Tampa's Top 10
With a population of nearly 400,000, Tampa is Florida’s third-largest city and part of the metropolis known as the Tampa Bay Area which three million residents call home. A sleepy village throughout much of the 1800s, Tampa’s fortunes changed when phosphate was discovered in the 1880s. Transporting this vital mineral ushered in railroads and ship ports. These links enabled the influx of Cuban and Spanish cigar manufacturers, the backbone of Tampa’s economy during the early part of the 20th century to become the “Cigar Capital of the World.” Today, finance, retail, healthcare, insurance, shipping, national defense, professional sports, tourism and real estate play vital roles in the Area’s economy.
As you book travel and accommodations to “The Big Guava” for CS Week 2021, consider arriving early, staying afterward or both. Here are ten top attractions, many of which are free, to make your visit even more memorable:
1 | Let your first stop be Ybor City Visitor Center where free maps and expert advice help visitors know where to go and what to see. There is a small museum and video presentation, plus shopping for authentic and local souvenirs.
2 | Visit Nicahabana Cigars, Tabanero Cigars or Long Ash Cigars for authentic hand-rolled stogies!
3 | Put yourself in a pickle with a Cuban sandwich at West Tampa Sandwich Shop , La Segunda Central Bakery or Box of Cubans!
4 | Reserve your seat to watch the Tampa Bay Rays who play on home turf all that week at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg!
5 | Grip the sand between your toes at one of several “USA Today Best” beaches! Clearwater Beach, Fort DeSoto Park or Davis Beach, closest to downtown and the locals' favorite tailgate spot to watch sunsets!
6 | Get up close and personal with wild life at Lowry Park Zoo with its 2,000 animals, interactive exhibits and educational shows; Florida Aquarium with 20,000 species of aquatic plants and animals; or Manatee Viewing Center at Apollo Beach!
7 | Let your heart race and your stomach lurch at Busch Gardens Tampa with its 335-acre Africa-theme park or Adventure Island water park!
8 | Visit a museum for local, state, national and international culture and history!
Museum of Science & Industry, with its domed IMAX theater and planetarium;
SS American Victory, a former WWII ship now used as a museum ship;
Florida Museum of Photographic Arts, with local and international photography exhibitions
9 | Whet your whistle with a beer at Yuengling Brewing Co., America’s oldest beer company. Its tour walks patrons through the meticulous process of crafting brews from fermentation through bottling with samples at the end.
10 | Take a stroll! The 2.8-mile Riverwalk is a scenic walkway that hugs the downtown waterfront and connects many of Tampa's most popular attractions. Bayshore Boulevard runs from MacDill Air Force Base to downtown Tampa along Hillsborough Bay. As the longest continuous sidewalk in the US, it is also South Tampa's unofficial gym, where people walk, jog, bike, and rollerblade down nearly flat pavement. With water on one side and some of Tampa's most expensive real estate on the other, the scenery is unrivaled.