The City of Tampa is located in west central Florida and is considered one of the most popular tourist destinations in the state.
This coastal city has a rich history and offers plenty of things to see and do, including world-class museums, theaters, family-friendly activities, outdoor adventures, beaches, and sporting venues.
Tampa, FL also features a beautiful waterfront area with plenty of parks and restaurants. Ready to explore? Here are 39+ things to do in Tampa that you don’t want to miss.
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COOLEST PLACES TO STAY IN TAMPA
- Retro Chic: Hotel Alba Tampa offers a free shuttle from the airport, a very cool pool, and a Spanish restaurant you’ll love. It has a retro vibe, but the recent multi-million dollar renovation is lovely!
- Perfect for Foodies: Epicurean Hotel is across from Bern’s steakhouse, plus you have two great restaurants onsite. More than that, it’s super modern, and we love love love the patios. See free demos at the hotel’s Epicuriean Theater…or walk the 8 minutes to Ciro’s Speakeasy and Supper Club. To. Die. For.
- Coolest Revamp: Le Méridien Tampa sits downtown in a beautifully restored 100-yo courthouse. They’ve kept nods to its history in the details, but the luxe has been added.
- When You Need The Water: Grand Hyatt Tampa Bay offers two outdoor pools and three restaurants…and 35 waterfront acres to enjoy! Don’t miss the Greek and Roman art collection within the hotel. Oystercatchers, one of the restaurants, is known for its Best Brunch in Tampa accolades. Mimosa? Yes, pls!
Downtown Tampa is the heart of the city and is home to many businesses, cultural attractions, restaurants and shops. The area is also a popular destination for tourists, thanks to its array of restaurants, hotels, and nightlife options.
TAMPA BAY HISTORY CENTER
The Tampa Bay History Center is a museum in the heart of downtown Tampa that tells the story of the Tampa Bay region. The center has exhibits on everything from Native American culture to modern-day life, and there’s something for everyone to enjoy.
One of the center’s most popular exhibits is the replica of Ybor City’s cigar factory.
THE FLORIDA AQUARIUM
The Florida Aquarium is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Tampa. It’s home to thousands of aquatic animals, including fish, turtles, and dolphins. Visitors can explore the aquarium’s many exhibits, which showcase different types of marine life from around the world. The aquarium also offers interactive programs for kids and adults.
A couple of the most popular attractions at the Florida Aquarium are the dolphin encounters and the Wild Dolphin Cruise.
GLAZER CHILDREN’S MUSEUM
The Glazer Children’s Museum is located in Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park. The museum has three floors of exhibits, including a water play area, an art studio, and a theater.
HENRY B. PLANT MUSEUM
Located in the 1891 Tampa Bay Hotel, the Henry B. Plant Museum is a museum that contains actual furnishings that were enjoyed by the first guests here. The building was a former Victorian railroad resort, and is now a National Historic Landmark.
At this museum, you’ll find exhibits and artifacts that reflect what life was like at the hotel during turn-of-the-century America.
One of the best things to do in Tampa is to get out on the water and enjoy the city from a different perspective. Enter: eBOATS Tampa. The “e” in eBOATS stands for “easy,” because you’ll be able to easily captain your own boat in no time.
Rent one of their 21- or 22-foot long boats — they offer both standard and premium boats — and explore Tampa’s downtown channels, some of the Hillsborough River, and/or a one hour section of Tampa Bay. The boats seat between 10 and 12 people, so there’s more than enough room for your whole crew.
Sparkman Wharf is a newly developed mixed-use waterfront destination in downtown Tampa. It offers residents and visitors a place to live, work, and play right on the water.
There are plenty of things to do at Sparkman Wharf, from dining and shopping to taking a boat ride or visiting the aquarium.
TAMPA MUSEUM OF ART
The Tampa Museum of Art is located in the restored David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts and showcases sculptures, paintings, and other artwork from around the world.
Some of the most popular exhibits at the Tampa Museum of Art include “American Indian Art from the Collection of Karen and J. Dennis Hobson” and “Tampa Collects: Recent Acquisitions.”
THE TAMPA RIVERWALK
The Tampa Riverwalk is a beautiful 2.5-mile long pedestrian walkway that follows the Hillsborough River in Downtown Tampa. It’s a popular spot for locals and visitors to enjoy a peaceful stroll, take in the scenic views, and enjoy some outdoor exercise.
The Riverwalk is also home to a number of restaurants, bars, and shops. Stop by Armature Works, where you’ll find plenty of delicious food options — like Astro Ice Cream or Hemingway’s Cuban Cuisine.
BAYSHORE BOULEVARD GREENWAY
The Bayshore Boulevard Greenway is one of the longest continuous sidewalks in the United States. With 4.5 miles of scenic views, it’s a popular spot for runners, cyclists, and pedestrians.
While on the greenway, you’ll pass by some of Tampa’s most amazing homes in Old Hyde Park, many of which are on the National Historic Register. There are plenty of restaurants and bars along the boulevard, as well as beautiful views of the bay.
ST PETERSBURG / CLEARWATER
EMPOWER ADVENTURES TAMPA BAY
Empower Adventures Tampa Bay is where you’ll enjoy a 2-hour guided zipline experience. With over 3,000-feet of zip lines taking you over the waters of Mobbly Bayou Wilderness Preserve, and aerial challenges along the way, this is one high-zooming adventure you don’t want to miss.
They also offer sunset and moonlight ziplining too.
CALADESI ISLAND STATE PARK
Caladesi Island State Park is a Florida state park located on Caladesi Island, off the coast of Dunedin and Clearwater, in Pinellas County.
The park features a three-mile beach, nature trails, a kayak launch, and a picnic area. Visitors can reach the island by ferry or private boat.
Clearwater Beach is one of the most beautiful beaches in Florida. It’s a great place to visit if you’re looking for some peace and quiet, as it’s not as crowded as some of the other beaches in the state.
The white sand and clear water make for a perfect combination, and there are plenty of restaurants and bars nearby if you need a break from the sun.
CLEARWATER MARINE AQUARIUM
The Clearwater Marine Aquarium is a unique and special place, not only because it is former home to Winter the dolphin (star of the movie, Dolphin Tale), but also because it strives to educate visitors about the marine life that resides in the Gulf of Mexico.
The aquarium offers both self-guided and guided tours, and there are plenty of activities for kids (and adults) of all ages. Some of the highlights of a visit to the Clearwater Marine Aquarium include learning about the sea turtles that inhabit the area, experiencing the touch tank, and watching the sea otters play.
MOREAN ARTS CENTER
The Morean Arts Center is a nonprofit art center in Saint Petersburg, Florida. You’ll find a wide variety of classes for all ages and skill levels here, in addition to summer camps and more.
The Morean Arts Center is home to several art galleries. The main gallery is the Chitwood Gallery, which features exhibitions of local, regional, and national artists.
ST. PETE BEACH
Saint Petersburg Beach, more commonly known as St. Pete Beach, is a world-famous destination located on the Gulf Coast of Florida. We’ve visited here and cannot wait to go back! My kids still talk about how clear and beautiful the water was here.
This barrier island is well-known for its sparkling white sand beaches and lush tropical vegetation. Visitors can enjoy many different activities here, including swimming, sunbathing, fishing, boating, and golfing. There are also a number of restaurants and shops, making it the perfect spot for a relaxing beach vacation.
THE DALI MUSEUM
Located in the heart of downtown St. Petersburg, the Dali Museum is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Florida. The museum is home to the world’s largest collection of Salvador Dali art, with more than 2,000 pieces on display.
The museum is housed in a stunning building, and the museum’s interior is just as impressive, with a grand atrium and winding staircases.
If you’re looking for a laid-back tiki bar that feels like a vacation, The Getaway in St. Petersburg, Florida, is the perfect place.
The Getaway has an extensive menu of cocktails and tropical drinks, all of which are served in tiki mugs and glasses. In addition to the drinks, The Getaway also has a great food menu. The atmosphere at The Getaway is a bit more upscale than some of the other options, with dim lighting and Hawaiian music playing in the background.
WEEDON ISLAND PRESERVE
Weedon Island Preserve is a place where you’ll find numerous hiking trails that will take you through different ecosystems, each one with its own unique beauty.
ZOOTAMPA AT LOWRY PARK
ZooTampa at Lowry Park offers Tampa residents and visitors a unique opportunity to view and learn about animals from around the world.
Let the kids splash around in the Manatee Fountains, and make sure to visit the Main Free-Flight Aviary, just inside the entrance. With five realms to explore, an on-site restaurant, upgraded signature encounters (you can feed an Indian Rhino!), an African Safari ride, and even a splashdown boat adventure — there is something for everyone here.
The MOSI Museum is one of the most popular museums in the state. The museum contains over 450,000 square feet of exhibits, which cover a variety of topics, such as history, science, space, and aviation.
Some of the highlights of the museum include a full-size replica of the Space Shuttle Atlantis, the nation’s largest air and space exhibition, and a 4D theater. The museum is also home to the Florida Hospital Medical Simulation Center, which allows visitors to experience real-world medical emergencies without any risk.
BUSCH GARDENS TAMPA BAY
A visit to Busch Gardens Tampa Bay is a must for anyone visiting the Tampa Bay area. This world-class theme park has something for everyone, from roller coasters and water rides to animal exhibits and shows.
The Roller Coaster Capital of the World has more than just coasters though. Busch Gardens also offers plenty of family-friendly rides, including the Falcon’s Fury, which takes riders face-first down a 335-foot drop.
NEW IN 2023: The Serengeti Flyer is the world’s tallest and fastest swing ride! This new attraction reaches speeds of 68mph and takes you 135 feet up into the air!
Epperson Lagoon in Wesley Chapel is a 7.5-acre pool that will make you feel you’ve been transported to an island paradise. With water activities, water slides, a swim up bar, cabanas for rent, kayaking, paddleboarding, a water obstacle course, and even its own island — this place was made for both fun and relaxation.
If you’re looking for an exciting and unique day trip destination, head to Giraffe Ranch in Tampa! This is the only place in the world where you can get up close and personal with giraffes.
Giraffe Ranch offers guided tours of their facility, as well as hands-on experiences with the giraffes. You can even feed them!
BIG CAT RESCUE
Big Cat Rescue is a sanctuary for big cats. The sanctuary was founded in 1992 by former exotic animal dealer Carole Baskin (yes, from Tiger King), and her husband, Jack.
The sanctuary is home to over 100 big cats, including lions, tigers, leopards, jaguars, and cougars.
FLORIDA STRAWBERRY FESTIVAL
The Florida Strawberry Festival is a 10-day event in March that celebrates the strawberry harvest in Plant City, Florida. The festival features food contests, live entertainment, carnival rides, and of course, strawberries!
Visitors can purchase fresh strawberries by the pound or enjoy them in one of the many dishes that are served at the festival.
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CRACKER COUNTRY LIVING HISTORY MUSEUM
Cracker Country Living History Museum is a museum located in the heart of Florida’s cattle country. The museum celebrates the history and culture of the cracker people, pioneers who have lived in Florida for centuries.
The museum features a variety of exhibits that tell the story of Florida’s pioneers, from their origins to their current way of life. Visitors can learn about their unique culture, their folk art and crafts, and their traditional foods.
MANATEE VIEWING CENTER
The Manatee Viewing Center is a great place to view manatees in their natural habitat. The center is located on the banks of the Hillsborough River near Tampa, Florida. The center has a viewing deck that overlooks the river, and there are also several telescopes for visitors to use.
ROBERT W. WILLAFORD RAILROAD MUSEUM
The Robert W. Willaford Railroad Museum is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Plant City. It is home to a large collection of historical railroad equipment and memorabilia.
The highlight of the museum is its collection of locomotives and rail cars. You’ll find a train viewing platform, adjacent to the museum, so you and your family can watch the trains go by.
SEMINOLE HARD ROCK HOTEL AND CASINO TAMPA
When it comes to live music, the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Tampa is definitely one of the best places to be. The casino regularly books some of the biggest names in music, and its state-of-the-art concert venue, the Hard Rock Live, is a major draw for both locals and tourists.
YBOR CITY HISTORIC DISTRICT
The cigar industry has a long and rich history in Tampa. Many of the cigar factories were located in Ybor City, a historic district located just east of downtown Tampa.
Today, Ybor City is a popular tourist destination, and the Cigar Industry Museum is one of the most popular attractions in the district. The museum showcases the history of cigar production in Ybor City, as well as the impact that the cigar industry has had on Tampa and the surrounding area.
CIGAR CITY CIDER AND MEAD
Cigar City Cider and Mead is a brewery in Tampa, Florida, that makes — you guessed it — delicious ciders and meads. Stop by the tasting room to learn more about the cider and mead made here.
JC NEWMAN CIGAR COMPANY
JC Newman Cigar Company is the oldest premium cigar manufacturer in the United States.
The company produces handcrafted cigars that are enjoyed by aficionados throughout the world. Visit their museum, see cigars being hand rolled, watch films in their interactive theater, take a guided factory tour, attend a hand-rolling class, and make sure to make a stop at their factory store.
YBOR CITY FOOD TOURS
The Ybor City district in Tampa is famous for its food, and there are many great restaurants to choose from. If you want to sample the best of what Ybor City has to offer, then a food tour is the perfect way to do it!
There are several food tours available in the area, and each one offers a different experience. Some tours focus on sampling traditional Cuban cuisine, while others explore the many different types of food available in Ybor City.
YBOR CITY HISTORIC WALKING TOURS
The Ybor City Historic Walking Tours are a great way to learn about the history of this Tampa neighborhood. You can choose from several different tours, each of which focuses on different aspects of Ybor City’s history.
Try the Original tour to learn more about how Ybor City got its start in the cigar-making industry. The Cuban Heritage Tour covers Cuban History to present day.
DAY TRIPS FROM TAMPA
Sarasota is situated on the Gulf Coast of Florida. The city is known for its white sand beaches, which attracts tourists from all over the country.
In addition, Sarasota is home to a number of art museums and galleries, which draw visitors from all over the world. The city is also known for its high-end shopping and restaurants.
Central Florida is home to many popular tourist attractions, including Walt Disney World, Universal Orlando Resort, and SeaWorld Orlando. These three destinations are among the most visited theme parks in the world.
Other major attractions include Gatorland and Legoland Florida. Central Florida also offers a wealth of natural beauty, with its many lakes and state parks.
Disney World is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. Located near Orlando, Florida, the Walt Disney World Resort covers nearly 47 square miles and includes four theme parks: Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom.
It also has two water parks: Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach, a shopping and entertainment district called Disney Springs.
CAPTIVA AND SANIBEL ISLANDS
If you’re looking for a quiet, relaxing escape, Captiva Island is the place for you. This small island off the coast of Florida offers plenty of beaches, nature trails, and restaurants to keep you busy.
Sanibel Island is a beautiful place to visit with plenty of things to do. There are several great beaches to enjoy, as well as bike trails, nature preserves, and restaurants. The island also has a number of shops and galleries where visitors can find unique gifts and souvenirs.
Read More: 45+ Leisurely Things To Do On Sanibel Island
ANNA MARIA ISLAND
Anna Maria Island is a small town located on Florida’s Gulf Coast. It is known for its white sand beaches, crystal clear waters, and laid-back atmosphere.
Visitors can enjoy fishing, swimming, sunbathing, and kayaking. There are also some great restaurants and shops in the area.
THINGS TO DO IN TAMPA (printable)
Download this 1-page checklist of Things to Do in Tampa to print at home or your local print shop. Perfect to keep in a binder, bring on your adventure or just put on the refrigerator!
(PS. Some of this list is detailed in our article, 41 Amazingly Fun Things To Do in Tampa, Florida.)
Format: PDF, US Letter Size, Portrait (8.5”x11”)
You will receive one PDF file. File will be emailed and available for download up to three times upon payment. No physical item will be shipped.
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MORE INFORMATION FOR YOUR TRIP TO TAMPA
- YOUR FLORIDA VACATION
- LAKELAND: 17 Awesome Things To Do In Lakeland FL You’ll Adore
- FORT MYERS: 19 Things To Do In Fort Myers For Fun In The Sun
- VERO BEACH: 17 Awesome Things To Do In Vero Beach, Florida
- ST. PETE: 23 Outstanding Things To Do In St. Petersburg, FL
WHERE TO STAY IN TAMPA
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