Tampa has always been Florida’s most dynamic destination said VisitFlorida.com. Visitors have lots to look forward to when visiting Tampa. From the historic Ybor City, thrill rides, live shows and exotic animals in Busch Gardens to beaches, craft beer, and convenient airport.
Did you know Tampa International Airport has the nation’s quickest TSA check-in? According to CN Traveler, the wait time on average is only 11.4 minutes. Tampa Airport was voted the second best airport in the U.S. as reported by J.D. Power.
It’s time to visit and here are Travelmath’s 5 things to do in Tampa:
1. Visit Ybor City
Ybor City started as a cigar-making center in 1885. The first cigar manufacturer was Cuban immigrant Don Vincente Martinez Ybor. By 1895, there were 10 cigar factories and in 1900, Ybor City was known as the “Cigar Capital of the World.” The industry flourished to 150 cigar factories.
Immigrants from Spain started immigrating to Ybor City, followed by Italians, Germans, and Romanian Jews.
Today, there are only a handful of cigar manufacturers left in Ybor City but this historic neighborhood still maintains its Cuban, Spanish and Italian heritage. You’ll find historic buildings with wrought iron balconies, brick-paved streets, Spanish restaurants and cafes that serve paella a la Valencia and cafe con leche.
When in Ybor City we recommend:
- Dining at Columbia Restaurant named Florida’s Oldest Restaurant and Largest Spanish Restaurant in the World.
- Take the old TECO Line Streetcar.
- Stroll on historic 7th Avenue.
2. Join in the fun at Busch Gardens
Busch Gardens is the place for thrill rides, live shows, and close animal encounters. Inside this 335-acre theme park you’ll have opportunities to have personal encounters with African animals in their natural habitats and experience the world’s top roller coasters like SheiKra (floorless dive coaster), Montu (seven intense inversions), Falcon’s Fury (60 miles per hour) and Cobra’s Curse (the newest ride).
3. Discover Lowry Park Zoo
Feed the giraffes, interact with the African elephants, learn about Florida wildlife, take a night safari – these are some of the extraordinary behind-the-scenes and private tours offered by Lowry Park Zoo.
Lowry Park Zoo was voted the best zoo for kids in America and its mission is to “connect people with the living earth.” The zoo has over 1,200 animals including Florida manatees.
4. Relax at Clearwater Beach
A 23-mile drive from Tampa city center will bring you to Clearwater Beach. Clearwater Beach is suitable for families with kids, couples and anyone who likes soft sandy beaches with great sunset views.
The beach is close to Clearwater Marine Aquarium, the aquarium that houses Winter the Dolphin. Winter the Dolphin has a prosthetic tale and was the star of the movie, Dolphin Tale.
5. Visit Dali Museum
There are 96 oil paintings by Dali. Dali’s drawings, photographs, objects, fine prints and videos are also available for viewing at the museum.
The museum’s building is a work of art in itself. The helical staircase was inspired by Dali’s artwork and the gardens have objects that depict Dali’s paintings.
Note: Remember to get the audio guide headset.
Information: Dali Museum
3 travel tips to help you plan your trip to Tampa:
- Use fly or drive calculator to help you decide the most economical way to travel to Tampa.
- Hotels in Tampa.
- Get the best airfare to Tampa.
If you have been to Tampa what were your favorite things to do?