Weekend City Picks: Tampa
Tampa offers a sunny waterfront for enjoying the outdoors but also boasts intriguing historic neighborhoods and a lively nightlife.
Arts & Entertainment
This waterfront museum on the Hillsborough River is home to contemporary art collections and a growing collection of classical art as well as world-class traveling exhibitions.
Located in the Tampa Bay Hotel since 1933, the Henry B. Plant Museum on the University of Tampa campus is a National Historic Landmark with the mission of exploring the history of America’s Gilded Age and the contributions of railroad entrepreneur Henry Bradley Plant.
This nonprofit in St. Petersburg features a 2,500-square-foot retail gallery and another gallery highlighting curated exhibitions. The organization also hosts the annual two-day CraftArts Festival the week before Thanksgiving.
Founded in the 1880s by cigar manufacturers, this historic neighborhood – now a National Historic Landmark - was home to thousands of Cuban, Spanish and Italian immigrants. Now it’s also home to thriving restaurants, nightlife and shopping.
Food & Drink
Culinary exploration is the goal of this modern gastropub led by Tampa chef Jeannie Pierola, who changes the menu daily to put fresh ingredients in the spotlight.
The love of ramen rages on, and it’s no different on Florida’s west coast, where this St. Petersburg restaurant serves up noodle bowls and other small plates in a Japanese gastropub style.
Situated in a unique setting – Tampa’s old federal courthouse - this casual brasserie offers subtle French-Creole style and American favorites. But don’t forget dessert: Bizou’s bakery gets high marks, too.
On the second floor of the Locale Market, you can find the standalone, full-service FarmTable Kitchen, a casual gourmet restaurant famous for its fresh ingredients, wood-fired steaks and an acclaimed eight-course tasting menu.
Dining at this Ybor City landmark is historic – it has been owned and operated by the same family for five generations, since 1905, which makes it the oldest restaurant in Florida. You can find just about anything – tapas, seafood, meat, mojitos – on the impressive menu.
No matter what time of day you’re hungry, Three Coins Diner welcomes you. Open 24 hours seven days a week, the diner serves what you’d expect and want: hearty breakfasts, sandwiches, salads and plenty of diner-staple entrees.
The Sunshine State-raised husband-and-wife team of Greg and Michelle Baker salute what they call “Cracker Cuisine” – dishes that celebrate Florida’s backwoods culture. They make everything in house and share an affinity for seasonal vegetables.
- DRINKS -
Where else can you find quality wines, cocktails – and afternoon tea service? If you’re hungry, Oxford Exchange has breakfast, lunch and brunch menus, too.
Located in the Aloft Tampa Downtown hotel, this lobby bar carries a fun and casual vibe, serving up drinks and light fare. Open until 2 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.
Watch the sunset from this urban rooftop bar above Tampa’s historic district. There’s a buzzy, artsy vibe and live music daily.
This neighborhood brewery with a tasting room features tours, cigars and – of course – craft beer, including Jai Alai India Pale Ale and Florida Cracker, a Belgian white beer.
This spa offers a wide variety of wellness services, including massage, acupuncture, facials, Reiki, hypnotherapy, chakra balancing and other treatments.
Get ready to sweat at this independent high-energy cycling studio, created by Boston’s Bill Pryor and his sister Alex Klemmer. Classes start as early as 5:30 a.m.
Try swing (or aerial) yoga or do yoga in a yurt at this studio, which prides itself on diverse classes that keep the workouts interesting.
Searching for vintage home décor and/or vintage women’s clothing? Head to this design store – located in an old post office building – for gently used consigned furniture and specialty merchandise.
Learn the secrets of the trade on this tour through an historic cigar factory and watch cigar rollers hand-rolling Cuban cigars. Have a shot of Cuban coffee (it comes with the tour) and get excellent advice on shopping for cigars.
This colorful retail store sells an array of quality and safe products for babies and children, including cribs and other furniture, car seats, clothing, books and toys. Locals considered it one of the best spots for baby shower gifts.
Located in a neighborhood of upscale restaurants and shops, the chic LMB Boutique sells women’s apparel and accessories, including jewelry, scarves, bags and more.
The former Jules Verne Park in the Ballast Point neighborhood includes a 600-foot pier and a boat dock, both of which are open 24 hours a day. Kids can cool off in the interactive water park.
Rent a bike at Le Meridien Hotel in downtown Tampa and explore the nearby highlights of the city, including the Tampa Museum of Art, Curtis Hixon Park and Ybor City. Bikes are rented on a first come, first served basis.
What’s your pleasure when it comes to water adventures? At Bay Breeze at the Grand Hyatt Tampa Bay, you can give paddleboarding a try or rent a kayak or a Jet Ski.
The aquarium is home to more than 20,000 animals and plants, offering exhibits on sea life, wetlands, coral reefs and more. It was named one of the top 10 aquariums in the country by TripAdvisor.com
Buying tickets for this attraction in advance is recommended, because everybody wants to live out their Captain Jack Sparrow fantasies these days. The two-hour family-friendly cruise includes music, dolphin-watching, limbo and a treasure hunt.
Considered one of the top skate parks on the East Coast, Skatepark of Tampa features courses (including one for beginners) for skateboarding fanatics and is redesigned each year for Tampa competitions.