Explore the former cigar capital of the world, now famous for its theme parks, wildlife, and beautiful scenery.
The city of Tampa is the commercial heart of Florida’s west coast, with a business district full of banks and high-tech companies and a busy port for cruise and cargo ships. But commerce is only one aspect of Tampa: this subtropical city also offers a wealth of natural attractions.
Tampa was established in the early 1500s when Spanish explorers landed there. But it wasn’t until the 1990s when a railroad was built to Tampa, that prosperity increased, and Tampa began to grow. By this time, Cuban immigrants had built up a cigar industry in the Ybor City district, leading to Tampa’s nickname “cigar capital of the world” in the heyday of the 1920s and 1930s.
Anyone who knows anything about Florida has surely heard of this city on the west coast of the Gulf of Mexico. Tampa, a pearl in the Sunshine State, complete with awards: in 2008, Forbes magazine crowned it fifth best American city to live in the open area. In 2015, Money Magazine elected it the best large city in the Southeast of the USA.
In addition to the many things to visit, Tampa also offers various kinds of entertainment and attractions, not to mention the beaches and the wonderful climate. Here is a small guide to visit the city of Tampa and its surroundings.
What to see in Tampa?
Nicknamed “the city of entertainment,” Tampa is now considered one of the best vacation destinations in the United States. There are hundreds of skyscrapers, restaurants, and hotel complexes.
Tampa is also an excellent place for a family vacation. It offers amusement parks, water parks, and zoos to spend beautiful days outdoors. Besides, it also has fascinating museums, beautiful shopping malls, and good restaurants. Plus, extensive and well-equipped beaches to enjoy the Florida sunshine all year round.
First of all, it must be said that the city is a large urban agglomeration. Therefore it is divided into many districts. Getting around the city can be tiring, and for this, you need to make a list of things to see in Tampa, Florida, and establish an itinerary to visit them all.
1. Downtown, the Center of Tampa
Unlike the metropolis of New York, Downtown is the heart of the city, where you can admire towering skyscrapers of glass windows that reflect the sky and sunlight. The tallest building is the AmSouth Building, which houses a bank and some offices. In stark contrast, the Renaissance-style architecture of the town hall and the historic Tampa Theater house a delightful Mediterranean courtyard where events and concerts are held.
Visit the Waterfront, a sub-district of downtown Tampa. Once a commercial seaport. Today it’s a vibrant destination full of entertainment and tourists. Thanks to popular attractions like the Florida Aquarium and the Tampa Museum of Art. The Tampa Bay History Center is also located in this area.
2. The Riverwalk Promenade
Do you need to jog? Along the Hillsborough River that runs through the city, there is a very long promenade to walk or cycle. The area was created to give the river more life, and they succeeded! Walking along the path is a pleasure: along the way, you can admire both works of art and monuments, as well as large and green parks.
3. Tampa Heights, in the heart of the ancient city
East of the river is Tampa Heights, one of the oldest areas of the city. Here you can see the Romanesque-style Sacred Heart Catholic Church and the Mediterranean Revival-style Saint Andrew’s Episcopal Church.
4. The Channel District neighborhood
Also, on this side of the river, you can spend a few hours in this neighborhood with many shops, bars, restaurants, open spaces with musical events. After relaxing, it is a must to visit the S.S. America Victory, a World War II ship that houses a sort of historiographical museum. In addition, tours are organized twice a year along with the Channel District with music and shows. There is no shortage of opportunities to have fun.
5. Nightlife in Ybor City
If you’re still looking for things to see in Tampa, you can take a stroll in Ybor City. The old quarter was founded by cigar producers and was populated in the early twentieth century, mainly by immigrants of Latin origin who worked in cigar and tobacco factories. With the mechanization in the seventies, many buildings were abandoned, but the neighborhood has been renewed since the nineties, focusing above all on nightlife.
6. The wonderful beaches of Tampa
After the sightseeing tour of Tampa, it’s time to relax on its beautiful beaches. A few kilometers from Downtown, we find one of the most famous beaches in Florida:
· Clearwater Beach.
Clearwater Beach has a well-earned reputation as one of the best beaches in America.
Here there is nothing to envy to the most famous beaches of Miami: white sand, crystal clear sea, and a perfect backdrop for divers or those who love snorkeling. In addition, the seafront is super organized to meet every need. There are shops, bars, service agencies, and fun activities such as boat trips.
Beach volleyball is really popular on the beach of Clearwater, while away from the sandy shores there are museums and aquariums for you to visit.
On the other hand, if we’re looking for a slightly more secluded paradise, we can reach Caladesi Island, which can be reached by ferry and is much less crowded. Let’s say that in the unspoiled nature of the island it is easier to see dolphins than groups of tourists!
· St Pete Beach
St Pete Beach is located in the center of West Florida, in the Gulf. Soft sandy beaches are the main attraction here, but a large selection of beachfront accommodation also makes it extremely popular with all types of people. Away from the beach itself, the town is home to The Pier, a large restaurant and shopping complex.
St Pete Beach is within easy reach of St. Petersburg, Clearwater, and Tampa, not far from all of Orlando’s world-renowned attractions. The iconic Don CeSar resort is seemingly popular with people who want to stay close to the beautiful sands of St Pete Beach.
· Siesta Beach, Sarasota
This strong beach has the softest sand in the United States. Anyone visiting Siesta Beach during a vacation in Florida will find it very difficult to disagree with this glamorous estimate. The sunsets are stunning in this part of the state. There are many recreational activities to and from Siesta beach, with volleyball and football among the most popular things. The sea is highly calm at Siesta Beach – so there is no surfing – and the beach is less than a mile away, but it is a must-visit spot.
Transportation and travel in Tampa
Tampa has an international airport. You can also get there by Greyhound from Jacksonville or Orlando.
Two trains, the Silver Meteor and the Silver Star depart from New York, Florida. However, the car is the ideal mode of transport for these large spaces, a fast lane connecting St Petersburg to Tampa. Also, a rental car in Tampa is pretty much a must.
To make your travel hassle-free, it’s always advisable to have the hotline number of a trustworthy and mobile locksmith in Tampa. For this purpose, no one is more ace and reliable than All In One Locksmith in Tampa, FL.
When to go to Tampa
Before booking a plane ticket, it is good to inquire about the climate in Tampa, although in Florida, the climate is always relatively mild and welcoming. If we do not intend to spend time at the beach, the months in which it is best to visit Tampa are the least rainy ones: therefore, it is better to avoid the months of August and September.
If we want to add a few days on the beach to the cultural visit, we can find a mild climate from May to October. However, even in January, the coldest month of the year, temperatures hardly drop below 10 °. It is possible to experience the city and all its attractions at any time of the year.