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Of course, Tampa is fun! The city has so much to offer, from beautiful beaches to exciting nightlife. There's always something to do in Tampa, whether you're looking for a relaxed afternoon by the water or a night out on the town.
And there's no shortage of places to eat and drink, whether you're in the mood for fresh seafood or traditional Spanish fare. With its gorgeous weather and endless activities, it's no wonder that Tampa is one of the most popular vacation destinations in the world. For a convenient way to see the city's top attractions, considers grabbing the Tampa Bay CityPASS below.
So if you're looking for a place to have some fun, there's no better place than Tampa.
Top 10 Attractions & Things To Do in Tampa
This vibrant city on Florida's Gulf Coast is full of exciting things to see and do. Here are our top recommendations for your visit.
1. Visit the Tampa Riverwalk
One of the best ways to explore Tampa is by strolling along the Tampa Riverwalk. This 2.4-mile walkway offers stunning views of the Hillsborough River and is a great way to get some fresh air and exercise. This walkway is especially beautiful at sunset or during the evening when the city lights are shining. It's also a great place to people-watch and sees Tampa's diverse population.
You can also find a lot of public art along the Riverwalk in Tampa, like murals and sculptures. And if you're looking for things to do, some of the city's best attractions are located right on the Riverwalk, including the Florida Aquarium and the Tampa Museum of Art. This is also a great place for families, with four different playgrounds, two of which have splash pads.
This is an excellent place to people-watch while enjoying some delicious food from the many restaurants along the way. The food is fantastic, and the atmosphere is even better. You can find various outdoor and indoor restaurants at Sparkman Wharf or Armature Works.
2. Admire Art at the Tampa Museum of Art
In addition to an array of rotating temporary exhibitions, the Tampa Museum of Art is home to a comprehensive permanent collection of Greek and Roman antiquities and 20th-century sculpture. Situated on the banks of the Hillsborough River, the museum's striking contemporary architecture is complemented by a tranquil sculpture garden. After exploring the galleries, visitors can enjoy a refreshing gelato at the Riverwalk Café before browsing the museum shop for unique gifts and souvenirs. The museum is an active part of the Tampa community, offering a variety of events and programs ranging from art classes to Buddhist meditation.
3. Take a tour of the Florida Aquarium
The Florida Aquarium in Tampa is perfect for learning about and seeing various aquatic life. The aquarium is set up to resemble a watershed area similar to the Tampa area, allowing visitors to see the wide variety of fish and ocean life. In addition to fish, the aquarium has exhibits featuring invertebrates like starfish and anemones and land-dwelling animals like lemurs. The hands-on exhibits are a great way to learn more about the different creatures that call the Florida Aquarium home.
You can get an all-access pass to the Florida Aquarium by buying a ticket that allows you to skip any lines. This also includes access to the outdoor Splash Pad, where kids can cool off. Shows at the 4-D theatre are also included in the price of admission. This theatre uses sensory elements to create a completely immersive experience for visitors.
Rides, animals, and entertainment abound at Busch Gardens. The park is home to numerous thrill rides and gentler options for younger visitors. In addition, the park features a variety of live music and performances. Exotic animals are a major draw to the park, which features several opportunities to get up close and personal with some of its residents.
The safari options are particularly popular, as they offer a chance to see the animals in their natural habitat. Special animal encounters are also available, which allow visitors to feed kangaroos and giraffes, watch park staff caring for patients at the Animal Care Center, and get close to sloths and flamingos. It is best to buy a ticket for all the attractions available at Busch Gardens. This way, you will not miss out on anything, and you will be able to experience everything the park offers fully.
5. Go on an Airboat Ride
One of the best ways to see the Florida wetlands is by taking an airboat ride. These rides take place in the Tampa Bay area and offer a chance to see alligators, turtles, and various birds up close. The tours are led by knowledgeable guides who will share information about the ecosystem and the animals that call it home.
Airboat rides are a great way to see the Florida wilderness up close and personal. They are also a lot of fun, so bring your camera to capture all the memories.
ZooTampa at Lowry Park has more than 2,000 animals in natural habitats from all over the world. Some popular residents include African elephants, penguins, Florida panthers, and the Bornean Orangutan. The zoo also has some rides, including a safari ride through the African habitat, a mini-train ride, and a family-friendly roller coaster.
The zoo also hosts special programs and events throughout the year. It is a popular destination for both locals and tourists. You can get up close to some of the animals, including "backstage" opportunities with penguins and tortoises and the chance to feed an Indian rhino.
The facility also has an aquarium and three pools that are used to treat local manatees who are injured or ill. You can see the manatees up close and learn about the zoo's work to help them.
7. Stroll through Ybor City
Ybor City is a historic neighborhood in Tampa that was once the cigar-manufacturing center of the world. Today, it is a vibrant community with art galleries, shops, restaurants, and nightlife. The streets are lined with brick buildings and palm trees, giving the area a unique charm.
Visitors can take a free guided tour of the neighborhood to learn about its history and see some of the restored buildings. The tours are led by local volunteers and are a great way to learn more about this exciting area. You can also explore on your own, which is a great way to find some of the hidden gems in the neighborhood.
8. Visit the Glazer Children's Museum
The Glazer Children's Museum is where kids can learn through play. They can explore many different areas, such as medicine and carpentry, while having fun. In addition, the museum also has exhibits on world cultures and technology, allowing kids to learn about things that interest them in a fun environment. You can even pretend to be a captain and navigate a ship! The possibilities are endless at the Glazer Children's Museum. Kids will love it, and so will you.
9. Take a River Cruise
You can see Tampa in a whole new light by taking a river cruise. These cruises offer a chance to relax and take in the sights while learning about the city's history. Many of the cruises include a stop at the Florida Aquarium, where you can see all sorts of marine life up close.
River cruises are a great way to see Tampa from a different perspective. They are also a lot of fun and a great way to learn more about the city. In addition, you can find cruises that depart from various locations around the city, so be sure to check out all of your options.
In addition to being so fun, the Museum of Science and Industry is also a great place to learn. The museum has exhibits covering various topics, such as physics, math, and other scientific principles. You can even use the latest technology in the Connectus exhibit.
Top 4 Day Trip Ideas from Tampa
The best way to see everything Tampa offers is to take a day trip. Here are four of the best day trip ideas from Tampa:
1. Tampa History Cruise
Take a trip back in time on this Tampa history cruise that transports you across stunning blue waters to see the city's rich past. Marvel at the million-dollar homes and popular museums lining the shoreline, and get an up-close look at the pirate ship, Gabriella. You'll also enjoy light refreshments while listening to live commentary about Tampa's fascinating history. You'll gain a new appreciation for this vibrant city in just a few hours. You won't want to miss this!
This St. Petersburg historical and cultural tour is the perfect way to see the best of Sunshine City. Visit iconic landmarks like the Dalí Museum and the Chihuly Collection, and explore beautiful parks and gardens. You'll also learn about St. Petersburg's rich history on a guided walking tour of the downtown area. This is a great way to spend a day in St. Petersburg and learn about its culture and history.
Founded in the 1880s by Cuban, Spanish, and Italian immigrants, Ybor City was once a bustling cigar-manufacturing center. Today, this historic Tampa neighborhood is known for its eclectic shops, lively nightlife scene, and delicious food. On this walking tour, you'll sample some of the area's best eats as you learn about Ybor City's rich history from your knowledgeable guide. It's imperative you come hungry, as you'll enjoy six different food and drink tastings along the way – enough to make up a full meal! By the end of the tour, you'll better understand what makes Ybor City so special – and you'll be armed with plenty of restaurant recommendations for your next visit.
It's time to leave the busy streets of Tampa behind and head out onto the relaxing inshore waters on a half-day fishing charter. Your private captain will take you to the best spots for fishing, where you can find tarpon, snook, sheepshead, pompano, and much more. This exclusive experience includes all necessary equipment, like rods, bait, and safety gear. So come prepared for a great time and to catch some amazing fish!
You'll need a place to stay during your Tampa vacation, and there are plenty of great places to choose from. Here are three of the best places to stay in Tampa:
1. Epicurean Hotel
You'll be close to all the shopping you can handle at Hyde Park Village while staying at this contemporary hotel. The Tampa Museum of Art is just 2.7 miles away if you're in the mood for some art. All rooms feature modern amenities like coffeemakers, minifridges, food-related artworks, free Wi-Fi, and flat-screen TVs. Some rooms even have balconies or terraces. If you need more space, there are suites available with full kitchens.
When it comes to dining, you have options ranging from a patisserie to a restaurant serving New American cuisine. Other amenities at the hotel include a rooftop lounge, a spa, an outdoor pool, and a fitness room. For an additional fee, you can also take cooking classes.
Grand Hyatt Tampa Bay is the perfect place to stay for travelers who are looking for convenience and refinement. With plenty of amenities on-site, including two pools, tennis courts, and a fitness center, this hotel has something for everyone. And if you're looking for something to do off-site, the Florida Aquarium is just 9.1 miles away. So whether you're looking to relax or explore, Grand Hyatt Tampa Bay is the perfect place for your next trip.
Eccentric dorms with music memorabilia and artwork are offered at this quirky, music-themed hostel that is also across the street from Plymouth Playground. You can prepare your own meals in 2 shared kitchens, relax on the sundeck with a hot tub, or enjoy the bring-your-own bar area. This hostel also has gardens with courtyards, walkways, and waterfalls. If you want to explore the area, you can take a short walk around the neighborhood.
Tampa offers a variety of activities for tourists, from exploring the city's history and culture in Ybor City to fishing on its inland waters. You'll find plenty of places to stay in Tampa, whether you're looking for a luxurious hotel or something more affordable like a bed and hostel. No matter your interests, there is surely something for you to enjoy on your Tampa vacation.
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