21 Best Things to do in Tampa, Florida

Exploring Tampa, Florida: 21 Must-Do Activities

Tampa, Florida is a city of incredible diversity, offering a rich tapestry of historic districts, thrilling attractions, and vibrant cultural scenes. With its year-round sunshine, Tampa is a magnet for both travelers and families looking for a fun-filled holiday. Whether you’re an adrenaline junkie, a culture vulture, a foodie, or simply seeking some relaxation, the array of activities in Tampa is sure to captivate you. Here’s a comprehensive guide to 21 of the best things to do in this lively city, guaranteed to make your visit memorable.

Outdoor Attractions

1. Visit the Tampa Riverwalk

The Tampa Riverwalk is a 2.6-mile-long pedestrian trail which provides breathtaking views of the Hillsborough River. It links the city’s main cultural venues, waterfront parks, and vibrant neighborhoods. Here, you can enjoy a leisurely stroll, rent a bike, or hop on one of the pirate-water taxis for a unique sightseeing experience.

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2. Explore Busch Gardens

Busch Gardens is an African-themed animal amusement park with a wide array of thrilling rides, live shows, and a vast menagerie of animals. This family-friendly destination is known for its roller coasters and safaris but also offers educational experiences and entertainment for visitors of all ages.

3. Spend a day at Clearwater Beach

Located within close proximity to Tampa, Clearwater Beach is an idyllic stretch of sand that consistently ranks among the top beaches in the U.S. Enjoy the crystal-clear waters, white sand, and an array of water sports, or simply relax and soak up the sun.

Related: 14 Best Things to Do in Orlando

4. Kayak at Hillsborough River State Park

For a more serene outdoor experience, visit the Hillsborough River State Park. Here, you can explore the winding river by kayak, hike the trails, or even go camping. Don’t miss the opportunity to paddle beneath a canopy of trees and observe the local wildlife in their natural habitat.

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Cultural Experiences

5. Discover Ybor City

Ybor City, Tampa’s historic Latin Quarter, offers a fascinating cultural experience. This former cigar town is rich in history and architectural significance, with a bustling nightlife scene, unique shops, and delectable dining. Explore the Ybor City Museum State Park to learn about the area’s Spanish and Cuban roots, or simply wander the streets and soak in the atmosphere.

6. Visit the Tampa Museum of Art

If you’re a lover of art, the Tampa Museum of Art is a must-visit. The museum’s collection features ancient, modern, and contemporary artwork, including significant Greek and Roman antiquities. The stunning building design, with its use of light and space, showcases the art to its greatest effect.

7. Attend a performance at the Straz Center

The Straz Center for the Performing Arts is one of the largest centers of its kind in the United States. Hosting a wide variety of events, from Broadway shows to top-name music acts and dance performances, there’s certain to be something on the calendar that piques your interest.

8. Explore the Florida Aquarium

For a day of aquatic adventure, head to the Florida Aquarium. The facility houses over 20,000 aquatic plants and animals native to Florida and various parts of the world. Their mission to ‘entertain, educate and inspire stewardship in the natural world’ is reflected in their engaging exhibits and education programs.

Family-Friendly Activities

9. Enjoy a day at ZooTampa

ZooTampa at Lowry Park is home to over 1,300 animals and celebrated for its conservation efforts. Spanning across 56 acres, visitors can see animals in habitats reflecting their natural environment, and enjoy interactive experiences like feeding a giraffe or taking a behind-the-scenes tour.

10. Explore the Glazer Children’s Museum

Designed for children from birth to 10, the Glazer Children’s Museum has a wide array of interactive exhibits made to inspire the curiosity and creativity of young minds. With everything from a pretend cruise ship to a firehouse, there’s plenty for kids to explore.

11. Visit the Big Cat Rescue

For a uniquely enriching experience, Big Cat Rescue is an animal sanctuary devoted to rescuing and providing a home for big cats, like lions, tigers, and leopards. Take a guided tour and learn about the conservation and welfare efforts geared toward these majestic creatures.

12. Have fun at Adventure Island Water Park

Cool down on a hot day at Adventure Island Water Park, which offers an array of slides, pools, and wave machines suited for all ages and adrenaline levels. Guests can glide down the new Solar Vortex, Florida’s first dual tailspin water slide, or relax in the Endless Surf wave pool.

Culinary Delights

13. Taste Cuban cuisine at Columbia Restaurant

Established in 1905, the Columbia Restaurant is a beloved Tampa staple offering a taste of the rich history and cuisine of Ybor City. From their famous 1905 salad to their paella and classic Cuban sandwiches, you’re in for a delightful culinary adventure.

14. Try the fresh seafood at Ulele

Ulele is a unique restaurant located in a historic Tampa Heights neighborhood, offering a menu rich with ingredients from Florida’s waters and land. Their native-inspired dishes, including alligator hush puppies and the famous Ulele Charbroiled Oysters, are not to be missed.

15. Indulge in a food tour in Tampa’s historic neighborhoods

For the foodies, join a guided food tour that takes you through the historic neighborhoods of Tampa, including woven into Ybor City. Explore the area like a local while enjoying a diverse range of cuisine, such as Cuban, Spanish, and Italian dishes.

16. Experience the local craft beer scene

Tampa has a thriving craft beer scene, with numerous local breweries offering unique flavors and styles. Join a brewery tour and taste the creativity of Tampa’s beer makers or hang out at a beer garden for an evening of sipping under the stars.

Entertainment and Nightlife

17. Catch a game at Raymond James Stadium

If you’re a sports fan, attending a game at Raymond James Stadium is a quintessential Tampa experience. Home to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the USF Bulls football teams, the stadium offers an electrifying atmosphere on game days.

18. Enjoy live music at Jannus Live

For an evening of live entertainment, Jannus Live is a historic outdoor venue that hosts a diverse range of musical acts. The courtyard-style amphitheater offers an intimate setting to enjoy performances by local favorites and national talent.

19. Dance the night away in Ybor City

Renowned for its thriving nightlife, Ybor City comes alive after dark. With a variety of bars, clubs, and live music venues, this district offers a range of experiences for those looking to unwind and have a good time.

20. Experience the vibrant nightlife at SoHo

South Howard Avenue, also known as “SoHo”, is a stylish neighborhood filled with trendy bars, nightclubs, and lounges. It’s the perfect place to enjoy a more upscale nightlife scene, with a range of options from cocktail bars to lively dance clubs.

Hidden Gems

21. Discover the murals in the Seminole Heights neighborhood

Wander through the picturesque Seminole Heights neighborhood and be sure to look for the vibrant murals adorning the area’s walls. These artistic creations are a reflection of Tampa’s local culture and are perfect for a casual photography walk or as the backdrop for an impromptu photoshoot.


Tampa, Florida is a dynamic city with something to offer every kind of traveler. From the adrenaline-fueled rides of Busch Gardens to the serene beauty of the Tampa Riverwalk. The deep cultural experiences of Ybor City to the delicious culinary scene, there’s no shortage of things to do and see. This extensive list is just the tip of the iceberg. Tampa is sure to surprise and delight you at every turn. Whether you’re planning a family vacation or a solo adventure. Make Tampa your next destination, and prepare for a trip full of memories that will last a lifetime.

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