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Sports! Craft beer! Cuban cigars! Whatever your reason for visiting The Big Guava, you won’t be short on options.
Our guide reveals fun things to do in Tampa, Florida, so that you can plan an easy trip. Or, if you’re local to Florida’s Gulf Coast, new ideas to add to your bucket list.
We’ve split this guide into neighborhoods and grouped activities by proximity to make planning simple.
You may also like our guide to St. Petersburg
Things to Do in Tampa, FL for Everyone
Tampa’s Riverwalk Attractions
Kicking off our travel guide is the 2.6-mile Tampa Riverwalk, the jewel of Downtown Tampa that is always bustling with activity along the Hillsborough River to the Garrison Channel.
Pedestrians use the Riverwalk to get between the many museums, parks, events spaces, and tourist spots it connects to and to stretch their legs.
The Riverwalk is one of the many free things to do in Tampa, and you can easily spend a day stopping off to sightsee or snack.
Another cheap way to enjoy this area is by visiting during the two-day Riverfest for sports, music, and food.
We really enjoyed the Riverwalk.
It’s great for first-time visitors as the path is pedestrianized, and there is plenty of action on either side of it.
A Riverwalk food option that is close to the Tampa Bay History Center is the hip Sparkman Wharf (615 Channelside Dr).
This outdoor dining, drinking, and entertainment space is stuffed with food options being served from food stands.
The public space has tables, chairs, and games like giant checkers.
Dogs and kids are both welcome – you might even spot a doggy photoshoot.
Paid on-street parking can be found close to Sparkman Wharf.
Sparkman Wharf is one of the more relaxed date night ideas in Tampa, perfect for a first date, especially since there are lots of things to look at to keep the conversation flowing – it was right up our street.
Tampa Bay History Center
The Smithsonian-affiliated Tampa Bay History Center (801 Water St) is family-friendly as it provides interactive ways of appreciating 12000 years of Florida history!
Learn more about Florida’s pirates, the city’s cigar industry, and the native Seminoles’s Everglades, or plan your visit to attend a special event.
For refreshments with a slice of history, head to the Columbia Cafe at Tampa Bay History Center, where you can dine from a Spanish and Cuban-inspired menu, some of which was once served at the original Cuban immigrant-owned Columbia Cafe in 1905!
Cotanchobee Fort Brooke Park
Just outside of the Tampa Bay History Center, you’ll find Cotanchobee Fort Brooke Park (601 Water St), which is a 4.5 acres waterfront park with a pier, playground, boat slips, canoe launch, and jogging path running alongside the Garrison Channel.
There is also a steel and bronze sculpture that honors the dead whose remains lie elsewhere by Native-American artist Bob Haozous.
Tampa tip: look out for squirrels in the trees.
Thunder Alley Sign
Meet fellow sports fans before a game at Amalie Arena’s Thunder Alley, the entrance to the multipurpose arena.
This is a large plaza with statues and entrances to the arena.
Amalie Arena for Sport and Gigs
While Amalie Arena (401 Channelside Dr) is consistently the home stadium for the NHL’s professional ice hockey team, Tampa Bay Lightning, it also hosts a number of basketball, arena football, concerts, and other events.
The arena opened in 1996 and has had many huge international acts such as Bryan Adams, Blink 182, Ariana Grande, and Taylor Swift grace its floors.
Check the official site to see what’s on.
Phil Esposito Statue
Inside Thunder Alley is a bronze statue in honor of the Tampa Bay Lightning’s founder, Phil Esposito, who introduced the idea of ice hockey to sunny Florida!
The work is true to size and by the sculptor Steven Dickey.
Cigar City Brewing
Cool off with a craft beer before the game or show at Cigar City Brewing (375 Channelside Dr).
CCB’s Taproom has indoor and outdoor seating.
Hop aboard one of the following water activities in Tampa to learn more about the history of the area, see the skyline from the water, enjoy drinks with friends on a floating tiki bar, or even go dolphin spotting!
These cruises last around 1.5 hours.
What makes Bayshore Boulevard so unique is that it is the longest continuous sidewalk in the United States!
The waterfront path is 4.5 miles and 10 feet wide and is used by walkers and runners as they exercise along the Hillsborough Bay.
The boulevard passes Downtown, Historic Hyde Village, and Ballast Point Park in South Tampa.
Moses White Statue
The Moses White bust can be found along the Riverwalk and is part of the Historical Monument Trail.
Referred to as the Mayor of Central Avenue in the 1950s, Tampan Moses White was a business owner, community leader, and philanthropist who served on Tampa’s Bi-Racial Committee.
The South Florida Bulls
Along the Riverwalk, you’ll also spot a bull, well, the USF Bull statue.
The USF Bulls, aka University of South Florida Athletics, are a college football team that plays home games at Raymond James Stadium (4201 N Dale Mabry Hwy), which is also where the NFL’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers play; go Bucs!
For game schedules, check the official site.
Tampa Museum of Art
Offering a diverse portfolio of over 8,000 pieces, the Tampa Museum of Art (120 W Gasparilla Plaza) is a great idea for those interested in exhibitions of ancient and contemporary art.
Architect Stanley Saitowitz designed the unusual building, using metal and glass in a modern way.
Outdoor seats provide views over the Hillsborough River.
The art museum makes up part of the Waterfront Arts District, which is where you’ll find some of the best indoor activities in Tampa.
Glazer Children Museum
Children can explore the world around them by taking on new roles at the museum’s Pizza Place, St Joseph’s Children’s Hospital, and Farm.
Things to Do in Downtown Tampa
Along with the Riverwalk, there are other Tampa attractions in Downtown worth considering, and the first is free.
Wander Downtown to see the striking architecture, such as the Sacred Heart Catholic Church (509 N. Florida Ave), the United States Courthouse Building, and the Downtown Postal Station (611 N Florida Ave).
There are also green historical markers for the likes of Teco Energy’s Tampa Electric Company, which started in 1989 and employed many folks in Florida.
Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park
This 8-acre park enjoys a backdrop of the Hillsborough River and The University of Tampa’s distinctive minarets.
Its central location is close to the Riverwalk, Tampa Museum of Art, Glazer Children’s Museum, and Rivergate Tower.
Come November, Curtis Hixon gets a tinsel makeover with its Winter Village ice rink, Santa meet and greet, and festive food options.
During winter, this is the hub for the city’s Christmas activities.
Let the kids burn off some energy while cooling off at the Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park splash pads.
They’re ideally located at the Glazer Children’s Museum.
Tampa Theatre opened its doors to locals on 15 October 1926, and at the time, it was one of the nation’s most elaborate movie palaces!
Designed by the sought-after architect John Eberson, who created over 500 theatres during his lifetime, the interior of the building looks like the exterior of a grand Mediterranean hotel.
The outside has vintage marquee signs that provide movie schedules and an old-school ‘Tampa’ sign attached to the wall.
Today, the theatre is still open to the public and shows independent, foreign, and documentary movies.
Dick Greco Statue
You’ll find a statue of Dick Greco sitting on a bench at Dick Greco Plaza’s HARTline transit center.
In the late 1960s, Greco became Tampa’s youngest mayor at 34 years old, leaving politics only to return again and also become the oldest mayor in the city’s history.
The City of Tampa Postcard Mural
Did you even go to a US city if you didn’t get a pic of the postcard?
Like in Clearwater, Tampa’s Postcard (1102 N Florida Ave) is brightly colored with images that reflect the location.
For example, UT’s building and the Ybor streetcar.
The artist, Carl Cowden III, initially painted the mural in 2003 as part of a City of Tampa Public Art program.
He returned for a touch-up in 2012.
Car and bike photos are popular against this retro backdrop.
Football and Music Mural
Tampa sports and music icons can be seen in this mural by Audrey Jennifer and Matt Kress ( 1000 N. Florida Ave).
Tom Brady of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Ray Charles, who lived in Tampa, are sprayed showing their talent with Brady in football gear and Ray on the piano.
Tampa Tribute Mural
Another sports-related mural featuring the Bucks and the Bolts with the Tampa skyline is located close to the Tampa Postcard.
The artists named on this mural are Kyle Holbrook and Ania Amador.
Things to Do in Ybor City
TECO Line Streetcar
You can’t miss the red, yellow, and blue streetcars taking you from Downtown and Channelside to the historic Ybor City district.
The heritage streetcar is free to ride seven days a week, with pick-ups every 15 minutes.
Vicente Martinez-Ybor Statue
Aside from sports, one of the most associated things related to Tampa is the cigar, and that’s down to the Spaniard Vicente Martinez-Ybor.
Martinez-Ybor initially opened a cigar company in Cuba, then another in Key West, Florida, where he fled to avoid political conflict, and finally in a hamlet of Tampa.
The hamlet would eventually be known as Ybor in honor of his commitment to making Tampa The Cigar Capital Of The World.
He mostly worked with Cuban employees and was one of the first to create the Cuban clear cigar using Cuban tobacco.
Buy Tampa Cigars
If you are partial to a puff or plan to invest in some for a special occasion, there is a handful of shops in Ybor that sell cigars.
Ybor Cigars Plus (1725 E 7th Ave) has a varied collection of cigars, from mild to sweet, that you can smoke at their store or take away.
Tabanero Cigars (1601 E 7th Ave) puts on live rolling sessions where you can see the cigar-making process.
At the back of the cafe, the Tabanero also sells freshly brewed Taba Brew coffee, which is a partnership with Tampa-based roasters Naviera Coffee Mills.
Tabanero is one of the best places to visit in Tampa for those in need of a café con leche, with the option of a cigar to smoke, too.
Molly Ferrara Plaque
Among all of the statues and markers of men is Molly Ferrara’s plaque in Ybor.
Although her business growth at Columbia Music and Appliances was commendable, Ferrara was also celebrated as Tampa’s first woman tax collector and won a host of awards for her community work.
She was one of Tampa’s few businesswomen, which led to her appointment as Alcaldesa of Ybor City.
Crafties at Ybor City Tap House
There’s no hiding that one of the most popular things to do in Tampa at night is bar hop in Ybor and get drunk!
This area gets lively on the weekends, with locals and visitors bar-hopping throughout the neighborhood.
For craft beer, take a seat at Ybor City Tap House’s (Centro Ybor, 1600 E 7th Ave) outdoor area, where you can watch the wild night unfold, and pimped-up cars blast music.
Or, opt for indoors at this zero-fuss, no-frills pub to watch the big TVs.
A fun bar in Ybor that leans into Florida’s pirate past is Gaspar’s Grotto (1805 E 7th Ave).
This big bar is decorated with nautical memorabilia, has an outdoor seating area, and serves Latin food.
It is named after a notorious pirate on the Gulf Coast, José Gaspar.
If you’re looking for things to do in Ybor City that tumble into the wee hours, The Castle (2004 N 16th St) is a multilevel club in a Medieval (ish) building.
No visit is the same as the party team puts on a mix of themed nights from disco to cosplay.
Have a Laugh at Improv
Tampa activities don’t always have to involve getting drunk.
If you’re looking for something different other than drinking to do in Ybor, see what’s on at Tampa Improv (1600 E 8th Ave C-112).
If you’re brave, you can even try your hand at comedy once a week.
Hit the Slots
GameTime (1600 E 8th Ave) is a family-friendly entertainment spot with over 100 arcade games.
Plus, bowling, pool tables, and air hockey.
There’s a diner serving snacks and a bar with a full liquor license.
You won’t miss a big sports game here either: boxing, football, you name it, they show it.
Consider this one of the Tampa attractions for families where adults can still enjoy a drink and some time off.
Things to Do in Hyde Park
Old Hyde Park
South Tampa’s Old Hyde Park came into existence in 1886 after the division of the area by Orville Hitchcock Platt, who named the neighborhood after his Chicago hometown, Hyde Park.
With its Georgian and Mediterranean estates, it quickly became the place to live, and today, the area still has an air of affluence.
Chill Out by the Fountain
Grab a chair and people-watch as locals congregate around the Hyde Park Village Fountain.
This Village Circle meeting point was constructed in 1981.
Give the credit cards a workout at the upmarket Village Circle Shops.
From boutique clothing to home interiors, you’ll find brand names such as Lululemon and independent stores like Albisia Jewelry.
Take a walk by Snow Circle to see the beautiful architecture featuring red bricks and white stone.
How cute is the street name sign?
A Touch of Britain
You didn’t expect to see a red telephone booth in Florida, did you?
This UK icon no longer works as a phone kiosk, but it does make a cool photo prop.
Sir Giles Gilbert Scott designed these telephone booths, and they can still be seen in the streets of the United Kingdom, Malta, Bermuda, Gibraltar, and now Tampa’s Hyde Park!
Join a Cooking Class
One of the more unique things to do in Tampa is take a cooking class!
Sur La Table Hyde Park’s (711 S Dakota Ave) culinary sessions tend to last around 2 to 2.5 hours, and students use techniques taught by instructors.
The restaurant provides everything, including the apron, so all you need to consider is comfortable shoes and layers in case it gets too hot at the workstation!
If you prefer to eat food rather than make it, consider eating at one of the fancy restaurants at Hyde Park.
While the area is compact, there is plenty of choice from Italian, Mexican, steak, and contemporary American cuisine.
If you just want a decent bun, go for the institution Goody Goody Burgers (1601 W Swann Ave), which has been flipping burgers and serving pies since 1925.
Originally a family restaurant, this Tampa landmark shut its doors in 2005 and then reopened under the management of Gonzmart Family of Restaurants.
Sports on TV Kinda Bar Day
For a casual drink with sports on TV, head to Hyde Park’s neighborhood bar, Irish 31 (1611 W Swann Ave).
If local, keep an eye out for the social schedule, such as bingo, live music, and charity events.
For date night or kid-friendly day options in Hyde Park, check out the movies being played at Cinebistro Hyde Park (1609 W Swann Ave).
This chain can be found in many Florida cities, serving in-theater dining and an extensive drinks menu.
It’s a fancy film house!
Wondering what the elegant yet foreign-looking building popping through the Tampa skyline is?
That’s the flamboyant Plant Hall at the University of Tampa, Florida (374 UT University Dr).
The building used to be a hotel, which was built between 1888 and 1891 by Henry B. Plant, who was a railroad and shipping magnate.
It features ‘ornate Victorian gingerbread and is topped by Moorish minarets, domes, and cupolas!’
In 1905, the hotel was sold to the City of Tampa.
Another historic building located on the grounds of UT is the Old Schoolhouse (403 Ut Old School House W).
The white wooden building was built as a school in 1885 by Gen. Jesse Carter for his daughter Josephine.
Plant bought the Schoolhouse while building his lavish hotel but kept it as is, and it was used as an apothecary shop before being sold to the City of Tampa along with the hotel.
See a Spartans Game
The Tampa Spartans is the umbrella term for the athletic teams at the University of Tampa.
Sports include baseball, basketball, lacrosse, soccer, and volleyball.
See the official site for schedules and tickets.
Things to Do in Tampa Heights District
In the heart of the Heights District is a huge industrial complex with Armature Works (1910 N Ola Ave).
The concept is excellent for couples, groups, and picky eaters since you can order from different vendors but still dine together.
Options include seafood, burritos, burgers, BBQ, pizza, salad, and ice cream.
There’s also a restaurant if you prefer.
Armature Works has indoor and outdoor tables, a large games area, and more seating with views over the Hillsborough River.
It really is a cool spot.
If you’re a digital nomad or looking for a space to work from home with food and drink temptations all around, you can use the co-working spaces, too.
The schedule of events is worth checking out if you’re visiting Tampa for a while; you’ll find fitness classes, educational sessions, and meet-ups.
Woven Water Brewing
There are some cool brew options around the Heights District, including the saloon-like Woven Water Brewing Company (456 W Columbus Dr).
This huge tap room sells award-winning beer, hard seltzers, and non-alcoholic drinks.
There’s also a weekly trivia night.
Another relaxed beer spot is Magnanimous Brewery (1420 N Florida Ave), which has seats around the wrapped bar, tables to the side, and benches outside.
The bespoke and changing menu caters for craft beer fans.
Heights Street Art
While Tampa Downtown’s street art trail is better documented, you will find murals dotted around the Tampa Heights neighborhood, too.
For example, this pretty Tampa Heights piece for Garagiste Meadery by Art Capco and a mural of a girl in blue and purple hues.
Things to Do Near Tampa
St. Pete Beach and Downtown Attractions
St. Petersburg is an affluent area close to Tampa.
The Downtown area is where you’ll find a modern pier with kid-friendly amenities like splash pads, the Dali Museum, and a farmers’ market on Saturdays.
It is about 24 miles from Downtown Tampa to St. Pete, and it takes around 30 minutes to drive, depending on the notorious traffic, of course.
St. Pete is also famous for its powdery sand beach on the Gulf of Mexico.
Find out more in our guide to things to do in St. Petersburg.
Clearwater Beach is a family-friendly beach area with kids’ rides and a playground.
Its fishing pier at the popular P60 draws in crowds, as does its variety of boat tours that depart from the marina.
Visitors love to bar-hop here, too.
Clearwater to Tampa Downtown is just over 25 miles apart and can take a little over an hour to get there, traffic depending.
Find out more in our guide to things to do in Clearwater Beach.
Tampa Travel Information
The best way to get around Tampa is on foot, by car, or by taxi. The free TECO Line Streetcar provides a link between Downtown and Ybor.
As you can see, there are at least three days worth of activities to do in this city!
We hope you found our guide on what to do in Tampa useful.
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