Tampa Destination Guide
Tampa Destination Guide
Tampa is that other great city by the bay - Tampa Bay, and this lovely metropolis on Florida’s central gulf coast is a haven for adventure seekers and beach goers the world over. While Tampa has a large metropolitan area the city itself is rather small, but as the regional hub it boasts many cultural attractions, sporting events and old Spanish colonial history. Tampa is just a short boat ride to the Gulf of Mexico and along with Tampa Bay it’s a popular area for boating, fishing and all kinds of water sports. As a city that is home to three professional sporting teams, Tampa is also the centre of many major league sporting events.
The Tampa Bay region is filled with nonstop adventure and one of the most popular sites is Adventure Island, a thrilling water park that features rip-roaring water slides. Just across the street is Busch Gardens, a unique theme park filled with rides and roller coasters set in an African scene complete with exotic animals within realistic African habitats. Further excellent wildlife parks include the Florida Aquarium and one of the top rated family friendly zoos in the country, the Lowry Park Zoo. One of the finest cultural sites in the city is the riverfront Tampa Museum of Art housing extraordinary exhibits of priceless ancient artefacts and intriguing modern works. The Henry B. Plant Museum highlights works of art from America’s gilded age in the 1890’s. The ornate building is an attraction in itself with its palatial size and decorative domes and cupolas. Get in with the locals and cheer on one of Tampa’s three professional sporting teams. The state of the art sporting arenas some of Tampa’s most popular local attractions during home games.
The food scene in Tampa is vibrant and eclectic with many cuisine choices available. Tampa is well known for its fresh food selections and quality restaurants and one of the best areas to enjoy an evening out is the swank SoHo District. Ybor City is another trendy and entertainment packed area with many excellent restaurants, clubs and bars.
Where to Stay
Tampa has many world class choices in accommodation and many of the luxury resorts and high-end branded options are located downtown. Many of these hotels offer excellent water views and are within a close proximity to downtown and the major attractions. Tampa is also known for its lovely B&B’s and guest houses within historic properties. Budget conscious travellers will find ample choices available in clean, modern and attractive hotels city wide.
With Tampa’s sub-tropical climate and lively social flavour, the city features many wonderful open air shopping areas, markets and pedestrian malls. Add trendy shopping centres and quaint neighbourhood shops and the retail choices are endless. West Shore Plaza and International Plaza are two upscale shopping centres with all the favourite brand names and luxury boutique retailers while the historic and trendy Hyde Park and Ybor City neighbourhoods offer lovely shopping street scapes filled with designer shops, local retailers and art galleries.
Tampa Like a Local
With its proximity to the Gulf of Mexico, Tampa has a coastal lifestyle and locals love to boat, fish and hang out at the beach. Fishing trips head out daily to the gulf for fun filled day trips. The Port of Tampa also features many regional and international cruises on some of the most popular cruise lines. Tampa is also a city of festivals, especially in the mild springtime months (March to May). From art fairs and music festivals to seasonal food tastings and ethnic celebrations, there is always a festival taking place for the locals to enjoy. For more outdoor fun head to Lettuce Lake Park, a 240 acre natural habitat where locals go to enjoy kayaking, hiking and family day outings with a picnic.