Explore Cigar City
What to Do on Your Tampa Trip
A key city on the west coast of Florida, metro Tampa is settled against the Gulf of Mexico – making for ideal beaches, weather, and scenery. Home to the Port of Tampa Bay, the University of Tampa, and number of other major attractions, Cigar City is a rich destination thanks to its history, sports scene, and of course, people.
Grab a flight to Tampa International Airport, because we’ve got the best things to do right here in the Big Guava:
Catch a Show
Tampa is a very cultural town, with plenty of opportunities to see organizations like the Florida Orchestra, Opera Tampa, Tampa Bay Opera, and the Tampa Bay Symphony. Be sure to check the event calendar at Straz Center for the Performing Arts and the iconic Tampa Theatre, or the Gorilla Theatre and the MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre.
Find a Festival
The biggest deal on the Tampa event calendar is the Gasparilla Pirate Festival, an annual parade and outdoor party similar to Mardi Gras with over 400,000 attendees. See the pirates, grab some beads, and drink responsibly at one of the better pirate invasions you’ll see.
Other Gasparilla themed events include the Gasparilla Distance Classic, the Gasparilla Festival of the Arts, and the Gasparilla International Film Festival – plus the Gasparilla Children's Parade and the 21-and-over Sant'Yago Knight Parade.
Explore the historic Ybor City neighborhood.
Tampa is also a fantastic sports town, featuring professional teams, spring training facilities, college sports, and more. The NFL's Tampa Bay Buccaneers are found at Raymond James Stadium, the NHL's Tampa Bay Lightning have their home ice at Amalie Arena, and the MLB’s Tampa Bay Rays play at the Tropicana Field ballpark in St. Petersburg.
During spring training, don’t miss the Tampa Yankees – you read that right – at Steinbrenner Field. The University of South Florida is home to the Bulls athletic department, while the University of Tampa has the Spartans.
The west coast of Florida offers exceptional beaches thanks to its position of the Gulf of Mexico. Check out Ben T. Davis Beach, Gandy Beach, and the famous Clearwater Beach. If you’d just like to see outdoor, have a stroll along the Tampa Riverwalk.
If you like to throw some money around when you’re on vacation, try Tampa shopping malls like the WestShore Plaza, and especially the International Plaza and Bay Street. Plenty more shops and restaurants are found in the SoHo district, Hyde Park Village, and the Palma Ceia Design District.
Grab a Drink
There are plenty of places to explore once the sun goes down in Tampa. You’ll find nightlife in the form of restaurants, bars, and clubs in Downtown Tampa, the SoHo district, the International Plaza and Bay Street, Channelside, and especially Ybor City – a National Historic Landmark District neighborhood bustling with nightlife.
Check out Busch Gardens Tampa Bay.
Tampa is teeming with museums for the culturally inclined – ranging from art displays to history and science. Check out the Tampa Museum of Art and the Florida Museum of Photographic Arts, or stroll through the American Victory Mariners Memorial & Museum Ship.
If you have the family with you, a number of kid-friendly museums are available in Tampa. Make time for the Glazer Childrens Museum, or the many exhibits of the Florida Aquarium – and depending on your child’s ambition, maybe the Tampa Firefighters Museum or the Tampa Police Museum.
You can also visit the Ybor City Museum State Park in well, Ybor City, and the Tampa Bay History Center in the Channel District.
It’s no seeking Cigar City is home to the world famous Busch Gardens Tampa Bay – the 335-acre African theme park known for its exotic animals, thrill rides, and food and drink.
Coasterheads enjoy the Python, Kumba, and SheiKra while animal lovers may get an aerial view of the safari animals from 60 feet up with the Skyride, connecting the Crown Colony and Stanleyville areas. And if it’s warm enough, enjoy a day splashing around Busch Gardens Adventure Island.