Known for its lively neighborhoods, fun annual events, and waterfront location, Tampa has something for everyone. There’s so much to see and do in Tampa. So how do you narrow it down? That’s where we’re here to help. We’ve listed our top 13 favorite attractions in the area below. From eateries to events and everything in between, we hope we’ve added some inspiration to your Tampa, FL trip itinerary.
So read on and start planning your next trip — and if you need lodging, book a Tampa vacation rental to save money and gain so much more space & privacy over a traditional hotel.
Top 13 Tampa, FL Activities
Edison: Food + Drink Lab (912 W Kennedy Blvd.)
In their own words: Chef Pierola–Local powerhouse and 5X James Beard Semifinalist–leads edison’s crew as they explore flavors using the finest components, precise execution and their collective creativity. The results are new interpretations of everyday food expertly engineered into current, modern cuisine.
Restaurant BT (2507 S MacDill Ave.)
In their own words: Located in the heart of South Tampa, Restaurant BT offers an updated take on classic French-Vietnamese cuisine. Sleek white plates filled with flavorful fare arrive at your table adorned with edible flowers and fresh herbs as accents, to be enjoyed in the Zen like atmosphere. Sleek white plates filled with flavorful fare arrive at your table adorned with edible flowers and fresh herbs as accents, to be enjoyed in the Zen like atmosphere.
Datz (2616 S MacDill Ave.)
In their own words: Since the opening of Datz on January 28, 2009, owners Roger and Suzanne Perry have sparked invention and reinvention in Tampa’s food scene. They have evolved Datz into the home of comfort food with flair, in the hopes of making their sons Brandon and Matthew proud. It’s a craft beer oasis, a bourbon lover’s paradise, a foodie wonderland filled with bacon, cheese, and house-made breads.
Datz also offers an eclectic cocktail menu with artisanal liquors found nowhere else in Tampa and boasts a seasonal menu change that reflects a growing community appetite for unique, new entrees. In 2013, Datz became part of a restaurant group with the addition of Dough – a whimsical, from scratch bakery next door. In 2014, Datz Restaurant Group added Roux to the mix, an upscale New Orleans-style kitchen with a South Tampa twist. In 2018, they entered the St. Pete market with Dr. BBQ, in partnership with Ray Lampe. Datz is an award-winning restaurant and has been featured on Good Morning America, Travel Channel, Food Network, Cooking Channel, and FYI.
Hemingway’s (1910 N Ola Ave)
In their own words: Chef + Owner Felicia (“Phe”) Lacalle, says Cuban cooking is “in her blood” thanks to learning her skills in the most traditional way possible: from her mother. Since then, she’s been perfecting her signature spin on traditional Cuban cuisine as the former executive sous and regional pastry chef at Roy’s as well as executive chef at Samba Room and other notable restaurants. Located inside Heights Public Market (HPM) within the historic Armature Works in Downtown Tampa, [kū´bå] — the Spanish word and phonetic spelling for Cuba — represents her past, present and future… And those bold, vibrant flavors can be found in both the decor and on the plate.
Bandit Coffee Co. (2662 Central Ave.)
In their own words: Our coffee selection is ever-rotating with fresh crop offerings. We are excited to bring you coffees that tell a story from start to finish. Cheers!
Not A Clue Adventures (12337 Old Dade City Road)
In their own words: Outdoor Adventures and Eco-Tours – We offer guided hikes, backpacking, river and camping trips throughout Central Fl. All equipment and meals provided. Our camping outings are perfect for beginners, families and out of town visitors. We can provide all the gear with set up and tear down of campsite, meals and preparation. We are onsite at all times provide camp activities including the S’mores. We DO NOT rent our equipment. Outings can be scheduled from 1-14 days and are available for single persons to groups up to 50 persons.
Henry B. Plant Museum (401 W Kennedy Blvd.)
In their own words: The Henry B. Plant Museum is housed in the 1891 Tampa Bay Hotel, the Victorian railroad resort that defined the elegant frontier, now a National Historic Landmark. Unlike most museums dedicated to lifestyles of the past, it contains the actual furnishings enjoyed by the first guests to visit here. The Museum accurately reflects the opulence of turn-of-the-century America and the vision of American transportation pioneer, Henry B. Plant.
Since 1933, the Tampa Bay Hotel has been home to the Henry B. Plant Museum and The University of Tampa. The building, renamed Plant Hall, is a National Historic Landmark. The Henry B. Plant Museum holds the distinction of accreditation by the American Alliance of Museums. Its mission is to interpret the history and lifestyle of America’s Gilded Age and the life and significant contributions of Henry Bradley Plant to the development of Florida and Tampa Bay. Original furnishings and artifacts and a dynamic self-guided audio tour immerse visitors in the opulence of the 1891 Tampa Bay Hotel and its rich history.
Garagiste Meadery (1506 N Florida Ave.)
In their own words: Garagiste Meadery started with humble beginnings as home meadmakers in 2015.
The prior year we’d had the opportunity to try meads from a small commercial outfit in Michigan. I don’t know that we recognized at the time that it was a life altering event; but, mostly out of desire to have more mead in our lives that measured up to the quality we had experienced from them we decided to start making our own. Having no local meadmakers to draw from, this gave us the luxury of being unafraid to experiment with flavors and ingredients not associated with meads. Some experiments failed and others worked great, all had a powerful influence on how we saw mead and what we thought mead could be.
Like any hobby we dove face first into meadmaking. Our goal was simple, to create memorable experiences through mead using locally produced ingredients to the extent possible. Soon we were sharing those meads with friends and they shared them with others. I suppose a phenomenon of sorts was born and fast forward another year and we’re being invited to pour at local festivals.
In early 2016 we decided to make Garagiste Meadery a legitimate business. The original concept was a side job of sorts, we’d make mead between our other day jobs. In April 2016 we launched a crowdfunding campaign to get started. Without much expectations or fanfare we put ourselves out there. The campaign closed a month later making Garagiste Meadery the largest publicly funded Meadery in history by a wide margin.
After some soul searching we decided that we’d throw our fate to the winds and let the voice of the people be heard. Garagiste Meadery would be a full Meadery with a Tasting Room and become our family business. As the Meadery came together we felt the impetus to get better.
Thankfully, some great meadmakers embraced us and helped refine Garagiste Meadery to where we are today.
Come on in, experience mead with us. The exploration continues and we’re thrilled to have you along for the ride.
Nightly Spirits (1600 E 8th Ave.)
In their own words:
At Nightly Spirits Tampa, our ghost pub tours are unlike anything offered in the area! A combination of ghost tour and pub crawl in Ybor City that will take you to the creepiest side of Tampa. You will hear some of its most famous haunted stories and follow in the footsteps of deceased rum runners. Explore haunted bars, haunted buildings, and one of Tampa’s oldest areas, all while having time to enjoy some tasty beverages along the way! Our haunted tours in Tampa tend to sell out frequently! We highly recommend reserving as early as possible.
WhatSUP Paddle Sports (7740 W Courtney Campbell Causeway)
In their own words: The Tampa Bay is our favorite place to explore, and the top of a paddle board is our favorite way to explore it. A community surrounding this new sport has sprouted up, and at the heart of it is WhatSUP Paddle Sports. Whether you want a private lesson or to join your friends at a paddle board social, we can meet you anywhere you need us. We have kayaks too, as well as bikes and land paddling equipment to take your journey farther. It doesn’t matter if you’re new on the water or you’ve been paddling for years, WhatSUP wants to take you on your next adventure in the bay.
Pirate Water Taxi (Tampa RiverWalk)
In their own words: Pirate Water Taxi’s offer daily tours of Tampa with 15 stops located along our route near Attractions, Museums, Restaurants & Parks! Simply buy tickets at our home dock (Stop#7 – Convention Center) or when boarding at any of the stops located throughout Downtown Tampa. Once purchased you will receive a Pirate Water Taxi wristband which allows you to hop back on the taxi at any time for unlimited trips all day. These wristbands also give you discounts with a number of venues located on the route as part of our Pirate Perks Program. Use our mobile app to keep up to date on arrival times. An After 6PM pass is also available for a discounted price as we are open into the evening. Tickets may be purchased online but these do not guarantee you a seat as it is first come, first serve.
The Royal Scoop (15 8th Street, Suite D)
In their own words: On July 1, 1994, the Royal Scoop Homemade Ice Cream was purchased by David and Sarah Zimmermann, who pride themselves on carrying on the tradition of making and serving the finest homemade ice cream, low-fat yogurt, sugar-free treats, sorbets and deli sandwiches. (notice the order here Eat Dessert First).
Over the years, Royal Scoop Homemade Ice Cream has become a Bonita Tradition! We like to say, we have been “time tested and taste bud approved”! We give back to our Loyal Royal Scoopers each day by making the richest, most flavorful products and providing unmatched customer service. This philosophy has struck a cord with the people of Southwest Florida, as we have been named the area’s Best Ice Cream year after year by the News Press & The Bonita Banner, also several local magazines have awarded us honors for the quality of our ice cream. In addition, in 2001 Royal Scoop Homemade Ice Cream was named Small Business of the Year by the Bonita Springs Chamber of Commerce.
Alessi Bakery (2909 W Cypress Street)
In their own words: Alessi Bakery is a true Tampa landmark dating back over a century to 1912, making it one of the few historic restaurant establishments in the area. Situated at 2909 W. Cypress Street Alessi, Bakery was first opened on Cherry Street by Nicolo Alessi. He arrived in Tampa from Italy over a hundred years ago, bringing his knowledge of baking and proud European heritage with him. Nicolo Alessi used to deliver the freshest Italian and Cuban bread on horse and wagon to his customers. Nicolo’s son John Alessi, continued his father’s tradition of baking, and he received numerous awards for his cake decorating. Those very same cake recipes have been perfected over the years and these cakes are well-known all over the Tampa Bay area for their personalized touch for weddings or any milestone event.
Captain Memo’s Pirate Cruise (25 Causeway Blvd.)
In their own words: As we embark on our journey, soak up the sun and revel in the scenic views of Clearwater as we comb the horizon in search of dolphins. Get lost in the pirate antics during our two hour odyssey including a treasure hunt, face painting, water gun games, stories and dancing for all ages.
The Pirate’s Ransom was custom designed and built to U.S. Coast Guard requirements for the owners in 1993.
Cleanliness and order are among the top priorities of our crew which extends to all facilities. A professional quality surround system throughout the boat plays a wide variety of tunes.
Our spirited crew of pirates are individually selected by Captain Memo himself. They are chosen not only for their enthusiastic personalities and immeasurable politeness, but also for their knowledgeable seamanship abilities. Our pirates maintain the ship’s cleanliness, insure safe boating practices, entertain the children and most importantly keep your goblet full of grog.