If you and your family are animal lovers, then you’ve come to the right place. Tampa is home to the Florida Aquarium, Tampa Electric’s Manatee Viewing Center, and the newly famous Big Cat Rescue. If you are looking to experience the wonder of nature, or the thrill of an exhilarating roller coaster, head over to Tampa’s Busch Gardens.
However, if you left the kids at home, Tampa has you covered there as well. Swing on over to Ybor City for some authentic Cuban food and cervezas courtesy of the Columbia and Cigar City Brewing. Tampa is well known for its fabulous nightlife, but if you are looking to unwind, Clearwater Beach, Treasure Island and Honeymoon Island state park are just across the bridge.
If you are still unsure what to do during your stay in tropical Tampa Bay, here are a few great things to do in Tampa today to help plan your itinerary.
Our first stop on the Tampa tour takes us to the scenic Riverwalk. The Riverwalk is 2.6-mile long biking and walking trail that follows alongside the Hillsborough River. The trail is dotted with exquisite artwork, and visitors can walk, bike or rollerblade to several local hotspots. If you left your wheels at home, there are bike rental shops along the path.
The trail leads to many local favorites such as the Florida Aquarium and the Glazer Children’s museum. You can access the Riverwalk from a number of public access points throughout the city. For more information and maps, be sure to visit the Riverwalk website.
In the past few years, Armature Works has earned its place a favorite destination for Tampa locals. This 22,000 square foot industrial market is a go-to spot for food lovers and architecture fans alike. Constructed in 1910, the building was initially used as a maintenance and storage facility for Tampa Electric’s buzzing streetcars.
Today, Armature Works features an eclectic variety of retail shops and eateries. There is also a rooftop bar and a “Show + Tell” workshop, famous for wine tastings and cooking classes. The property is easily accessible from the Riverwalk and hosts live concerts and event nights as well. The entrance and parking are free on weekdays, and parking is 5$ on the weekends. To learn more about live events, visit their website here.
The Florida Aquarium
Touted as one of the best aquariums in the nation, this massive collection of marine life is located on the southeastern edge of downtown Tampa. The Florida Aquarium is home to over 14,000 aquatic animals and birds. Be sure to leave yourself plenty of time because there are lots of exciting exhibits to explore.
The enormous hands-on touch tanks house stingrays and other friendly critters as well. The other exhibits feature otters, moray eels, dolphins, and sea turtles. Children love the enormous 2-acre Splash Pad featuring geysers, dump buckets, and splash zones. Whatever interests you, the Florida Aquarium is a great way to beat the heat and see some fantastic wildlife.
Enjoy the Fabulous Golf Courses
With idyllic weather year-round, the Tampa Bay area is a great place to tee off. The TPC Tampa Bay is famous for hosting the PGA Tour Champions event for over 20 years. This location is one of the best courses in the southern U.S. and features courses designed by Bobby Weed and Chi-Chi Rodriguez.
Other options include the Saddlebrook Resort with two Arnold Palmer courses and the well maintained Copperhead Course at Innisbrook. There’s no better way to enjoy the Florida sunshine than on the links.
Tampa Boat Tours
Wherever you go in Tampa, water is nearby. Make the most of Tampa’s scenic coastline with a leisurely boat tour around the bay. There are plenty of tour options to choose from, including sunset sails, dolphin cruises, and even pirate cruises if you are feeling spry.
Many visitors recommend the Wild Dolphin Cruise, which leaves from the Florida Aquarium twice a day. The 72-foot catamaran takes you out into the bay, where you are guaranteed to see the playful bottlenose dolphins in their natural habitat. There are plenty of other options, including boat rentals and even kayak tours, if you tend to get seasick on large boats.
Historic Ybor City
Properly pronounced “ee-bore,” this historic Northwest district of Tampa was the birthplace of the Cuban sandwich and made famous for hand-rolled cigars. In fact, factory workers still roll millions of them every year.
Ybor is known for its fast-paced nightlife, as well as a row of lively bars and pubs. Antique bricks pave the roads, and historic streetcars buzz past Centro Ybor. From fantastic restaurants and electric clubs, Ybor has it all.
Whether you are looking for family-friendly activities or a night on the town, Tampa has something for everyone. Explore museums, take a relaxing boat ride, or soak up some rays. You will be enamored with the Cigar City.