Living in Tampa, FL provides endless options for employment, living, and award-winning dining. You may ask yourself, but what about fun? Tampa has excellent opportunities for fun all over the city, all year long. Here are Tampa’s top 10 best attractions that you should be sure to check out.
1. Tampa Riverwalk
The Tampa Riverwalk is an attraction that other cities strive to have, an accessible 2.6-mile riverfront walkway that takes you to the city’s best attractions, parks, and restaurants. The Riverwalk follows a path along the Hillsborough River and Garrison Channel right in Downtown. With easy access for the disabled, pets, joggers, and bikers, the Riverwalk is for everyone.
Notable landmarks along the way include the Heights Public Market, Straz Performing Arts Center, Tampa Museum of Art, Glazer Children’s Museum, the Tampa Bay History Center, and the Tampa Convention Center. There are also public art exhibits and vendors on the path. If sipping and strolling piques your interest, alcoholic beverages can be consumed on the Riverwalk if purchased from a vendor.
Be sure to check out their website as they have various events throughout the year, such as Tampa Riverfest, July 4th Boat Parade, and Halloween and holiday events.
2. Florida Aquarium
The Florida Aquarium is located in the Channel District of Tampa and hosts 250,000 square feet of aquatic fun. Centered around a one-million-gallon coral reef tank with over 200 species of fish, the Aquarium to sure to delight. Don’t miss out on the other various exhibits and habitats featured, such as The Ocean Decade Exhibition, the Wetlands of Florida, Journey to Madagascar, and many more.
The Aquarium also includes penguin meet and greets every day, and a restaurant and gift shop on-site for visitors. Check out their website for ticket pricing, memberships, and any upcoming events they may host.
3. ZooTampa at Lowry Park
If you really love animals, make sure you hit the Zoo and the Aquarium! ZooTampa at Lowry Park is located north of Downtown Tampa, but still only a 20-minute drive from Altura Bayshore. ZooTampa is consistently rated one of the best zoos in the country and sits on 56 acres in beautiful South Florida. They are home to over 1,000 animals such as giraffes, lions, and crocodiles. ZooTampa highlights its full list of residents on their website.
Also on their website is ticketing and event information. Open from 9:30 am to 5 pm, don’t miss an opportunity to get up close and personal with animals from around the world.
4. Tampa Museum of Art
For art lovers in Tampa, the Tampa Museum of Art is a must-see. Its riverfront location in Downtown makes it easily accessible to all. Their permanent collection is of Greek and Roman antiques and 20th-century sculptures. They also host 6 temporary exhibitions, currently including Salman Toor, Jacob Hashimoto, and Naeem Khan.
With awe-inspiring art inside, don’t overlook the beauty of the outside of the Museum. At night, the outside lights up with Villareal’s Sky, a 14,000-square-foot LED installation.
Enjoy strolling through the sculpture gardens and grabbing a bite to eat from the Riverwalk Cafe while exploring the many events such as art classes and Buddhist meditation. Tickets can be purchased on their website and if you visit after 4 pm on Fridays, they have pay-as-you-will admission.
5. Busch Gardens Tampa Bay
Thrill seekers and animal lovers alike will feel right at home at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay. This 335-acre theme park is located just 25 minutes from the Altura Bayshore property and has everything from roller coasters to kangaroos. Busch Gardens is a great weekend activity for both families and adults with shops, restaurants, and entertainment stages throughout the park.
They host events throughout the year such as Mardi Gras, a Food and Wine Festival, and many holiday events. Tickets are available online, with the best deals available if you book ahead of time. Don’t brush off Busch Gardens Tampa Bay as a place for just kids, adults can have just as much fun!
6. Henry B. Plant Museum
The Henry B. Plant Museum is the former Tampa Bay Hotel and transports visitors back in time as if they were guests at the hotel. Built in 1891, the Plant Museum has preserved the architecture, jaw-dropping furnishings, and beautiful gardens for visitors to explore. Take a step into history and walk the same halls as guests such as Teddy Roosevelt and Babe Ruth.
Visit their website for more information on museum hours and ticketing information. The Henry B. Plant Museum is sure to wow history buffs with its look into Florida tourism and considering it was all built on swampland!
7. Sporting Events
Tampa Bay is home to three professional sports teams, the Lightning, the Rays, and the Buccaneers. No matter what sport is your favorite or what time of year you were looking to catch a game, Tampa has an option for you. Catch a Lightning hockey game in the winter at Amalie Arena, a Buccaneers football game in the fall at Raymond James Stadium, or a Rays baseball game in the spring and summer at Tropicana Field.
Tickets for games will vary and can be purchased on the respective team’s website or ticket sale websites. Enjoy cheering on your new hometown team with friends and family and be sure to pick up some team swag before you go!
8. Tampa Bay History Center
The Tampa Bay History Center is located right in downtown along the Tampa Riverwalk and boasts over 12,000 years of history. From Seminole artifacts to a 1920s cigar store, the history center takes a deep dive into the history of the area. A visit is a great way to learn more about Tampa and explore the different events they host year-round.
Tickets and more information are available on the history center’s website. They also have a calendar of events that range from lecture series to walking tours of the area. Be sure to visit the Columbia Cafe on-site as well, which is a sister to the famous Columbia Restaurant of Ybor City that serves Spanish delicacies.
9. Ybor City
Ybor City, a National Historic Landmark District, is one of Tampa’s most well-known attractions. It was established in the late 1800s and is best known for its production of cigars. It has also been home to many immigrants and cultures over the years. For those looking to take a step back in time, Ybor City is the place to go.
Explore the area located just northeast of downtown by walking around, shopping at the market, and dining at one of the many restaurants and bars. Ybor City is a can’t miss for those new to the area or just visiting! Check out their website for maps and guides to the area.
10. Tampa Theatre
The Tampa Theatre is a great place to catch a screening of an eclectic movie or documentary for film aficionados. Originally built in 1926 and now on the National Register of Historic Places, the Tampa Theatre is a sight to see. With striking architecture and over 700 events a year, be sure to visit the theatre for an amazing evening experience.
Also located in downtown Tampa, the theatre is perfectly positioned to catch dinner at an award-winning restaurant nearby and a show. Visit the theatre’s website to see what the upcoming shows are or set up a tour, you won’t be disappointed.