Welcome to the vibrant city of Tampa, Florida! With a rich history, thriving arts and culture scene, family-friendly attractions, outdoor activities, and a lively dining and nightlife scene, it's no wonder that Tampa has become a must-visit destination. In this blog post, we'll take you on a journey through downtown Tampa FL, exploring its many offerings and providing essential transportation tips to make your visit an unforgettable experience.
Explore Tampa's vibrant history & culture with attractions like the TB History Center, Ybor City and American Victory Ship Museum.
Embrace art forms at museums, theaters & performing arts venues - don't miss out on family-friendly activities too!
Get around town easily by public transport, walking/biking or parking options.
A visit to downtown Tampa isn't complete without delving into its fascinating past. From its early days as a trading post for the Spanish to its transformation into a major port city in the late 19th century, Tampa has a rich history that can be explored at various attractions like the Tampa Bay History Center, Ybor City, and the American Victory Ship and Museum.
As you wander through the downtown district, you'll come across remarkable buildings such as the Sacred Heart Catholic Church, Saint Andrew's Episcopal Church, the Rivergate Tower, and the AmSouth Building, each telling its unique story about Tampa's architectural and cultural heritage.
At the Tampa Bay History Center, you'll find everything you need to learn about Florida's history, from artifacts and souvenirs to significant landmarks and important events from the Tampa Bay area. Explore the Charles L. Knight gallery, the Wayne Thomas gallery, the Touchton Map Library, and the Pirate's Fate ship set design, and discover the history of "the cigar capital" Ybor City.
Ybor City, a historic neighborhood founded by Vicente Martinez Ybor and other cigar manufacturers in the 1880s, is a must-see destination in Tampa. Its vibrant culture, distinctive architecture, and Cuban heritage make it an unforgettable experience. In 2008, Ybor City's 7th Street was even named one of the ten greatest streets in America!
As you stroll through this lively neighborhood, imagine the bustling cigar production that once took place here, attracting immigrants from Cuba, Spain, and Italy.
Step back in time and visit the S.S. American Victory, a converted WWII military ship turned museum. The self-guided tour, complete with an informative audio guide, will take you through the ship's history and its various compartments, including the impressive engine room with its massive steam engines.
The dedicated and passionate staff and volunteers are always eager to share their knowledge about the ship and its fascinating past.
Tampa's thriving arts and culture scene is evident in its museums, theaters, and performing arts venues. The Tampa Museum of Art, the Florida Museum of Photographic Arts, and the Straz Center for the Performing Arts are just a few of the institutions that showcase the city's vibrant culture.
As you explore these venues, you'll be immersed in a diverse range of art forms, from classical and contemporary pieces at the Tampa Museum of Art to captivating photography exhibitions at the Florida Museum of Photographic Arts. And don't forget to catch a show at the historic Tampa Theatre or the Straz Center for the Performing Arts, where the atmosphere is simply electric.
The Tampa Museum of Art, with its impressive collection of classical, modern, and contemporary art, is a must-visit destination for art enthusiasts. The museum offers engaging exhibitions and educational programs that showcase works of art from ancient times to modern and contemporary pieces.
Be sure to check out some of the must-see pieces in the permanent collection. These include Akroterion, Antefix in the Form of a Maiden, and Black-Figure Amphora.
Located in downtown Tampa, the Florida Museum of Photographic Arts is a haven for photography lovers, featuring a variety of exhibits that showcase the unique power of the medium. The museum also offers children-oriented programs, ensuring that visitors of all ages can appreciate the beauty and impact of photography.
Don't miss the chance to explore the open glass panels around the atrium at the Cube, which are laid out in a grid and circle, adding a striking architectural element to the museum.
The Straz Center for the Performing Arts is a multi-venue performing arts center that offers a diverse range of cultural experiences for the Tampa community. From the 2,610-seat Carol Morsani, there are 2,610 seats. From the comfortable seats at Ferguson Hall, the Straz Center is the perfect place to enjoy an unforgettable performance.
Whether you're attending a Broadway musical or a local theater production, the electric atmosphere at the Straz Center is sure to make your visit a memorable one.
Downtown Tampa offers an abundance of family-friendly attractions that cater to visitors of all ages. The Florida Aquarium, Glazer Children's Museum, and Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park are just a few examples of the fun-filled activities that await you and your family in this vibrant city.
These attractions provide a mix of educational and entertaining experiences that will keep the whole family engaged. From exploring the wonders of the underwater world at the Florida Aquarium to sparking curiosity and creativity at the Glazer Children's Museum, there's no shortage of adventures to be had in downtown Tampa.
The Florida Aquarium, located in downtown Tampa, is home to over 20,000 aquatic plants and animals from around the world. With a wide variety of fish and marine animals on display, visitors can get up close and personal with some species and even enjoy a 4D cinema experience.
The Florida Aquarium is the perfect destination for families looking to explore the fascinating world beneath the ocean's surface.
At the Glazer Children's Museum, kids can immerse themselves in interactive exhibits that cover various themes, such as engineering, art, weather, and communication. With hands-on activities like running a vet clinic, restaurant, or grocery store, performing in the Twinkle Stars Theater, and designing and building in the Engineer's Workshop, children can learn through play and unleash their creativity.
The museum also hosts special events like Halloween Spree, Pi Day, and Gingerbread Village, providing even more excitement for young visitors.
Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park, an 8-acre public park located along the Hillsborough River in downtown Tampa, offers plenty of fun for the whole family. With its modern playground, fenced dog run, and two fountains for kids to splash around in, this sustainably constructed park provides a perfect setting for a day of outdoor fun.
And with a pavilion that houses restrooms, you'll have everything you need for a comfortable and enjoyable visit.
Tampa's beautiful weather and natural surroundings make it the perfect destination for outdoor enthusiasts. Take a leisurely stroll along the Tampa Riverwalk, relax in the serene Kiley Garden, or explore the picturesque Hillsborough River State Park.
These outdoor attractions offer a range of activities that will satisfy even the most adventurous visitors. From hiking and biking trails to waterfront walks and scenic parks, Tampa's outdoor adventures provide a chance to connect with nature and experience the city's stunning landscapes.
The Tampa Riverwalk is a 2.6-mile walkway that runs along the Hillsborough River and Tampa Bay, connecting major attractions like the Florida Aquarium, American Victory Ship & Museum, Sparkman Wharf, and Tampa Bay History Center. This picturesque path offers a relaxing way to explore the city while enjoying the beautiful waterfront views.
Whether you're taking a leisurely stroll or cycling along the path, the Tampa Riverwalk is an outdoor adventure you won't want to miss.
Kiley Garden, a 4.5-acre rooftop park designed by renowned landscape architect Dan Kiley, offers a peaceful oasis in the heart of Tampa. Located atop a two-level parking garage, the garden features a checkerboard layout of concrete panels and grass, based on the Fibonacci mathematical sequence.
Although the garden has experienced some water damage, it is still maintained by the City of Tampa and the Tampa Downtown Partnership, providing a serene space for visitors to relax and enjoy the city's greenery.
Located near Tampa, Hillsborough River State Park offers a variety of outdoor activities for visitors to enjoy. With hiking trails, picnic tables, and a river that runs through the park, there's something for everyone.
The park is also home to one of the southernmost sets of rapids in Florida, making it a unique destination for nature enthusiasts. The park entrance fee is just $6 per car, making it an affordable option for a day of outdoor adventure.
Tampa's dining and nightlife scene offers a diverse range of options to satisfy every taste. From craft beer and new American cuisine at District Tavern to traditional Florida dishes at Ulele, and even a dinner cruise with Yacht StarShip Cruises & Events, there's something for everyone.
Whether you're seeking a casual neighborhood bar, an upscale dining experience, or a romantic evening under the stars, Tampa's dining and nightlife scene has got you covered. So go ahead, indulge in the city's culinary delights and enjoy a night out on the town.
District Tavern, an upscale gastropub located in downtown Tampa, offers locally sourced food and craft cocktails in a cozy atmosphere. The menu features delicious new American cuisine, perfect for sharing over small plates with friends or enjoying a satisfying meal.
Open daily from 11 am, the District Tavern also offers happy hour specials from Monday to Friday, 3-6 pm, and brunch on Saturdays and Sundays. With pick-up, Uber Eats, and DoorDash delivery options available, you can even enjoy District Tavern's mouthwatering dishes from the comfort of your own home.
Located on the north side of Tampa's Riverwalk, Ulele serves up native-inspired Florida dishes in a picturesque setting overlooking the Hillsborough River. The menu, inspired by the traditions of Florida's native inhabitants, offers a unique dining experience that showcases the flavors of the Sunshine State.
With both indoor and outdoor waterfront dining options, Ulele is the perfect spot for a leisurely lunch, a delicious dinner, or a special celebration.
For a truly unforgettable dining experience, step aboard Yacht StarShip Cruises & Events, a luxury dinner cruise that offers spectacular views of Tampa's skyline. With a full-service bar, a professional DJ, and a variety of catering options, Yacht StarShip Cruises & Events provides the perfect setting for a romantic dinner date, a special celebration, or a memorable night out with friends.
The three-Diamond rated cruise ship is the ultimate way to experience Tampa's dining and nightlife scene from a unique vantage point.
Navigating Tampa is easy, with a variety of transportation options available to suit your needs. Whether you prefer public transport, walking and biking, or driving and parking, you'll find convenient ways to get around the city and explore its many attractions.
In this section, we'll share some helpful tips for getting around Tampa using public transportation, walking and biking, and parking options, ensuring that your visit is a smooth and enjoyable experience.
Tampa offers a variety of public transportation options to help you navigate the city with ease. The TBARTA public transportation system serves the Tampa Bay Area, while the TECO Line Streetcar System connects major neighborhoods like Downtown, Channel District, and Ybor City.
For a more unique mode of transport, consider taking the Pirate Water Taxi, which offers a scenic and convenient way to explore the city's waterfront attractions.
Tampa's beautiful weather and well-connected infrastructure make it an ideal city for walking and biking. With bike path routes, a complete sidewalk network, water taxis, taxis, e-scooters, and rideshare options like Uber and Lyft, you can easily explore Tampa's attractions without the need for a car.
So, lace up your walking shoes or hop on a bike and discover the city at your own pace.
For those who prefer to drive, Tampa offers a range of parking options, including street parking, parking garages, and lots. While parking costs can vary depending on the location and time of day, there are some free parking options available north of Kennedy Blvd on Sundays.
With a little planning and research, you can find convenient and affordable parking options to suit your needs.
In conclusion, Tampa, Florida is a city that offers something for everyone. From its rich history and thriving arts and culture scene to family-friendly attractions, outdoor adventures, and a diverse dining and nightlife scene, Tampa is a must-visit destination. With convenient transportation options and a wealth of attractions to explore, your visit to Tampa is sure to be a memorable experience. So pack your bags and get ready to discover the exciting attractions of downtown Tampa!