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15 Best Things To Do In Tampa

by Lokesh
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Things To Do In Tampa

Tampa is a major city in Florida on par with Miami and Jacksonville when it comes to tourism. Beaches and parks everywhere, Tampa is a top contender for you travel to do list. 

The Tampa Bay area is rife with pleasant sights of exotic flora and fauna and mesmerising locations to explore. While in Tampa, you will find many things to do; from exploring the Tampa Riverwalk or trying the famous Cuban sandwich at Hemingway’s in the main market. 

We bring to you this list of the best things you can try out at Tampa to make sure your stay in the city is major fun!

1.Tampa Riverwalk

Things to do in Tampa
River Walk, Tampa | Photo Credit – Wilkin Matos

A 2.6 mile long trail that runs with river Hillsborough lined with restaurants, stores and more places to visit. You can walk, jog or even cycle upon the trail and enjoy scenic views of the river flowing side by side. The riverwalk can be accessed from multiple points so you can quickly leave the walk for a small errand here and there.

The walkway is well maintained and you can take a rest at one of the many parks here. Public art lines the walkway so be ready to click a lot of pictures while you cruise. Check out their website for more information on the Tampa Riverwalk.

2.Florida Aquarium

Things to do in Tampa
Florida Aquarium | Photo Credit – Bob B. Brown

The Florida Aquarium plays home to over tens of thousands of fishes and takes a while to navigate. Visiting the aquarium is one of the key experiences you are going to have on your visit to Tampa. For the young and the old, the aquarium is complete with lots of exhibitions of all manner of sea creatures.

There is also an outdoor area that is exceptionally popular with children. The area to explore here is huge so make sure you devote an entire day of your trip to the aquarium. You won’t be disappointed.

3.Manatee Viewing

Things to do in Tampa
Manatee Viewing Center | Photo Credit – Jordan McRae

The Tampa bay hosts a variety of sea life and one of the most famous of them are the Manatees. A lot of tourists like to put on their scuba gear and go for a swim to witness these creatures up close. The Electric Water plant at Tampa is a refuge for these manatees when the water of the bay gets too cold for them.

The best part about this attraction is that you do not have to pay for any ticket. Visit Tampa Electric’s Manatee Viewing Center near Apollo Beach. The center also has other exhibits like a butterfly garden and mangroves. Be sure to take away a souvenir from the local shop and a picture from the viewing tower.

4.Zoos in Tampa

Things to do in Tampa
Tampa Zoo | Photo Credit – Matthew Baker

Continuing with the animal themed parts of our list, Tampa is very well known for its attractions centred around animals. Apart from aquariums which are a dime a dozen in the city, Tampa also has a large number of zoos for you to explore. One of them is a huge 60 acre zoo known as the ZooTampa at Lowry Park.

Animals from all over the world can be found here, from chimpanzees  to koalas and even penguins. If you have been to the Tampa Electric and couldn’t find a manatee there, you will surely be able to view one here. Explore infographics and interactive sessions about wildlife, especially Florida wildlife at ZooTampa. This is the best place to visit if you are travelling with children.

5.Big Cat Rescue

Things to do in Tampa
Big Cat Rescue, Tampa | Photo Credit – stefanie kraus

This complex located in northwest Tampa is a sanctuary for big cats. Over a hundred animals live here and you can opt for either day or night guided tours to catch them in their habitat. You can learn a lot from these guided tours and if you’re a big cat lover, then visiting this place is a must.

Friendly staff and well maintained premises, the Big Cat Rescue is a great thing to do while in Tampa, although your pockets should run a little deep.

6.Tampa Bay History Center

Things to do in Tampa
Tampa Bay History Center | Photo Credit – Matthew Paulson

Wade through Florida’s history by visiting the Tampa Bay History Center. There are three floors of exhibits, along with educational and interactive entertainment. Florida has been settled for over 12000 years, and the Tampa Bay History Center does a fine job of collating it all.

Overlooking the Tampa waterfront, this center is a huge museum dedicated to bringing you all there is to know about Tampa. The place is kid friendly and the staff is accommodating and refreshing to be around. A fine place to spend a couple of hours before moving on to exploring other places in the city.

7.Ybor City

Things to do in Tampa
Ybor City mural | Photo Credit – Tom Driggers

Ybor City is the place to be if you’re a traveller to Tampa. This neighborhood is one of Tampa’s most known features and is a great fit for all kinds of tourists. If you’re into history or art, or if you want to enjoy the nightlife in Tampa with some great drinks, Ybor is the place for you.

Visit the museum and take the two hour cigar tour. You can even get a tattoo here at one of the many tattoo parlours. Try traditional Cuban and Spanish cuisine and sample the local beer at the Tampa Bay Brewing Company. If that doesn’t do it for you, you can catch some music and try some delicious late night foods.

8.Golf at Tampa

TPC Tampa Bay | Photo Credit – 1StopForGolf.com

Spend an entire day at TPC Tampa Bay, a sophisticated state of the art golf course that has held the PGA Tours Championship on multiple occasions. Other courses that are popular with golfers in Tampa are the Saddlebrook Resort and the Copperhead Course at the Innisbrook Golf Resort.

The great weather that exists all year round in Tampa is one of the few reasons why spending a day at the golf course should be on your list of things to do while in Tampa.

9.Boat Tours

Tampa Boat Tour | Photo Credit – MsDee

A trip to the bay for the Wild Dolphin Cruise gels in really well if you visit Florida Aquarium first. The tour starts from the aquarium and lasts for 75 minutes. You’ll find yourself in the middle of Tampa Bay where you might be able to witness a lot of bottlenose dolphins.

You will also be able to see a lot of sea birds, and if you’re lucky, sea turtles. The coast of Tampa is a defining landmark of the city and you must make the best of it on your trip. There are daytime and sunset cruises that can find ways into your itinerary with the Tampa Bay Fun Boat. You can also choose to rent a boat with no need of a boating license.

10.Busch Gardens

Busch Garden | Photo Credit – Jeremy Thompson

This amusement park is worth the day you’re going to spend here. This huge amusement park is filled with things to do such as rides, coasters, live shows and animal exhibits. Best for kids and adults alike, Busch Gardens is filled with great ways to pass the time.

You’d find your day here to be both educational and fun. As you are already aware, Tampa is the best place to go to if you’re into wildlife, and Busch Gardens is clearly the crown jewel.

11.Armature Works

If you are a foodie, then you must visit the Armature Works Heights Public Market. This building was built in the early 1900s and was used as a storage facility prior to its conversion into a market. It encapsulates the city’s architectural history within itself. Once you’re here, you will find a range of things to do, for example fine dining and bars to wine tastings to concerts.

The total area of this place is 22000 sq ft and so be assured that you would be making multiple trips here over the course of your trip. There is just so much to do and explore here. You can grab a bite to eat here before continuing to the Tampa Riverwalk.

12.Tampa Theatre

Tampa Theatre | Photo Credit – Calmuziclover

Another one of Tampa landmarks. The Tampa theatre is famous for its film screenings and performances and is a must visit even if you have no prior plans of watching a movie.

The place is very well designed, built in 1926 and resembles a Mediterranean garden. The theatre also offers a backstage tour which includes a demonstration of the 1400 pipe Wurlitzer organ. This is a must tour to take for all the history buffs out there.

13.Tampa Beaches

Tampa Beach | Photo Credit – NikiSublime

The 361 days of sunshine in a year make Tampa one of the best vacation spots in the world. The beaches of the city are a wonderful add-on. The white sands of the beaches in the gulf are undoubtedly the best way to spend a day of rest and relaxation. The beaches are always lined with shacks and you might find yourself to be a part of a party or festival.

What’s more, you can take a boat out to the sea and even witness people fishing and swimming in the clear blue waters. Some of the beaches that you can make sure to visit while in Tampa are the Archibald Beach Park, the Madeira Beach, Pinellas County and the absolutely beautiful Caladesi State Park. Kayaking, swimming, boating; you can find activities to your heart’s content while at the beaches of Tampa, Florida.

14.Museums in Tampa

The Henry B. Plant Museum | Photo Credit – Mike Steele

As this list has stressed on implicitly, Tampa is a city of history. The museums of the city are here to prove that. Your stay in Tampa is incomplete if you don’t make it a point to visit its museums. There are a lot of museums in the city and to name a few, we have, the Tampa Museum of Art, the Museum of Science and Industry, the Glazer Children’s Museum and the Henry B Plant Museum.

The latter is a historical landmark that preserves the turn of the century. Antiques, art, and architecture, the museum is filled with exhibits that you can spend all day thinking about. There is live music here and also be sure to check out the “Victorian Christmas Stroll” if you find yourself in the city in December.

15.Parks in Tampa

Hillsborough River State Park | Photo Credit – Lauren Mitchell

Outdoors at Tampa are as rich as the indoors. There are a huge number of parks in the city which you may explore while you’re here. You can hike, bike and jog the many preserves in the Tampa area such as the Hillsborough River State Park and the Lettuce Lake Park. Be sure to make it a point to visit them all while you’re here.

We hope you enjoyed reading about the best things to do while in Tampa, Florida. The warm sunny skies of Tampa welcome you and so does its rich history. Do not forget to delve into the wildlife Tampa has to offer and you will find that your trip to Tampa was not only relaxing and fun, but also informative and an experience to live for. Happy travelling. Also read the best things to do in San Diego.

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