36+ Cool Things to Do in Tampa, FL (Besides Partying)

Tampa is a renowned party hot-spot in the U.S., so it can be sometimes hard to stay sober. But there are plenty of cool things to do in Tampa, Florida, that don’t involve drugs or drinking. “If you are looking for addiction treatment help, WhiteSands would love to help you or a loved one, with the best drug rehab Tampa services in the area. With a huge variety of sports teams, museums, unique attractions, and weird oddities to visit, Cigar City has plenty of healthy activities to enjoy. We’ve created a list of wholesome, unique, and family-friendly things to do in Tampa Bay, Florida, to keep you interested along your journey.

Table of Contents

But first, check the events calendar to find specific Tampa activities.

Looking for the top things to do in Tampa this weekend? Check these lists:

  • The Tampa Bay Times Events Calendar
  • The Official Visitor’s Bureau Events Listing
  • Downtown Events in Tampa

Pro Tip: Come winter there be pirates.

The Gasparilla Festival

Relaxing things to do in tampa

Source: Christopher Hollis for Wdwic Pictures (Wikimedia Commons)

There are many different annual events in Tampa, like the much-loved pirate festival, Gasparilla, which happens in the winter months. (There are alcohol-free events within the festival.)

Other notable events include the Florida State Fair, Guavaween (in Ybor City around Halloween), the Strawberry Festival (in Plant City in March), and the Outback Bowl on New Year’s Day.

Here are other common places to check for events: Try the cultural hotbed of Cigar City: the Tampa Museum of Art. You could also see what’s happening at the Straz Center for the Performing Arts.

But if you’ve looked through the events calendars and are still looking for cheap or free things to do in Tampa today, we’ve ranked some unconventional ideas that don’t involve destructive habits or much cash. We’ve gone out of our way to find the weird, unique, and wacky adventures for locals that are off the beaten path. (But if you’re looking for more of the typically recommended stuff to do in Tampa, go to the bottom of this list!)

Without further ado, here’s our list of the top things to do in Tampa Bay while staying sober!

1. Feel reality bend at the Dali Museum.

Salvador Dali Museum

Relaxing things to do in tampa

Source: Walter (Flickr)

You don’t need anything but an open mind and amazing art to go on quite a trip, and the Dali Museum has it all. It also has really cool events, like lectures, workshops, calming yoga classes, and films.

2. Get a thrill on a thrill ride at Busch Gardens.

Busch Gardens Tampa Bay

Relaxing things to do in tampa

Source: Jeremy Thompson (Wikimedia Commons)

If you have some extra change in your pocket, an off-season ticket might be fun. Try the Kumba (pictured above) or the Sheikra. Or, if you want to keep your feet on the ground, you can wave to the animals. Adventure Island is the other favorite theme park of the area.

3. Buy a loofa – a real one – and take relaxation seriously.

Spongeorama

Relaxing things to do in tampa

Source: Leonard J. DeFrancisci (Wikimedia Commons)

If you want to relax, do it in style. Tarpon Springs is home to the world’s largest selection of natural sea sponges, and they have quite a few loofas and seashells, too. Visit this shop and the 50s-era attraction that goes with it. While you’re there, enjoy the Greek restaurants that have cropped up in the area.

4. Get a bit obsessive about the local hockey team.

Tampa Bay Lightning

Source: NHLHockey95 (YouTube.com)

Consider how fast ice melts in this part of Florida, it’s pretty strange how genuinely obsessive fans are with their hockey team. Check the Tampa Bay Lightning schedule for upcoming games. Don’t forget the Buccaneers or the Rays, of course.

5. Do the tourists’ favorite thing: See the manatees warming themselves.

Tampa Electric Manatee Viewing Center

Relaxing things to do in tampa

Source: This photo of Tampa Electric Manatee Viewing Center is courtesy of TripAdvisor

It might be strange to see manatees hanging out next to a power station, but they tend to like the warm water. It’s one of the best things to do in Tampa with kids for free and it’s open from November to mid-April. Check the webcam to see if there are any sea cows there right now.

6. Find serenity at the local temple.

The Hindu Temple of Florida

Relaxing things to do in tampa

Source: User:proshob (Wikimedia Commons)

This is a massive, beautiful place of worship and cultural center in Tampa, which serves as a place of deep and introspective meditation. You can tour the temple for free.

7. Get lost in world-famous gardens.

The Sunken Gardens

Relaxing things to do in tampa

Source: Babymestizo (Wikimedia Commons)

The world-famous Sunken Gardens are more than a century old. This important and beautiful Floridian attraction is home to some of the oldest tropical plants in the region, as well as a beloved flock of flamingos.

8. Visit Cuba (but just for a minute).

Parque Amigos de Jose Marti

Relaxing things to do in tampa

Source: Ebyabe (Wikimedia Commons)

The Republic of Cuba technically owns this tiny park in Ybor Square. It’s very unassuming and sports two statues of Cuban heroes.

9. Be blown away by the glass art of the world-famous Chihuly collection (or take a class yourself).

Morean Arts Center

Relaxing things to do in tampa

Source: Morean Arts Center

Chihuly is a famous American sculpture whose works frequent New York City, Japan, Canada, Jerusalem, and numerous places around the world. However, he has a permanent piece sitting right in Tampa. The Morean Arts Center houses his works and trains a new generation of artists during classes: learn to draw, paint, make jewelry, blow glass, bake clay, make prints, and more. The Gott Glass Studio also has workshops.

10. Experience pure gaudiness at a whole new level.

Kopok Tree Inn

Relaxing things to do in tampa

Source: State Library & Archives of Florida

No one does an excessive amount of statues quite like this place. Locally famous for its absurd extravagance, the Kapok Tree Inn is still a popular events spot. (Make sure the calendar is clear before you stop by.)

11. Get in a new frame of mind at the iconic photography museum.

Florida Museum of Photographic Arts

Relaxing things to do in tampa

Source: Fmopa (Wikimedia Commons)

Snapchat is all well and good, but photography is an art form that should be celebrated every once in a while. Tickets are inexpensive; only $10 to get in.

12. Embrace deathly beauty at the local oddities shop.

Dysfunctional Grace Art Co.

Relaxing things to do in tampa

Source: @dysfunctional_grace (Instagram)

Skeleton fish heads and elk toe necklaces decorate the strange and beautiful Dysfunctional Grace Art Company, which celebrates all things weird, unacceptable, revolting, and beautiful. (Note: It’s NOT kid-friendly!)

13. Step right up! Step right up! Explore the incredible history of the circus!

John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art

Relaxing things to do in tampa

Source: Roger Wollstadt (Wikimedia Commons)

Not-so-far away, in Sarasota, was the home away from home for the Ringling brothers. Today, the estate is home to a massive art museum. It also houses the Circus Museum, which comes highly recommended, a huge mansion, lovely gardens, and a historic theater.

14. No monkeying around. (Well … alright. Maybe some.)

Suncoast Primate Sanctuary

Relaxing things to do in tampa

Source: Suncoastprimates.com

Over in Palm Harbor is a retirement home for primates. It’s home to more than 100 animals with nowhere else to go, including orangutans, chips, lemurs, baboons, parrots, snakes, turtles, and more.

15. If monkeys aren’t your thing, visit rescued lions and tigers instead. (Oh my!)

Big Cat Rescue

Relaxing things to do in tampa

Source: Tony Webster (Flickr)

Reserve some time with the big cats at one of the largest accredited sanctuaries for abused and abandoned big cats. They have leopards, lions, tigers, bobcats, ocelots, and more. (Note that you’ll need to get tickets ahead of time.)

16. Or visit Winter, the star of Dolphin Tale (2011).

Clearwater Marine Aquarium

Source: Clearwater Marine Aquarium (YouTube.com)

It’s impossible to not be inspired by this dang dolphin. For those who haven’t seen that tear-jerker film, Winter is an amputated dolphin that swims with a prosthetic tale after surviving a horrific encounter with a fishing net. She and many other animals at Clearwater have been rescued and rehabilitated.

17. Or see oodles of animals at the Florida Aquarium.

The Florida Aquarium

Relaxing things to do in tampa

Source: Ekistics Design Studio (Flickr)

It might be a tourist favorite, but that doesn’t mean it’s not one of the more fun things for kids to do in Tampa Bay. Also, if you’re looking for a rewarding and wholesome experience on your recovery journey, you could also consider volunteering.

18. Learn more about Florida.

South Florida Museum

Relaxing things to do in tampa

Source: South Florida Museum

Tourists flock to the Tampa Museum of Art and MOSI, but this museum has local interests in mind. From huge local fossils to an epic planetarium, the museum holds more educational goodies for everyone to enjoy. While you’re there, be sure to visit the aquarium, which houses rehabilitated manatees. Just know that they might be mourning Snooty the Manatee, the super-curious 69-year-old manatee who recently passed away.

R.I.P. Snooty the Manatee: May your heaven be a waterway with no boats overhead and lots of smiles.

19. Do the most typical thing of all the typical things to do in Florida: Take a long walk on the beach. (But, hey, it’s still pretty relaxing.)

Clearwater Beach

Relaxing things to do in tampa

Source: rcgtrrz (Flickr)

A sunset nap, a kite-wielding excursion, a game of frisbee with friends, or a very typical dating-profile-worthy walk on the beach can be very therapeutic to our patients and coping friends. And Clearwater is one of the favorite Tampa, Florida, beaches to visit.

20. Or burn your toes on the only public black sand beach in Florida.

Caspersen Beach

Relaxing things to do in tampa

Source: This photo of Caspersen Beach is courtesy of TripAdvisor

Quiet Caspersen Beach, with its gray/black sands, is also one of the best places in the world for shark-tooth hunting. If you find one, here’s how to make a necklace out of it.

21. Visit the world’s largest shuffleboard club. Hey, don’t knock it ’til you’ve tried it. (Or do knock stuff … as that’s a part of the game.)

St. Petersburg Shuffleboard Club

Source: Carrie Waite (YouTube)

Every Friday from 7-11 p.m. is the St. Pete Shuffle, during which all visitors are welcome to play shuffleboard (weather permitting).

22. Go on an epic culinary quest.

Multiple Locations

Relaxing things to do in tampa

Source: Foodista (Flickr)

Tampa is home to great eats. Make it your goal to explore them. These are some examples of food adventures you could complete:

  • You could hop around to local cheap eat spots, like Danny’s All American Diner, which got some fame on a famous Food Network show, or Biff Burger Drive Thru, which pioneered the roto-broiled burger.
  • You could go on a themed quest, such as a quest to find the best pie in Tampa. (Some people say that’s Mike’s Key Lime Pie.)
  • You could get off the beaten path and experience the best, freshest orange juice in the world.
  • If you’re really ambitious and hungry, try to chip away at this top 50 list.

23. Reduce. Reuse. Recycle. Find the artist who takes the three r’s seriously.

Hong Kong Willie’s

Source: hongkongwillie (YouTube)

Ever heard the expression “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure”? Hong Kong Willie is the embodiment of that. He can make something out of any refuse or item found along the shore, and inspires all of us to be wiser when tossing out plastic. Locals know that he has some of the best junk art and composting worms around.

24. See the world’s largest collection of autographed baseballs.

Schrader’s Little Cooperstown exhibit at the St. Petersburg Museum of History

Relaxing things to do in tampa

Source: Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) (Wikimedia Commons)

Out of all the different obscure, strange, and fun stuff to do in Tampa, FL, seeing a huge collection of signed baseballs in one of the most substantive baseball museums outside of Cooperstown, NY, is one of the most unexpected ones.

25. Take a dorky selfie with the chicken church.

The Church by the Sea in Madeira Beach

Relaxing things to do in tampa

Source: lighthugger (Imgur.com)

An unintentional aspect of the architecture of this church is that it looks like an adorably baffled chicken. It’s a favorite for selfies. It’s hard not to grin when looking at its smile.

26. Visit Recyclosaurus on your way into the museum.

Museum of Science and Industry

Relaxing things to do in tampa

Source: Wyrmwren (Smithsonianmag.org)

It’s a T-Rex made out of recycled materials sitting outside of the Museum of Science and Industry in Tampa. Kids activities, programs, exhibits, and events all help to promote STEM there. (If you didn’t get enough dino-action with Recyclosaurus, visit Dinosaur World in Plant City.)

27. Too weird not to visit – tour the house inside a redwood in Tarpon Springs.

Redwood Log House

Relaxing things to do in tampa

Source: Tichnor Brothers, Publisher (Wikimedia Commons)

We wish there was an explanation for this one, but there isn’t. It’s a house made from a 1900-year-old Californian redwood tree: a tiny home before it was cool. Because it’s mobile, you should check to see if it’s currently in the area.

28. Wave at mermaids.

Weeki Wachee State Park

Source: Weeki Wachee Springs State Park (YouTube.com)

It’s not often you get to visit a city of live mermaids at an actual state park. One of the deepest underwater caverns in the U.S. is home to an attraction near Tampa that’s drawn in audiences since 1947. Here’s a nostalgic snapshot from the earlier years:

Relaxing things to do in tampa

Source: ellen jo roberts (Flickr)

Check for upcoming show times to see when they’ll be flippin’ around.

29. But pirates are cool too.

Captain Memo’s Pirate Cruise

Relaxing things to do in tampa

Source: CaptainMemo.com

Another common tourist activity is still one of the most unique, kid-friendly things to do in Tampa, FL. Most cruises (except for the champagne cruises) are for families. Give this local institution some love; they’ve been shouting “yar” for more than 40 years!

30. Unless you’d rather hang out with conquistadors.

De Soto National Memorial

Relaxing things to do in tampa

Source: nps.gov

Hernando de Soto made landfall in this area in 1539 and, today, it’s often the source of living history exhibits.

31. Take life a little bit more seriously: rub your chin while studying contemporary art.

Contemporary Art Museum (CAM)

Relaxing things to do in tampa

Source: University of South Florida

While the Tampa Museum of Art is certainly worth visiting, the University of South Florida houses more than 5,000 works for you to drool over. Also, it’s free. So if you’re looking for free stuff to do in Tampa Bay, stop by!

32. Or take life far too seriously while observing the dead on a ghost tour.

Ybor City

Relaxing things to do in tampa

Source: MiaCass16 (Wikimedia Commons)

Ybor City is a cool place whether you’re stopping by at the museum, riding a trolley, or trying to bust ghosts. No matter what, the area likely has fun things to do in Tampa tonight, but be aware of the downtown nightlife.

33. Accept an invitation to first Fridays at a Victorian hotel.

Henry B. Plant Museum

Relaxing things to do in tampa

Source: Ebyabe (Wikimedia Commons)

The Henry B. Plant mansion is one of the most beautiful structures in Tampa. Things to do and see within the building are numerous. Admission is free between 5 and 7 p.m. for every first Friday (except during December).

34. Bike the longest continuous sidewalk in the world.

https://whitesandstreatment.com/things-to-do-in-tampa/640px-Tampa_Bayshore_Blvd_looking_south01.jpg

Relaxing things to do in tampa

Source: Ebyabe (Wikimedia Commons)

At 4.5 miles long, this sidewalk is a cyclist’s dream. If that’s somehow not far enough for you, take a waterbike instead.

35. Or fish on the world’s longest fishing pier.

Skyway Fishing Pier State Park

Relaxing things to do in tampa

Source: Florida State Parks

This is one of the more calming activities in Tampa to do on a nice day. The pier, made from an old bridge, is a hotbed of fish. Locals say they can successfully catch grouper, red snapper, black sea bass, tarpon, anglers, and other types of delicious fish here. Just be aware that you may need a fishing license depending on your rod, as well as what and how much you’re catching.

36. Go to one of the 8 zillion amazing state parks and observe the awesomeness of nature!

Multiple Locations

Alafia River State Park from Dustin Roedding on Vimeo.

Source: Dustin Roedding (Vimeo)

Consider any one of these parks near or around Tampa for your next adventure:

More of the Typically Recommended Things to do in Tampa Bay

If you haven’t checked these locations out yet, stop by for some family fun.

Out of all the places one could take part in sober living, Tampa certainly can be life-fulfilling!


— Update: 05-01-2023 — cohaitungchi.com found an additional article Most Calming Spots in Tampa Bay to Help Reduce Stress and Chill from the website tripjaunt.com for the keyword relaxing things to do in tampa.

As part of our Tampa Bay series, we’ve put together the best spots to chill in town, just for you. Enjoy a calm and relaxing vacation that combines the best of the city and nature. These are the places where you’ll experience the atmosphere, culture, and landscape that make Tampa so awesome, a city full of life and culture.

Hillsborough County

Relaxing things to do in tampa

Whether you’re looking to escape the city crowds or just find a place to stretch your legs or even your imagination, Hillsborough County has hundreds of parks. Each has different things to offer, like amazing views, preserved woodland, bird watching, picnic areas and much more.

Relaxing things to do in tampa

You’ll want to take a canoe trip down the Alafia River, where you’ll get a view of the native wildlife and flora, or take a long hike through Trout Creek Wilderness Park.

Relaxing things to do in tampa

Lettuce Lake Regional Park

Relaxing things to do in tampa

Lettuce Lake Regional Park is one of the top areas for anyone who enjoys the outdoors. Anyone looking for a good walk or a romantic date will love it. The river has been left in its natural state and runs through 240 wooded acres to explore and enjoy.

Relaxing things to do in tampa

The 3,500-foot boardwalk is an excellent opportunity to bird watch, leading up to the observation tower where the view of the park is just perfect. The staff at the park offer excellent guided nature walks. If you feel like seeing it all from the river, you can rent canoes and kayaks.

Relaxing things to do in tampa

Paddling the Hillsborough River in John B. Sargeant Sr. Park

Relaxing things to do in tampa

You can also chill by spending a few hours exploring the unique environment of Tampa Bay’s Hillsborough River. Which is lined with moss-draped cypress trees and filled with migratory birds and even the occasional alligator. The four-mile excursion includes a ride back to the starting point.

Relaxing things to do in tampa

You can also take this river trip on Stand-up Paddle boards with Urban Kai, or use a Water taxi or Waterbike to get a quicker tour. Make sure to take lots of pictures as there are lots of dolphin spotting opportunity. To make it all even better, it’s right in the heart of downtown Tampa.

The New Tampa Riverwalk

Relaxing things to do in tampa

Picture yourself walking or biking the new Tampa Riverwalk, feeling the warm breeze, smelling the ocean air and basking in the sunshine. The Riverwalk is the place to chill and unwind. It runs for 2.4 miles (4 km) along the Hillsborough River and Garrison Channel, linking downtown’s favorite attractions like gems on a string.

Relaxing things to do in tampa

Riverwalk visitors can drink alcohol as they stroll, as long as they buy it from the eight approved vendors along the way and carry it in specially designated cups. At night, the Riverwalk’s canopies are lighted, along with its stunning bridges crossing the river.

Read more  14 Most Unique Things To Do In Orlando, Florida

Relaxing things to do in tampa

Bayshore Boulevard

Relaxing things to do in tampa

You also need to check out Bayshore Boulevard, a fantastic place to go strolling, jogging or biking. It’s the longest continuous sidewalk in the world (7.2 km) and an excellent spot to glimpse dolphins.

Relaxing things to do in tampa

You can enjoy the Boulevard drinking a freshly roasted Buddy Brew latte at Oxford Exchange, watching Tampa’s young and beautiful lunch, meet, read and shop. This historic building was once part of the nearby University of Tampa. Today, Oxford Exchange combines a popular restaurant with a unique bookstore, coffee shop and home décor space featuring vintage gifts. It’s a space unlike any other in Tampa.

Relaxing things to do in tampa


— Update: 05-01-2023 — cohaitungchi.com found an additional article 65 Fun Things to Do in Tampa, Florida from the website tourscanner.com for the keyword relaxing things to do in tampa.

Beaches? Tick. Nightlife? Tick. Proximity to some of the world’s most exciting theme parks? Double tick.

Tampa might not be Florida’s largest city (Jacksonville), nor its most famous (Miami), but its array of exciting things to do is as diverse and intriguing as any.

Throw in the endless amount of tourist attractions within striking distance in places like Clearwater, St. Petersburg and Orlando (some of which are mentioned here), and the list truly does become endless.

Laden rich in culture, explore 19th-century architecture, learn something new at the museums or stop by lively local neighborhoods like Ybor City  — where the Cuban sandwich was invented!

Swap land for the seas and set sail on a sunset cruise, or ride out for the chance to spot dolphins up close. Get festive with a visit to a floating tiki bar, or go bar-hopping along the waters with a group of mates.

In the evenings, catch a concert by candlelight, dine in the dark or hit the town for cocktails and a boogie.

For the younger ones, there are tons of exciting activities, from virtual reality arcades to Legoland, Dinosaur World, indoor skydiving and ziplining adventures, and families favor the experiences for both children and teens.

Whether you’re searching for a trip full of thrills, relaxation, food or fun, here’s the best selection of fun things to do in Tampa to have you covered.

1 – Meet the penguins at Florida Aquarium

Relaxing things to do in tampa

Fun for all ages, the aquarium is a journey of all kinds of marine ecosystems, from freshwater springs to the expansive Florida Keys!

As you pass through the sections, you’ll find exhibits of wetlands, beaches, and a coral reef housing a myriad of vibrant sea life.

The highlight, of course, is Penguins: Backstage Pass, where visitors get close enough to see the cute critters waddle, eat and shake their tail feathers!

Take the kids to play with water outdoors at the Splash Pad, or watch a short movie about marine life in the 4-D Theater where you can experience mist, wind, among other effects, as you see them on screen.

  • Florida Aquarium tickets

2 – Ride a roller coaster and go on a safari at Busch Gardens

Relaxing things to do in tampa

Where a zoo meets an amusement park, travelers love the 65-acre Serengeti Safari, a popular attraction complete with over 200 species.

With so many creatures to see, you might be spoiled for choice — so if you need help deciding, you can’t go wrong with hippo, elephant, and kangaroo tours!

Adrenaline junkies, make a beeline for the Iron Gwazi — the world’s fastest and steepest Hybrid Coaster, a hybrid coaster made of wood and steel. It takes you to a speed of up to 76 miles per hour after diving from a peak of over 200 feet tall.

On top of that, between February and April, the gardens host the delicious Food & Wine Festival!

  • Bush Gardens tickets

3 – See the riches of old Tampa at the Henry B. Plant Museum

Relaxing things to do in tampa

This stunning 19th-century building will captivate you before you even step inside — once in the front door, the vast array of ceramics, art decor, paintings, sculptures and opulent furniture on display (dating back to the early 1800s) just makes it so much more special.

Highlights of the permanent collection include blue and white Japanese and English ceramic vases, French Boulle Style cabinets, and a Chinese Chair from the late Quing Dynasty.

For history and art buffs, put the Plant Museum on your list of things to do in Tampa. After all, it was Plant’s vision and riches that launched Tampa to stardom.

  • Henry B. Plant Museum tickets

4 – Chill out at the best parks

Relaxing things to do in tampa

Traveling with family and looking for fun things to do in Tampa or a place for the little ones to play? Here are some of the best parks in town for downtime.

Make sure you’ve packed all of the kids’ swimming gear and sun protectors before heading to Water Works Park (connected to the Tampa Riverwalk). The outdoor water playground and splash pad equate to hours of splishing and squealing about for the little ones.

Next to the water area is a dog park, grass area and picnic tables with shade from the sun.

Relax around the lakesides or enjoy a serene walk along the Nature Trail at Al Lopez Park. Families particularly love this park as there is much to do and see. Cycle, go fishing at th dock and let the kids have a blast at the playground.

For those whose baseball history isn’t up to scratch, Al Lopez was a famous American baseball catcher and then manager in Major League Baseball. Spot the bronzed statue of the man in action at the park.

The athletic type will love Julian B Lane Riverfront Park, equipped with incredible public sports facilities like six tennis courts, basketball courts, two pickleball courts and a multi-use field purposed for soccer, football and lacrosse.

This is another park with a cool-down area and has a splash pad too with a massive splash bucket in the middle of it.

5 – Sample the culinary delights of Ybor City

Relaxing things to do in tampa

The lively Cuban/Latin-inspired Ybor City is a delightful part of Tampa. Travelers love taking in the sights and smells of the neighborhood, but it’s the tastes that will truly dazzle!

The city’s diverse communities have been part of defining the flavors of Tampa. Make sure to try the famous dishes in Ybor such as deviled crab, Cuban sandwich, Spanish bean soup and crab enchilau.

On this three-hour walking tour, get ready for four to six food and drink tastings in between points of interest in Ybor City!

  • food tours in Tampa

6 – Watch the Tampa Bay Lightning at Amalie Arena

Relaxing things to do in tampa

The waterside Amalie Arena, one of Florida’s prime venues for entertainment, hosts plenty of concerts and sporting events.

But, the best show of them all is the local hockey team, who, after its 2020 Stanley Cup victory, is absolutely dominating on the ice!

Seeing the locals cheer on Tampa Bay Lightning team is electric. There’s simply nothing else like it.

7 – Go zip lining in a Florida preserve

Relaxing things to do in tampa

Keep your adrenaline pumping for a zip line adventure at the Mobbly Bayou Wilderness Preserve — with a series of five zipline cables.

Keep the momentum by walking across a suspension bridge, jumping off an auto belay or finishing a ropes course.

This nearly 400 acres preserve offers fun-filled outdoor activities, as well as hiking and canoeing. Restrooms and picnic shelters are also available in the area.

  • zip lining in Tampa

8 – Hike the boardwalk at Lettuce Lake Regional Park

Relaxing things to do in tampa

Adjoining the Hillsborough River, this natural oasis is teeming with hardwood forest, really showing off what Florida’s nature scene has to offer.

Start your day with a quiet picnic, with a stunning natural backdrop, before moving onto the 3,500-foot boardwalk.

Here, you can find an observation tower on the river, as well as canoe rentals where you can explore the river by paddling along the quiet water — while being surrounded by greenery.

9 – Captain a speedboat at Tampa Bay

Relaxing things to do in tampa

Tampa and boats go together like peanut butter and jelly, so why not step up to the helm, open the throttle and feel the thrill speeding through the iconic bay with great views of Tampa?

There’s a guide to point out attractions like Fort de Soto Park, and will help you spot local wildlife like dolphins and manatees in the waters below.

If you prefer to focus on the scenery and let a captain steer the boat, hop on a Tampa history cruise which takes you to charming harbors, homes and museums.

  • jet boat tours in Tampa

10 – Take the tidal walk at the Manatee Viewing Center

Relaxing things to do in tampa

When the Big Bend Power Station accidentally attracted manatees near its discharge canal, it became committed to keeping the water clean and safe for the visiting sea life!

Nowadays, manatees and rays are quite common, and the 900-foot tidal walk takes them closer to visitors.

Don’t forget to check out the nearby butterfly gardens!

11 – Bring your own cocktails on a floating Tiki Boat bar

Relaxing things to do in tampa

A floating BYO tiki bar? Sign us up!

The bar floats down the Hillsborough River, winding by the Riverwalk and through downtown Tampa — so you know that the views are extraordinary!

The boat is decked out with ice in the coolers and Bluetooth speakers — just bring the snacks, drinks, and good vibes for a great night out.

Admire the picturesque sights along the river in this cruise that takes 1.5 hours and ends up at the bustling city life amid skyscrapers and traffic flow.

  • tiki boat cruises in Tampa

12 – Head out on a dolphin-watching cruise

Relaxing things to do in tampa

Tampa Bay is brimming with sea life, so cruises and marine tours are always considered some of the best things to do in Tampa!

These 90-minute cruises take you into the dynamic Tampa Bay ecosystem, exploring its plethora of wildlife, including bottlenose dolphins, turtles, manatees, exotic birds and more.

Get your cameras ready — not just for pictures of the wildlife, but also Tampa’s glamorous seaside estates!

  • dolphin watching in Tampa

13 – Day trip to Clearwater Beach

Relaxing things to do in tampa

If you’ve ticked all of the central Tampa activities off your list, take a day trip to Clearwater Beach for hours of outdoor adventures. And yes, in case you were wondering, the ocean is crystal-clear, but it’s often the ridiculously soft powder-white sands that steal the show.

Situated 30 minutes from Tampa in the Clearwater area, families and friends can enjoy an array of group activities at the beach, from boat trips to water sports to other aquatic endeavors like the Clearwater Marine Aquarium.

Learn to SUP (stand-up paddleboard), go kayaking or try jet skiing. If you prefer to stay dry, opt for a boating expedition. The little ones particularly find joy onboard Captain Memo’s Pirate Cruise or opt for a party cruise with mates on the Calypso Queen.

Couples especially love the Clearwater Beach sunset sail, as well as dinner cruises.

Local buses run daily from Tampa to Clearwater Beach, and as one of the hottest tourist beaches around, there is everything you need for the ultimate beach day.

While you’re in the area, consider heading further on to St. Petersburg, only a half an hour drive from Clearwater.

14 – Go skydiving … indoors OR outdoors!

Relaxing things to do in tampa

Stroll into iFLY and feel the adrenaline rush of free-falling in an 800-horsepower indoor wind tunnel!

Experience it first here before doing the real thing or practice your skydiving techniques with all favorable conditions and less cost.

Indoor skydiving is easier on the wallet, but if you want to step it up a notch and free-fall for real, head to Plant City.

Take a deep breath before you jump from 11,000-feet for a heart-stopping freefall and breath-taking panoramic views.

  • indoor skydiving in Tampa

15 – Soar over Tampa in a hot air balloon

Relaxing things to do in tampa

Take to the skies just before dawn and see the famous Florida sunrise over Tampa — trust us, it’s worth the early wake-up!

You won’t forget what it’s like to see Tampa basking in the sunrise from the clouds. But, if you need more convincing, there’s also a champagne toast waiting for you when you land.

Most tours take off in Hillsborough and Pasco counties to get the best sunrise views of the marvelous terrains.

16 – Experience the magic of Walt Disney World

Relaxing things to do in tampa

Where to start? Disney World contains four theme parks, two water parks and a plethora of other attractions, including golf and shopping.

By far the most famous theme park on the planet, whether you’re age 6 or 60, no trip to Florida is complete without a trip to the Mickey Mouse’s house.

If you’re after thrills, make a beeline for the vertical drop of the Tower of Terror at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

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17 – Hop on board the Tampa Bay Fun Boat

Relaxing things to do in tampa

Looking for something out of the ordinary? Swap the usual city exploring for time out on the waters and enjoy cruising around the bay on the Tampa Bay Fun Boat.

The captain’s main aim is for all guests to have maximum fun whilst onboard, and jolly commentary and party tunes are never far from earshot.

Seating up to 36 passengers, if you’re planning a bachelorette, engagement party, or other special events like a birthday party, book a private charter tour, and you’re allowed to bring your own drinks along if you feel like toasting with a glass of champagne.

If you’re traveling to Tampa with the family, or an intimate group of friends, consider the dedicated sightseeing charter tour.

From the harbor, scope iconic attractions, monuments and neighborhoods, and as you sail from one to the next, learn the history and tales behind them.

Couples; starting at Golden Hour are sunset tours around Hillsborough Bay. As the sky changes color over the horizon, look out for dolphins, schools of fish and aquatic birds swooping by.

  • boat tours in Tampa

18 – Travel around the city on a Streetcar ride

Relaxing things to do in tampa

11 stops on an old-school tram is all it takes to conquer this cool sightseeing experience and the Tampa Streetcar rides have been operating since the late 1900s — 1982 to be precise.

In its peak glory days, the electric streetcar would transport residents and visitors to and from Ybor City, Ballast Point, Hyde Park, Sulphur Springs and other places around town. Today, it still carries passengers, but through the city’s urban center.

While it acts as a public mode of transport, stopping and picking up passengers from the 11 designated streetcar stops around the city, you can also book a private tour on the streetcar. A round-trip is just short of one hour.

Some of the stops include Centennial Park Station, Centro Ybor Station, Cadrecha Plaza Station, York Street Station, HSBC Station and six others.

Greasemonkey, there is also a ‘Ybor Station “Behind the Scenes” Tour’, which takes an in-depth, hands-on dive into the maintenance and history of the streetcar.

19 – Watch the Tampa Bay Rays play baseball at Tropicana Field

Relaxing things to do in tampa

International travelers might want to start here. Opened in 1990, Tropicana Field (formerly the Florida Suncoast Dome) has a total area of 1.1 million square feet that is unique in Major League Baseball.

Baseball is a favorite sporting pastime for the locals, but no trip to Tropicana Field is complete without taking the stadium tour!

It includes the Rays Touch Experience — a 10,000-gallon tank of friendly rays who can happily swim up to your hand and get to know you!

20 – Take a helicopter tour from Tampa

Relaxing things to do in tampa

Take off from Tampa and fly over the historic Sunshine Skyway Bridge and the white sands of Clearwater Beach!

But, the stunning views don’t stop there! Fly over the pink beach palace of Spa Oceana, the sporting fortress that is Tropicana Field, and plenty of nearby paradise islands.

Experience how it feels to really fly whether you want to be a pilot or simply want to see the world from a different view. With a super knowledgeable pilot and amazing staff, this tour makes your trip to Tampa unforgettable.

21 – Meet lions and tigers at Big Cat Rescue

Relaxing things to do in tampa

Don’t come here looking for Joe Exotic!

This colossal sanctuary prides itself on caring for big cats by rescuing the orphaned and mistreated. It also aims to stop the trade of wild and endangered animals.

The upshot for travelers is that they can come to support the excellent cause — while meeting the lions, tigers, cougars, jaguars and other exotic beasts living happily in its care.

Visit the zoo and support this campaign by raising awareness and donations.

22 – Let the children play at Glazer Children’s Museum

Relaxing things to do in tampa

As any parent will attest, visiting the Glazer Museum is one of the best things to do in Tampa for children, with younger travelers limited only by their imaginations as they explore the creative space.

It’s amazing watching kids learn without classrooms — as they build fortresses, learn to cook pizza, create artistic masterpieces, work as a banker, and be heroic firefighters all in one afternoon!

Let your kids have their best quality playtime while in Tampa, while learning and having to try different roles in our society and explore the world.

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23 – Wander with the dinosaurs at Dinosaur World Florida

Relaxing things to do in tampa

With hundreds of life-sized dinosaurs and interactive outdoor exhibits, you can feel like you’re in Jurassic Park!

Younger visitors will love the energetic dinosaur playground, while anyone wanting to get their hands a little dirty can be an archaeologist at the Fossil Dig and Bone Yard — you get to keep what you find, including real dinosaur teeth!

This family-oriented destination also welcomes your furry members. Bring your well-behaved dog to stroll along the boardwalks surrounded by old oak trees, or anywhere in the park except the indoor museum.

24 – Ride the Solar Vortex at Adventure Island

Relaxing things to do in tampa

In between the child-friendly splash areas and expansive waters to relax with sunglasses and a good book, Adventure Island has some great thrill rides on offer.

Waves of water and adrenaline wash over you at the free-fall in Vanish Point, the open flume Calypso Coaster and the Solar Vortex — the nation’s first dual tailspin waterslide!

To enjoy the water park to the fullest, it’s best to get exclusive dining deals and priority access to skip the queue for the slides and rides.

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25 – Unleash your inner child at the Museum of Science & Industry

Relaxing things to do in tampa

This hands-on scientific playground will captivate travelers of all ages!

A giant playground, MOSI has over 100 firsthand activities, such as brain-teasing problems, robot building and optical illusions.

Among the hundreds of activities available, youngsters love the Saunders Planetarium’s tour of the night sky and Connectus, which brings the world of tomorrow to you today.

For more adventurous visitors, check out the Sky Trail Ropes Course and Virtual Reality Simulator.

26 – Go fishing in Tampa

Relaxing things to do in tampa

Fishing folk, get excited! There are more than enough great places around Tampa waters to cast your line!

At Davis Island Dog Beach, there’s a great mix of inshore and nearshore species, otherwise, you might find the Tampa Riverwalk a little closer.

Redfish and trout are common (and delicious) catches, but if you’re looking for something trophy-worthy, try your luck reeling in a tarpon weighing up to 200 pounds.

  • fishing trips in Tampa

27 – Stroll Tampa Riverwalk at nighttime

Relaxing things to do in tampa

Illuminating the Hillsborough River with brilliant and colorful lights, the Riverwalk is a bundle of fun to explore.

Among the amazing views, the Riverwalk boasts restaurants, bars, museums and various festivals throughout the year — but it’s post-sunset that you can find it at its most captivating when dressed in the Tampa lights.

Another must-see is the Curtis Hixon Park, a beloved slice of nature complete with water fountains and, during winter, an ice-skating rink!

28 – Explore the city’s landmarks on a Segway tour

Relaxing things to do in tampa

Walking around might not cover all the city highlights in a day, but you can glide through the streets on a Segway tour — while learning historical and interesting facts about some famous landmarks.

Most tours take two hours cruising around the downtown district, covering the starting from the Embassy Suites, Amalie Arena, Riverwalk and Curtis Hixon Park.

With friendly guides and a warm welcoming atmosphere, it’s a fun and exciting way to spend a day in Tampa.

  • segway tours in Tampa

29 – Race down the speedway at Grand Prix Tampa Family Fun Center

Relaxing things to do in tampa

With something for the whole traveling family, fun is never far away at Grand Prix Tampa.

Rev your kart at the whirlwind Big Track, with fast turns in this 1.2 kilometers long track, or race with your kids on the Family Track.

Putt your way through a fairytale at mini-golf, conquer the ropes course, beat the high score at the Castle Arcade, bounce around at Turbo Bungy Dome, or become Babe Ruth at the batting cages!

30 – Rev your engines at East Bay Raceway Park

Relaxing things to do in tampa

Racers, start your engine and then put the pedal to the metal at East Bay Raceway Park, and if you think this is anything like go-karting … think again!

As the only dirt road track in Hillsborough County and the western part of Florida, the racing park is where serious motorheads can come to have some fun either behind the wheel or just as a spectator.

Wondering what the vehicle options are? Anyone from the age of 14 years old can choose to race V-8 Warriors, Mini-Sprints, Gladiators, Street Stocks, Outlaw 4s and Micro Sprints.

Drivers from 16 years old grab the wheel from a pick of Limited Sprints, Open Wheel Modifieds, 360 Sprints, 410 Sprints and all Late Model classes.

If you’re itching to see a bit of serious competition, the Winternationals are held here annually. Day and nighttime riding happen here, and on Saturdays, the raceway stays open until 11 PM.

31 – Cheer on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium

Relaxing things to do in tampa

Fresh off hosting Super Bowl LV in 2021 where the Buccaneers took home the trophy, Raymond James Stadium is mandatory for any sports fan looking for things to do in Tampa.

However, the stadium with its gorgeous sunsets and world-class amenities also regularly hosts the Sunset Music Festival — not to mention wrestling, monster trucks and plenty more!

32 – Spin the roulette wheel at Seminole Hard Rock Casino Tampa

Relaxing things to do in tampa

Experience world-class gaming and entertainment at Hard Rock Casino in Seminole, one of the largest casinos in the country.

Whether testing your beginner’s luck or for serious fun, you have an array of options for slot machines to try, such as Dragon Link and Buffalo Gold.

Outside of the swanky gaming floor, visitors can relax in a mellow cocktail lounge or find live music and experience the famous Tampa nightlife.

To complete your evening, consider staying at Seminole’s luxurious hotel. While you’re there, make sure to sample an artisanal ice cream infused with top-shelf liquors for dessert from Aubi & Ramsa!

33 – Discover the Tampa Bay History Center

Relaxing things to do in tampa

Spend some time expanding your local knowledge at the Tampa Bay History Center.

Arriving at the center-meets-museum-meets-gallery, begin investigating the three floors of exhibitions.

Stepping back in time to Florida’s earliest days, uncover the past and learn about the land’s native inhabitants from around 10,000 years ago.

Moving onto other permanent exhibits explore the years that followed, from when the first European settlers arrived, to the American Civil War, to modern-day Tampa and its place as a port city.

Interesting display titles include ‘Florida’s First People’ and ‘Cigar City’, or get an interactive understanding of historical events at the Winds of Change Theater and Coacoochee’s Story Theater.

Temporary expos showcase at the center’s gallery for a few months at a time and their focus and subject matter relate to local history and culture.

If you’re here on weekends, head up the way to Chinsegut Hill. The historic house is open on Saturdays and Sundays only, and guided tours are available every 30 minutes.

34 – Watch a film at Tampa Theatre

Relaxing things to do in tampa
credit to Tampa Theatre

Not your average cinema, the not-for-profit Tampa Theatre hosts more than 600 events a year, with the focal point being its Mediterranean-style courtyard.

With flowers and stone gargoyles sitting under a breathtakingly-designed night sky mural, it’s a perfect spot for the ‘gram.

Keep your ears open for the mighty Wurlitzer Organ too!

Watch films and live events, or tour the theater backstage to feed your curiosity about how great shows are produced.

35 – Watch the horse racing at Tampa Bay Downs

Relaxing things to do in tampa

With races mostly on Wednesdays, Fridays and weekends from November to May — and more stakes races than one can count — Tampa Bay Downs is a top destination for thoroughbred racing.

Travelers can make a day of it by raising the stakes at the Silks Poker Room or by getting a lesson at the Downs Golf Practice Facility.

Indulge in delicious meals and drinks in the restaurants available, including the Skye Terrace Dining Room and the Sports Gallery at the Clubhouse, as well as Silks Bar and Grille, and Legends Bar at the Grandstand.

36 – Chill at Ben T Davis Beach

Relaxing things to do in tampa

If the ocean is your happy place, Ben T Davis Beach is a lovely little bay to wallow away an hour or two watching the waves roll in and seabirds treading along the shores.

Comprising extra soft sands, it’s not the best beach for swimming because of its shallow waters, but if you do want to take a dip to cool off, ensure it’s between the buoys of the allocated swimming area.

Close to the airport, if you have a few hours to kill before flying, catch a quick chill near the ocean one last time, with snacks, or a good book to finish off.

Ben T Davis Beach is en route to Clearwater Beach — a popular day trip for Tampa travelers — and there are a few accommodation options and restaurants across the road.

37 – Board the American Victory Ship & Museum

Relaxing things to do in tampa

After serving in World War II, Korea and Vietnam, the SS Victory has docked at Tampa where it serves as an immersive museum.

Walk through the historic ship, past the former hospital beds, admire the weaponry, check out the lifeboats, and so much more. For history buffs, it’s one of the best things to do in Tampa.

Having served for over seven decades, the ship is not only a breathing museum, but also a venue for special events and training for reserve military, firefighters and police officers.

38 – Build a raft and ride it at Legoland Florida

Relaxing things to do in tampa

If you’re looking for things to do in Tampa for kids, Legoland can easily make its way to the top of your list!

Aimed at kids aged 2 to 12 — but sure to be enjoyed by older kids as well — Legoland is packed with exciting rides and water features, including Miniland USA where you can see the whole United States in one day!

Enjoy all 50 Lego-themed rides and other attractions with the best deal available. You can also double your fun with a two- or three-day ticket pass.

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39 – See CITY fashion and ancient vases at the Tampa Museum of Art

Relaxing things to do in tampa

Home to an exciting and eclectic mix of displays, from ancient Greek and Roman artifacts to contemporary art, including painting and video — there’s something for every twang of art lover.

The museum exterior design is a magnificent work of art as well, with LED installation on the 1,300 square meters facade called “Sky” by Leo Villareal.

After browsing the permanent collection, which includes sculptures, photos and new media, drop by at the museum store for souvenirs from exhibitions.

Check the dates for the museum’s signature events: the LGBTQ+ inspired Neon Jungle, the CITY fashion show, and the black-tie Pavilion events.

40 – Go horse riding at HorsePower for Kids & Animal Sanctuary

Relaxing things to do in tampa

HorsePower is the dream of Armando Gort, who always wanted a horse farm for children to learn to love animals. Nothing can describe the experience here better than that.

Make horse riding a fun way for the children to enjoy nature and connect with horses and all animals in the sanctuary.

It’s a wonder complete with a petting zoo, pony rides, children’s train rides and zip lines.

41 – Catch a live show at Straz Center for the Performing Arts

Relaxing things to do in tampa

Although it began life as an abandoned gravel lot, the Straz Center is now a cultural hub for the performing arts, hosting everything from jazz and opera to Next Generation Ballet and contemporary musicals.

Read more  Banff in September – A Visitor’s Guide

This center for performance art consists of five theaters with unique characteristics, including the horseshoe-shaped Carol Morsani Hall with 2,610 seating capacity, as well as a rehearsal hall.

To get the most out of a show, start with dinner at Maestro’s On The River with spectacular Riverwalk views and a glass (or three) of wine.

42 – From food to music, enjoy the festivals in Tampa

Relaxing things to do in tampa

Always vibey and host to a hot dining scene, the type of travelers that arrive here are usually after a good time — whether it’s on the party, culturally-inclined, or wining and foodie scene. Lucky for us, there are some fantastic festivals in Tampa to tickle everyone’s fancy.

Pleasing crowds since 2012, the Gasparilla Music Festival (held annually down at Curtis Hixon Park), boasts four stages where live acts and DJs across an assortment of genres steal the limelight.

Gasparilla Pirate Fest is literally like none other around … Each year, hundreds of festival-goers dress up as pirates (paying an ode to the famous Spanish pirate Jose Gaspar, whose nickname was Gasparilla). There’s even a Gasparilla Parade of Pirates procession.

Running for more than 50 years, the Gasparilla Festival of the Arts is a celebration of artists from all around the country who arrive to win the festival’s acclaimed prize for best artwork. Shop dozens of stalls selling their creative goods from ceramics to jewelry.

Occupying the entire area of the Riverwalk, the annual Riverfest is a free, whole weekend affair showcasing local artists, creators, cooks and talent.

Store your energy for the three-day electro and dance Sunset Music Festival, or get your fix of the blues at the three-day weekend Tampa Bay Blues Festival.

43 – Shop and dine at Sparkman Wharf

Relaxing things to do in tampa

On the spectacular Riverwalk, a host of great fashion shops await!

A vibrant part of the downtown waterfront, Sparkman Wharf provides intimate spaces for dining, drinking, live music and other recreational activities.

Treat yourself at Joyful Notion or treat your pet at The Modern Paws. Foodwise, there are plenty of delightful eateries covering all sorts of cuisine, plus a popular beerhouse!

44 – See a concert at the MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre

Relaxing things to do in tampa

The Amphitheatre is the largest concert-only stage in Tampa Bay.

There are truckloads of concerts and music festivals, most notably the Next Big Thing — held on the first Sunday of every December.

The event showcases the best alternative and up-and-coming rock acts in the region!

For the best seats, buy a lawn ticket and bring your own deck chair.

45 – Party and pedal on Cycle Boats

Relaxing things to do in tampa

Built for 8+ passengers, the Cycle Boats have pedal stations to move your party out to the water and a long table with benches for when the party starts!

Put on some music and bring a cooler full of drinks! With plenty of room to walk around, there might even be a little boogie on board.

Pedal together to paddle the boat with team effort and fun, as you cruise along the downtown area in this remarkable journey.

46 – Explore Tampa on a water bike

Relaxing things to do in tampa
credit to Tampa Bay Water Bike Co

Instead of the bustling, group-friendly Cycle Boats, the quiet water bike is perfect for solo travelers or as a tandem activity for couples keen to ogle at the impressive waterside homes.

Explore the city from the river and experience it with a little exercise. No need to change into swimwear, as these water bikes are made to keep you dry and have fun in a safe way (of course).

With hordes of wildlife around as well, it’s are a great way to explore Tampa from the water at your own pace! This outdoor adventure and sightseeing can be enjoyed by all ages and cycling skills.

47 – Ride the Hogwarts Express at Universal Orlando

Relaxing things to do in tampa

Another colossal complex, this one encompasses two theme parks, including the famous Universal Studios Florida and Islands of Adventure — connected by the Hogwarts Express steam train.

You can also spend a day at the water theme park Volcano Bay and Universal CityWalk with dining, shopping and evening entertainment.

This is the only place you can find Harry Potter and Homer Simpson a stone’s throw from each other!

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48 – Go bar-hopping from the river at Staying Afloat Party Boat

Relaxing things to do in tampa

A surefire hit for all party-goers, cruise the river and go for a swim with the funky floaties provided.

Dry yourself off and then go to a bar … and another … and another!

Passengers can also bring whatever food and drink they like on the party boat. With typical warm weather year-round and Bluetooth speakers on board, the fun never stops!

49 – Have a laugh at Side Splitters Comedy Club

Relaxing things to do in tampa

With touring headliners gracing the club every week, pull up a chair and enjoy the show by the bar or at a table with a full menu.

Sidesplitters has been showcasing some of the best local and national stand-up comedians since 1992 in its club in Tampa.

There’s no other way to enjoy or learn humor than in a live performance. Some of the more daring travelers love Comic’s Nights Out, an award-winning open mic night.

Buy a ticket and enjoy your complimentary drink before you head up on stage!

50 – Spend the day exploring the Lower Hillsborough Wilderness Preserve

Relaxing things to do in tampa

Originally created to help aid flood prevention, the Lower Hillsborough Wilderness Preserve has developed over the years as a recreation space out in nature, spanning parks and with outdoorsy activities to get involved in.

Situated in Hillsborough, the preserve serves to protect the multitude of parks, forestry, river, wetlands and wildlife residing in the woodland area, and there are designated walking, hiking and biking trails to lead the way.

The park sites within the Lower Hillsborough Wilderness Preserve include Dead River Park, Flatwoods Park, John B. Sargeant Park, Morris Bridge Park, Trout Creek Park and Wilderness Park Off Road Loop Trail System.

Avid bird-watching enthusiasts; there are over 20 sites to see the feathered creatures, or for hippophiles, there are two riding grounds (the Jefferson Equestrian Area and the Oak Ridge Equestrian Area) and other marked riding trails through the parks and preserves for horseback treks.

Boating excursions along the Hillsborough River offer the chance to see alligators and turtles swimming low in the waters, or grab a paddle and go canoeing.

Fishing is available in certain parts, as well as overnight camping.

51 – Ride Sea World’s Infinity Falls (if you dare)

Relaxing things to do in tampa

SeaWorld offers plenty of rides and sea life, making itself a crowd favorite for decades.

For an adrenaline surge, the Infinity Falls is the tallest drop in Florida, while the Mako hypercoaster is sure to make even the bravest souls scream.

The truly unique experience, however, is the killer whale tour. See the ocean’s most powerful predator in full flight while admiring its grace and beauty.

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52 – Hit the golf courses around Tampa

Relaxing things to do in tampa

Golfers LOVE Tampa.

At Club Renaissance, you can find satisfying Bermuda grass greens and fairways lined with ancient oaks.

The Groves Golf and Country Club blends into its surroundings of Florida wetlands and is friendly for all skill levels — unlike the more difficult Palmer Course which includes plenty of hills, elevation challenges and sand bunkers.

Difficulty aside, the picturesque scenery is second to none.

53 – Excite your palettes when you try Dining In The Dark

Relaxing things to do in tampa

It’s time to put your five senses to the test during an exciting (and interesting) Dining In The Dark experience — an ideal option for couples and foodies!

After your secret location is revealed, make your way to the restaurant where the fun — and eating — will begin. But there’s just one catch … Not only is the entire dining space in complete darkness but you will be blindfolded so that your vision completely disappears.

You’re left to rely on your other four senses as you wine and dine, moving from one course to the next, trying to decipher what you’re eating…eat-heavy menu, but that’s pretty much the only clue you’ll get.

54 – Get refreshed on a craft brewery tour

Relaxing things to do in tampa

Who’s ready for a drink?

Join a beer tasting tour and stop at a dozen different craft breweries, restaurants and bars around Tampa.

Visitors can’t get enough of Cigar City Brewing, a local favorite that offers everything from tangerine sour ales to imperial porters (which pack a punch), along with a cheeky handmade cigar or two!

Some cool places and amazing beers in Ybor that can satisfy your brew cravings. Coppertail Brewing Co. and Tampa Bay Brewing Company offer refreshing beer selections such as chocolate beer and expressive sours, which are highly recommended.

  • beer tastings in Tampa

55 – Take a cooking class at Armature Works

Relaxing things to do in tampa

Armature Works is a foodie’s paradise — that’s just a fact.

Formerly a warehouse for electric streetcars in Tampa way back in the 1900s, Armature now serves as a destination for markets, events and co-working spaces in the neighborhood.

You can find an array of food choices from the 22,000 square-foot market Heights Public Market, as well as full-dining restaurants in the building to satisfy your tastebuds!

It’s full of amazing eateries and boasts incredible fresh food that you’d be dying to sink your teeth into!

The place also hosts workshops from top chefs and restaurateurs with pop-up meals, cooking classes and wine tastings.

56 – Explore the corn maze at Keel Farms

Relaxing things to do in tampa
credit to Keel Farms

Keel Farms have added a corn maze to its 20+ acre property, Corky’s Corn Maze, and it is one of the greatest attractions for the kids. Besides that, Keel Farms offers live music & dancing, trivia nights, fairs & festivals, and family-friendly events.

They’re also known for their fruit wines. Their own high-end crop of blueberries is used to make their #1 seller of blueberry wines, also available peach, key lime, watermelon, and strawberry. There’s plenty of fun waiting for you at Keel Farms right outside of Tampa in Plant City, Florida.

57 – Dine at Columbia

Relaxing things to do in tampa
credit to Columbia restaurant

For foodies, this is one of the most iconic things to do in Tampa.

Located in historic Ybor City, Columbia is Florida’s oldest restaurant and the largest Spanish restaurant in the world — run by fourth and fifth-generation descendants of the founder Casimiro Hernandez Sr.

What once started as a corner cafe over 11 decades ago, the restaurant has been frequented not only by locals but also celebrities and tourists.

Don’t miss the Ybor classic devil crab croquetas and Spanish most popular tapa — gambas which is Gulf of Mexico shrimp sauteed in Spanish olive oil. Make sure you get to also try its very own Original “1905” Martini and Columbia Original “1905” Salad.

To accompany some brilliant Spanish cuisine, Columbia hosts flamenco dancing and jazz.

58 – Wine and dine during ZooBrews at ZooTampa

Relaxing things to do in tampa

This popular zoo has plenty of animals, but offers plenty more than just your typical furry friends.

Home to over 1,000 animals, especially endangered and threatened species, the zoo aims to help strengthen the connection between people and wildlife — through interactive activities ideal for families.

Toddler Tuesdays are a hands-on hit with younger visitors. Fitness in the wild moves the yoga studio to the African savannah.

ZooBrews is a one-of-a-kind fundraising event with bottomless food and drink, live music and the chance to meet some cute and cuddly animals!

  • ZooTampa ticket

59 – Stroll through Florida Botanical Gardens

Relaxing things to do in tampa

With plenty of places to wander in greenery, this 100-acre free-entry park is a tranquil oasis and a stark contrast to Tampa’s bustling lifestyle.

Camera at the ready, check out the colorful roses of the Wedding Garden and the ponds of the Wetlands Walkway.

Take in the aromas of the Tropical Fruit Garden and see the gorgeous residents of Butterfly Garden who aren’t afraid to land on you!

60 – Tip the buskers at Pier 60

Relaxing things to do in tampa

Pier 60 is the best sunset in Tampa Bay, hands-down.

While the colorful sunset is already amazing, Pier 60 brings local artists and buskers to perform every night — the variety of skills on show dazzle and entertain visitors for hours, from jugglers to fire-eaters to stencil artists and more.

This nightly celebration hosted by Sunsets at Pier 60 has helped the artist community to showcase their talents for more than 25 years.

It happens all year round from 5 PM to 9 PM.

61 – Pick Candlelight Concerts for date night

Relaxing things to do in tampa

What sounds dreamier than a concert by candlelight?

From Melbourne to Rome, Glasgow to Vancouver, and now Tampa, these incredible candlelight concerts take place in a specifically chosen grand location in certain cities around the world.

Picture this: As musicians, orchestras or artists perform on center stage, the entire space is lit up by thousands of warm candle.

Get the chance to experience the romantic spectacle at some of the city’s most exemplary venues, and there are different candlelight concerts to choose from.

Watch the Candlelight Ballet accompanied by compilatiodiningns by Tchaikovsky at the Centro Asturiano de Tampa, or for all the classics, catch the ‘From Bach to The Beatles’ candlelight concert at The Orlo House & Ballroom.

62 – See the melting clocks at the Salvador Dali Museum

Relaxing things to do in tampa

The 20th century’s greatest artist has over 2,400 of his works in St Petersburg, Florida — a collection that is simply unmissable.

The Salvador Dali Museum has instantly-recognizable oil paintings with melting clocks, as well as stacks of variety such as sculptures and films.

Objects from the permanent collection include a white vintage telephone with a lobster handle called “Aphrodisiac Telephone,” a peculiar coat with a metal collar called “Aphrodisiac Dinner Jacket.”

You can also find clot sculptures made of bronze, such as “Alma del Quijote” (Soul of Don Quixote), “Apollo Musagetes” and “Caballo con jinete tropezando” (Horse and Rider Stumbling).

After exploring the gallery, head outside to the Avant-garden that represents the connection between nature and mathematics.

63 – Learn about photography at the Florida Museum of Photographic Arts

Relaxing things to do in tampa

A museum dedicated to displaying the best of local and international photography talent, and hoping to spread the secrets of photography to anyone who listens — FMPA offers a host of displays that are both dynamic and brilliant.

Located at the Waterfront Art District, the museum occupies the second and third floors of the Cube, a six-story building that is a work of art itself!

Established in 2001 as Tampa Gallery of Photographic Arts, the museum (renamed in 2006) has an expanding permanent collection — including early 20th-century panoramic photos that show the old Tampa.

However, to take full advantage, why not sign up for a class?

Choose from basic photography, photographing places or people, or smartphone and social media photography.

64 – Drink and see spirits at a ghost and pub tour

Relaxing things to do in tampa

For a tour that blends quirkiness, drinks and frights, look no further.

Keen travelers can have the chance to sample four of the best watering holes Tampa has to offer — with a ghoulish guide revealing all of the haunted and historic stories behind the destinations along the way.

Discover creepy urban legends such as a Spanish ghost believed to haunt the Ybor City Museum State Park. It’s definitely a wacky way to paint the town red!

  • ghost tours in Tampa

65 – Hit the dancefloor at the best nightclubs

Relaxing things to do in tampa

After all the city explorations, shopping and city touring, it’s time to let your hair down and put on your party shoes for some of Tampa’s most hip and happening nightclubs.

The energetic The Castle club — with a slogan, “Everyone is welcome, nothing is taboo,” guarantees a night to remember with pulsing music, strong drinks and a lively crowd.

From VIP bottle service to five floors of entertainment and good vibes, Club Prana is always busy — and has been ever since opening its doors in 2000.

Hosting some of the hottest DJs around, from Bonobo to Benny Benassi, The Ritz Ybor promises the best tunes in town. Check out their weekly events to see who’s playing next at the lavish club.

For some of the best music in town, the Crowbar hosts all sorts of live music events, from international DJs to local artists on stage. (Check out The Crow’s Nest Beer Garden too.)

With a more laid-back atmosphere, Gaspar’s Grotto is actually a pirate bar! Mateys join and congregate between the three large bars where resident DJs and local musos play.

How to get to Tampa?

If you’re driving across the country, the closest big city is Orlando (1.5 hours away), or Miami is a four-hour drive from Tampa.

The most convenient way to reach Tampa, especially for international travelers, is to fly directly into the city.

Before you arrive at Tampa International Airport, pre-organize airport transfers for when you touch down. Your private drive awaits you and will drive you directly to your accommodation in a private, air-conditioned vehicle.

Where to stay in Tampa?

Wondering what the accommodation scene is like in Tampa? Here are some of the best hotels and resorts in town to splurge on for a top-notch stay.

Modern, classy and a great option for couples, The Tampa EDITION is a super elegant stay with a gorgeous guest pool and interiors laden with botanicals. The fabulous Hotel Haya is all about the Art Deco vibes and includes suites and rooms with balconies or courtyard access.

Do you prefer accommodation options with a lot of space to make home? ROOST Tampa offers amazing apartments and studios with super trendy finishes and design. Built inside a heritage building, everything from the service to the overly comfortable beds to the architecture is sublime at Le Méridien Tampa, The Courthouse.

In the heart of Tampa with both rooms and suites available, Element Tampa Midtown is not only favored for its location but its buzzing rooftop pool and bar. The Westin Tampa Waterside has great views to wake up to and built next to the water, it overlooks the harbor.

Convenient, close to the airport and a fab pick for business travelers, check into the Grand Hyatt Tampa Bay. It has all the on-site facilities, from outdoor pools to a 24-hour fitness center.

Visiting Tampa on a budget?

There’s nothing wrong with being wise with your money, especially when traveling. Save where you can when visiting Tampa, like choosing a Tampa Bay CityPASS.

The pass includes entry to five iconic city attractions, and in the end, you can save up to 50% instead of booking tickets individually.

Admission for things to do and see in Tampa included in your ticket are Busch Gardens Tampa Bay, The Florida Aquarium, ZooTampa at Lowry Park, Clearwater Marine Aquarium and a Tropics Boat Tours Dolphin or Sunset Cruise, or a visit to the Museum of Science & Industry instead.

Where to go next?

A part of the country that never stops shining, local and international travelers flock to this part of the USA, and there are many other things to do in Florida to make you stick around for a while.

If smaller towns are more your vibe and you’re digging the vibrant cities, next head to Clearwater — a 33-minute drive from Tampa. It’s home to oceanic resorts and stunning beaches thanks to its position on the Gulf of Mexico.

From intriguing museums to nature reserves, St. Petersburg is favored by families and couples. It’s a short 25-minute drive from Tampa and is even good for a day trip.

Heading south of Tampa to Sarasota, discover a quieter reprieve and the town is frequented by families.  By far the biggest one on your (children’s) lists of places to visit has got to be Orlando, home to Disney World, beachfront resorts and buzzing nightlife.

Final thoughts

A delightful destination for all sorts of travelers, whether here for quality family time, or with a bunch of mates, there are tons of fun, exciting and unique things to do in Tampa.

What are your favorite sites to visit, places to dine or must-try activities in the city? Share with us in the comments, we love hearing your thoughts.

As always, happy, safe and sunny travels!


— Update: 06-01-2023 — cohaitungchi.com found an additional article 20 Unique Things To Do in Tampa from the website www.tiqets.com for the keyword relaxing things to do in tampa.

People have been finding unique things to do in Tampa for more than 2,000 years. Florida’s third biggest city was once the home of the Seminole people, before being colonized by the Spanish, and more recently the retirees. It’s easy to understand why people never want to leave this balmy corner of the Gulf Coast – there are plenty of unique things to do in Tampa.  

With a laidback charm, close proximity to nature, and diverse, vibrant culture, the city is fast becoming one of the most popular destinations for a younger crowd looking for city life without the stress. Let’s dive in to what you can get up to in Tampa with this list of uncommon things to do!

Unique activities for kids in Tampa

You’ve finally been able to book that vacation with the whole fam – so, what’s next? There are tons of things to do in Tampa all year long for kids (and teens) of all ages – amusement parks, animal encounters, and even some learning activities! Keep scrolling for a few ways to keep the kids entertained on your upcoming vacay to Tampa.

1. Indulge your inner child at Busch Gardens

Relaxing things to do in tampa
Strap in for a day of thrills at Busch Gardens.
Photo by Jesse Adair on Unsplash

For the thrill-seekers and animal lovers among us, a trip to the iconic Busch Gardens is a must! This theme park meets zoo meets safari park allows you to take a thrill ride on some seriously scary rollercoasters in the AM and chill with gorillas in the afternoon. 

For some of Tampa’s most adrenaline-pumping adventures, check out the Cheetah Hunt ride for a high-speed kick, or enjoy the panoramic view from the top of Falcon Fury, before free-falling down the 335-foot peak. 

The park’s pièce de résistance is the 65-acre Serengeti Plain, where giraffes, ostriches, antelope, zebra and even rhinos roam free. You can take a tour in an open-top vehicle for a taste of the wild Savannah. The park also has a monorail that circles the plain. 

And if you need to cool off from the Floridian humidity, just across the street from Busch Gardens is Adventure Island Water Park – 30 acres of watery fun that includes a ton of slides, a wave pool, and a lazy river. 

2. Have breakfast with the animals at Zoo Tampa

Relaxing things to do in tampa
Can you please pass the butter?
Photo by Joseph M. Arseneau on Shutterstock

If you want to meet even more animals, non-profit Zoo Tampa (AKA The Lowry Zoo) has been voted the #1 family-friendly zoo in the US. Here you can meet everyone from friendly koalas, penguins, and elephants to the extremely rare Indian rhino. 

Zoo Tampa a range of activities including fitness classes, comedy shows, talks, and Toddler Tuesdays. They also host a regular event called ‘breakfast with the animals’, which combines an art class, mimosas, pancakes, and close encounters with some of the planet’s most iconic creatures. 

3. Get creative at the Glazer Children’s Museum

Relaxing things to do in tampa
Squeeze in some educational activities at Glazer Children’s Museum,
Photo via Glazer Children’s Museum

Tampa is an under-the-radar cultural hotspot with a handful of world-class museums. The Riverside Walk leads you to some of the most inspiring, including the delightful Glazer Children’s Museum. 

The museum creates a fun and safe learning environment, with interactive exhibits that give children a chance to try on many identities in a safe and imaginative play environment. They can take care of cuddly critters at the vet clinic, build creative masterpieces at the engineer’s workshop, and cook up something delicious at the pizza place. The museum also offers seasonal camps and field trips. 

4.  Get a glimpse under the sea at the Florida Aquarium

Relaxing things to do in tampa
Don’t be late for “school”, Nemo!
Photo via Florida Aquarium

Located on the Riverside Walk, the Florida Aquarium is a must-see thing to do in Tampa, featuring sharks, penguins, sting rays, otters, and plenty of local Floridian sea life. It’s a dedicated learning zone encouraging good ocean stewardship. Above all, it’s extremely child-friendly. 

Bring swimwear for the little ones, as it features a very popular splash pad. You can even book dolphin viewing excursions through the aquarium. If you fall deeply in love with the place, you’ll be pleased to know that you can get hitched here too! 

Unique outdoor activities in Tampa

One of the great –and distinctly unique – things about Tampa is its close proximity to nature. The Florida Panhandle is surrounded by water, nature reserves, and national parks. You won’t have to look hard to find some outdoor activities to kickstart your stay in Tampa.

5. Swim with manatees on an airboat

Relaxing things to do in tampa
Airboats are used to protect the manatees from dangerous encounters with boat propellers.
By Ethan Daniels on Shutterstock

If you’re looking for unforgettable outdoor activities in Tampa, then you can’t do much better than this – it’s undoubtedly one of the most unique things to do in Tampa. The natural springs surrounding the city combine two of the most fabulous Tampa activities: hanging out with sea cows and an airboat!

For the uninitiated, an airboat is just what it sounds like – a boat propelled by the wind from a giant fan that skims over the water to help protect the delicate Everglades ecosystem. You’re almost guaranteed to encounter the gentle, seagrass-munching manatees (once mistaken for mermaids) who call this area home. 

If you’d rather skip the airboat, you could also check out Tampa Electric’s Manatee Viewing Center, where you can watch baby manatees soak up the warm water expelled from the Big Bend Power Station, which turns water into electric energy through cycling (and recycling) Tampa’s greatest resource – water.

6. Connect with nature at Hillsborough River State Park

Relaxing things to do in tampa
Hillsborough River State Park, a place of tranquility…and alligators.
Photo by Wirestock Creators

Ready to get out of the city? For a truly wild outdoor activity near Tampa, take a day trip out to Hillsborough River State ParkWithin a day’s drive, you’ll find loads of outdoor activities – hiking, fishing, camping, and spotting local Florida wildlife.

This lush green oasis boasts river rapids and a glorious suspension bridge. There are trails for days and plenty of opportunities for swimming. The campground amenities are very family-friendly, complete with play parks and a pool. This is a must-see for those who really want to switch off and reconnect with nature.

7. Bike, blade, segway or take a stroll on the Tampa Riverwalk 

Relaxing things to do in tampa
Rent a bike, pack some rollerblades, or simply stroll along the gorgeous Tampa Riverwalk.
Photo by Almodovar Group, LLC on Unsplash

This 2.4-mile stretch is allegedly the longest continuous sidewalk in the world. In the morning, the Tampa Riverwalk is full of fitness fanatics jogging, cycling, or practicing yoga by the glittering waters. Afternoons are for hand-holding couples, sundowners, and live music. Rent yourself some wheels or just take a leisurely stroll. 

This is an outdoor activity easily paired with one of the many attractions on the walk – including the Tampa Museum of Art, the Florida Aquarium and the Glazer Children’s Museum. Go with an empty stomach because this area is also frequented by some of Tampa’s best food trucks

8. Get out on the water 

Relaxing things to do in tampa
Whether the sun is rising or setting, Florida takes the cake for beautiful horizon pictures.
By Karyn Honor on Shutterstock

You can’t go wrong with a day’s fishing around Tampa, and if you don’t have a friend with a boat, you can easily make one by chartering a captain and their vessel. Even if the fish don’t bite, a day floating on the crystal clear waters of Anna Maria Island will be unforgettable. 

And if you’re just in it for the boat (or a need to feel the ocean breeze in your hair), then a quick ride on a speedboat can be a refreshing way to jumpstart your Tampa adventure.

9. Hike the Lettuce Lake Loop

Relaxing things to do in tampa
Not only is this alliterative park fun to say, but it’s also loaded with outdoor activities to do.
Photo by Jim Schwabel on Shutterstock

Lettuce Lake Regional Park is a stone’s throw (and a short 24 minute drive) from downtown Tampa. Despite its proximity to the city, this park is teaming with native wildlife and flora. 

One of the best ways to experience Lettuce Lake is by walking the easily accessible 2 km loop trail. You can also rent kayaks and canoes to explore the lake and swamps, or simply chill at the picnic and playground

Unexpected things to do in Tampa

There’s a reason why visitors from around the world flock to Florida every year. Besides the obvious year-round sunshine, Tampa has a long list of unique things to do that you can’t find anywhere else.

If you are looking to tick some one-of-a-kind experiences off your bucket list, then look no further than this list of unique things to do in and around Tampa.

10. Drive over the majestic Sunshine Skyway Bridge

Relaxing things to do in tampa
“If they had just evolved to have wings, they wouldn’t need bridges.”
Photo by kesterhu on Shutterstock

If you’re visiting Tampa as part of a road trip, or plan on exploring some of the nearby Gulf Coast beaches, we highly recommend a detour over the incredible Sunshine Skyway Bridge. This 6.7 km-long masterpiece of structural engineering connects the nearby towns of St. Petersburg and Bradenton over a vast amount of water, and offers some incredible views of Tampa Bay

This suspension bridge is not only long, but dizzyingly high, with a vertical clearance of 150 feet. Thankfully, there’s a place on the bridge to park and take in the panorama. There is also a nearby rest area with kayaking and fishing opportunities if you want to make a day of it (which you probably will). 

Read more  17 Fun Things to Do As a Couple

11. Learn the art of shuffleboard

Relaxing things to do in tampa
Don’t sleep on shuffleboard – it’s an Olympic sport!
Photo by JOSHUA COLEMAN on Unsplash

Shuffleboard might just be Florida’s state sport. It’s a simple game that involves pushing weighted disks across a narrow court, with the goal of having them land in a marked scoring area. 

At Shuffle, the Tampa Heights Shuffleboard Society, you can learn the tricks of the trade with the help of the friendly staff, while indulging in gourmet hot dogs and craft beer from their grown-up concession stand. The venue also hosts live music, and boasts an impressive terrace. It’s a community hotspot and a great way to while away a lazy Tampa afternoon. 

12. Cool off at a hockey game

Relaxing things to do in tampa
The ice rink may be your best bet to stay cool in Tampa.
Photo via @tblightning on Instagram

You might not have Tampa pegged as a hockey town, but NHL hockey is the city’s most popular sport. The city has barely stopped celebrating since the Tampa Bay Lightning won the 2020 and 2021 Stanley Cups. 

Even if you’re not a hockey buff, the games are a riot and the crowd is friendly. What’s more: the temperature is cool, making this a perfect Tampa activity if you need a break from the Florida heat. Afterwards, hang out on the Party Deck or follow fans out to one of the many downtown bars that surround the Amalie Arena.

Unique things to eat in Tampa

You might want to bring your stretchy pants because Tampa is quickly becoming a gastronomical hotspot. While you could never get through all the city’s culinary delights in one short trip (or even a lifetime), here are some of the top recommendations. Tasting your way through Tampa is one of the best things to do!

13. Devour a Cubano sandwich

Relaxing things to do in tampa
An ice cold beer makes a perfect pairing with a Cubano sandwich.
Photo by Rachel Vanni on Tasting Table

Miami might be famous for this roast pork, swiss cheese, mustard, and pickle sandwich, but Tampa is where the Cubano sandwich originated. Here you’ll also get a few slices of salami in the mix – a welcome addition added by Tampa’s Italian community. Everything is lovingly nestled in some fresh Cuban bread, ready for you to devour.

A trip to Tampa isn’t complete without sampling one of these, and kū´bå, a hotspot in the trendy Armature Works, is highly recommended. If you’re vegan, you can still get involved – Golden Dinosaurs Deli offers a mouthwatering plant-based version.

14. Go on a gastro-tour  

Relaxing things to do in tampa
Everything is better with (more) cheese.
Photo by Alex Haney on Unsplash

World-class steakhouse Bern’s is a must for meat and wine lovers thanks to its 100,000-strong wine list. If you prefer your meat served a little more casually, check out Wicked Oak BarbeQue on North Florida Avenue. The owner, Felix “Bubba” Flores, keeps things simple so the focus is on his slow-cooked brisket and ribs, and the results are unforgettable. 

For Southern soul food and a charming ambiance, pay a visit to Ella’s Americana Folk Art Cafe. Located in Seminole Heights (not far from Downtown) this venue, gallery, and eatery will nourish your stomach and your soul, with southern classics like grits, chicken and waffles, and biscuits and gravy. There are good vegan options for the herbivores among us. 

The beating heart of Tampa’s food scene is inside a 1900s streetcar warehouse known as the Armature Works. This public market showcases food created by some of Tampa’s top chefs. 

You can’t go wrong here, but you might want to try a Quesabirria taco at Muchachas. It’s a taco-quesadilla hybrid stuffed with gooey cheese and braised beef, served with a consommé dipping sauce. It’s every bit as dreamy as it sounds. 

Unique cultural activities in Tampa

If theme parks aren’t your thing, or a rare rainstorm has ruined your beach day, there are plenty of unique things to do in Tampa that allow you to participate in the city’s history and culture. From history museums to live entertainment, Tampa doesn’t disappoint.

15. Go out on the town in Ybor City

Relaxing things to do in tampa
If a thriving culture center is what you seek, you’ll find it in Ybor City, Tampa.
Photo by Peter K Burian on WikimediaCommons

The historic Ybor City neighborhood once housed the Cuban and Spanish cigar-factory workers at the turn of the 20th century. Nowadays, the cultural heart of Tampa is known for its vibrant nightlife. 

Music lovers should check out the Ritz for big name acts, the Orpheum for indie shows, and the Crowbar for local acts and nights out (where the cover charge rarely exceeds $10). Blur Nightclub is the spot for drag shows. This area is a destination for craft beer lovers, who should make time for a visit to Tampa Brewing Company.

Unsurprisingly, for such a rich, historical area, it’s also a hot spot for close encounters of the spiritual kind. Ghost Tours Ybor City offers a spooky guided walk that is both creepy and highly informative.

16. Experience Tampa’s gilded History at the Henry B. Plant Museum

Relaxing things to do in tampa
Is it stuffy in here, or is it just these aristocrats?
Photo via Henry B. Plant Museum

For history buffs, the Henry B. Plant Museum is a Tampa must-see. Housed in the 1891 Tampa Bay Hotel, this is one of the city’s most recognizable landmarks with it’s Moorish minarets visible from many a city vista. 

Henry Plant commissioned the hotel as a destination for wealthy passengers of the new railroad that put Tampa on the map. Today, most of the grand building is used by the sprawling University of Tampa, while the south wing celebrates Tampa’s sumptuous 18th-century heyday.

17. Party like a pirate

Relaxing things to do in tampa
“Finally, a place where my love for plundering is encouraged!”
Photo via gasparillapiratefest.com

Though glorious year round, if there was a best time to visit Tampa, it might be the last Sunday of January, when the Gasparilla Pirate Festival takes over Downtown. This Mardi Gras-style parade celebrating the invasion of mythical Floridian folk hero pirate Jose Gaspar has been held nearly every year since 1904. 

On that day, members of the Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla sail into downtown Tampa aboard their pirate ship float (along with hundreds of private boats), and demand that the mayor hand over the key to the city. After the invasion, the victory parade takes over the Riverside Walk and the party goes on till the small hours. 

Pirates are a big thing in Tampa, so if you can’t make it for Gasparilla, you can always pay Gaspar’s Grotto a visit. This Ybor City bar and restaurant celebrates the famous pirate invasion all year long. 

18. Visit the Tampa Bay History Center

Relaxing things to do in tampa
All hands on deck at the Tampa Bay History Center!
Photo by Tampa Bay History Center

Explore 12,000 years of Florida history and culture when you enter the Tampa Bay History Center. Learn all about the swash-buckling pirates who guarded the Florida coastline with an interactive timeline, trace the footsteps of ancient people and early explorers with a cartographic map, and understand the recent people and places who make the Sunshine State great.

A perfect activity for families and individuals alike, the Tampa Bay History Center is a treasure trove full of engaging learning activities for hours of educational entertainment.

Unique relaxing things to do in Tampa

If you are looking to unplug and get away on your holiday in Tampa, you are in the right place. Tampa is a little slice of paradise with access to white sandy beaches at every turn. Splurge on a day of shopping with hundreds of unique boutiques, sip a coffee at a cozy cafe, or enjoy a cold beverage on a patio surrounded by palm trees.

19. Unwind at the beach

Relaxing things to do in tampa
Trading my legs for flippers was the best decision I ever made.
Photo by Luke Dahlgren on Unsplash

A trip to Tampa isn’t complete without catching some rays by the seaside, and beach bums won’t have to go far to sink their toes in perfect white sand. 

One of the best beaches in the Tampa area is Pass-a-Grille Beach. The wide, powdery beach is situated beside a cute, historical town, boasting a ton of good seafood restaurants, art galleries, and an old-fashioned main street. If you’d rather avoid the flashy resorts of Clearwater, then this is your spot. From here, take a snorkeling trip out to uninhabited Shell Key, or watch dolphins play from the deck of a sunset cruise. 

A more local spot is the Getaway. Snuggled between Tampa and neighboring St. Pete, this chilled-out tiki bar offers kayak, canoe, and paddle board rentals onsite. It’s easy to paddle out to Weedon Island Preserve and explore the mangroves and sandbars. Or you can just stay put, chill out on the sand, and soak up the Keys vibe over some fish tacos and sundowner cocktails.

20. Splurge in some retail therapy  

Relaxing things to do in tampa
Don’t forget to check out the cool neighborhoods in and around Tampa for some unique things to do.
Photo by Jarritos Mexican Soda on Unsplash

Go for a wander in historic Hyde Park, one of Tampa’s coolest neighborhoods. Bordering the University, this community is full of glorious old houses, cool hangouts, and some of the best shopping in Tampa. 

Open-air mall Hyde Park Village is a good place to start with its mix of high-end chain stores and independent boutiques, as well as beauty parlors and eateries. If your feet (and credit card) need a break, take a stroll up SoHo (AKA South Howard Avenue) to decompress in one of its many bars and cafes. 


Can’t stop fantasizing about Florida? Discover more unique things to do with our city guides for Miami and Orlando!


— Update: 07-01-2023 — cohaitungchi.com found an additional article Best Things to Do in Tampa, Florida from the website www.treksplorer.com for the keyword relaxing things to do in tampa.

Roaming around Central Florida? Be sure to spend time basking in the best things to do in Tampa, FL. The city of Tampa is the centerpiece of the Tampa Bay area, Florida’s second-biggest metro region. It’s a great base for exploring West Central Florida, including the neighboring cities of St. Petersburg and Clearwater.

Among the city’s top tourist attractions, you’ll explore its stunning riverfront, theme parks, and museums. In historic Ybor City, witness Tampa’s revitalization from a floundering cigar industry town to a modern metropolis. Or venture south of the city to soak up glorious views over Tampa Bay.

Wondering what to do? Plan the ultimate trip to Central Florida’s biggest city with this guide to the best places to visit in Tampa, Florida!

Best places to visit in Tampa, FL

Tampa Riverwalk

Only visiting Tampa in one day? Squeeze in a stroll along the Tampa Riverwalk. Located on the eastern edge of downtown, it’s one of the most relaxing places to go in Tampa and a must-see on your Florida trip itinerary.

The Tampa Riverwalk runs 2.4 miles along the banks of the Hillsborough River. As you meander the walkway, you’ll enjoy fantastic views of the riverfront and city center.

Relaxing things to do in tampa

On the walk, you’ll scope out public art collections, from sculptures to murals. You’ll also stroll past a few top attractions, including the Tampa Museum of Art and the Florida Aquarium.

Visiting Tampa with kids? Stop in one of the Riverwalk’s playgrounds or splash pads to dispense some of their extra energy.

If you’ve built up an appetite, end your walk at Columbia Restaurant for a bite of its famed Cuban Bread. Or sip cocktails and enjoy tasty dishes at a sunny riverside patio on Sparkman Wharf.

Busch Gardens Tampa Bay

For kids and adults alike, Busch Gardens Tampa Bay is one of Florida’s most exciting points of interest. Just 15 minutes from the city center, this unique attraction fuses together an amusement park and a zoo. After partaking in thrilling rides, you can relax by seeing animals in their natural habitats.

Want to pump up the adrenaline? Scream down the Iron Gwazi. Originally built in 1999, the ride is set to relaunch in 2021. When it’s reopened it’ll be one of the fastest and steepest hybrid wood-steel coasters in the world.

Relaxing things to do in tampa

After getting your thrills, slip over to the Serengeti Safari. The area is spread over 65 acres and features more than 200 species. To get the most out of your visit, you can book yourself onto an elephant, kangaroo, or hippo tour.

Visiting between February and April? Savor the Tampa Bay Food & Wine Festival. The annual festival spins a delicious food & drink menu to help you discover new favorites.

Adventure Island

Need to cool off in the hot Florida sun? Add in a visit to Adventure Island. Tampa Bay’s largest water park, Adventure Island is one of the best places to go in Tampa to cool down. It sits across the street from Busch Gardens.

Relaxing things to do in tampa

At Adventure Island, you’ll have a choice of over eight waterslides. Spinout on Solar Vortex, the park’s newest ride, and America’s only dual tailspin waterslide. Other options include the free-falling Vanish Point and the twist Caribbean Corkscrew.

Looking for a tamer experience? The park also features child-friendly activities like splash areas, wave pools, and lazy rivers. To escape the sun, float through a rainforest and past waterfalls on the Rambling Bayou.

Tampa Theatre

Looking for a historic cinema experience on your Tampa trip? Duck into the Tampa Theatre. Located on Franklin Street, this cinema is a top destination for both architecture and movie buffs. The Tampa Theatre strikes with architectural styles from Greek Revival to Italian Renaissance.

Relaxing things to do in tampa

If you’re a fan of the classic cinema experience, you’ll fall in love with the breathtaking Tampa Theatre. Besides films, the cinema also hosts specialty programs, events, and concerts.

While taking in a movie, keep your ears pitched for its historic Wurlitzer Organ. The distinctive organ is played by a group of volunteers every night prior to the theatre’s film screenings.

Florida Aquarium

Located on Channelside Drive, the Florida Aquarium tops the list of family-friendly places to see in Tampa. The 200,000-square-foot facility is home to over 14,000 land & sea animals. The aquarium’s habitats span the globe, from Florida to Africa.

Relaxing things to do in tampa

On your visit, you’ll walk through mangroves, spotting native birds in flight. You’ll spot diverse sea creatures including sharks, eels, alligators, and sea dragons. On land, you’ll get a chance to chill with ring-tailed lemurs and geckos.

After the tour, kids can cool off at the Splash Pad or take in a short film at the 4-D Theater. Add a Wild Dolphin Cruise or Dive with the Sharks to get even closer to the action.

Tampa Bay History Center

For history buffs, no stay in Tampa is complete without visiting the Tampa Bay History Center. Located on Old Water Street, the museum details the area’s rich history, dating back 1,200 years.

Relaxing things to do in tampa

The Tampa Bay History Center spreads across 60,000 square feet. In the center’s permanent collection, you’ll learn about the Seminoles, railroads, and the shipping era. The exhibits also touch on multicultural influences and Tampa Bay’s regional geography. While perusing the museum, you’ll enjoy views of the Channelside District through its glass windows.

If you want to plan a visit, purchase your tickets online to explore the three floors and the new Treasure Seekers Gallery. You can even download the Touchton Map Library before visiting. The library is home to thousands of documents and maps dating back to the 16th century.

Museum of Science & Industry

Science geeks will love adding the Museum of Science & Industry to their Tampa sightseeing plan. Located on Fowler Avenue, the museum is one of the top Tampa points of interest for family fun.

At the Museum of Science & Industry, kids will learn the basics of math, physics, and other sciences. They’ll also get to play games to learn about how the human body works and how technology has helped humans live longer.

Relaxing things to do in tampa

For a hands-on design experience with an inventor, head to the Idea Zone. Or check out Connectus where you’ll peruse little-known cutting-edge technology. Other interactive exhibits to check out include NASA’s model of human life off-earth and the Virtual Reality Simulator.

Nearby Lettuce Lake Park is also worth a gander. Popular among birdwatchers, Lettuce Lake Park is just 15 minutes by car from the museum.

University of South Florida Botanical Gardens

After exploring the museum, it’s only a 5-minute drive to relax in the lovely University of South Florida Botanical Gardens. The beautiful gardens sprawl out over 16 acres on the lovely USF campus.

The USF Botanical Gardens are home to over 3,000 plants, including an impressive orchid collection. In its diverse habitats, you’ll spot everything from fruit trees and palms to temperate forests and tropical species.

ZooTampa at Lowry Park

Looking for more family-friendly things to see & do? Head over to the Tampa Zoo at Lowry Park. At the zoo, you’ll get face-to-face with more than 2,000 species of animals spread across several habitats. You’ll spot animals from Australia, Asia, and Africa.

Relaxing things to do in tampa

Learn about the native Florida animal habitats or explore the aviary and primate areas. The zoo also features a large aquarium. It’s fitted with three pools used to treat manatees who get injured or fall ill. Get up close with tortoises or penguins or take the opportunity to feed an Indian Rhino.

Exotic animals include African penguins, African elephants, Bornean orangutans, manatees, and Florida panthers. Children will also enjoy rides such as a mini-train ride, safari ride, or a child-friendly family roller coaster.

If you want to see even more beautiful creatures, check out the zoo’s brilliant Butterfly Garden.

Tampa Museum of Art

Another great option among the top things to do in Tampa for history lovers, the Tampa Museum of Art offers an electric mix of artwork dating as far back as the Greeks and Romans. You’ll also explore contemporary art, photos, and modern multimedia displays.

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Check your trip dates to time your visit with signature events like the black-tie Pavilion, LGBTQ+-inspired Pride & Passion Neon Jungle, and CITY fashion shows.

If you’re visiting with kids, skip the art museum and pop into the Glazer Children’s Museum next door. Featuring 150 interactive activities, the Glazer Children’s Museum is one of the city’s most exciting places for young children.

Ybor City

Looking for Tampa’s historical roots? Visit the National Historic Landmark District of Ybor City. The historic neighborhood was once the center of the city’s Latino community.

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The city got its name from Vicente Martinez Ybor, a cigar baron. He arrived in Central Florida during the 1880s when workers at his Key West plant threatened to unionize.

At that time, the city’s cigar factory was one of the largest cigar manufacturers in the world. It helped to give Tampa the nickname Cigar City. Employers hand-rolled cigars producing more than 900,000 of them for the cigar industry. The Great Depression brought an end to the boom. Most of Cigar City’s factories closed.

Ybor City has gone through a change in recent years. The historic district has witnessed shops, cafes, galleries, and restaurants popping up everywhere.

Make sure to visit La Septima on Seventh Avenue for the best view of the area’s historical buildings. To take in Ybor City’s history, check out its cigar shops. You’ll get a good feel for the industry that once propelled the city.

Bayshore Boulevard

Located on the city’s southern peninsula, Bayshore Boulevard is a must-see attraction in Tampa. The remarkable sidewalk runs from north of MacDill Air Force Base to downtown along Hillsborough Bay. It’s the most extensive continuous sidewalk in the United States.

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Along Bayshore Boulevard, you can find residents at all hours of the day walking, biking, rollerblading, and jogging. Enjoy the views over the water to the other side of the bay to see some of Tampa’s most expensive real estate.

Visit Bayshore Boulevard in late January to check out the Gasparilla Pirate Festival. The festival celebrates the invasion of the mythical pirate known as Gasparilla. While the pirate’s existence is often questioned, the festival is a fun & festive affair for the whole family.

Ballast Point Park

While visiting Bayshore Boulevard, carve out time for a leisurely stroll in Ballast Point Park. The South Tampa park was named after ships arriving years ago offloading their ballast to access the harbor. It offers a splash park and large playgrounds for the kids to enjoy.

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Sit down at the shaded picnic tables to enjoy some quality time with the family. One of the waterfront park’s most impressive features is its exceptional view of the downtown skyline. You’ll also catch a glimpse of the Davis Islands. Grab some bait and cast a line out on the pier to enjoy some fishing.

Hyde Park Village

Want to add a little retail therapy to your Tampa adventure? Fulfill all your shopping dreams at Hyde Park Village. The upscale outdoor mall is located in one of the city’s most influential neighborhoods. It offers shopaholics 265,000 square feet of dining and retail bliss.

Stroll around Hyde Park Village and enjoy the open-air environment with a park-like atmosphere. Most of the mall’s walkways are covered if the weather turns nasty.

The open-air shopping complex features plenty of local and international shops to explore. Highlights include Tommy Bahama, Pottery Barn, and Brooks Brothers.

International Plaza and Bay Street

If you’ve still got shopping on the brain, feed the craving at International Plaza and Bay Street. Located next to the airport, International Plaza is packed with eateries and places to shop.

International Plaza is anchored by three upscale department stores: Dillard’s, Neiman Marcus, and Nordstrom. Elsewhere in the mall, you can also shop for famous brands like lululemon, Gucci, and Boss.

Add dining and entertainment to your shopping experience. Grab a seat at one of the restaurants & bars in the mall or along Bay Street.

Hillsborough River State Park

Nature lovers can’t visit Tampa without stopping in at Hillsborough River State Park. The park sits upriver in northeastern Hillsborough County. Only 30 minutes from downtown by car, it’s one of the best Tampa day trips.

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Hillsborough River State Park is one of Florida’s oldest parks. It’s got loads to see & do. For an overnight adventure, book a lot at its camping sites. Hit the waterways to canoe or kayak down the slow-moving river. If you’re looking for more adventure, seek out the river’s fast rapids.

For a relaxed lunch, enjoy a picnic at the park’s public pool. Or put on your hiking shoes and spend the afternoon tramping on its hiking trails.

Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park

Need a break from exploring Downtown Tampa? You’ll love relaxing at Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park. Located on the Riverwalk, the park features modern urban designs and sustainable construction.

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The pet-friendly Curtis Hixon Park offers wide-open spaces and fenced-in areas for your pooch to run amok. Throughout the year, you’ll also enjoy special events and concerts at the riverfront park.

Clearwater Beach

Want to soak up the hot Florida sun? Head across the bay to Clearwater Beach. Located in the city of Clearwater, it’s one of the best beaches in Florida.

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The white sands of Clearwater Beach offer tons of amenities and water activities. You can hit the shores to go fishing, take a leisure cruise, or go dolphin-watching.

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Or stroll along the promenade and enjoy its string of seafood restaurants and food trucks. If you’re thirsty, quaff a craft beer in a cool brewpub or beer garden.

Weedon Island Preserve

Located across the bay north of St. Petersburg, FL, Weedon Island Preserve is one of Tampa’s best nature escapes. The preserve spreads across 3,700 acres of undeveloped land. The island offers a wide selection of activities to please travelers of all kinds.

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To experience the island at its best, stroll along its boardwalks and hiking trails to catch glimpses of its colorful birdlife. Or you can go on a kayak adventure on the 4-mile canoe & kayak trail through the mangroves.

RELATED: Most Popular Day Trips from Orlando, FL

At the Cultural & History Center, you’ll explore exhibits designed by Native Americans, historians, and anthropologists. Poke around at artifacts excavated from the area and experience Florida’s native culture in the gallery.

Dinosaur World

Visiting Tampa with kids? They’ll never let you off the hook if they find out you missed out on Dinosaur World. Located in Plant City between Orlando and Tampa, this open-air museum is chock-loaded with over 150 life-sized dinosaurs packed into a lush tropical habitat.

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The whole family will love wandering along the pathways as T-Rexes and raptors poke their heads through the trees. After a stroll through the forest, kids can expend some excitement at the dinosaur-theme playground, replete with slides and swings.

Tampa Bay Downs

Need to add some fast-paced excitement into your itinerary? Slide in a visit to Tampa Bay Downs. Located northwest of the city center, Tampa Bay Downs is one of the premier thoroughbred horseracing venues on Florida’s Gulf Coast.

Visit during the November to May racing season to slot in some time to watch your favorite horses gallop to victory. Even if you’re not into betting, you’ll find plenty to keep you occupied here. Practice your swing at the on-site driving range or enjoy a meal at Skye Terrace.

Henry B. Plant Museum

Housed in the former Tampa Bay Hotel, the Henry B. Plant Museum is one of the city’s most interesting historical sites. The National Historic Landmark museum whisks visitors back to Tampa’s turn-of-the-century tourism industry through its programs and interpretive exhibits.

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At the Henry B. Plant Museum, you’ll slide past the hotel’s opulent original furnishings and decor, including an eye-popping collection of European and Oriental art. History buffs will likewise dig the museum’s exhibit detailing the hotel’s role as a base of military operations during the Spanish-American War.

Ybor City Museum State Park

For a taste of the city’s Latin heritage, pencil in a visit to Ybor City Museum State Park. Located in Tampa’s National Historic Landmark District, the museum sprawls over a 1920s-era bakery, Mediterranean-style garden, and historic cigar factory worker’s “casita.”

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If you’re a cigar aficionado, the Ybor City Museum State Park is one of the city’s must-sees. Through its self-guided exhibits, the museum details the early days of Ybor City’s cigar industry and its road to becoming the “Cigar Capital of the World.” You’ll also get to immerse yourself in Ybor City’s cultural history as you wander around the Ferlita Bakery, gardens, and historic house.

After your visit, be sure to save time to explore Ybor City itself. The historical district is a wonderful place to grab a delicious Latin-inspired meal and cocktails. For a special treat, pop into Columbia Restaurant on E 7th Avenue for a taste of their famed Cuban sandwich.

Straz Center for the Performing Arts

Located in the heart of Downtown Tampa, the Straz Center for the Performing Arts is the city’s most important cultural venue. At 335,000 square feet, it’s not just the largest on Florida’s Gulf Coast but the second-largest performing arts center in the entire Southeast USA!

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Throughout the year, the Straz Center hosts a variety of world-class performances, ranging from rock concerts to grand operas to Broadway shows. Check the official website to see if any shows catch your eye during your stay.

Cypress Point Park

Located on a small point near Tampa International Airport, Cypress Point Park is a local favorite. The park sits on the shores of Tampa Bay, featuring a tranquil white-sand beach lapped by calm waters.

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Besides its popular beach, Cypress Point Park teems with amenities. If you want to get active after soaking up the rays, play a round of disc golf or a game of volleyball, or take a relaxing walk on its trails. At the end of the day, Cypress Point Park is also one of the top places around Tampa to catch a breathtaking sunset.

Cigar City Brewing

For craft beer enthusiasts, there’s hardly a better stop to add to your Tampa itinerary than the Cigar City Brewery. Founded in 2007, the craft brewery has become one of Florida’s top beer producers, garnering plenty of attention with its award-winning ales and lagers.

Located on West Spruce Street, Cigar City Brewery is a fantastic place to take a break from typical sightseeing activities. Pull up a chair and grab a pint of the brewery’s famed Jai Alai IPA along with some of its Central Florida-inspired pub cuisine.

Amalie Arena

Located in the lively Channelside District, Amalie Arena is a Tampa must-see for sports fans. The multipurpose venue is most well-known as the home of the Tampa Bay Lightning, one of the NHL’s most popular teams.

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If you’re visiting in winter, check the Lightning’s official home schedule and try to fit an exciting and fast-paced ice hockey game into your travel plans. Otherwise, check out the venue’s full events calendar to see what else is on at Amalie Arena.

Best places to stay in Tampa for sightseeing

For travelers, the best places to stay in Tampa for sightseeing are Downtown and Ybor City. These central neighborhoods are home to many of the city’s best hotels. They’re also close to many of the city’s top attractions & points of interest.

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About the Author: Tung Chi