This article is about various fun things to do in Tampa, FL. The city of Tampa, located on a cove reaching distant into the west coast of Florida, is the business center of western Florida. The city center is a region of high-rise office blocks. It also has historic old housing such as Old Hyde Park and Ybor City. The maps drawn by the Spanish conqueror show a figure of Indian settlements in Tampa Bay. The Americans constructed a fort at the front of the Hillsborough River aimed against the Seminole Indians in 1824. After the 2nd Seminole War, a seaport and trading center were built here. And thus, this soon grew into a district center. The Civil War brought a phase of stagnation, until a thrust was given to the town by establishing the South Florida Railroad. The mining of phosphates in the adjoining area also gave a boost to the city’s development. Reaching the end of the 19th century, Tampa turned into a stylish winter resort. Franklin Street is the walker center of downtown Tampa. The region is surrounded by Meridian Avenue in the east, the Hillsborough River in the west, Interstate 275 in the north, and Garrison Channel in the south. Tampa is a retreat for anyone interested in a vacation on the water, or for some amazing ocean views. Whether you’re on a family trip or want to explore what Floridian nightlife with friends, this coastal city is a great place to do everything. So, why wait? Just plan a trip to Tampa while we suggest you some of the best things to do in Tampa FL.
Top things to do in Tampa FL:
1.) Ybor City
Ybor City is a National Historic Landmark District and the core of Tampa’s Latin society. It is named after its founder, cigar tycoon Vincente Martinez Ybor. He moved into the region in the mid 1880s after his employees intimidated to unionize. The Ybor cigar factory was the biggest in the world at that time. Around 4,000 people hand-rolling approximately 900,000 cigars monthly. The Great Depression and machine rollers put an end to the boom. Therefore, many factories were closed and pulled down.
In more recent years the region has experienced a restoration. It is abode to many shops, restaurants, cafes and galleries. Seventh Avenue in Ybor City, “La Septima” (in Spanish language) represents some of the district’s majority of historical buildings. Some of which are listed under the National Register of Historic Places. A nice place to add in your list of things to do in Tampa Fl.
2.) Tampa Bay History Center
The Tampa Bay History Center is a 60,000 sqft space with a glass facade. It is situated in the Channel side District. The exhibits here shows the rich history of the Tampa Bay regions taking back to 12,000 years. Early residents of the place like the Seminoles, the multicultural influences of the past centuries, the shipping and railroad era, and local geography are the tourist attractions of this center. Plus, the permanent collection features a short-term gallery with changing displays.
3.) Big Cat Rescue
Another fine place to add to your list of things to do in Tampa FL. Big Cat Rescue is a wildlife sanctuary for ill-treated and deserted big cats. This non-profit organization is housing hundreds of animals which include Jungle Cats, Geoffroy Cats, Servals, Clouded Leopard, Caracals, Tigers, Snow Leopards, Lynx and Bobcats. The facility proposes guided tours only. You cannot explore the grounds on your own like in a zoo setting. However, this is a famous outing. If you are planning to visit with kids, under the age of 10, you must go for the “Kids Tour” which is only available on selected days.
4.) Bush Gardens
Bush garden is Acquiring a 335 acre of space. This family entertainment, adventure park is based on African-theme. It features live music, thrill rides, craft performances and an abundance of exotic animals. This place, is among the most attractive destinations in the Tampa area for touring families. Plus, visitors can have a safari to watch animals grazing with imitation of African villages and camps. Visitors can also have a close encounter with some of the animals. The Serengeti Night Safari is an added popular option at Busch Gardens. Another fun place to add to the list of things to do in Tampa FL.
5.) Tampa Electric Manatee Viewing Center
This manatee sanctuary is situated across the Tampa Electric power plant. The manatees are attracted here by the warm water formed by the power plant. Sometimes they can be seen in very big numbers. They are most visible here when the surrounding water temperature drops down. You will find a tidal pathway showcasing an array of Florida birds and plants, butterfly gardens. Also, there is a surveillance platform for the manatee. The Manatee Viewing Center also has an educational building that shows the power plant and the manatees.
6.) Lowry Park Zoo
The Lowry Park Zoo features over 2,000 animals in natural habitats. Some of the exhibits comprise Free-Flight Aviaries, Asian Gardens, Florida Wildlife Center. It also includes Florida Manatee and Aquatic Center, Safari Africa and Wallaroo Station children’s zoo. This zoo has developed over the years and has turned into a quality facility. This zoo is very famous among locals. Visitors are allowed to feed some of the animals, including giraffes. Alternatively, you can also take pleasure in rides and play areas for children. Going to the place is one of the most fun things to do in Tampa FL with kids.
7.) Sunshine Skyway
Sunshine Skyway is situated on Interstate 275/US 19 and serves as a toll bridge. This multilane highway is 12 miles long and bends elegantly across the foyer to Tampa Bay. Its central aspect is a 4.25 mile long elevated bridge. The middle part of the bay is poised from two massive pylons, allowing the way of large ocean-going containers underneath. The old bridge was crashed in the bay by a cargo ship in 1980 and partly crumbled. Parts of the old bridge now used as piers for anglers. From the drive on the new bridge, you can experience gorgeous views out over the ocean. The bridge itself is also an attractive sight and visitors often take photographs.
8.) Tampa Theater
Tampa Theater was Established in 1926. It is a lavish movie palace. It is a distinctive blend of architectural styles comprising Byzantine, Greek Revival and Italian Renaissance. It features foreign and classic films on a regular basis. Plus, it also host special concerts and other events. You can see both old and new films here. But, watching one of the classic movies in this building is an excellent fun. It feels like you’ve been taken back to another time period. A nice addition to make in your things to do in Tampa Fl list.
9.) Henry B Plant Museum
Earlier this museum was owned by railroad businessman Henry Plant. Some part of the former Tampa Bay Hotel was transformed into a museum in 1933. It is a lavish Victorian palace with unique Moorish features. The Museum showcases the hotel’s history and plant’s involvement to the growth of Tampa and Florida. There are different rooms, such as the Reading and Writing Room, Grand Hall, and the Garden room. All presents fine period furnishings and proposes a glimpse into the lifestyle of Henry B. Plant. Plant appointed a top landscape architect to design the grounds which are famous for their beautiful tropical gardens. The rest part of the old hotel is now the University of Tampa.
10.) Columbia Restaurant
Columbia Restaurant is situated in Ybor city. It is the city’s oldest and the country’s biggest Spanish restaurant. This iconic establishment was built in 1905 by Cuban immigrant Casimiro Hernández, Sr. He started a small corner cafe that now entertains over 1,600 people. There are various individual dining areas. It also includes the original cafe which has a capacity of 60 people. This restaurant is popular for its Spanish cuisine, old world architectural charm and dinner shows. Sometimes there is a flamenco dance performance. It also presents Jazz in the cafe on some evenings. This is the best things to do in Tampa FL.