15 BEST things to do in Tampa (2023) (2023)

Tampa is one of Florida's most diverse vacation destinations. It has an amazingly sunny climate, world-class restaurants, attractions for visitors of all ages, and a fascinating Cuban culture. If you're looking for the best things to do in Tampa, you'll be overwhelmed with options.

Tampa isn't as popular as some of the larger tourist destinations. This means you may have trouble identifying the parts of the city you want to see. To help you, we've created this simple guide to Tampa's best attractions for every traveler.

Table of contentsshow

  • These are the best places to visit in Tampa!
  • Frequently asked questions about the best things to do in Tampa



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Downtown Tampa is the heart of the city. It is the central business district and home to skyscrapers, cultural venues, restaurants, museums and the amazing Florida Aquarium.

Places to visit:

  • Catch a performance at the historic Tampa Theater.
  • Immerse yourself in history in historic downtown Tampa Bay.
  • Enjoy a delicious breakfast at Yolk, White & Associates.

These are the best places to visit in Tampa!

Before you dive into this list of sunny fun, check these outwhere to stay in tapasFirst. So you can organize your accommodation and get ready for the adventure along with all your favorite attractions.

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    #1 - Museum of Science and Industry - Simply one of the most entertaining places in Tampa

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    • A great opportunity for children of all ages to learn about science and technology.
    • The museum starts with the basics and slowly builds on that knowledge; So by the end, you'll feel like an expert on how the world works.

    Why it's great:If you've always wanted to learn more about physics, natural sciences and technology, you've come to the right place. This must-see Tampa invites visitors to learn through interactive exhibits on a variety of topics including the human body, the Idea Zone and cutting-edge technology. And the exhibits aren't just for kids. Anyone with a bit of curiosity about the world around them will love this museum.

    What to do there:It will take you at least a couple of hours to explore this museum, and maybe more. Be sure to check out hands-on projects in the Idea Zone, play Operation to learn how technology can save lives, and explore NASA's model of human life on other planets. Also visit the high ropes course, the IMAX theater and the life size model of the Mercury spaceship.

    Nr. 2 – Museu Henry B Plant

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    • This museum is housed in a luxurious Victorian palace with Moorish touches.
    • It was created in honor of railroad magnate Henry Plant, who had a major impact on the growth and development of Tampa.

    Why it's great:This is one of the best places in Tampa if you want to experience the city for yourself. It is also an amazing building in its own right that was once part of the Tampa Bay luxury hotel. The interior of the museum traces the history of the hotel and Plant's contribution to the development of Tampa and Florida.

    What to do there:This is one of the most interesting attractions in Tampa because of the history, architecture, and decor of the museum. Be sure to spend some time exploring the exhibition rooms, including the Great Hall, the Garden Room, and the Reading and Writing Room. All are furnished with antique furniture and provide a glimpse into the life and times of Henry Plant.

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    #3 - Glazer Children's Museum - A fantastic place to visit with kids in Tampa!

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    • A fascinating and interactive museum for children.
    • This museum allows children to learn about the world through play and can even help them find their passions.

    Why it's great:This museum focuses on interactive exhibits that help children experience different facets of life through play. Through the exhibits, they can explore the tasks and joys of different professions, explore robotics, world cultures, oceanography or engineering.

    What to do there:Book an afternoon and head to this unmissable Tampa. Kids will love playing vet and planning treatments, sailing boats as captains and sliding down the pole at a fire station. So encourage them to let their imaginations run wild and explore the adult world through the exhibits.

    #4 - City of Ybor

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    • This neighborhood is the center of Tampa's Latino community and a National Historic District.
    • It is also one of Ybor's liveliest and most interesting landmarks.
    • If you are looking for delicious food in a lively environment, visit the restaurants in the neighborhood.

    Why it's great:This area was founded by cigar magnate Vincente Martinez Ybor, who came to the area in the mid-19th century. The neighborhood took a hit during the Great Depression and most of the factories were closed, but lately there has been a resurgence. The area is now a center for culture, shopping and dining. And some of the streets contain historic buildings listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

    What to do there:Spend a whole day in this area and just soak up the atmosphere. Browse the shops, stop at cafes for snacks, and find a restaurant that looks and smells interesting for your meals. Be sure to explore Seventh Avenue, which is home to some of the neighborhood's most historic buildings.

    #5 - Tampa Theater - A great place to see in Tampa if you love architecture

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    • This is your chance to see a movie in a luxurious historical building.
    • This building is a mix of architectural styles that will fascinate lovers of the past.

    Why it's great:Built in 1926, the Tampa Theater is a mixture of Italianate, Greek and Byzantine architectural styles. It may seem like a confusing mix, but the result is a luxurious and beautiful building that is worth seeing for its aesthetic appeal alone. The theater itself shows classic and foreign films, as well as other programs.

    What to do there:See what movies are showing while you're visiting Tampa and stop by for a special screening. You have the opportunity to see a new or classic film in elegant surroundings that will take you back to the golden days of Hollywood.

    #6 - Tampa Bay History Center - A fascinating educational place in Tampa

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    • Learn about Tampa's ancient and modern history at this fascinating museum.
    • Located in the Channelside District, this museum is a Tampa must-see for history buffs.

    Why it's great:Tampa has a rich history dating back over 12,000 years, well before the arrival of European settlers. This museum explores that history through early residents like the Seminoles. But it also traces the region's more recent history, from the age of railroads and shipping to the multicultural mix that has shaped the city into what it is today.

    What to do there:It won't take you much more than an hour or two to explore this museum, but it's still one of the top spots in Tampa if you're looking to understand the city. Be sure to check out the permanent exhibits as well as the temporary exhibits that you will find during your visit to Tampa.

    #7 – Armature Works – A must for foodies!

    • This is one of the best restaurants in Tampa!
    • The building has recently been renovated and has become one of the trendiest areas in town for restaurants, bars and activities.

    Why it's great:This was once a 22,000 square meter industrial market that has been given new life in recent years. Constructed in 1910, the building originally housed Tampa's electric streetcars, giving it an appealing urban and somber vibe. Its newest incarnation is Tampa's place for dining, shopping, architecture and things to do.

    What to do there:At the very least, this area should be on your Tampa itinerary for a meal. The dining options are incredibly varied and hugely popular, so you know the food is going to be good. There are also many activities at this location, from cooking classes to concerts, movie nights and wine tasting. So if you're traveling to Tampa, check out what's going on while you're in town and stop by to see anything that looks like fun.

    #8 - Busch Gardens - A must see in Tampa this weekend!

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    • Busch Gardens is a massive amusement park that predates Disney World.
    • This is one of the most famous spots in Tampa for kids and lovers of roller coasters and games.

    Why it's great:Spread over 197 acres, this theme park includes restaurants, shops, games, live shows and roller coasters. It's actually older and cheaper than Disney Land and a great place to spend a day craving junk food and having a good time.

    What to do there:Grab the kids or some friends and drop by for a great day of fun, excitement and entertainment. If you want to enjoy the attractions, be sure to purchase a Quick Queue Unlimited Pass. This way you can skip the lines and make the whole experience more fun. Otherwise just wander around and see what catches your eye. There are several themed areas in this park, as well as numerous shows and restaurants.

    #9 – TPC Tampa Bay

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    • One of Tampa's most popular golf courses.

    Why it's great:Tampa has an ideal climate for exercise, which is why there are so many athletic facilities in the city. And golf is one of the most popular sports because it can be played by almost anyone. Host to the PGA Tour Champions event for over 20 years, TPC Tampa Bay is one of the city's most popular golf courses.

    What to do there:Tampa has great golfing weather, so pick a sunny day and stop by for a round or two. The 18-hole course was designed by Bobby Weed and the staff are helpful if you don't really know what you're doing. This is a challenging course. So if you're a weak player, maybe practice a little before committing to the full 18 holes.

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    #10 - Dinosaur World - One of the coolest historical sites in Tampa!

    • Dinosaur World is located in Plant City, about a twenty minute drive from downtown Tampa.
    • This is one of the most popular attractions in Tampa and Florida.

    Why it's great:If you or the kids love dinosaurs, this is an ideal addition to your Tampa itinerary. This theme park features over 150 dinosaurs as well as a graveyard where you can see a life size dinosaur skeleton on the ground.

    What to do there:This is a must-do while in Tampa, so set aside a few hours and indulge your inner child. Explore the dinosaur skeleton and burial site, look for authentic fossils, and walk among 150 life-size dinosaurs. You will fall in love with these colossal creatures over and over again!

    #11 - Columbia Restaurant - Cool place to see with friends in Tampa!

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    • This is one of the best places to eat in Tampa, it is also the oldest restaurant in Florida.
    • The largest Spanish restaurant in the world has been delighting tourists and locals alike since 1905.

    Why it's great:This restaurant is truly historic and the oldest in Florida, making it one of Tampa's greatest landmarks. It first opened its doors in 1905 and has been offering award-winning Spanish-Cuban cuisine ever since. There are 1,700 seats in the restaurant and nightly performances to keep you entertained while you dine.

    What to do there:This restaurant offers more than just a meal; offers an experience. So pick a night, reserve your table and enjoy your meal. Choose from the wine list, which includes over 850 wines, and sample some classic Spanish dishes with a Cuban twist. The restaurant also offers Spanish flamenco dance performances every night from Monday to Saturday, so don't miss it.

    #12 - The Riverwalk - One of the best places in Tampa to walk!

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    • The best place in Tampa to see and be seen.
    • The Riverwalk is relatively new and you can walk, bike, or Segway the 2.4-mile trail.
    • If you ate a lot of fatty foods during your visit, this is a great way to shed extra weight.

    Why it's great:The Riverwalk is the best way to explore downtown Tampa. You can walk, bike or rent a Segway and explore the city center in style. This is one of the best places in Tampa for people-watching, and there are also several top-notch restaurants in the area if you need a break and something to eat.

    What to do there:Start at the south end of the Riverwalk, enjoying the views along the way. The Riverwalk exhibition is particularly popular. It's a collage of 550 photographs by Bruce Marsh that commands attention and recognition. You should also make time to visit the many shops and attractions along the boardwalk, including the Tampa Bay History Center and Port Tampa Bay.

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    #13 - Lettuce Lake Regional Park - A beautiful outdoor spot to visit in Tampa

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    • If you want to spend some time in nature while exploring Tampa, this is the best place to do it.
    • The park is also one of Tampa's top natural attractions and a great place to spot native wildlife.

    Why it's great:Located on the banks of the Hillsborough River, Lettuce Lake Park is popular with locals and tourists alike. It's also one of Tampa's hot spots for outdoor activities like running, hiking, biking, fishing or kayaking. There are boardwalks through the park so you can explore the different habitats including swamps and deciduous forests and you might see some native wildlife during your visit.

    What to do there:When visiting a city, sometimes all you need is a little time in nature to focus. So pick a day with good weather and spend some time in this park. Then go fishing, hiking or kayaking on the river. And when you're done, have a picnic or BBQ and enjoy the great outdoors.

    #14 – Tampa Art Museum

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    • The city's epicenter for thinking and creative work.
    • The show includes major artists such as Picasso, Renoir, Degas and Cassatt as well as more contemporary pieces.

    Why it's great:The building that houses this art collection is incredible in itself. Designed by award-winning architect Stanley Saitowitz, it is illuminated at night by an installation of 14,000 LED lights called Sky Tampa, which literally glow different colors in the dark. The collection includes a wide range of modern, classic and contemporary pieces, as well as temporary exhibitions.

    What to do there:This building is a must see at night. The colors change from purple to red, light blue and pink and they look amazing in photos. But don't miss the entrance to see works by some of the greatest artists in recent history.

    #15 – International Plaza and Bay Street – A great place in Tampa if you love shopping!

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    • Located near the international airport, this is one of the best places in Tampa for luxury shopping.

    Why it's great:You can't go on vacation and not spend a buck shopping, and this is one of the best shopping complexes in the city. It's full of unique shops to satisfy your love for brands, as well as great restaurants.

    What to do there:Spend a day in the air conditioning and practice your cards. In this resort you can find a wide range of goods, as well as souvenirs to take home. And when you're done, there are also several great dining options at the resort, so pick one that looks good, rest and eat well.

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    Frequently asked questions about the best things to do in Tampa

    Find out what others want to know about the top attractions in Tampa

    What's a cool place to visit in Tampa at night?

    Columbia Restaurant is a great place to visit in the evening as you can enjoy delicious food and entertainment.

    What is a fun place to visit in Tampa?

    The Museum of Science and Industry is one of the most entertaining and educational places in Tampa.

    What's a cool spot in the Tampa Bay area?

    One of the best places in Tampa is Dinosaur World.

    What interesting places are there to visit in downtown Tampa?

    Some of the top attractions in downtown Tampa include the historic Tampa Theater, Historic Downtown Tampa Bay, and The Riverwalk.

    Final thoughts on the best things to do in Tampa

    Tampa isn't usually on people's travel bucket list, but it should be. It has all the elements that most people love about their vacation, from good weather to good food and an interesting cultural mix. As you explore the top attractions in Tampa, you might be wondering why this destination isn't more popular. And you'll probably plan to come back just to make sure you've experienced everything this city has to offer. If you want to add some extra fun to your visit to Tampa, check out our guideYacht charter under coverfor an exciting day on the water.

    And for the sake of transparencyPlease note that some of the links in our content are affiliate links. This means that if you book your accommodation, buy your equipment or order your insurance via our link, we earn a small commission (at no additional cost to you). However, we only connect devices we trust and never recommend services that we don't think are up to the task. Thanks again!

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