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Top Things to do in Tampa, Florida

Updated: Apr 30

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Tampa Florida

Positioned along the Gulf Coast of Florida, Tampa is a major hub for the maritime, cigar, and technology industries. Its museums make it a hot spot for culture, while its amusement parks, aquarium, and nightlife bring something to the table for everybody. The third most populated city in the state, the Tampa Bay area is home to more than 3 million people. Read on for ideas of some of the best things to do while visiting Tampa, Florida.

Florida Aquarium

The Florida Aquarium
Credit: Tipsy Atlas

Located in downtown Tampa, Florida Aquarium is home to more than 8,000 animals including birds, sea turtles, and sharks. For families, it has an outdoor splash pad and tanks for touching jellyfish, stingrays, and even boneless animals. The aquarium's rooftop deck provides views of the harbor and a wild dolphin cruise for an additional cost. If you get hungry, its cafeteria serves up beverages, snack items, and grilled foods.

Busch Gardens

Busch Gardens
Credit: Tipsy Atlas

Busch Gardens is so interesting because it's part amusement park and part zoo. This exciting park is best known for its roller coasters; notable rides include Kumba, SheiKra, and Tigris. My personal favorite was Cheetah Hunt - a quick, high thrill ride that's the longest of its kind in Busch Gardens.

Beyond the rides, visitors can partake in the award-winning 65-acre Serengeti Safari. This up-close animal encounter is led by a guide and features a 30-minute off-road tour. Many other animal experiences are available as well, including a gorilla tour, elephant encounter, and an Australian adventure. Check out our extensive guide on Busch Gardens to learn more.

Henry B. Plant Museum

Henry B Plant Museum
Credit: Tipsy Atlas

Housed in the 1891 Tampa Bay Hotel, the Henry B. Plant Museum still contains many of its original furnishings. Visitors will learn about Henry Plant - the founder of a railroad and steamboat line in the southeastern United States. If you're a history fan, this museum gives you the opportunity to journey through the Victorian era. At the end, you'll reach a gift shop with unique jewelry and books.

Tampa Riverwalk

Tampa Riverwalk Museum
Credit: Tipsy Atlas

This 2.6-mile-long open space is lively at night and beautiful in the day. It's lined with numerous businesses, museums, and other attractions to keep tourists entertained. Along the walk is the aforementioned Florida Aquarium, the Tampa Bay History Center, and the Columbia Café - a popular spot for Cuban sandwiches.

Adventure Island

Adventure Island
Credit: Tipsy Atlas

Tampa's largest water park, Adventure Island is in close proximity to Busch Gardens; you can even purchase tickets together to save money. It has a lazy river for adults, slides for thrill seekers, and pools for swimmers of all ages. Among its most popular attractions is the dual-tailspin Solar Vortex and the Vanish Point - a freefall that's only open on Saturdays and Sundays. Cabana rentals are available for those who wish to chill all day.

Ybor City

If you're looking for nightlife in Tampa, Florida, Ybor has you covered. It has a slew of bars and clubs, including LGBTQ-centric options with drag shows and performances. In fact, the area between 7th and 15th avenue is so inclusive that it's nicknamed Gaybor for its queer influence. The main strip is laden with Cuban and Latin restaurants, and you can learn about history by taking a Ybor City walking tour.

Side Splitters Comedy Club

Side Splitters
Credit: Tipsy Atlas

This cozy club is the perfect place to laugh until you cry. Shows take place nearly every weekend with performances from both local and worldwide comedians. The club also serves food and alcohol to keep the environment light. If you're looking for an adult night out, the late night show is the place to be. You can book tickets online to save a spot.

Dinosaur World

Dinosaur World
Credit: Tipsy Atlas

A truly obscure experience, Dinosaur World includes over 150 life-size dinosaur sculptures in a natural setting. This park is easy to walk through and encourages visitors to bring food and drinks for their children. To further accommodate young ones, it features a dino-themed playground with swings and slides. Fossils and artifacts are also on display as part of an indoor exhibit.

Seminole Hard Rock Casino

Casino game

Whether you're into gambling, drinking, or watching live events, Seminole Hard Rock Casino is the talk of the town for adult entertainment. The casino is one of the largest in the United States and is accessible by hotel guests and visitors alike. If you wish to stay at the resort, you'll be greeted with three pools, fine dining, shops, and luxury rooms.

Where to Stay

The Hilton Tampa Downtown offers a central location near many of the city's main attractions, but if you're more of a partier, you might want to choose Hilton Garden Inn Ybor. Tampa is a very drivable city, so as long as you rent a car or hire a taxi, there's no specific place you have to stay.

I hope you enjoyed our deep dive into things to do in Tampa, Florida. If you have visited any of these places, feel free to share your experience, or use the comments' section to recommend other Tampa must-sees.

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