The perfect getaway is a blend of excitement and relaxation – and in Tampa Bay, there is plenty of both. From balloon rides, strawberry farms and lush nature to walkable neighborhoods there are plenty of opportunities to kick back and soak up the Florida sunshine at a slower pace. However – Tampa Bay is also the only city to be invaded by a band of pirates (during the annual Gasparilla celebration) and special events and festivals abound. Tampa Bay easily blends its rich cultural heritage with big-city style. There’s much to experience in this exciting, authentic metropolis.
Unlock the treasures of Tampa Bay – a feast of adventure, activities, nature, sports, shopping and fine dining await you!
Watch a hand-rolled cigar being made in Ybor City, Tampa’s historic Latin Quarter. Once known as the Cigar Capital of the World it produced over 700 million hand-rolled cigars annually at its peak. Although there are only two cigar factories still active in this now thriving entertainment and historic district, you can still see cigars being hand-rolled as you walk down 7th Avenue.
Ybor City is also home of the “Original Cuban Sandwich.” There’s more to this culinary confection than just ham, roast pork, salami, swiss cheese, mustard, pickles and bread. Nestled deep within that freshly baked loaf of Cuban bread is a rich history dating back more than a century, when Cuban immigrants filled Ybor City’s bustling cigar factories.
Ybor City’s Saturday market is a popular shopping destination for items unique to Tampa Bay. Purchase locally grown produce, gifts, and enjoy delicious homemade desserts, breads, pastas, and even popsicles! You can also stroll along historic 7th Avenue for Cuban and Spanish favorites like café con leche.
Tampa Bay has restored some of the buildings from its original attractions in the Roaring Twenties. Each movie at the Historic Tampa Theatre begins with a unique performance played on the celebrated Mighty Wurlitzer Theatre Organ. This is truly a Tampa Bay treasure! Built in 1926 as one of America’s most elaborate movie theatres, the ornate Mediterranean-style structure offers a movie experience unlike any other! It was recently ranked as the number three movie theatre in the world.
Visit the Tampa Bay Hotel, built in 1891 and now the Henry B. Plant Museum, named after its founder. With its magnificent Moorish architecture, opulent furnishings, and tropical gardens, a visit to the restored rooms of the former Tampa Bay Hotel will transport you back to Victorian splendor.
CItyPASS Tampa Bay gives you admission to Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo and Busch Gardens and The Florida Aquarium and then in addition the Clearwater Marine Aquarium - plus either the Museum of Science and Industry in Tampa or the Chihuly Glass Collection in St Petersburg.
All for $199 for the over 10’s and $99 for kids 3-9. Buy online at www.citypass.com or at any CityPASS attraction for the same low price.
Save 39% on Busch Gardens plus 4 more top Tampa Bay / St Petersburg Clearwater attractions. Visit Busch Gardens in Tampa and one other attraction – and you have paid for your CityPASS!
It’s convenient as you get all your attraction tickets in one easy purchase. Plus you save time as you skip most ticket lines with your CityPASS. CityPASS is as flexible as your trip – it is perfect for a weekend but is valid for up to 9 days.
No wonder 12 million CityPASS booklets have been sold to travellers to the various destinations on offer and 97% of users would recommend CityPASS.
Depending upon your daring – you can see Tampa in many different ways.
For thrill seekers – look no further than the roller coasters at Busch Gardens. Cheetah Hunt, the park’s newest mega-attraction and Florida’s first triple-launch coaster accelerates riders from 0 to 60 in seconds. Busch Gardens Tampa Bay is where the unexpected comes together with an unparalleled combination of thrilling rides, world-class live shows and one of the premier zoos in the US with more than 2,500 animals.
Younger kids will love Sesame Street Safari of Fun - filled with kid-size rides, cool water fun, shows and memorable adventures that celebrate the spirit of Africa. Also check out Jungala, a lush jungle village where guests have the chance to connect with the natural world. You’ll come nose-to-nose with orangutans, test your strength against a Bengal tiger, explore a three-story play land of climbing nets, mazes and tunnels, and soar above the treetops on a zip line adventure.
For more animal fun - dive with the sharks or swim with the fishes at The Florida Aquarium. If you are a certified SCUBA diver, age 15 and older, you can go face-to-face with live sharks in the Aquarium's largest tank, the Coral Reef Exhibit. Dive in warm clear water teeming with massive sharks, moray eels, barracuda, a green sea turtle and more!
Non divers won’t miss out either. Age six and older can swim with the fishes through a replica of one of the Florida Keys' most beautiful coral reef dive sites.
And Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo has more than 2,000 animals including manatees, alligators, cheetah, okapi, hippo, hogs, storks and more - all housed on 56 acres of lush natural habitats!
With 361 days of sunshine – Tampa Bay is the perfect place to tee off! With year-round golf the area offers more than 100 courses to play, from Saddlebrook Resort to TPC Tampa Bay.
Learn to fish like a pro - fishing charters help newbies navigate the tides and professionals experience the deep sea. And if you prefer to leave the sport to the professionals – Tampa Bay has professional baseball, hockey and football teams.
Take a walk downtown using one of six engaging 2-3km self-guided walking routes that highlight public art, architecture, history and legends. The 2.5km Riverwalk waterfront walkway along the Hillsborough River is perfect for strolling, biking, roller blading – or roll your way around Tampa’s Riverwalk and the streets of downtown on a Segway tour.
Explore the paved and off-road trails and greenways. Cyclists, hikers, walkers, runners, inline skaters, and equestrian riders can experience over 160kms of trails - a great way to enjoy the natural wonders of Tampa’s urban, suburban and rural environments.
The first Saturday of every month there is an historic bike tour through the city neighbourhoods (tours are free, bike rental for a fee).
Get a birds-eye view of Tampa Bay’s skyscrapers and the landmark Bayshore Boulevard to Ybor City and Davis Islands on a helicopter tour. Or take a balloon ride and discover Tampa Bay’s landscapes, wildlife, and waterfront from a whole new perspective!
You can take an exhilarating speedboat tour of Tampa Bay to discover its diverse marine life. Plus environmentally friendly electric boats are available for charter on the Hillsborough River. Stop and explore the numerous attractions in Downtown Tampa, take a guided tour, or picnic onboard as you watch the sunset.
You can observe endangered Florida manatees in their natural habitat. When the bay’s water temperature falls below 68 degrees Fahrenheit, the shy and gentle manatees gather in the warm waters surrounding TECO’s Manatee Viewing Center. From the Florida-friendly butterfly gardens to a 900-foot tidal walk and hurricane simulator, the Viewing Center has been a signature environmental education facility for the area since 1986.
Kayaking or canoeing is available in the paddling paradise of the Hillsborough River - a 16,000-acre wilderness park. See birds, turtles and gators in tranquil scenic waters on a two-hour to full-day paddling adventure. Urban paddleboarding is all the rage – and you can do this too with everything from beginners’ lessons and Yoga to adventure tours.
If you want to get “hands on” - be a crew mate on Capt. Gus’s Crabby Adventures and learn how to bait and pull crab traps. End the tour with cooking and eating your own blue crabs and stone crabs bay side.
And if you aren’t afraid of a little dirt – get back to nature on a pick-your-own farm in Tampa Bay’s Plant City community, known as the strawberry capital of the world. March and April are the times to harvest delicious berries.
Find creativity in Tampa Bay at the Waterfront Arts District along the Tampa Riverwalk. The Florida Museum of Photographic Arts displays historic and contemporary works by nationally and internationally known photographic artists.
The David A. Straz, Jr. Center for the Performing Arts is the largest arts centre in the southeastern U.S. And the Tampa Museum of Art brings in world-class traveling exhibitions as well as having its own growing collection of contemporary and classical art plus scenic outdoor events in Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park and Tampa's Riverwalk.
MOSI – The Museum of Science and Industry is great fun for adults and kids alike. Slippery Science includes a series of interactive exhibits that teach friction, physics and more! MOSI has also teamed up with NASA to create Mission: Moonbase. MOSI’s guests can travel to the moon on a space transport to help operate a lunar colony. Become part of a team, living and working on the moon in the year 2070. Then head outside to experience an adrenaline rush like no other on MOSI’s Sky Trail® Ropes Course and brand new Zip Line.
The Ringling International Arts Festival October 15 – 18, 2014 brings over one hundred performers from across the US, Central and South America, the Middle East, Europe, and Great Britain in a full roster of dance, jazz, comic puppetry, world music, a touch of circus, and even intergalactic space adventure. Affordably priced performances are presented in four theaters within walking-distance proximity of each other.
And realize your own creative genius at a “Make Your Own” Hot Glass Workshop at Phoenix Glass Studio and Gallery. Create your own personal work of art – what better souvenir of your visit to Tampa Bay?
Tampa Bay’s transition into high-end retail began in 1998 and has since flourished with the opening of International Plaza (in 2001) further putting the Bay area on the map as a world-class shopping destiantion. With over 350 stores between International Plaza and Westshore Plaza, those in search of quality, luxury and high fashion can find the perfect fit in Tampa Bay! Hyde Park Village also offers high-end retailers and boutique shopping in a quaint and historical neighborhood.
Ybor City has several great restaurants including the Columbia Restaurant and Gaspar’s Grotto. The Columbia Restaurant is the oldest restaurant in Florida and the largest Spanish restaurant in the world! They also feature entertainment – flamenco dancers amaze onlookers nightly during 40-minute performances.
Also enjoy fresh farm-to-table dishes at Boca and the Refinery, or Great Gatsby-inspired good times at Ciro’s Speakeasy.
For one of a kind fine dining - and a sugar rush - visit Berns’ world-famous steakhouse. It’s known for its vast collection of wine, perfectly aged steaks and the upstairs Dessert Room complete with private booths made from old wine casks. The atmosphere lends itself to after-dinner beverages, quieter conversations and a tantalizing menu of unique, decadent desserts.
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