Things To Do In Tampa

TAMPA, FLORIDA -- August 2013 -- Downtown Tampa  (PHOTO / CHIP LITHERLAND)

There are so many fun places to visit in Tampa, Florida! You are pretty much guaranteed sunny weather any time of year, because the city has an average of 361 sunny days in a year! Now that’s a lot of sun! Don’t forget to pack your sunscreen! Tampa has some of the cleanest, whitest beaches on the Gulf of Mexico, so if you have the time during your visit here make sure to spend a weekend relaxing with your toes in the sand.

10. The David A. Straz, Jr. Center for the Performing Arts

The Straz Center puts on productions that rival Broadway shows in New York City. The Straz Center has been operating since 1987; originally it was the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center. The shows are always outstanding, and the inside the theater is beautifully decorated. This elegant theater is the best place for a romantic night out for all theater enthusiasts. They also have family nights several times throughout the year that include activities for the little ones before the performance. Check their website for show schedule and ticket pricing.

9. Bayshore Boulevard

Walking the Bayshore Boulevard is a must while visiting. The beautiful bright blue bay runs along one side of the road, and huge extravagant mansions are on the other side. There are always people wandering down this boulevard. Stop to observe the scenes, breathe the fresh air, and snap a few photos as people rollerblade past or play Frisbee on the beach. This is a fantastic place to watch a beautiful sunset with Tampa’s skyline as the backdrop. Parking is available near the pier where you can grab a bite to eat before taking an afternoon stroll down the boulevard.

8. The Lowry Park Zoo

A visit to the zoo is a wonderful family fun filled day! You can feel a giraffe tongue as it grabs a piece of lettuce from your hand, witness manatee conservation in action at the manatee hospital, watch colorful birds zoom around the aviary, and more. If you are traveling with children they also offer several children’s rides to help break up all the walking for the little ones. The Lowry Park zoo is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Tampa, Florida. This award winning zoo has over 1,300 animals!

7. Fishing Charters

Fishing is such a huge part of living and visiting the Tampa Bay area. Choose from several different charter companies and spend the day fishing like a local. These charters are excellent for any skill level angler, and you will be sure to catch more fish than you could ever hope for in the bay’s abundant waters. The captains are always willing to share what they love about the wonderful city of Tampa! Not traveling with your favorite fishing pole? No problem! The charters will supply all the gear you need, just pack a lunch, and come soak up some rays!

6. The Florida Aquarium

This fun family friendly aquarium has several different areas where you actually get to touch the sea creatures! This aquarium hosts more than 20,000 different sea creatures! Parents, pack some dry clothing for the little ones because they will want to cool off in the water fun zone! There is lots of splashing fun to have while at the 2 acre water play zone! Watch a show and learn how you can help with the conservation of our beautiful sea creatures and their habitats. The Florida Aquarium is open 7 days a week.

5. Tampa Electric Manatee Viewing Area

Come and view hundreds of manatees in their natural habitat! This federally designated sanctuary is made possible by the Big Bend power station that provides electricity to the community. They use the saltwater from the bay to cool their units and the warm water is discharged back into the bay. When the water gets too cold for comfort during the winter, the manatees flock to this area in large groups to enjoy the comfort the warmer waters offer. The manatees have been spending their winters here since 1986! This free viewing area is open from November thru April 15th.

4. Sunshine Skyway Bridge

This bridge is so tall the massive cruise ships that leave from Tampa’s port can sail under it with just a few feet to spare. It is a well-known landmark in Tampa because it can be seen from almost anywhere around the city. What a sight it is too!! This gorgeous bridge is an engineering feat that you won’t want to miss! At night the bridge’s summit has lights on it that magnify the beauty of the bridge even more. If you do find yourself driving across this 4 mile long bridge; be prepared, there is a toll.

3. Museum of Science and Industry

This is a fun family friendly place to learn and is very hands on. Even if you don’t have kids this is a terrific place to spend an afternoon. You can enjoy a show inside the towering IMAX theater dome, the only dome theater in Florida. Sit under the stars in the planetarium as you learn about space. Other activities include wandering through the butterfly garden, completing the ropes course and zip line, experiencing a simulated natural disaster, and many more unforgettable experiences. They are open 7 days a week.

2. Tampa Theater

This movie palace is on the National Register of Historic places, and is an amazing blast from the past. This 1920s style theater still shows the old favorites on the big screen. The theater itself has been artfully restored to look as it did during the 1920s. The grand architecture inside is absolutely breathtaking, and a magnificent place to come for a romantic night out. The theater still uses the original Wurlitzer organ from when they first opened their doors in 1926. The organ was originally used to accompany silent films; now they play it before the start of performances.

1. Busch Gardens

Busch Gardens has something for people of all ages to enjoy. It has way more to offer than an ordinary amusement park. Come and enjoy thrilling rides, one of the largest zoos across the United States with over 12,000 animals, and exciting live shows. Go on a safari and see all kinds of different animals. This is a thrill seekers dream park! The park typically doesn’t ever feel over crowded, like at Disney World, and the lines are never outrageous. They are open 7 days a week; check the website for special events and shows.

There are so many things to do in Tampa, Florida! The sunshine state offers fun entertainment for the whole family today. It is a great place to go to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Take a relaxing stroll next to the bay, visit thrilling theme parks, spend an evening at the theater, explore the wildlife of Florida, and so much more!