12 Incredible and Vibrant Things to Do in Tampa, Florida

by Jane Sophia
Things to Do in Tampa, Florida

What are the best things to do in Tampa, Florida? Let us visit this beautiful city on the Gulf coast today.

Does the scene of downtown lure you? Would you plan you to spend one of your weekends in Tampa?

In this blog post, I have outlined best things to do, adventure activities to do, and highly recommended restaurants, etc.

Read further so that you may even plan your immediate upcoming weekend in Tampa.

In which part of Florida State, in the U.S., Tampa is located?

You can locate it, occupying the central part of Florida, near the west coast. Trace your finger slightly northeast of St. Petersburg (yes, there is one in the U.S.) and find Tampa, sitting on the Tampa Bay.

Some other city names that you are familiar with but are located in different countries are found in Florida.

Here are they:

  • Petersburg
  • Naples
  • Hollywood
  • Melbourne

Reaching Tampa:

Tampa has an international airport, and it is well serviced from other American states, and other countries. Direct flights are available to it from London, Paris, Frankfurt, and Zurich.

In addition, there are direct trains from New York City.

12 Best Incredible Things to Do in Tampa, Florida

How to spend a weekend ? What are the best things to do in Tampa and outdoor activities to indulge in?

  1. Roam around the Downtown Tampa

Down Town

Tampa’s downtown is a bustling modern city. Walking along the Hillsborough River is an enjoyable thing to do, especially, after the city is lit. There are awesome skyscrapers abutting the river bank.

You will find a lot of entertainments in Channel Side of the downtown.

Enjoy a short ride in the local tramway.

Just a buy a ticket to the Channel Side from the downtown, and see the residences on either side of the Channel Side.

One of the prominent buildings that you can’t miss is the River Gate Tower,

Aptly, it is also called the ‘Beer Can’ building that houses offices of numerous businesses.

Two museums in the downtown area include a museum of art and a children’s museum that provides innovative, and interactive exhibits.

Colorful fountains in front of the children’s museum.

  1. Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park

This is not a water theme park, but just a public park abutting the Hillsborough River in Tampa’s downtown.

Landscaped lawns, beautiful fountains, an amphitheater, culminating with a park for dogs are some of the highlights of this place.

  1. War ship

There is a war ship that you can see. It was used during the World War II.

You are allowed to enter the historic warship and get to know the defence features. A 90 minute guided tour of the ship is one of the not-to-be-missed things to do in Tampa.

More tourist landmarks in downtown include:

  • Performing Arts Center
  • Tampa Theater
  • Tampa Museum of Art
  • Ybor City
  • Waterworks Park
  • Amalie Arena ( a stadium for sports events)
  • Tampa City Hall
  1. Aquarium

Remember, Tampa City is situated right on the posh Tampa Bay. Naturally, there must be an aquarium because of the proximity of the Gulf of Mexico and its rich marine life.

You need to allocate 2 hours to see and appreciate all the marine life, because, the aquarium comprises a large 25,000 sq. ft.

A whopping 20,000 species of marine world is on display. Some of the marine flora, and fauna are brought from different parts of the world.

Don’t brush aside as it’s just another aquarium. This has a different layout, and you are allowed to touch some of the displays.

After watching video, you will be sure your children would just love the time spent thee.

  1. Bayshore Boulevard

This is another road for relaxing stroll along the river. It seems Tampa is a good walkable city.

The stretch is 21 km long. An evening walk, watching the sunset, is one of the most enjoyable things to do in Tampa.

  1. Davis Islands

Two islands namely Little Grassy Key and Big Grassy Key are located close to the estuary of Hillsborough River.

They are located just on the outskirts of Tampa city (downtown). They are considered not as islands but just one of the neighborhoods of Tampa.

Tourists reach the islands by bus. There is a beach where you can unleash your pet dog.

You can kayak in the Hills borough river up to its mouth where it joins the sea. A walkway is paved along the river for scenic strolls.

Charter a boat or a yacht. Go for a fishing stint, but let the fish out of the hook.

The port is called the Majorie Park Marina. Shops and restaurants located in the waterfront lure you to spend time and money.

Just loiter around the port walking area in the evening, and meet some locals.

Visit the yacht club. Take a swim in the swimming pool. See a few houses right on the seafront. Owners lead a life of style and luxury on Davis Islands.

If you like the feel of staying on an island which is just an extension of the downtown, you can get lodging in one of the several sea-view hotels.

  1. Harbour Island

It is one more beautiful neighbourhood in Tampa. It is located on the other side of Garrison Channel.

Just reach the place, take a panoramic view of the sea as well as the downtown Tampa.

The island is where the elite people live in palatial bungalows, and high rise condos with stunning views.

People who live on the other side of Channel Side, come here for waterfront dining. There is even a café that sells sushi from the freshly caught fish.

  1. Tampa Bay

The beautiful bay along with two more bays is right on the shores of the Gulf of Mexico.

The Tampa Bay itself has three parts known as old, middle, lower Tampa Bay.

You will be taking selfies and the fantastic scene around you when you are enjoying the cool sea breeze.

Other bays include:

  • Hillsborough Bay
  • McKay Bay

You will see numerous apartment and office towers facing the Tampa Bay. It is one of the best sights in Tampa.

There are several bridges and causeway connecting the three Tampa Bays. You can walk on the bridges and watch the following ports.

  • Petersburg Port
  • Manatee Port
  • Port of Tampa
  • Tampa Bay Port

The Sunshine Skyway is a beautiful bridge built over the Lower Tampa bay.

The drive on the majestic bridge is exciting.

  1. Beaches to visit

There is no dearth of beaches here. With so many bays, and an estuary, you can spend quality time in one or two beaches.

The best beaches in Tampa:

  • Pass-a-grille Beach (what an odd name for beach!)
  • Clearwater Beach
  • Petersburg Beach
  • Dog Beach in Davis Island
  • East Tampa Beach
  • Candy Bridge Beach
  1. Bush Gardens

This is one of the best Theme Parks in Tampa. You can enjoy all the usual rides, including a dizzying roller coaster.

There is also a zoo within the theme park complex. See and feed giraffes, wallabies, and kangaroos.

  1. Adventure Island

It’s a water theme, located very near to the Bush Gardens theme park.

The adventure minded children will have a field day as there are numerous slides. The most enjoyable Lazy River and the thrilling wave pool are highly enjoyed water sports.

  1. Water Biking

Riding a bicycle on water? It is one of the unique water sports, especially for the children.

I think I too would like to do that. It looks easy.

Where to Eat in Tampa?

Columbia Restaurant is a chain of restaurants that are located in various places in the city. There is one at Ybor City which you will be visiting. At that time, eat in the Columbia Restaurant with your family.

Twistee Treat is the most visited ice cream parlour in Tampa. The range of ice creams is mind-boggling. There is one outlet in New Tampa Boulevard. You can’t miss it. You can spot the ice cream cone shaped outlet as you tour the city.

The children’s favourite is the shop’s lip-smacking Brownie Boat.

I hope you don’t miss it.

Rome and Fig is also mentioned in many places on the web.

For burger lovers, Goody Goody restaurant is recommended. It is an exclusive burger outlet in Hyde Park.

I think you may have to ignore some good places to see if you are planning to spend just a weekend.

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