A dynamic and diverse region, Tampa Bay enjoys an excellent quality of life. From the waterfront location to the Southern hospitality of its residents, the area takes prides in its vibrancy and welcoming spirit. The only city to be invaded by a band of pirates during the annual Gasparilla celebration, special events and festivals are part of the area’s cultural fabric. From balloon rides, strawberry farms and lush nature to walkable neighborhoods, the region’s character is hard to match. It easily blends its rich, cultural heritage with big-city style. With much to experience, one quickly discovers an exciting, authentic metropolis.
Take the TECO Line Streetcar System to Historic Ybor City
“Home of the Original Cuban Sandwich,” Ybor City has several places to try the best around, including the Columbia Restaurant and Gaspar’s Grotto. In 2012 the Cub an Sandwich was named the official sandwich of the City of Tampa! While you’re in Ybor, don’t forget to stroll down Seventh Ave. and enjoy a café con leche!
Dive with the sharks or swim with the fishes at The Florida Aquarium
A unique opportunity for certified SCUBA divers, age 15 and older, to come face to face with live sharks! Dive into the Aquarium’s largest tank, the Coral Reef Exhibit, featuring warm clear water teeming with massive sharks, moray eels, barracuda, a green sea turtle and more! Not SCUBA certified? Age six and older can swim with the fishes through a replica of one of the Florida Keys’ most beautiful coral reef dive sites.
Shop ‘til you drop
Tampa Bay’s transition into high end retail began in 1998 and has since flourished with the opening of International Plaza (in 2001) further putting the Bay area on the map as a world-class retail market. With over 350 stores between International Plaza and Westshore Plaza, those in search of quality, luxury and high fashion can find the perfect fit in Tampa Bay! Hyde Park Village also offers high-end retailers and boutique shopping in a quaint and historical neighborhood.
Ride a roller coaster at Busch Gardens
Take a thrill ride on Cheetah Hunt, the park’s newest mega-attraction and Florida’s first triple-launch coaster that launches riders from 0 to 60 in seconds.
Find creativity at the Waterfront Arts District, along the Tampa Riverwalk
Stop at a venue in the waterfront arts district, including Tampa Museum of Art; David A. Straz, Jr. Center for the Performing Arts – the largest arts center in the southeastern U.S.; or the Florida Museum of Photographic Arts to see creativity at its best!
Sit down to a delicious dish or indulge in a sugar high
Tampa Bay is a culinary experience delight in creative cuisine at Edison or one of a kind fine dining at Bern’s, the world famous steakhouse and dessert room, complete with private booths made from old wine casks and a 65 – page menu of tantalizing sweets. Also enjoy fresh farm-to-table dishes at Boca and the Refinery, or Great Gatsby-inspired good times at Ciro’s Speakeasy.
Visit a farmer’s market for local goods
The Ybor City Saturday Market, Tampa Downtown Market (Sundays), and the Seminole Heights market (Sundays) are great events to purchase locally grown produce, gifts, and enjoy delicious homemade desserts, breads, pastas, and even popsicles!
Play golf in Tampa Bay’s 361 days of sunshine
Tampa Bay is the perfect place to tee off! With year-round golf the area offers more than 100 courses to play, from Saddlebrook Resort to TPC Tampa Bay.
See Tampa’s Historical Roots
Visit the Tampa Bay Hotel, built in 1891 and a stop along the Plant Railroad System, which brought a lot of visitors and businesses to Tampa Bay over 120 years ago. Home to the University of Tampa since 1933, the hotel is now the Henry B. Plant Museum, named after its founder.
Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo
See more than 2,000 animals including manatees, alligators, cheetah, okapi, hippo, hogs, storks and more housed on 56 acres of lush natural habitats!