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*'''International Plaza Mall''' Located near the airport, would be worthwhile if one is trying to spend a few hours. The usual stores are present, plus a collection of boutique shops in the outdoor area. Lots of food and drink options as well.
 
*'''International Plaza Mall''' Located near the airport, would be worthwhile if one is trying to spend a few hours. The usual stores are present, plus a collection of boutique shops in the outdoor area. Lots of food and drink options as well.
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*"SoHo District" Just southwest of downtown, this area is the upscale nightlife center of Tampa, with a lot of boutiques on Howard avenue itself, with the main shopping area called Hyde Park Village a bit east on Swann Ave.
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*"Palma Ceia" South of Hyde Park is Palma Ceia, its more relaxed sister. This area is centered around the Macdill Ave./Bay to Bay Ave. intersection and has scores of trendy boutiques, art galleries, and antique shops.
  
 
*'''Westshore Plaza Mall''' Also near the airport, has a movie theater and shops.
 
*'''Westshore Plaza Mall''' Also near the airport, has a movie theater and shops.

Revision as of 11:37, 18 February 2013

Tampa skyline

The city of Tampa[1] is the county seat of Hillsborough County and the largest city in West Central Florida.

Contents

Weather

Tampa has a humid subtropical climate. It's situation on the Gulf of Mexico allows the warm Gulf Stream to create mild winter weather. However, cold snaps do occur in winter in Tampa occasionally, bringing temeperatures at night around freezing. Temperatures in the teens, and snow, have been recorded. However, this is very rare. From spring through fall, weather is very warm and humid, sometimes making the weather unpleasant for outdoor activities.


Understand

Climate Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Daily highs (°F) 65 70 76 82 90 90 90 90 90 84 78 66
Nightly lows (°F) 46 52 56 60 65 73 74 74 73 66 54 50
Precipitation (in) 2.2 2.7 3.4 1.8 2.9 5.6 7.3 7.9 6.3 2.3 1.8 2

Check Tampa's 7 day forecast at NOAA

Tampa is situated on the north shore of Tampa Bay in West Central Florida. Saint Petersburg lies west of the bay, while Bradenton is on the southern shore. The downtown business center of the city is on the north shore of Hillsborough Bay (a small bay within Tampa Bay which is bordered by the eastern shore of Tampa Bay and the small peninsula of South Tampa) and Ybor City lies just to the east. MacDill Air Force Base is on the southern tip of South Tampa, while the city also extends to the north all the way to the newly incorporated area of New Tampa.

Orientation

Tampa is divided into five main districts fanning out from Downtown in the south-center between the Hillsborough River and Ybor Channel. West Tampa, once a separate city, lies across the Hillsborough River to the west of Downtown. South Tampa, a large residential area, extends south along the Interbay Peninsula. Historic Ybor City (sometimes considered a part of downtown) lies on the northeast side of downtown. East Tampa, the historically African-American side of the city, lies north of Ybor City. North Tampa forms the urban/suburban sprawl north of Busch Boulevard. A significant suburban area, often considered a part of "Tampa", extends many miles to the northwest, north, and east of the city.

Within Tampa proper, there are six official "historical districts" (Hampton Terrace, Hyde Park, Seminole Heights, Tampa Heights, Historic West Tampa, Ybor City) and at least 86 named neighborhoods.

History

The Tampa Bay area was visited by many Spanish explorers, beginning with Panfilo de Narvaez in 1528. However, no long term permanent settlements were created until 1824 when the US federal government created a reservation for north Florida Seminole Indians. At the same time, the US created Fort Brooke to oversee the reservation as well as protect the strategic harbor.

The 1880s saw the town's first population boom. In 1883, phosphate was discovered in the area, spurring the development of the mining and shipping industries in the area. Shortly after, Henry B. Plant completed work on his railroad linking Tampa to Jacksonville. He began promoting Tampa as a holiday spot and built the grand Plant Hotel as a luxury resort destination. In 1886, Vicente Martinez Ybor opened Tampa's first cigar factory in Ybor City which encouraged the immigration of many Spanish, Cuban and Italian (primarily Sicilian) workers. During the Spanish American War at the turn of the century, Tampa was the main port of departure for troops heading for Cuba. During this time, the Plant Hotel was converted into officer's accommodations, housing the Rough Riders and Teddy Roosevelt.

In more recent times, MacDill Air Force Base was created in 1939 and the University of South Florida in 1956. Over the course of the Twentieth Century, Tampa has grown into the center of a large metropolitan area; it now hosts the regional headquarters of many international companies, has acquired numerous professional sports teams, and has even bid for the summer Olympics.

People

Tampa is a very diverse city. The first residents were the members of the Seminole Indian tribe that was relocated there from northern Florida and the soldiers stationed at Fort Brook to control the reservation. The town remained a mostly military town until the 1880s when Tampa saw its first major waves of immigration from Cuba, Spain and Sicily. The major growth of the area did not occur until air conditioning became common in the years after World War II, but the region has been growing steadily since then. Tampa is now home to many native Floridians, including Seminoles, Cubans, Spaniards and Italians, as well the residence of many 'transplants' from the Midwest and other areas of the states and new immigrants from the Caribbean and central America. Tampa's population swells during the winter months with the arrival of the 'snowbirds,' retired persons from the northern U.S. and Canada who come down for a few months to enjoy the relative warmth.

Economy

Tampa has a growing economy and serves as a major port. Among others, Raymond James, Home Shopping Network, Outback Steakhouse, and a major portion of Citigroup are all headquartered in Tampa. Tampa's major industries today are phosphate mining, shipping, citrus processing, shrimping, and tourism.

Get in

Tampa, Florida, seen from the historic Ybor district.

By plane

  • Tampa International Airport (IATA: TPA) (ICAO: KTPA), [2], located near the waters of Tampa Bay along I-275. Saint Petersburg-Clearwater International Airport (IATA: PIE)[3] is an alternative only fifteen miles away, generally serving smaller routes and discount airlines. A bit further away is Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport (IATA: SRQ)[4], offering proximity to beautiful Gulf beaches to the south of Tampa.

By train

Tampa's Amtrak [5] station is located at 601 Nebraska Avenue in downtown Tampa. Amtrak's Silver Service runs daily from New York City or Miami to Tampa. The train journey through Florida offers great views, but be aware that, whtile Amtrak reports an 80% on time rate, the scheduled times, particularly on the southboand trains, can be hours before the actual time of arrival, and there are limited options for rescheduling.

By car

Tampa is easily accessible via the major interstate highways, I-75 from north and south, and I-4 from the east. From either highway, exit onto I-275 to reach Tampa. However, be prepared for frequent traffic jams particularly when it rains; nearly all of Downtown and the airport area are under constant and complete construction. Also be ready to deal with terrible drivers, as this is the retirement state.

By bus

Tampa's Greyhound [6] station is at 610 Polk Street in downtown Tampa. Funtime Coaches toll free 1-888-952-LIMO

Sarasota-Tampa Express [7] offers shuttle service between Tampa International Airport and the nearby towns of Bradenton and Sarasota for $40 one-way.

By boat

Cruise ships from five cruise lines operate from Tampa, mostly to Caribbean islands and Mexico. The Tampa cruise terminal is on the Ybor channel downtown. Starlight Cruises toll free 1-888-952-5466 [8]

Get around

By car

Car rentals are the most convenient for of transportation for visitors, with local companies offering better prices but national chains offering more convenience vis-a-vis return policies and times.

The main freeways in Tampa are Interstate 275, Interstate 4, the Veterans Expressway (toll FL 589), and the Leroy Selmon Crosstown Expressway (toll FL 618). Some of the main east-west roads through town are Kennedy Boulevard (SR 60), Gandy Boulevard (SR 694), Hillsborough Avenue (US 92) and Fowler Avenue (SR 582), while some of the north-south roads are Dale Mabry Highway (US 92) and Florida/Nebraska Avenue (US 41). Traffic is especially bad during the rush hours: from about 7:30 to 9:30 AM and 3:30PM to 7:30PM. During these times, try especially to avoid I-275, especially between I-4 and SR 60 (by the airport) as this section runs by downtown and is currently being rebuilt.

By bus

HART, [9], provides extensive bus service throughout Hillsborough County. There are three types of routes offered: "local", "Commuter Express", and Trollies (see below). Local routes are ones which have many stops in a small region. Commuter Express lines are long-distance lines namely providing service from suburbs into Tampa. Only local to local & commuter express to local transfers are allowed. Fares are $1.75 for local routes and $2.75 for commuter express lines. Four small routes (83, 87, 88, & 89) have a 50¢ fare with no transfers. Riders over 65, 17 and under, on Medicare, or disabled are half-price: 85¢ for "local" routes and $1.35 for "commuter express" routes. Bus transportation in the Tampa area is not popular and one can expect plenty of room in busses.

Tampa streetcars

PSTA, offers service in Pinellas County (the county west of Tampa Bay, home to Clearwater and St. Petersburg) similar to what HART offers in Hillsborough.

By Streetcar

Tampa also has the TECO Line Streetcar [10] that runs from Whiting and Franklin Streets downtown to Centennial Park in Ybor City with 9 stops along the way (11 total stops). The line is useful for tourists and convention goers. The line runs by many local shops, restaurants, and attractions including the convention center/ Embassy Suites, the Tampa Bay Times Forum, Channelside, the Florida Aquarium, and through Ybor City. There are 3 types of streetcars in operation: 9 "Birney Safety" replicas (picture, right), one "Breezer" open-air replica (picture, left), and one original "Birney" car (#163, not pictured) which operated in Tampa from 1923-1946 and went through 10,000 man-hours of restoration. Even if you're not using it for transportation, the streetcars are a fun way to see some of the city's historic and cultural sights.

As of May 2012, a one-way fare is $2.50. A 1-day, unlimited rides pass for streetcars and trollies are available for $5, since this is the cost of 2 rides (not synonymous with "round-trip"), it's highly recommended. Riders over 65, 17 and under, on Medicare, or disabled are discounted to $1.25 each trip or $2.50 for 1-day unlimited. There is a family pass, which 4 children and 1 adult or 3 children and 2 adults can ride for only $12.50. Children under 4 are free, but if taller than the fare box ID is required. Exact change is required, streetcar drivers do not provide change. Three-day and one year passes are available from Hart bus line ticket vendors, not from the streetcars. Service is available: 12AM-10PM Monday-Thursday, 11AM-2AM Friday and Saturday, and Noon-8PM on Sunday. Streetcars arrive every 20 minutes, except every 30 minutes on Friday/Saturday from 1AM-2AM.

Ticket vending machines are located at all stops, and do give change. Tickets can also be purchased at •Marriott Waterside Hotel Gift Shop •Embassy Suites Tampa Downtown/Convention Center •Channelside - Tampa Bay Convention & Visitors Bureau Visitor Center - Wine Design •Ybor City Visitor Information Center

By Trolley

Tampa also a rubber-wheel trolley system serving the Central Business District. Unlike the streetcars, which are electric and run on a fixed track, the trollies are simply small, diesel buses styled to look like a streetcar. The In-Town Trolley runs north-south from I-275, through downtown to the northern end of Harbor Island. It has service every 10 minutes at 17 stops([11]), Monday through Friday from 6-9AM and 3-6PM. As of May 2012, rides are $0.25 (no transfers), $3.75 for a 1-day pass, and $5 for a 1-day streetcar/trolley pass. Riders over 65, 17 and under, on Medicare, or disabled are discounted to $1.85 for a 1-day trolley pass or $2.50 for a 1-day trolley/streetcar pass. Children under 4 are free, but if taller than the fare box ID is required. Only $1 bills are accepted.

See

Downtown Tampa

  • Channelside. Entertainment complex in the revitalized Channelside district near the Port of Tampa. Numerous upscale restaurants, several mid-range chain restaurants and bars, an IMAX movie theater and a trendy (if you can believe it) bowling alley. Make sure to call ahead at the bowling alley, however. On a Friday or Saturday night, the wait for a lane can easily extend upwards of 3 hours.
  • Florida Aquarium, 701 Channelside Drive, Phone: (813) 273-4000, [12]. Daily 9:30AM-5PM. Channelside district, just east of downtown. Fabulous aquarium following a drop of rain from a swamp through Florida's aquifer, to its rivers and out into the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Ocean. Restaurant, gift shop, children's play area, touch tank, interactive dive experiences, and eco-tours of Tampa Bay. Adults $17.95, ages 3-12 $12.95.
  • Tampa Museum of Art, [13] The new Tampa Museum of Art is located in downtown Tampa on the Hillsborough river at 120 W. Gasparilla Plaza. Adults $10; seniors $7.50, Florida educators $7.50, military plus one guest $7.50 (each); students $5; and children ages 6 and under free. Hours are Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday from 11 a.m. – 7 p.m.; Friday from 11 a.m. – 8 p.m.; and Sat and Sun from 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. The Tampa Museum of Art is currently (as of 14 Jan 2011) allowing free admission from 4p-8p on Fridays.
  • Tampa Theatre, 711 Franklin Street, Phone: (813) 274-8982, [14]. Opened in 1926 and located right downtown, the Tampa Theatre is a historic movie palace featuring a wide range of independent, foreign, and documentary films on a daily basis. Architecturally stunning both inside and out, it is no wonder that the Tampa Theatre has become both a city and national landmark being listed in the National Register of Historic Places since 1978. It is Tampa's only non-profit theatre and operating costs are largely covered by its membership program, various corporate sponsors as well as ticket sales.
  • University of Tampa. Formerly the Tampa Bay Hotel built at the turn of the 20th century by railroad magnate H.B.Plant, the beautiful old building is now used as the administration building and classrooms for the University of Tampa. It has been lovingly restored to most of its prior glory; the ballroom is a showpiece with its domed ceiling under brilliant silver minarets. There is a small, but very interesting museum in the building that recreates a large portion of Tampa's early history, as well as giving visitors a peek into how the hotel appeared when it first opened.

North Tampa

  • Busch Gardens, McKinley Drive, Toll Free: 1-888-800-5447,[15]. More than just an amusement park -- also a top-notch zoo. Expensive, but a very enjoyable day -- rides, shows. This is a fun place for all ages, kids, teens, and even adults. It has a family friendly atmosphere with lots of things to do and see. The scenery is amazing; it has a feel of different places as you travel throughout the park. Rides vary from a huge merry go round to the famous rollercoaster, Montu. There are many different types of rides to choose from and also many roller coasters to choose from as well. Not a ride fan? You can check out the many shows they perform daily. Ice skating, singing, magic, birds, dolphins and other performances can be found all around the corners of Busch Gardens. Not a show fan either? Then check out the many food establishments spread out through the park. They offer fast food like popcorn and fries to a nice sit down meal. Also check Busch Gardens out during different holidays. They always have special events and offers. For instance, for Halloween they have Howl-O-Scream when the park is open all night long. They also have special events for over night stays, New Years, and special ticket sales for Florida residents. Always watch out for these special events because they happen all the time. $70 visitors, $80 FL residents.
  • Lowry Park Zoo, 1101 West Sligh Avenue, Phone: (813) 935-8552, [16]. Daily 9:30AM-5PM. One of the top-rated zoos in the country, featuring children's areas, restaurants, a manatee hospital, and first-rate encounters with animals from around the world. Make sure to tour the aviary and feed the lorikeets. Popular section of the zoo include the Florida Wildlife Center with alligators, bears and Manatees; the Asian Gardens with Komodo Dragons, Rhinoceros, and leopards; and the new Safari Africa with meercats, elephants, and a wide variety of African animals. Adults $23.95, ages 3-11 $18.95.
  • Museum of Science and Industry (MOSI), 4801 E Fowler Av., Phone: (813) 987-6100, [17]. Daily 9AM-6PM. Hands-on children's science museum, including an IMAX dome and stellar revolving exhibits. Great way to spend a day with the family. Adults $23.95, ages 2-12 $19.95.
  • University of South Florida. The main campus for this university. Blossoming from five buildings in its opening (1960) to 164 buildings on the Tampa campus alone, this beautiful college is now educating more than 29,000 students. With beautiful greenery, fountains, and named the “top architecture school in Florida” by the Florida Board of Architecture and Interior Design in 2002. A sports fan? The University of South Florida has you covered here as well! Home to the Division-1 football (at Raymond James Stadium) and basketball (at the on-campus SunDome) among others.

Ybor City

This historic multi-ethnic district located northeast of downtown & north of the Channelside district is best known to locals for its wide range of nightclubs, bars, and shops making it a popular evening and weekend hotspot. However, this historic district has much to offer the tourist by day. Originally home to thousands of Cuban, Spanish and Italian immigrants (as well as smaller numbers of Romanian Jews and Germans), this neighborhood was famous for its many cigar factories and is where the 'Cuban sandwich' was first popularized in the United States. Ybor City is one of only two active National Historic Landmark Districts in the state of Florida and can be easily visited by catching one of its famous streetcars that connects downtown Tampa to Ybor City (see "Get around" section).

  • Ybor City State Museum ([18], $3, 1818 9th Avenue) on 9th Avenue between 18th & 19th Streets, should be the first stop for any new visitor to the area. This small, but intriguing museum highlights the colorful history of this city-turned-Tampa-suburb and has a gift shop filled with small trinkets. The museum offers walking tours (see "Do" section, below). Open daily 9AM-5PM, except major holidays. Visitors must park at metered spots on 9th/nearby streets.
  • Ybor City Cigar Museum — 1600 8th Ave. Presents the history of cigar making in Ybor City. Nice gift shop. Open Mon-Sat 10AM-6PM, Sun Noon-6PM.
  • Centro Ybor[19] Centered by a 20-screen mega-cinema, plenty of shopping, bars, and nightclubs, this large entertainment complex/plaza at the heart of Ybor City, it is the mecca of Tampa's young-adult nightlife.
  • Saturday Market — Every Saturday from 9AM-3PM in Centennial Park, the market features local-grown produce, arts, crafts, and local food.
  • Ybor City ArtWalk — The first Saturday of every month, this event brings out the best area arts and crafts, from business owners to professionals to studio-dwelling amateurs showing off their goods. Also

Do

  • Walking tour of Ybor City — Every Saturday at 10:30AM, the Ybor City State Museum offers a 60 minute walking tour of Ybor City highlighting the cigar industry's impact on the area, historic cottages/businesses, and tours of the YC State Museum & YC Cigar Museum. The $6 cost includes both museum entrance fees. Longer tours are available by appointment Tues-Thurs for $12. If possible, stop by the 100-year-old Columbia Restaurant at the end of the tour for a tasty Cuban lunch.
  • Cruise ships, Port of Tampa.
  • Gasparilla Pirate Festival, [20] is an annual event consisting of several parades, live entertainment, and fireworks. The event is also known as the Mardi Gras of Tampa, and normally takes place on the last two Saturdays in January.
  • Guavaween. [21] offers daytime events and nighttime parade on the last Saturday in October in Ybor City.
  • Sant'Yago Knight Parade is an illuminated nighttime parade that takes place one Saturday in February in Ybor City.
  • Several film festivals take place at the Tampa Theatre several times a year.
  • Read the Tampa Tribune -- Tampa has some sort of event going on nearly every weekend, especially in the spring and early summer. Art festivals, a terrific Renaissance festival, street festivals -- take advantage of the great weather and enjoy our city.
  • Surprisingly, ice skating is a popular activity in the Tampa Bay area. The Tampa Bay Skating Academy in nearby Oldsmar has two NHL-sized ice surfaces. Other well-known rinks include Sunblades Center and the rink in Westfield Countryside Mall, both in Clearwater.
  • Lettuce Lake Park between I-75 and the University of South Florida has boardwalks that go through a nearly pristine area with 700 year old cypress trees, alligators, egrets and herons. One end of the boardwalk overlooks the Hillsborough River in its original state, a far cry from what it looks like in the downtown area.
  • L-39 Albatross jet fighter flight from St. Petersburg-Clearwater International Airport [22]


  • Dade City's Wild Things, 37245 Meridia nave, 352-567-9453, [23]. Tue - Sa 9:00 - 5:00. A zoo with over 190 animals and private guides who facilitate animal encounters.

Sports

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers playing at Raymond James Stadium off Dale Mabry Highway.
  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers are an American football team whose home field is Raymond James Stadium (off Dale Mabry a couple of miles north of I-275). Routinely near the top of the NFC South, they are the 2002 Super Bowl champions and the team which receives the most support in the Tampa Bay region (although the recent performance of the Rays has gotten much more support and attention). The season lasts from August(preseason)-January(postseason, if they qualify). Tickets start at $50.
  • Tampa Bay Lightning are an NHL(ice hockey) team who won the Stanley Cup in the 2003-2004 season. Their home is in the Tampa Bay Times Forum. Season includes 41 home games and lasts October-June. [24]
  • Tampa Bay Rays are an Major League Baseball team in the American League East, formed in 1995. They play in Tropicana Field in Saint Petersburg, FL. and were the American League Champions in 2008.
  • Tampa Bay Storm an Arena Football League team playing in the Tampa Bay Times Forum. They have won more Arena Bowl titles than any other team in the AFL. Season lasts March-June. [25]
  • Spring Training Baseball The New York Yankees train at George M. Steinbrenner Field during the month of March. However, tickets are usually sold out several weeks before a game. [26]
  • Tampa Yankees a minor league baseball team which plays its games at George M. Steinbrenner Field from April-September
  • Skatepark of Tampa a world-famous skateboarding institution. Famously host to the annual "Tampa AM" and "Tampa Pro" contests, which draw professional skateboarders from around the world. Home to an impressive street course and full size competition vert ramp. Full shop with all your skate, clothing and footwear needs. Open M-Th 12-9, Friday 12-11, Saturday 10-11, Sunday 10-10. 4215 E Columbus Drive.

Golf

  • Ace Golf/Pebble Creek Golf Club, 10550 Regents Park Drive, Phone: 813-973-3870, [27].
  • Babe Zaharias Golf Course, 11412 Forest Hills Drive, Phone: 813-631-4374, [28].
  • Boat Charters. [29] Find a fishing charter, sunset cruise or yacht charter to see Florida froma different point of view.
  • Bloomingdale Golfers Club, 4113 Great Golfers Place, Phone: 813-685-4105 (Fax: 813-654-1227), [30].
  • The Claw at USF, 13801 N 46th Street, Phone: 813-632-6893, Fax: 813-975-6695, [31].
  • Emerald Greens Golf Resort and Country Club, 13941 Clubhouse Drive, Toll-Free: (866) 974-7336, Phone: (813) 961-9400, Fax: (813) 961-9424, [32].
  • TPC Tampa Bay, 5300 W. Lutz Lake Fern Road, Phone: 813-949-0090 [33]

Buy

  • International Plaza Mall Located near the airport, would be worthwhile if one is trying to spend a few hours. The usual stores are present, plus a collection of boutique shops in the outdoor area. Lots of food and drink options as well.
  • "SoHo District" Just southwest of downtown, this area is the upscale nightlife center of Tampa, with a lot of boutiques on Howard avenue itself, with the main shopping area called Hyde Park Village a bit east on Swann Ave.
  • "Palma Ceia" South of Hyde Park is Palma Ceia, its more relaxed sister. This area is centered around the Macdill Ave./Bay to Bay Ave. intersection and has scores of trendy boutiques, art galleries, and antique shops.
  • Westshore Plaza Mall Also near the airport, has a movie theater and shops.
  • Channelside Beside the cruise terminals in downtown, this shopping complex has a theater (including Imax screens) shops, food, and drinking places. Take the streetcar into Ybor City for more shopping and restaurants, the ride takes about 10 to 15 minutes.
  • University Mall Located near University of South Florida, has a movie theater, shops and food. Take the Hartline buses.
  • Citrus Park Town Center. In the Northwest part of the county. Another Westfield Shopping Town.
  • Big Top Flea Market, Fowler ave. (Past I-75 on the left). Sa Su.
  • Couture Designer Resale Boutique (Couture Designer Resale Boutique), 10117 Montague St, (813)926-9889, [34]. 10am-6pm, Mon-Sat. Founded in 2003, Couture Boutique is one of the leading providers of authentic used luxury goods in the United States. Couture offers a wide selection of designer handbags, jewelry, clothing, and accessories and features top-name designers that include Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Hermes, Gucci, and David Yurman. With their ever-changing inventory and friendly staff, Couture Boutique has become a popular shopping destination for Tampa Bay area residents and travelers alike.

Eat

Budget

  • Carmine's Restaurant, 1802 E 7th Ave, Ybor City neighborhood. Cuban, Spanish, and Italian.
  • Hugo's Spanish Restaurant, 931 S Howard Ave., (813) 251-2842. Slightly more expensive than La Teresita, but still a bargain in the pricey SoHo neighborhood. $10 will buy you a mountain of food at lunch time.
  • The Jerk Hut, 207 E Twiggs St., (813) 223-4473. and 1406 E Fowler Ave (813) 632-9551 Don't be put off by the name - "jerk" is a Jamaican term for slow-roasting meats. The Jerk Hut serves theirs with an addictive sweet red sauce. Also, curries and oxtail stew.
  • Mel's Hot Dogs, 4136 E Busch Blvd., (813) 985-8000. A tacky little restaurant near Busch Gardens. Good hot dogs and bizarre hot dog related memorabilia.
  • Mema's Alaskan Tacos, 1724 E 8th Ave, Ybor City. (813) 242-8226. "Alaskan" or not, the good fresh made tacos and tamales are a favorite with locals and visitors alike in the Ybor City neighborhood, right on the trolley car line.
  • New Soul Sandwich Shop, 518 N Willow Ave., (813) 251-3720. Definitely "off the beaten path." Great soul food in industrial neighborhood, just off Kennedy. Don't mind the ramshackle surroundings, as the proprietors and the regulars are quite friendly.
  • El Taconazo, 913 E Hillsborough Ave., (813) 232-5889. Known locally as the "Taco Bus." Simple and delicious Mexican food for very little money. The ceviche is a steal at only $5, but be forewarned: there's no air conditioning.
  • La Teresita, 3246 W Columbus Dr., (813) 879-4909. Inexpensive Cuban diner with good food and interesting characters. A true Tampa institution.
  • Westshore Pizza, 927 S Howard Ave., (813) 251-2020. Numerous other locations throughout Tampa Bay. A local chain with good, cheap eats including pizza and cheesesteaks.
  • Xtreme Juice Smoothies, 619 S. Dale Mabry Hwy.., (813) 879-6033. South Tampa's best smoothies. A local smoothie shop that offers Buy One Get One Free on Sundays.

Mid-range

  • Bahama Breeze, 3045 N. Rocky Point Drive E., Phone: (813) 289-7922.
  • Fuego, [35] 1721 West Brandon Blvd, Brandon (Just outside the Tampa city limits; Highway 60/Adamo Blvd becomes Brandon Blvd. at the line) Tel. (813) 413-8382. Brazilian. If you're a meat eater and looking for something a bit different, this is a treat. Waiters bring a wide variety of chicken, beef, pork, and sausages fresh cooked in various ways to your table to sample as much as you wish of.
  • T. C. Choy's Asian Bistro, 301 S Howard Ave., (813) 251-1191. Sushi and dim sum, along with other traditional Chinese fare.
  • Tampa Bay Brewing Company [36], 1600 E. 8th Avenue, Ybor City section of Tampa. Tel. 247-1422. Brew pub with a good food menu including shepard's pie and huge calzones in addition to more standard fare.
  • The NoHo Bistro [37] 1714 N Armenia Avenue, Tampa 33607, Tel. 813-514-0691. Local independent bistro located in the historic West Tampa district. Lunch and dinner service available. Menus change seasonally and weekly in the case of dinner. Classic European-style bistro fare with an eclectic American flare. Catering and private dining also available.

Splurge

  • Bern's Steak House, 1208 S Howard Av. +1 813-251-2421, [38]. Considered to be one of the best steakhouses in Florida: it claims to have the largest privately owned wine lists in the world, with over 7000 labels and a million bottles. It is commonplace to have a tour of the kitchen and wine cellar after dinner, but expect to spend at least a few hours.
  • Cafe Don Jose, N. 56th St. A bit cheaper than the Columbia Restaurant, yet the quality seems to be much better.
  • The Columbia Restaurant, 2117 East 7th Avenue, Phone: (813) 248-4961, [39]. Spanish, a landmark in the Ybor City neighborhood since 1905.
  • Mise en Place, 442 W Kennedy Blvd., (813) 254-5373, [40].
  • The Palm, 205 Westshore Plaza Dr. +1 813-849-7256, [41].
  • The View at CK's, Atop the Marriott at Tampa International Airport, (813) 878-6500, [42]. A revolving gourmet restaurant right in the middle of the Tampa Airport.

Drink

  • Cigar City Brewing [43], 3924 West Spruce Street, West Tampa section of Tampa. Tel. (813) 348-6363. Very popular craft brewery with a tasting room.
  • Ybor City is a historic area of Tampa which now hosts the region's best known bar and nightclub district. It is a nationally known arts/bar/dining district and one could take several days visiting all of the bars and places to eat here. Certain parts to the extreme west and east sections of this neighborhood can be dangerous after midnight, but if you stay in the main areas it's well lit and there are plenty of police around. You can find any type of bar here, from punk rock/metal, hip-hop, house, blues, indie, country, or dive.
    • Tampa Bay Brewing Company [44], 1600 E. 8th Avenue, Ybor City section of Tampa. Tel. (813) 247-1422. Good variety of well made beers.

Sleep

Budget

  • Amerisuites Budget Hotel, [45]. Various locations, free Wifi access, breakfast and special offers.
  • Best Western All Suites Hotel, 3001 University Center Drive, (near USF Behind Busch Gardens), ☎ +1 813 971-8930, tollfree: +1 800 786-7446, Fax:+1 813 971-8935, [46].
  • Best Western Brandon Hotel & Conference Center, 9331 Adamo Drive, ☎ +1 813 621-5555, tollfree: +1 877 287-6026, Fax:+1 813 699-1939, [47].
  • Gram's Place (Hostel), 3109 N Ola Ave, +1 813 221-0596, [48]. Clean, quiet, restful, music-themed "Bed & Beat" rooms and a simulated railroad depot and sleeper car, over-sized in ground Jacuzzi and BYOB bar in courtyards. Dorms $23+, private rooms $50+.
  • Best Western The Westshore Hotel, 1200 N West Shore Boulevard, ☎ +1 813 282-3636, tollfree: +1 800 449-4343, Fax:+1 813 282-0055, [49].
  • Motel 6 Tampa Downtown, 333 E Fowler Avenue, ☎ +1 813 932-4948, Fax:+1 813 931-4577, [50].
  • Motel 6 Tampa East - Fairgrounds, 6510 US 301, ☎ +1 813 628-0888, Fax:+1 813 20-4899, [51].
  • Suburban Extended Stay Hotel Airport, 6902 W. Hillsborough Ave, ☎ +1 813 886-7799, Fax:+1 813 243-9833, [52].
  • Tampa Stadium (Hillsborough) Microtel Inn & Suites, 5405 North Church Ave., +1 813 739-2244, Fax: +1 813 739-2250, [53].

Mid-range

  • SpringHill Suites - Tampa Airport Hotel, 4835 W Cypress Street, ☎ +1 813-639-9600, [54].
  • Comfort Suites At Fairgrounds-Casino, 4506 Oak Fair Boulevard, ☎ +1 813 868-7770, [55].
  • Courtyard Tampa Brandon, 10152 Palm River Rd, (Rt 60 & Falkenburg Rd), ☎ +1 813 661-9559, Fax:+1 813 661-4583, [56].
  • DoubleTree Guest Suites Tampa Bay Hotel, 3050 North Rocky Point Drive West, ☎ +1 813 888-8800. [57].
  • Embassy Suites Hotel Tampa-USF Busch Gardens, 3705 Spectrum Blvd, ☎ +1 813 875-1555, [58].
  • Embassy Suites Hotel Tampa Airport, 555 N. Westshore Blvd, ☎ +1 813 977-7066, [59].
  • Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott Tampa East/Fairgrounds-Casino, 6720 Lakeview Center Drive, +1 813 626-3000, [60]. checkin: 3PM; checkout: noon. Brand new hotel. $79-159.
  • Hampton Inn & Suites, Hampton Inn & Suites Tampa/Ybor City/Downtown 1301 East 7th Avenue, +1 813 247-6700, [61]. Rooms and suites with free internet, flat screen TV, and large work space. Hotel provides, free hot breakfast, pool and fitness center. $85-140.
  • Hilton Tampa Airport Westshore, 2225 North Lois Ave, ☎ +1 813 877-6688, [62].
  • Holiday Inn Tampa Busch Gardens Hotel, 2701 E. Fowler Ave, ☎ +1 813 971-4710. [63].
  • Mainsail Suites Hotel & Conference Center, 5108 Eisenhower Blvd, ☎ +1 813 243-2600, Fax:+1 813 243-2600, [64].
  • Tampa Airport Marriott, Tampa International Airport, ☎ +1 813 879-5151, tollfree: +1 800 564-3440, Fax:+1 813 873-0945, [65].

Splurge

  • Emerald Greens Golf Resort and Country Club, 13941 Clubhouse Dve, ☎ +1 813 961-9400, tollfree: +1 866 974-7336, Fax:+1 813 961-9424, [66].
  • Grand Hyatt Tampa Bay,[67] 2900 Bayport Drive., 35 acre resort-like hotel along a wildlife preserve on the upper shores of the bay
  • Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, 5223 N. Orient Rd, ☎ +1 813 627-7625.
  • Renaissance Tampa Hotel International Plaza, 4200 Jim Walter Blvd, [68], ☎ +1 813 877-9200. InTampa's Westshore business district and walking distance from the International Plaza Mall.
  • Safety Harbor Resort, 105 North Bayshore Drive, ☎ +1 888 237-8772, [69].
  • Tampa Marriott Waterside Hotel & Marina, 700 South Florida Ave, ☎ +1 813 221-4900, tollfree: +1 888 268-1616, Fax:+1 813 204-6342, [70].
  • Tampa Marriott Westshore, 1001 N Westshore Boulevard, ☎ +1 813 287-2555, tollfree: +1 800 564-3489, Fax:+1 813 289-5464, [71].
  • Westin Tampa Harbour Island Hotel, 725 South Harbour Island Boulevard, ☎ +1 813 229-5000.[72] .
  • Wyndham Tampa Westshore Hotel, 700 North Westshore Boulevard, ☎ +1 813 289-8200, tollfree 1 877 4QUORUM, [73]

Contact

  • Boba's Internet Cafe, 2764 University Sq. Dr.. Great internet cafe with Boba or (bubble) tea, try some!

Stay safe

Be aware while in Suitcase City, the part of town surrounding Busch Gardens, USF and University Square Mall. It can be dangerous traveling toward Pasco county too. Hitchhiking is also prevalent in this area, but do not stop!

Cope

Consulates

Get out

  • Disney World in Orlando.
  • Gulf Beaches- Take State Route 60 West towards Clearwater and follow signs. 45 minutes to an hour drive
  • Sarasota About an hour south off of I-75. Home ot the John Ringling Museum (house, circus exhibit and art museum).
  • Crystal River Dive with manatees in a natural spring

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This is a usable article. It has information for getting in as well as some complete entries for restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please plunge forward and help it grow!




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