Best travel places to visit in Tampa


Tampa, a vibrant city located on Florida’s Gulf Coast. Known for its rich history, diverse culture, and abundant recreational opportunities, Tampa offers a delightful mix of experiences for travelers of all interests. From sunny beaches and mesmerizing waterfronts to fascinating museums and thrilling amusement parks.

1. Ybor City 

Our first stop takes us to Ybor City, a historic neighborhood that was once the thriving cigar capital of the world. Founded in the late 1800s by Vicente Martinez-Ybor, this district now boasts a diverse blend of cultures, including Cuban, Italian, and Spanish influences. As you wander the charming cobblestone streets, you’ll encounter a wide array of boutiques, art galleries, and restaurants that reflect the area’s unique heritage.

Make sure to visit the Ybor City Museum State Park, which delves into the neighborhood’s history and showcases its importance in the cigar industry. For a taste of Cuban culture, stop by Columbia Restaurant, Florida’s oldest restaurant, serving delicious Spanish and Cuban cuisine since 1905.

2. Tampa Riverwalk 

Next, we embark on a leisurely stroll along the Tampa Riverwalk, a scenic pathway stretching 2.6 miles along the Hillsborough River. This picturesque trail connects several of Tampa’s most iconic attractions, making it the perfect spot for both locals and visitors to enjoy a relaxing walk or bike ride.

Along the Riverwalk, you’ll encounter gems such as the Tampa Museum of Art, which houses an impressive collection of modern and contemporary art, and the Glazer Children’s Museum, an interactive wonderland for young minds. As you walk, take in the panoramic views of the city’s skyline and lush parks, and be sure to stop by the Tampa Bay History Center to immerse yourself in the region’s past.

3. Busch Gardens Tampa Bay 

For adrenaline junkies and animal lovers alike, Busch Gardens Tampa Bay is a must-visit destination. This renowned amusement park combines thrilling roller coasters with an impressive zoo, creating an unforgettable experience for the whole family.

Brace yourself for rides like SheiKra, a floorless dive coaster that plunges at a 90-degree angle, and Cheetah Hunt, a high-speed roller coaster that mimics the agility of a cheetah. After getting your heart pumping, head to the Serengeti Plain to witness magnificent animals roaming freely in naturalistic habitats. From giraffes to rhinos and lions, the park’s wildlife encounters will leave you in awe.

4. Clearwater Beach 

No visit to Tampa is complete without a trip to Clearwater Beach, consistently ranked among the best beaches in the United States. Only a short drive from the city, this sun-kissed paradise offers sugary white sands, crystal-clear waters, and an array of water activities.

Whether you want to relax under an umbrella with a good book or dive into thrilling adventures like parasailing or jet skiing, Clearwater Beach has something for everyone. Take a sunset cruise or indulge in a dolphin-watching tour for a chance to see these intelligent creatures in their natural habitat.

5. Florida Aquarium 

Dive deep into the wonders of the ocean at the Florida Aquarium, where you can encounter over 8,000 aquatic plants and animals from Florida’s ecosystems and beyond. This educational and entertaining attraction is perfect for families and nature enthusiasts.

One of the highlights of the Florida Aquarium is the Coral Reef Gallery, featuring a mesmerizing tunnel that surrounds you with colorful fish and graceful rays. Don’t miss the Wetlands Trail, where you can spot alligators, otters, and other fascinating creatures native to Florida’s wetlands.

6. Tampa Theatre 

Step back in time and experience the elegance of the 1920s at the Tampa Theatre, an opulent movie palace that has been lovingly preserved. With its unique architectural style, including a stunning starlit ceiling, the Tampa Theatre is more than just a venue; it’s a piece of living history.

Catch a classic movie or attend a live performance amidst the grandeur of this beautifully restored theater. Be sure to check their schedule for special events, as the Tampa Theatre regularly hosts film festivals, concerts, and other cultural activities.

7. Lowry Park Zoo

For a fun-filled day with animals from all corners of the globe, head to the Lowry Park Zoo. As one of the top-rated zoos in the country, it’s home to a vast array of wildlife and offers interactive exhibits for a more immersive experience.

Get up close with majestic elephants, playful primates, and curious penguins. The zoo also features a dedicated children’s area, Wallaroo Station, where the little ones can enjoy hands-on activities, petting areas, and water play zones.

8. Henry B. Plant Museum 

Transport yourself to the opulent Gilded Age at the Henry B. Plant Museum, located on the campus of the University of Tampa.  Plant in 1891, this iconic building now houses a museum that displays the elegance and extravagance of the era.

Marvel at the stunning architecture, including Moorish Revival elements, while exploring exhibits that feature original furnishings, artwork, and artifacts from the hotel’s heyday. The museum also offers guided tours that provide in-depth insights into the history of the building and the region.

9. Big Cat Rescue 

For animal enthusiasts who are passionate about wildlife conservation, a visit to Big Cat Rescue is an eye-opening experience. This sanctuary is dedicated to rescuing and providing a permanent home for abused, abandoned, and neglected big cats.

Join a guided tour to learn about the stories of these majestic creatures and the importance of their conservation.

10. The Dali Museum 

Art aficionados will delight in the Salvador Dali Museum, showcasing the largest collection of Salvador Dali’s works outside of Spain. The striking museum building itself is a work of art, designed to resemble a geodesic glass bubble, which adds to the surreal ambiance.

Explore Dali’s masterpieces, from his iconic melting clocks to his intriguing surrealist paintings. The museum’s galleries provide an immersive journey into the mind of the iconic artist, making it a must-visit for anyone with an interest in modern art.

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