Tampa

Don’t be fooled by Tampa’s corporate persona. Deep down there’s character to be found and secrets to be unlocked. Considered one of America’s best cities for the outdoors, Tampa invites visitors to get out and smell the roses. There are parks to wander, rivers to row and wilderness to explore; then when you’re done with the outdoors, a wealth of arts and culture awaits. Tampa prides itself on its abundance of stunning parks and recreational facilities. While it may not seem like the most exciting tourist activity of all time, do yourself a favour and take a walk through one or more of these urban retreats. Lettuce Lake Park, the Hillsborough River area and Upper Tampa Bay Park should be at the top of any list. The city’s more conventional tourist attractions are also not to be missed, some of which are among the best of their kind on the West Coast. The Big Cat Rescue, the Lowry Park Zoo and the Tampa Bay History Centre are the pick of the bunch.

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Time Zone UTC-5
Book Flights to Tampa Book now
Area 441.9 km2
Currency US Dollar
Population 347,645
Holiday Packages to Tampa Book now
Languages English
Dining

With large numbers of Italian immigrants arriving in Tampa in the late 1800s, it’s no surprise that many of the city’s best restaurants are indeed Italian. The best of these can be found in close proximity to one another along 7th Avenue in Ybor City. La Terrazza is a local favourite and often talked about as the best restaurant in town. Those wanting to try a genuine local creation should get their hands on a Cuban Sandwich - roast pork, ham, swiss cheese, pickles and mustard on fresh cuban bread. This Tampa specialty can be found at just about any cafe or take away shop in the city. The West Tampa Sandwich Shop and The Columbia are both well regarded locally for their Cubans. Being a coastal city, it’s no surprise Tampa is also home to a large contingent of seafood restaurants. Many of these are found in Northwest Tampa and its surrounding neighbourhoods, including the city’s two most popular - Ocean Prime and Eddie V’s.

Shopping

Tampa’s shopping opportunities range from irresistible antique boutiques to top notch designer fashion. With a proud history of cigar manufacturing and once populated largely by Cubans, Tampa today is dotted with gems of Cuban culture, particularly in its historic centre Ybor City. During the day there are famous museums to explore (don’t miss the cigar museum) and a multitude of fascinating shops to be tempted by. While in the neighbourhood it would be near-criminal not to explore the many cigar shops, even if only to browse. Also don’t miss Centro Ybor, a shopping and entertainment haven with an iconic movie theatre and numerous trendy shops and bars. After dark, have a meal at the iconic Columbia Restaurant, Florida’s oldest eatery, before stopping in for a drink at one of Ybor’s popular cigar bars. Bargain hunters will find paradise at the Big Top Flea Market, 20 minutes northeast of the city centre in Thonotosassa. Shoppers are greeted by everything from antiques and sporting memorabilia to gadgets, jewellery and even pets. If arriving by car, there’s plenty of free parking on site. If upscale shopping is more appealing, try your luck at Hyde Park Village. Spanning seven blocks and centred around lifestyle and outdoor urban design, this popular precinct makes for a brilliant half-day of shopping and general exploring. Expect mostly high-end independent fashion retailers in this area.