic sites, each step you take reveals a new chapter in Tampa’s story.
Tampa’s Thrilling Outdoor Activities
If you’re seeking adventure, Tampa won’t disappoint. Start by experiencing the heart-pounding thrills at Busch Gardens. This world-renowned amusement park combines adrenaline-pumping roller coasters, live animal exhibits, and captivating shows, making it a must-visit for thrill-seekers of all ages.
For a more serene outdoor experience, head to the Hillsborough River State Park. Explore the park’s lush trails, go kayaking or canoeing along the river, and take in the breathtaking beauty of Florida’s natural landscape.
Tampa’s Unique Culinary Scene
Tampa is a food lover’s paradise, with its unique culinary scene offering a delightful mix of flavors. Indulge in a dining experience like no other at Ulele. Located along the scenic Hillsborough River, this restaurant celebrates Florida’s indigenous flavors with a modern twist. Sample their mouthwatering dishes while enjoying the picturesque waterfront views.
No visit to Tampa would be complete without dining at the iconic Columbia Restaurant. Established in 1905, this family-owned eatery is Florida’s oldest restaurant. From their famous “1905 Salad” to their delicious Cuban sandwiches, every dish is a celebration of Tampa’s rich culinary heritage.
Tampa’s Vibrant Nightlife
Once the sun goes down, Tampa comes alive with its vibrant nightlife scene. For a thrilling night out, head to the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino. Test your luck at the slot machines, enjoy a live performance by world-class artists, and indulge in gourmet dining options available in the casino complex.
If you prefer a more laid-back evening, visit the Ybor City Night Market. This open-air market offers a unique blend of shopping, dining, and live entertainment. Explore the stalls filled with handmade crafts, enjoy delicious street food, and immerse yourself in the lively atmosphere.
Family-Friendly Activities in Tampa
Tampa is also a fantastic destination for families. Dive into an underwater adventure at the Florida Aquarium. Get up close to fascinating marine life, including playful dolphins, majestic sharks, and vibrant coral reefs. Don’t miss the opportunity to touch a stingray in the interactive “Stingray Beach” exhibit.
For a day of educational fun, head to the Glazer Children’s Museum. This interactive museum offers a hands-on experience where kids can explore science, art, and engineering. From a water play area to a pretend grocery store, the museum provides endless opportunities for creativity and learning.
With its rich history, thrilling outdoor activities, delectable cuisine, vibrant nightlife, and family-friendly attractions, Tampa is a city that truly has it all. Book your next vacation to this dynamic destination, and experience all the excitement that awaits you. What are you waiting for? Tampa is calling your name!