News flash! The hip, urban heart of Florida’s Gulf coast beats in Tampa Bay. Discover the abundance of experiences ready for you in Florida’s most diverse destination just a short drive west of Orlando.
Start your visit on the Tampa Riverwalk, a protected pedestrian pathway that threads 2.4 miles through the heart of downtown and links high-end hotels, restaurants, museums and parks like gems on a string. It’s perfect for a morning walk or a sunset stroll. Rent a ride from Coast Bike Share – your hotel may have some as well — and travel the Riverwalk on two wheels.
In minutes, you can go from enjoying lunch at one end to pondering the denizens of the deep at The Florida Aquarium at the other. In between, stop at the waterfront and try your hand at paddle-boarding (keep an eye open for dolphins) or hop aboard the Pirate Water Taxi for a trip upriver to meet the beasts at Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo.
For something wilder, test your mettle atop Falcon’s Fury, North America’s tallest drop-tower – just one of the spine-tingling thrill rides at Busch Gardens® Tampa Bay. Feel the surge of a savannah cat when you ride Cheetah Hunt or meet the Snake King face-to-face on Cobra’s Curse, the park’s new family spin coaster. From June to August, the park remains open late for “Summer Nights,” a special program that adds DJs, fireworks, and other special events after-hours. Nearby, Adventure Island waterpark has an endless mix of slides, pools, and raft rides to keep you cool on a Florida afternoon. Tampa Bay CityPASS brings the adventures to you at a budget price.
When you come back down to earth, send your taste buds soaring with a cutting-edge culinary experience. Book a table at Florida’s oldest restaurant, the Columbia, where you can savor authentic Spanish paella, Cuban specialties or an evening Flamenco performance. The world’s largest private wine collection is at your fingertips when you dine at Bern’s Steak House, a Tampa institution rated Florida’s best steak house. Tampa’s top sunsets lead the menu at Ulele, which draws inspiration from Tampa Bay’s first residents. In hipster-haven Seminole Heights, Florida’s “Cracker” heritage comes to life with delicious heritage dishes at Fodder & Shine.
After dinner, catch the Florida Orchestra or a Broadway show at the Straz Center for the Performing Arts, the largest theater complex in the Southeast US. Or take the TECO Historic Streetcar for a trip back in time when you visit Ybor City, Tampa Bay’s Latin Quarter and the former Cigar Capital of the World. Stroll beneath the iron balconies along La Sétima, where Cuban artisans roll cigars by hand as they have for more than 130 years. Pause for a specialty craft draft or some serious cider at one of two dozen breweries – you are in Florida’s hub for craft brewing, after all. Then head out and sample Ybor City’s vibrant nightlife to a pulsing salsa beat.
For more information, please go to www.VisitTampaBay.com/