There's plenty to do in Tampa Bay for visitors. Here are the top attractions that can't be missed.
Once known as the cigar capital of the world, Ybor City is a Latin community lined with brick-paved streets is now better known for its restaurants and nightlife. The cigar tradition carries on, however—you can still find cigars rolled right before your eyes! Not only that, but the Tampa Baseball Museum can be found in the historic district, opening late-2014, as well as a piece of Cuba—a small park dedicated to Cuban poet and revolutionary José Martí.
Where do thrill rides, wildlife and fun just for kids come together and live as one? None other than Busch Gardens Tampa! Whether you seek your thrills on Cheetah Hunt, Gwazi, or the new Falcon’s Fury, or slow down to see the animals on the Serengeti Safari or go behind the scenes at the Animal Care Center, there’s fun for kids—and kids at heart, in the theme park in the middle of Tampa. 10165 North Malcolm McKinley Drive, Tampa, 888.800.5447
With powder-soft and whiter-than-white sand, it’s no wonder that Clearwater Beach is consistently one of the area’s most popular beaches. Aside from the beach, there’s plenty to do, too, from shopping to dining to sailing the gulf waters beyond. At the end of the day, join the celebration each evening at Sunsets at Pier 60, featuring live music, street performers, craft vendors and more. And look forward to another day in paradise! 419 E Shore Dr., Clearwater Beach
Clearwater Marine Aquarium
Not only is the aquarium home to “Dolphin’s Tale” star Winter and tours of the set used to film the movie (recently used again for “Dolphin Tale 2”), but plenty of other marine mammals, too. Stop and say hello to Winter’s friends, Hope and Nicholas, and the resident sea turtles, otters, stingrays, sharks, pelicans and eel. You can get out on the water, too, on the aquarium’s 90-minute Sea Life Safari. 249 Windward Passage, Clearwater 727.441.1790
The Dalí Museum
You’ll be stunned by the surrealism before you even walk through the door—just take a look at the building! Once inside, you’ll find the world’s largest collection of Salvador Dalí’s work, including 1,300 graphics, photos, sculptures and objects d’art; 96 oil paintings; and more than 100 watercolors and drawings. In addition to the permanent collection, traveling exhibits make a stop at the Dalí Museum, too. 1 Dali Boulevard, St. Petersburg, 727.823.3767
The Florida Aquarium
Just outside of downtown Tampa, in the Channelside District, the Florida Aquarium sits prominently on Tampa Bay and is filled with underwater wonders. There are loads of ways to get up close and personal to the aquarium’s residents: meet the penguins, dive with the sharks (SCUBA-certified), swim with the fishes (ages six and older), or go out onto Tampa Bay and look for dolphins. Dive in and discover all that lives below the water’s surface! 701 Channelside Drive, Tampa, 813.273.4000
Tree-lined streets, sprawling homes and shopping a la a European village make this quiet residential neighborhood one of Tampa’s hot spots. Grab a bite to eat and settle in for the day —you’ll feel right at home. And once comfortable, do a little shopping and get something for yourself, or your home—or both! Take a walk down one of the streets and find yourself on Bayshore Boulevard, world’s longest continuous sidewalk at 4.5 miles. Hyde Park is beautiful excuse to spend the day away in. 1602 West Snow Circle, Tampa, 813.251.3500
Tampa Museum of Art
The Tampa Museum of Art on the Riverwalk in downtown Tampa wows with its first impression—a metal cube designed by San Francisco architect Stanley Saitowitz. Inside, a mix of permanent and visiting exhibits fill the space. Kids can get in on the art, too. Each Saturday, the museum hosts Art Spot, a chance for young art enthusiasts to explore their creativity by creating an art project on a differently monthly theme. 120 West Gasparilla Plaza, Tampa, 813.274.8130
Henry B. Plant Museum
The Tampa Bay Hotel, built in 1891 by railroad magnate Henry B. Plant, once welcomed celebrity guests such as Teddy Roosevelt and slugger Babe Ruth. Its turn-of-the-century opulence features domes, cupolas, gingerbread details and Moorish minarets, harkening back to a bygone era. Today, the hotel invites guests to enjoy the authentically restored rooms and exhibits of the Henry B. Plant museum. A few fortunately staff from the University of Tampa have offices inside, too. 401 West Kennedy Boulevard, Tampa, 813.254.1891