After getting such a great response on my post on things to do in Tampa with kids, I thought I would put one together for the adults out there. We’ve been in Tampa for almost 4 years and I feel like there are still so many things we haven’t done yet. Tampa is such a beautiful city to explore and has so many things to offer throughout the year. So I’m here to share some of our favorite things to do year-round!
How could I not start off the list with beaches!? Some of the best beaches in the country are right down the road, including the #1 beach in the nation. While you’re here you should check out at least one of the beaches in the Tampa Bay Area- Clearwater Beach, St. Pete Beach, Indian Rocks Beach or Madeira Beach just to name a few.
Think of Mardi Gras but a little less crazy, everyone is dressed like pirates and the parade route is on the most beautiful street in Tampa along the bay. Gasparilla is one of those things you have to experience at least once in your life. It falls on the last Saturday in January, so grab your best pirate gear and make your way down here for the biggest party in Tampa.
Tampa is home to three professional sports teams, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Tampa Bay Rays. You can also attend the Yankees spring training that happens here in Tampa. Our personal favorite team to watch is the Lightning. Whether you’ve been to a hockey game or not, Tampa Bay has a huge hockey following and it makes the games exciting and definitely worth going to.
These boats are great for a romantic night on the water or a day cruising around the bay with friends. The best part is that you get to drive! You can also bring food and drink on the boat and have your own picnic on the water. It’s a great way to spend an afternoon/evening doing something different and seeing Tampa in a whole new way.
Busch Gardens and Adventure Island
Make time to go to one of the theme parks while you’re in Tampa. Although they can get crowded at times, especially during the summer, both parks are great for the whole family. Cool down on the lazy river at Adventure Island or enjoy live music and fireworks during Busch Gardens Summer Nights.
The Riverwalk is one of the newer attractions in Tampa. Until recently it wasn’t really much of anything. But now it has turned into a long walkway along the Hillsborough River that connects to five museums and seven parks. It’s a popular spot to take your morning run AND it just so happens that the Riverwalk runs right by the eBoat rentals that I mentioned before, it’s a win/win!
Open since 1926, the Tampa Theatre is a must-see while you’re here. Even if you just visit for one of their tours it’s worth it. The inside of the theatre is mesmerizing. They are constantly showing old movies and hosting special events. Be sure to get there early to walk around and explore all that the theatre has to offer.
Hop on the street car and head down to Ybor for the day. There are plenty of fun restaurants and bars to check out and spend the day exploring. I always recommend stopping in at the famous Columbia restaurant, get a pitcher of sangria and their 1905 salad, YUM. Another favorite spot is The Bricks. Their Bird & Pig sandwich wins me over every time. While down in Ybor, if you’re a history buff take a guided tour and learn about some of Tampa’s history. Or if you’re up for it, take a ghost tour at night.
One of the main reasons I’ve fallen in love with Tampa and why you surely will too, is because of all the festivals and events that happen year-round. You’ve got the Beer, Bourbon & BBQ Festival, the Cuban Sandwich Festival, the Mayor’s Mac & Cheese Throwdown, Tampa Bay Margarita Festival, Gasparilla Festival of the Arts, Oktoberfest and my personal favorite, the Bloody Mary Festival. Come for one or come for all of them, you won’t be disappointed.
So what do you guys think, did I miss anything? For those of you who live here or who have visited, what other things do you love doing in Tampa? And for those of you who are planning your visit I hope a few of these things make it to your Tampa “to-do” list!