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Ybor City Tampa FL

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Ybor City Tampa FL

Discover the Wonders of Ybor City, Tampa, FL

Welcome to Ybor City, Tampa’s vibrant historic district that offers an exceptional blend of history, culture, dining, shopping, and nightlife. From its fascinating origins as the Cigar Capital of the world to its present-day status as a must-visit destination in Florida, Ybor City is a treasure trove of experiences waiting to be explored. Ready to embark on an unforgettable journey? Let’s begin!

Tampa FL

Short Summary

  • Explore Ybor City’s vibrant culture, historical buildings and iconic cigar factories.

  • Experience a unique selection of attractions including the Tampa Baseball Museum at the Al Lopez House, lively clubs and bars, craft breweries & tasting rooms.

  • Enjoy convenient transportation with easy access to accommodation options for every traveler’s needs.

Exploring Historic Ybor City

Aerial view of Ybor City, a national historic landmark district in Tampa, Florida

Picture this: a bustling historic neighborhood in Tampa, Florida, known as the “Cigar Capital of the world,” where the scent of freshly rolled cigars fills the air, and charming brick streets and iron balconies adorn the landscape. Welcome to Ybor City, a national historic landmark district that has not only shaped Tampa’s cultural and historical identity but continues to leave its mark on visitors from around the world.

From the moment you set foot in Tampa’s Ybor City, this downtown Tampa neighborhood will transport you back to an era where cigar factories flourished and a diverse community of Cuban, Spanish, Italian and Jewish immigrants thrived. The Ybor City Historic District, spanning approximately one square mile is home to local cigar shops, historic buildings and a lively entertainment district along 7th Avenue. Here you can experience the unique blend of Ybor City’s past and present.

The Founding of Ybor City

The story of Ybor City began with one man - Vicente Martinez Ybor, who fled the political unrest in Cuba and relocated his cigar-making operation to Key West. Eventually, he decided to move his business to Tampa, where the humid climate was perfect for cigar production. The Tampa Board of Trade helped him acquire 40 acres of land, and soon other cigar manufacturers followed suit, turning Tampa into the “Cigar Capital of the world.”

Tampa Bay

At its peak in 1929, Ybor City witnessed the rolling of 500 million cigars in its factories. This thriving industry attracted thousands of immigrants, who built a vibrant community that blended their diverse cultures.

As you stroll through Ybor City today, you’ll find remnants of this rich past in the form of historic buildings, such as the Ybor Square - Tampa’s first cigar factory, and the Centro Asturiano de Tampa - a social club for Spanish immigrants from Asturias.

Architectural Gems

I find visiting Ybor City is a visual delight showcasing a unique blend of architectural styles that reflect its diverse heritage. As you wander through the historic district, you’ll discover brick streets, iron balconies, and beautifully preserved buildings that serve as a testament to the city’s golden age. The Ybor City Chamber plays a significant role in preserving this rich history for future generations to enjoy.

One such architectural gem is Ybor Square, Tampa’s first cigar factory, which now serves as an events venue for the Church of Scientology. The Centro Asturiano de Tampa, a historic social club for Spanish immigrants, stands as a proud reminder of the city’s rich past.

These architectural treasures not only add to the charm of Ybor City, but also provide a fascinating glimpse into its storied history.

Must-Visit Attractions

Aerial view of Ybor City, a national historic landmark district in Tampa, Florida

Ybor City is not just about history and architecture; it’s also home to a variety of must-visit attractions that cater to all interests. Whether you’re a sports enthusiast, a history buff or simply looking for an enjoyable day out, this vibrant neighborhood has something for everyone.

From the Tampa Baseball Museum at the Al Lopez House, where you can learn about Tampa Bay’s baseball history, to the Ybor City Museum State Park that offers insights into the area’s cultural heritage, there’s no shortage of attractions to explore. Some notable attractions include:

  • The Tampa Baseball Museum at the Al Lopez House

  • The Ybor City Museum State Park

  • The Ritz Ybor, a popular event venue situated in a historic theater

  • The Florida Museum of Photographic Arts, which houses a vast collection of photographic works

Don’t forget to check out these attractions during your visit to Tampa Bay.

Ybor City Museum State Park

Step into the Ybor City Museum State Park, and you’ll be greeted by a wealth of information about the area’s rich history, from its founding by Vicente Martinez Ybor to its decline as the cigar capital. The museum offers a fascinating glimpse into the lives of the people who built this vibrant community and the industries that shaped its growth.

As you explore the museum, you’ll also come across a Mediterranean-style garden and a casita, a small dwelling that once housed cigar factory employees. Take a self-guided tour, admire the ornamental garden, and immerse yourself in the captivating stories of Ybor City’s past.

Tampa Baseball Museum at the Al Lopez House

Baseball fans rejoice! The Tampa Baseball Museum at the Al Lopez House offers a unique opportunity to learn about Tampa’s baseball history. The museum, built in the childhood home of Tampa’s first Major League Baseball player, Al López, showcases historical artifacts, memorabilia and interactive exhibits that highlight the city’s love for America’s favorite pastime.

As you browse the exhibits, you’ll gain insights into the local sports history and the remarkable achievements of the homegrown talent that graced the baseball field. Whether you’re a die-hard baseball fan or simply interested in learning about Tampa’s sporting heritage, the Tampa Baseball Museum is a must-visit attraction in Ybor City.

The Vibrant Nightlife Scene

Club Prana and other hotspots in Ybor City's vibrant nightlife scene

As the sun sets, Ybor City comes alive with a vibrant nightlife scene that rivals the best party towns in Florida. From lively clubs and bars to cozy lounges and live music venues, there’s something for everyone to enjoy after a day of exploring the historic district. This area is not only known for its rich history, but also as a popular nightclub and entertainment district.

Whether you’re looking to dance the night away at Club Prana or unwind with a craft beer at Tampa Bay Brewing Company, Ybor City’s entertainment district promises an unforgettable night out. With a wide array of dining options to choose from, such as the iconic Columbia Restaurant, you’ll never be far from delicious food and fantastic entertainment in Ybor City.

Club Prana and Other Hotspots

Club Prana is the crown jewel of Ybor City’s nightlife scene. This renowned nightclub boasts five distinct levels, each offering a unique music and nightlife experience. From pulsating dance floors to intimate lounges, Club Prana caters to every partygoer’s taste.

If you’re in the mood for something different Ybor City is home to a plethora of other hotspots such as Gaspar’s Grotto where you can enjoy live music and delicious drinks. No matter your preference, you’re sure to have an unforgettable night in Ybor City.

Craft Breweries and Tasting Rooms

Ybor City is a haven for craft beer enthusiasts, with several breweries and tasting rooms offering an array of local brews to sample. Some popular destinations for craft beer in Ybor City include:

  • Tampa Bay Brewing Company, located in Centro Ybor

  • Coppertail Brewing Co.

  • Cigar City Brewing

  • Hidden Springs Ale Works

  • 7venth Sun Brewery

These breweries offer a wide variety of beer styles and flavors, ensuring that there is something for every beer lover to enjoy in Ybor City.

Other notable breweries (also listed above but my favorites) in Ybor City include Coppertail Brewing Co., Cigar City Cider & Mead, and Zydeco Brew Works. Each establishment offers a unique selection of craft beers making it easy for visitors to find their perfect brew in this historic neighborhood.

Shopping and Dining in Ybor City

Centro Ybor, a shopper's paradise in Tampa, Florida

Ybor City offers a diverse shopping and dining experience, with a multitude of options including:

  • Trendy boutiques

  • Local mom-and-pop shops

  • Restaurants

  • Markets

There’s something for everyone in this vibrant neighborhood.

Foodies will delight in the wide array of dining options available, ranging from the iconic Columbia Restaurant, Florida’s oldest Spanish restaurant, to the mouthwatering Cuban sandwiches at La Segunda Central Bakery. With such a diverse culinary scene, it’s no wonder Ybor City is a favorite destination for gourmands from around the world.

Centro Ybor: A Shopper's Paradise

Nestled in the heart of Ybor City, Centro Ybor is a shopper’s paradise. This two-story mall features an array of shops, bars and restaurants, ensuring a memorable shopping experience for all. Centro. Ybor is full of activities for everyone to enjoy, including:

  • AMC Classic 10 Cinemas

  • Game Time Entertainment Center

  • The Tampa Improv

  • Bars and restaurants

With so much to do, there’s never a dull moment at Centro Ybor.

Looking for a unique souvenir or a wardrobe update? Check out Revolve Clothing Exchange, a trendy store offering fashionable finds at affordable prices. After a day of shopping, unwind at The Blind Tiger Café, a popular coffee shop in Ybor City, before venturing out to explore the bustling streets outside Centro Ybor.

Iconic Eateries

A photo of the iconic Columbia Restaurant in Ybor City, serving delicious Spanish cuisine

Ybor City is home to some iconic eateries that offer a taste of history along with their delicious dishes. The Columbia Restaurant, Florida’s oldest Spanish restaurant, boasts a rich heritage and an extensive menu featuring Spanish and Cuban cuisine. From Empanadas de Picadillo to Key lime pie, every dish is a culinary masterpiece.

Another iconic eatery worth visiting is La Segunda Central Bakery, renowned for its authentic Cuban bread and an impressive selection of cookies and pastries. With a century-old tradition of baking, La Segunda Bakery is a must-visit destination for those seeking a taste of Ybor City’s culinary heritage.

Cigar Culture and Local Shops

Cigar factories and shops in Ybor City, the cigar capital of the world

Ybor City’s cigar culture is an integral part of its identity, with a long-standing tradition of cigar production and a thriving local community. A visit to Ybor City is incomplete without exploring its local cigar shops and immersing yourself in the rich history of this once-booming industry.

From the founding of the cigar empire by Vicente Martinez Ybor to the present-day local shops that continue the tradition, Ybor City’s cigar culture is a fascinating journey worth experiencing. Take a stroll through the streets, visit the local shops and watch skilled artisans roll cigars by hand, keeping the city’s storied past alive.

Cigar Factories and Shops

Ybor City is home to several cigar factories and shops that showcase the city’s rich cigar-making tradition. El Reloj, the only cigar factory still in operation in Cigar City, and the J.C. Newman Cigar Company, Ybor City’s last working cigar factory and America’s oldest family-owned premium cigar manufacturer, are both worth a visit.

Tabanero Cigars is another notable cigar shop, offering an extensive selection of handmade cigars crafted by Cuban-born artisans. With a wide range of cigars to choose from, you’re sure to find the perfect souvenir to take home and savor the flavors of Ybor City.

Cigar Factory Tours and Demonstrations

For a truly immersive experience, take a cigar factory tour at El Reloj or J.C. Newman Cigar Co. and watch live demonstrations by skilled artisans. Witness the intricate process of cigar-making, from the selection of tobacco leaves to the final roll. These tours offer a unique opportunity to learn about the history and craftsmanship behind Ybor City’s cigar culture.

Whether you’re a seasoned cigar aficionado or simply curious about the art of cigar-making, these tours and demonstrations provide an unforgettable glimpse into Ybor City’s storied past. Don’t miss the chance to witness this age-old tradition firsthand and gain a deeper appreciation for the city’s rich heritage.

Transportation and Accessibility

TECO Line Streetcar, a convenient way to explore Ybor City

Navigating Ybor City is a breeze thanks to the TECO Line Streetcar, a heritage streetcar system that connects Ybor City, the Channelside District, and Downtown Tampa, including the Tampa Riverwalk. The streetcar offers a convenient and enjoyable mode of transportation, allowing you to explore the city with ease.

The gridded street system, implemented by Gavino Guiterrez in 1885, remains in use today, with a few brick streets still preserved for their historic charm. The elevated I-4/Selmon Expressway Connector also ensures heavy truck traffic is diverted away from the historic district, preserving the unique ambiance of Ybor City.

Where to Stay in Ybor City

When it comes to accommodations, Ybor City offers a range of options to suit every traveler’s needs. Highly recommended hotels include Hotel Haya and Hampton Inn & Suites Tampa/Ybor City/Downtown. Hotel Haya, renowned for its Cuban-inspired charm, offers sash windows, balconies overlooking 7th Avenue and three on-site restaurants. The recently renovated Hampton Inn & Suites provides an outdoor pool, fitness center and complimentary breakfast, ensuring a comfortable stay.

No matter where you choose to stay, you’ll be within walking distance of Ybor City’s historic district, vibrant nightlife and diverse dining options. With easy access to transportation and other Tampa districts, Ybor City is the perfect destination for a memorable vacation.

Summary

In conclusion, Ybor City is a captivating destination that offers an unforgettable journey through history, culture and entertainment. From its rich cigar-making heritage to its vibrant nightlife scene, delectable dining options and charming architecture Ybor City is a treasure trove of experiences waiting to be discovered. So, what are you waiting for? Come and explore the wonders of Ybor City Tampa FL and create memories that will last a lifetime!

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the famous street in Ybor?

The famous street in Ybor City is 7th Avenue. Established by Vicente Martinez-Ybor in the 19th century, it was recognized as one of the “10 Great Streets in America” and is home to more than 230 factories that continue to shape the culture of the Tampa Bay area.

Today, visitors can explore 7th Avenue and discover sidewalk cafes, unique stores, and nightlife.

Is there a Cuban territory in Ybor?

Ybor City houses a Cuban territory, José Mart Park, commemorating the Cuban revolution against Spanish rule in the 1800s.

Is Ybor City a party town?

Ybor City is Tampa’s premier nightlife spot with fashionable restaurants and bars and a hub of adult-oriented entertainment by night, making it an ideal destination for those looking to party.

It is a vibrant and exciting area, with plenty of options for a night out. From live music venues to craft cocktail bars, there is something for everyone. There are also plenty of late night eateries and pubs to keep the party going. Ybor city is a popular tourist destination.

How to tour Ybor City?

Experience Ybor City from street level with a historic walking tour. Starting from the Vicente Martinez-Ybor statue at Centro Ybor on Seventh Avenue, explore the many layers of history that make up the fabric of this vibrant and diverse city.

Tours are scheduled daily Tuesday through Saturday at 10 a.m. and Sunday at noon.

What is Ybor City known for?

Ybor City is renowned for its distinctive architecture, diverse dining options, vibrant nightlife scene and historic cigar-making tradition.




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