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Going to Florida soon and want to discover the best things to do in Tampa? You’ve come to the right place!

Tampa is located on the western side of Florida. Often overlooked by visitors, it is the 3rd biggest city in Florida and has so much to offer.

After living in Tampa Bay for a few months, I got to discover some of the best spots and that’s what I want to share with you today.

Tampa Bay is a very lively place to enjoy your holidays. There are many beaches nearby too and of course, the weather is amazing!

If you are going on a holiday in Tampa, it’s very likely that you will want to explore the whole bay and go to the wonderful beaches in St Petersburg or Clearwater however there is also plenty to do in Downtown Tampa.

1. Discovering Tampa Riverwalk

Tampa riverwalk

Located in downtown Tampa, the river walk is one of the best things to do in Tampa.

This 2.6 miles walk along the Hillsborough River is a great thing to do if you want to discover the city or just have a nice walk out with friends.

It starts at the convention centre and you will get to see beautiful views of the city.

You will also find many restaurants and bars along the way. I particularly recommend going there in the evening as it’s a great place to get a drink!

2. Going to Busch Gardens

Busch Gardens in Florida

Located about 10 miles away from downtown Tampa, Busch Gardens is the perfect place to go to if you love both animals and roller coasters!

This African themed entertainment park has loads to offer.

Firstly, you will find a safari park with many African animals.

You can visit it by either hopping on the train or on a jeep. It is a very unique experience. You can even hand-feed the giraffes!

Secondly, you will find some of the best roller coasters in Florida (and we all know that when it comes to roller coasters, Florida sets the standard). Thrill-seekers are going to love it!

The best rides are cheetah’s hunt, cobra’s curse and Congo river rapids.

Busch Gardens is open every day of the year and is one of the best theme parks in Florida.

It’s less crowded than the other parks in Orlando which makes it more pleasant.

They also organise festivals and concerts so make sure to check their event schedule so you can make the best of your visit.

Click here for more information and prices!

PRO TIP: If you are planning on doing several of the following activities, you may want to consider buying the Tampa City Pass. It will work out much cheaper altogether! Click here for more info and prices.

3. Scavenger hunt in Downtown Tampa

downtown tampa FL

If you want to discover Tampa in a fun way, you should opt for a scavenger hunt around the city. Not only is it a fun outdoor activity but it also works out quite cheap!

You will need to book online first. The scavenger hunt is online which means you will be given the clues directly on your phone and will be helped by a remote host if needed. It starts on Madison street and you will finish there as well.

It’s a great thing to do for adults as well as for kids.

Click here to see the latest prices.

4. Dolphin Cruise in Tampa Bay

Dolphins in Florida

Although most people head to St Pete or Clearwater for dolphin cruises, you can also go on one from Tampa directly. 

The cruise lasts 1 hour 30 minutes and is great fun for kids as well as grown-ups.

You’ll go around Tampa Bay and get to see all these beautiful dolphins jumping around. That’s quite a magical experience!

If you are in luck, you’ll also get to see some manatees.

Click here to see the latest prices.

5. Wondering around Ybor City

tampa ybor city things to do

Ybor is by far my favourite place in Tampa. It was founded by Vincente Martinez Ybor and quickly became the cigar capital of the world.

It was one of the first Cuban settlements in Florida and this why you will find so many handrail cigar shops there. This alongside Cuban cafes and bakeries.

Through the years, it grew to become Tampa’s entertainment district. You will find many bars, music venues and restaurants.

One of the best places to eat and drink is Bernini’s. This Italian restaurant has a happy hour every day until 7 pm. This includes 50% off the food and $3 martinis!

If you love history, Ybor is the perfect place for you. You can go on a walking tour there and discover everything about the cigars, ghost stories and plenty more!

6. Go to a Tampa Bay Lightning Ice hockey game

ice hockey tampa lightning

You may not expect Florida to be famous for ice-hockey but yet it is! Tampa Bay Lightning is a very good and famous ice-hockey team in the United States.

If there is one thing you must do during your time in Tampa it’s going to a Lightning game.

If you love ice-hockey, you are in for a treat! If you don’t know anything about it, you should still go! It’s a very cool thing to do in Tampa. If it’s your first time in the USA, that’s perfect! It’s a very American experience!

There are games every week, usually on Tuesday, at the Amalie Arena in Downtown Tampa.

You can get tickets online or through the In We Go app.

Pro tip: make sure you are wearing blue. It’s the official colour of the Tampa Lightnings. You wouldn’t want to be out of place by wearing another colour.

7. Exploring downtown Tampa on a segway

segway tour

If you are looking for a fun thing to do in Downtown Tampa, you may want to opt for a segway tour.

You’ll be starting at the Embassy Suites and go around downtown and the Riverwalk.

The tour lasts 2 hours during which you’ll see most of Downtown.

It’s a great thing to do for first-timers but also for locals as it will allow you to discover the city in a new way.

Tampa is quite a big city and walking around can get tiring so opting for a segway is a great way to make the best of your time.

Click here to see the latest prices.

8. Going on a food tour in Ybor City

visit tampa ybor city

Ybor City is one of the best places in Tampa to get food. The Cuban heritage is everywhere and you’ll find so many delicious snacks, dishes and drinks there.

The best way to discover all these delicious savors is by going on a food tour. It’s quite a popular activity here and well worth your time whether you are a first-time visitor or a local.

The guide will take you around historic Ybor to taste six foods and drinks. You’ll go from eatery to eatery and learn plenty about the food culture in Ybor and Florida in general.

Make sure to come hungry as you will be eating quite a lot!

Click here to see the prices.

9. Ziplining over Tampa Bay


This one is not exactly in Tampa but very close by and you can easily get there by car.

Located in Oldsmar, this ziplining adventure is ideal for people who love the outdoors and a bit of adventure.

You’ll be going on a treetop course that includes 5 ziplines.

It’s very good fun and you’ll get to admire the beautiful views over Tampa Bay and the Mobbly Bayou Wilderness Preserve.

Click here to see the latest prices.

10. Going on a ghost tour in Ybor

things to do in tampa florida

Ybor is known for all its ghost stories. It is a rather unusual place to discover and if you are always up for some spooky stories, you may want to consider going on a Ghost and Pub tour.

During the tour, the guide will show you all the famous haunted places in Tampa. You’ll stop in 4 bars.

The guides are wearing costumes and that’s so much fun.

Click here to see the prices.

11. Zoo Tampa

giraffe in zoo

If you are looking for a family-friendly activity in Tampa, the zoo will be perfect. You will get to see all sorts of animals from all over the world!

Zoo Tampa also organizes up-close encounters with the animals which is something kids absolutely love!

Click here to see the latest prices

12. Indoor Skydiving in Tampa

Indoor Skydiving

This is a great thing to do if you are a bit of a thrill-seeker and looking for a fun indoor activity in Tampa.

Located on Palm River Rd, iFly offers unique skydiving experiences that don’t require you to jump off a plane.

If you’ve always wondered what it felt like to free fall but didn’t actually want to skydive, this will be ideal.

You’ll be equipped exactly like for a skydive but instead of jumping, you’ll go in a wind tunnel.

There are 2 flights included in your entrance ticket as well as training with an instructor.

Click here to see the latest prices.

13. Florida Aquarium

Florida aquarium in tampa
Photo by miroslav_1

There are a few aquariums in Florida but the one in Tampa is undoubtedly the best one. You will find all sorts of sea animals.

The Florida Aquarium is also known for its conservation focus on sharks and sea turtles.

You can roam around the aquarium and also participate in interactive activities.

It’s a great thing to do in Tampa with kids.

14. Straz Center

The Straz Center for the performing arts is an big art complex located in Downtown Tampa, by the Hillsborough River.

It’s one of the biggest in the Southern United States and is a great place to go if you want to see amazing performances and shows.

15. Go see a show at Amalie Arena

Amalie Arena in Tampa
Photo by ganesh005

The Amelie Arena is located in downtown Tampa.

It hosts many events including ice-hockey, basketball and concerts!

While you are in Tampa, you should definitely check out what’s on and go see a show. It’s super cool!

Some of the most famous artists have performed there and the schedule is always amazing.

Cher, Justin Bieber, Harry Styles… you name them!

16. Visiting the Museum of Science and Industry

If you want to discover a fun museum in Tampa, the Museum of Science and Industry will be perfect for you.

It’s particularly good if you are travelling with kids.

There are many activities that help you understand how technology and science work.

17. Going on a History cruise

Tampa harbor

If you are into history and want to know more about Tampa while enjoying the water, a history cruise will be perfect for you!

What a better to get the best of both worlds!

The cruise lasts 1 hour and a half.

You will leave from Downtown and sail down the Hillsborough while getting live on-board commentary.

Click here for more information and prices.

18. Top Golf

Top Golf is a huge entertainment complex in Tampa where you can play golf indoors (not mini-golf, actual golf!).

But also enjoy a meal and drink. It is so much fun! It’s a great thing to do on a rainy day or just to have fun with friends.

19. Tampa Museum of Art

Tampa museum of art
Photo by VIAVAL

The museum of art one of the best-rated attractions in Tampa. It offers beautiful collections of contemporary and modern art.

Located by the river, it’s a good thing to do after the riverwalk. It’s open every day of the week.

20. Henry B. Plant Museum

If there is one building you can’t miss in Tampa it’s the Henry B. Plant Museum.

This beautiful building is almost out of place!

It was originally built as a hotel and is now owned by the University of Tampa. If you love European architecture, it’s the place for you!

This amazing mansion is a mix of Victorian and baroque architecture. A must-see in Tampa!

21. Tampa Bay History Center

If you want to learn more about the history of Tampa, this is the place for you!

Tampa Bay History Center gives a wonderful insight into the history of central Florida. From the Spanish conquistador to what it is today, you will discover it all!

22. Visiting the Breweries in Tampa

There are 16 breweries in Tampa so if you love your drinks, you are in for a treat!

You can visit most of these breweries. You will go on a tour and get a free drink!

One of the most popular is Tampa Bay Brewery Company.

If you are looking for a smaller one, you can head to the Copper Tail Brewery.

23. Going Shopping

The best places to go shopping in Tampa are:

  • Hyde Park Village
  • International Plaza

You will find all sorts of shops there!

If you are after vintage shops, Ybor City would be a good place.

Where To Stay in Tampa

Tampa is a big city so you will find plenty of places to stay. Ideally, you will want to stay Downtown, as close to the riverwalk as possible. Here are some amazing options for places to stay in Tampa.

💲Budget Accommodation in Tampa: It’s pretty much impossible to find cheap accommodation in Downtown Tampa. There is only one hostel in all of Tampa.

Thankfully though, it’s a great one! Gram’s Place Hostel is a lovely place and offers amazing facilities. You will also get free breakfast.

💲💲Mid-range accommodation in Tampa: Modern Channelside is a great apartment located in a nice area by downtown.

It’s a good option if you want to have the whole place to yourself.

💲💲💲Luxury accommodation in Tampa: This one is definitely the best place to stay in Tampa! Mariott Water Street is a luxury hotel located right by the riverwalk.

Everything you may want, they will have it!

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