The American Victory ship with colorful buntings hanging above, one of the best things to do in Tampa Florida

41 Best Things to Do in Tampa in 2023 (By a Local)

👉 Jump to: Best Things to Do in Tampa | Outdoor Activities | Parks | Theme Parks | Dining & Shopping | Animal Activities | Nightlife | Museums

There are so many amazing things to do in Tampa, and I’m here to share 41 of the best Tampa attractions and activities with you!

I’m a Tampa local and I’m going to let you in on exactly what to do in Tampa for the perfect trip. Whether you’re a local or a visitor, and whether you’re an art lover or a thrill seeker, there is something on this list for everyone to enjoy. 

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Best Things to Do in Tampa

Florida Aquarium 

Hang out with over 4,000 sea animals at one of the most interactive aquariums in Florida. 

Façade and entrance view to the Florida Aquarium in The Channel District
The entrance to the Florida Aquarium

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (813) 273-4000 | Website | Hours: 9:30 am – 5 pm daily | 👉 Get Tickets Here 

The Florida Aquarium is located in The Channel District, which is right next to Downtown. The 6-acre aquarium has many interactive exhibits that make it great for families or individuals. 

The aquarium has several habitats, all showcasing different animals from around the globe. My personal favorite is the wetlands exhibit. There are alligators, otters, and even birds flying in the 80-foot-tall domed room. There are many other exhibits and amenities that you’ll have to come out and see for yourself. Make sure you check out the Wild Dolphin Cruise! 

Ticket prices for the Florida Aquarium fluctuate daily, depending on factors like weather and local events. Check out the Florida Aquarium Plan Ahead Pricing here.  

👉 Pro Tip: General Admission tickets often sell out, so I highly recommend buying your tickets online ahead of time. (Ticket prices at the gate are also more expensive than online, so this will save you money, too.) You can get tickets here

Tampa Museum of Art 

Wander this modern museum’s halls and lose yourself in the artwork.

Colorful illuminated Tampa Museum of art and downtown buildings reflected on the water at night
Tampa Museum of Art lit up at night (photo: Viaval Tours / Shutterstock)

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (813) 274-8130 | Website | Hours: 10 am – 5 pm daily | Entrance: $20 for adults, $5 for students 7+, $0 for kids under 6 

The Tampa Museum of Art is located Downtown in Gasparilla Plaza. It’s a great adventure for people of all ages. There are even art classes for teens to get the whole family involved! 

There are indoor and outdoor exhibits. The first floor features floor-to-ceiling windows. The sunlight that streams in creates the perfect lighting to browse the various art exhibits. On the second floor, you can stand on the balcony and have a beautiful view of the Hillsborough River. 

The museum also hosts many events. Be sure to visit their website and plan to attend an art class or workshop. Come out and feel inspired by the beautiful art in this Tampa museum. 

Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino

Shop, dine, lounge, or try your hand at a round of cards in the casino.

A modern glass building exterior of Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino
Seminole Hard Rock Hotel (photo: Kristy Blokhin / Shutterstock) 

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (866) 388-4263 | Website 

Located about fifteen minutes from Downtown, the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino is a one-stop shop for all things fun. It’s a great way to spend a night out on the town with friends.

If you’re not interested in playing cards or gambling, the Casino has many other amenities. Enjoy a delicious meal at one of the many fine dining or casual dining restaurants. Have a drink at one of the several bars. Lounge around at the pool or cabana. Browse the shops and buy something nice for yourself!

The Casino also doubles as a venue for many musical and entertainment shows. Check out their event calendar to stay up to date with upcoming shows.

🛎️ Want to Spend the Night? You don’t need to stay at the Hard Rock in order to enjoy its amenities but book a room here if you don’t want to worry about driving home after a night of fun.

Hyde Park Village

Walk the cobblestone streets and enjoy yummy food and sweet treats in between shopping.

The author Marina Martinelli and her dog posing in front of a mural in Hyde Park Village
Me in front of a mural in Hyde Park Village

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (813) 251-3500 | Website | Hours: 10 am – 12 am daily

Hyde Park Village is a collection of shops and restaurants in South Tampa. Central to the village is a grassy square with a fountain. It’s the perfect spot to relax with the whole family. 

In addition to its many storefronts, Hyde Park Village is just an aesthetic place to hang out! There are murals and benches shaded by large trees. It’s one of my favorite spots in the city to sip on an iced coffee and read. 

Hyde Park Village is also close to South Howard Street, which is where many of the South Tampa bars and clubs are located. It is common for groups to come to Hyde Park to enjoy a meal before heading out to the bars. Grab your friends and come get dinner before a night out on the town!

When considering things to do in Tampa, coming out to see Old Hyde Park is a must.

Tampa Theatre

Watch a movie or show at one of the most elaborate movie palaces you will see in your life.

The iconic Tampa Theater sign illuminated at night
The iconic Tampa Theater sign

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (813) 274-8981 | Website | Hours: Based on Show Times | Entrance: Ticket Prices Vary 

The Tampa Theatre is located in the heart of Downtown. As a protected historic landmark, it is well-loved by the community. And it’s a historic landmark for good reason – it’s a breathtaking theater.

The grand architecture of the theater sets an elegant atmosphere for any event or film. Speaking of events, the theater hosts over 700 films, shows, and events every year! So, there is ample opportunity to come to check out this Tampa monument. 

The theater often plays previously released films. For example, during the holiday season, they will play many of your favorite Christmas movies. Check out their event calendar on their website and prepare to see some of your favorite films.

St. Pete Pier

Explore the offerings of this scenic pier as you relax while overlooking Tampa Bay.

Lighted lamp posts lined up on the pier in St. Pete reflected on the water at night
Lit up St. Pete Pier at night 

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (727) 822-7437 | Website | Hours: 6 am – 11 pm daily 

The St. Petersburg Pier is a 26-acre pier in downtown St. Pete. It overlooks the Tampa Bay. While not technically in Tampa, I added the Pier to this list of things to do in Tampa because it’s a must-experience place and it has close proximity to Tampa. 

The Pier is great for families or individuals. For adults, there are great bar and restaurant options. You can stroll the pier and look at the various art installations or fish on the fishing pier. For children, there’s a splash pad, playground, discovery classroom, and more.

On Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, the pier typically has its own marketplace. Many local vendors gather to sell their products. Be sure to check it out on your trip so you can get a genuine piece of Tampa Bay as your souvenir. 

Tampa Bay Food Tours

Discover your new favorite food on this Tampa Bay walking tour.

Cuban sandwiches are sliced in halves with a small bowl of different fruits on a plate.
The Cuban sandwich was a staple food item for cigar factory workers in Ybor City and is now a prominent dish in Tampa 

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (813) 310-4401 | Website 

Food is an amazing way to experience a new culture or place. Come explore Tampa Bay’s unique culture with this 3.5-hour walking food and drink tour. 

The Downtown Tampa Walking Tour is a food and wine tour. You’ll eat at 4-5 local Tampa restaurants and try various wine pairings along the way. 

Since you’ll be walking for over 3 hours and drinks are being served, I recommend leaving the kids at home and bringing a friend along to experience this tour. Grab your walking shoes and bring your appetite! Check out the other Tampa Bay Food Tours on their website, which is linked above. 

St. Petersburg Sunken Gardens

Stroll the garden’s path and view the tropical flowers and plants that call South Florida their home. 

Pathways surrounded with tropical flowers and plants inside St. Petersburg Sunken Gardens
A peek inside the Sunken Gardens (photo: Sunshower Shots / Shutterstock) 

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (727) 551-3102 | Website | Hours: 10 am – 4:30 pm daily, 12 pm – 4:30 on Sundays | Entrance: $15, adults, $6 under 17

The St. Pete Sunken Gardens is located in the heart of downtown. This 100-year-old botanical garden is the city’s oldest living museum. 

Walking the garden’s path and taking in the 50,000+ plants and flowers is one of my favorite ways to experience tropical Tampa Bay. There is something indescribable about being able to escape into nature in the middle of a bustling city.  

The Sunken Gardens is also a great spot for photos and videos. Visiting Tampa Bay for a family reunion or just looking for a great place in your home city to take photos? Consider this garden for your next photo op. 

👉 Want to see more of St. Pete? Book this segway tour that guides you through the Sunken Gardens and other must-see St. Pete attractions. (This tour often sells out so buy your tickets in advance.)

American Victory Ship and Museum

Learn about our country’s past through the lens of this 1940’s era war vessel. 

The American Victory ship with colorful buntings hanging above
American Victory Ship 

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (813) 288-8766 | Website | Hours: 10 am – 5 pm daily, 12 pm – 5 pm on Mondays | Entrance: $12, adults, $7 under 12 

The SS American Victory is one of the four remaining operational WWII ships in the country. It is even registered on the National Register of Historic Places. The splendor and history associated with this ship are what land it on my list of things to do in Tampa.  

The American Victory Ship and Museum is located in Channelside, right next to the Florida Aquarium. Bring the whole family because stepping aboard the American Victory is a great way to learn about our country’s past. 

There are snacks and drinks available for purchase on the ship, so don’t fret about bringing a lunch. Just bring your closed-toed shoes and get ready to explore the 9 decks of this steamship as you learn about US history and naval warfare. 

Hillsborough River State Park

Hike, camp, kayak, picnic, swim, bike, and more at this serene Florida State Park.

The author Marina Martinelli's dog Athena crossing the wooden bridge in Hillsborough River State Park
Athena leading the way on a hike in Hillsborough River State Park

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (813) 688-9500 | Website | Hours: 8 am – sundown daily | Entrance: $6 per vehicle, $4 per single-occupant vehicle 

Hillsborough River State Park is located a short drive from Tampa. It’s one of the fastest ways to go from being in an urban city to being totally immersed in nature. It’s also the most prominent state park that is close to Tampa.

A day spent in this park is great for family, friends, and everyone in between. There is no limit to the activities that you can do while here! Spend the day hiking then try tent camping at one of the park’s primitive campsites. Bring a blanket and find a shady spot for a picnic. Bring a notebook and journal as you listen to the sounds of nature and wildlife. 

Tampa Outdoor Activities

Tampa Riverwalk

Stroll along the Hillsborough River on this iconic Tampa walkway. 

The author Marina Martinelli and her dog squatting on the walkway in Tampa Riverwalk
Me and Athena on the Riverwalk

📍 Google Maps 

The Tampa Riverwalk runs alongside the Hillsborough River in the Channelside and Downtown areas. It offers scenic views that everyone in the family will enjoy. Because of its convenient location, you will have easy access to many attractions like the Tampa Museum, Glazer Children’s Museum, and the Tampa Bay History Center. 

The Tampa Riverwalk is a great place to run, bike, or walk. It’s not shaded so it can get hot, especially in the summertime. So make sure you wear comfortable shoes and bring water for yourself and your pets if they are tagging along.  

There are also various attractions and restaurants that are right off the Tampa Riverwalk. Spending the morning watching boats float by on the river, then spend your afternoon at Ulule enjoying a drink! 

Dinosaur World

Travel back in time as you walk through a lush park and meet life-size dinosaurs. 

A huge sculpture of a dinosaur in the middle of the forest at Dinosaur World
Imagine running into this guy! 

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (813) 717-9865 | Website | Hours: 9 am – 5 pm daily | Entrance: $19.95, adults, $14.95 under 12

Dinosaur World is near Plant City, which is about a 20-minute drive from Downtown Tampa. This dinosaur-themed park is a way to escape city life and find yourself surrounded by over 200 life-sized dinosaurs. It’s a great excursion for families and one of the most unique things to do in Tampa. 

In addition to the life-size dino replicas, there are many interactive attractions. Play on the skeletal playground. Learn something new at the prehistoric museum. Explore the interactive bone yard. Find a discovery at the dino gem excavation or fossil dig. There’s so much to do!

👉 Pro Tip: Dinosaur World does not have any food for sale. Plan to have a meal before or after your trip. Or, pack a picnic to be enjoyed with the dinos!

University of South Florida Botanical Gardens

Admire unique plants that reside in this garden located at the University of South Florida. 

A landscape full of tropical plants and palm trees in Southern Florida on a cloudy afternoon
You’ll see many palm trees in tropical Florida 

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (813) 974-2329 | Website | Hours: 9 am – 4 pm daily, Closed Sundays | Entrance: $5, adults, $3 under 12

The USF Botanical Gardens is a sixteen-acre garden on the University of South Florida’s campus. It’s home to over 3,000 plants. Walking through a beautiful and spacious botanical garden is a great time for people of all ages, so make sure to bring the whole family. 

The garden also doubles as a teaching space for many of USF’s environmental and conservational studies students. All proceeds from the admission ticket and flower shop go directly back into the school’s botanical garden, so coming out to visit the garden is a great way to support local students, as well. 

Tampa Bay Fun Boat

Cruise on Tampa Bay and see the city from a new perspective.

Beautiful sunset reflected on the water of Tampa Bay
Enjoy a Tampa Bay sunset from the water 

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (727) 204-9787 | Website | Tickets: $18, adults, $10 under 13 

Since Tampa is located on Florida’s west coast, sunsets are especially magical here. While watching the sunset from the beach is amazing, try watching the sun go down on a boat in the middle of Tampa Bay! Tampa Bay Fun Boat allows you to do just that. 

As one of the best Tampa boat tours, Tampa Bay Fun Boat offers multiple types of cruises. Join them for a sightseeing tour or a sunset tour. You can even charter the boat for special occasions or parties! 

While this activity is suited for families, if you want to turn it into a party, Tampa Bay Fun Boat has a BYOB policy. 

Tiki Boat Cruise

Feel festive on a tiki boat as you float through Tampa on the Hillsborough River.

Cityscape and people walking along Tampa Riverwalk view across from Hillsborough River
Hillsborough River

📍 Google Maps 

The things you can do in Tampa aren’t limited to dry land! There are many water excursions to experience. The Hillsborough River runs directly through the heart of Tampa and provides many exciting activities on the water. Rent a kayak or take an evening boat cruise with friends. 

I recommend this Tampa Tiki Boat Cruise. You’ll be able to watch Tampa’s nightlife come to life as you float down the river. 

This particular tour is BYOB. Go with friends and have a party, or bring the family and make it a family day. You can’t go wrong!

Bayshore Boulevard

Walk along Hillsborough Bay and enjoy the views of Davis Island and Downtown Tampa.

The author Marina Martinelli posing near the rails at the famous Bayshore on one windy day
Me in front of the famous Bayshore side rail 

📍 Google Maps 

Bayshore Boulevard is an iconic Tampa sidewalk that lines Hillsborough Bay. Fun fact, at 4.5 miles, Bayshore Boulevard is the longest continuous pedestrian sidewalk in the United States. 

This sidewalk isn’t shaded, so I recommend bringing any snacks or water you would need to sustain yourself for the duration of your walk. There are a couple of benches along the sidewalk which serve as a great resting spot. 

While the Boulevard isn’t as big of an ‘attraction’ as some of the other activities on this list, I had to include it because of how beautiful it is! Some of the fanciest Tampa mansions line the other side of the street. As you walk you are sandwiched between the natural beauty of the bay and the manmade beauty of the houses!

Tampa Parks

For even more, see my full list of Tampa parks.

Lettuce Lake Regional Park

Explore North Tampa in one of Hillsborough County’s best-maintained parks. 

Blue sky with big white clouds over the Lettuce Lake Regional Park
Lettuce Lake on a sunny day

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (813) 987-6204 | Website | Hours: 8 am – 6 pm daily | Entrance: $2 per vehicle 

Lettuce Lake Regional Park is located in North Tampa, near the University of South Florida. Lettuce Lake is an official Hillsborough County park and the county does a fantastic job of maintaining the park. 

Perhaps Lettuce Lake’s best feature is its observation tower. Climb the tower and see the Hillsborough River from an angle you’ve surely never viewed if from before! In addition to the observation tower, Lettuce Lake has many other amenities. These include a boardwalk, two hiking trails, picnic areas, wildlife viewing, and canoe and kayak rentals. 

Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park

Relax on a grassy field and watch clouds float by in the middle of Downtown Tampa. 

Skyscrapers and a fountain in the middle of Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park
Fountains for children to play in at Curtis Hixon Park (photo: Viaval Tours / Shutterstock)

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (813) 274-8615 | Website | Hours: 7 am – 10 pm daily

Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park is located in Downtown Tampa. It is a bright, grassy patch of greenery in the otherwise urban landscape of Downtown. It’s a beautiful place that the whole family can enjoy. It’s a great place to have a picnic or just get some fresh air. 

The Tampa Riverwalk passes right in front of Curtis Hixon Park. That means that you can easily access Tampa attractions like the Glazer Children’s Museum and Armature Works within a short walk from the park. 

Directly across the river is the Henry B. Plant Museum. The park offers stunning views of the unique architecture of the museum. You will also have great views of the many buildings that make up Downtown, like the iconic Sykes building.

Julian B. Lane Park

Pack a picnic and come spend the day at one of the nicest parks in Tampa.

Cityscape view from Julian B. Lane Park one a gloomy afternoo.n
Your view of Downtown from Julian B. Lane Park

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (813) 274-8615 | Website | Hours: 7 am – 10 pm daily 

Julian B. Lane Park is located between Downtown Tampa and the University of Tampa. It is a 25-acre park with dozens of amenities for individuals of all ages to enjoy. 

The park features public art, picnic pavilions, and an entire playground and splash pad for children. You can rent kayaks and standup paddle boards to use on the Hillsborough River. For sports enthusiasts, there are tennis courts, pickleball courts, and basketball courts. There’s also a fitness trail. 

This park also features a community event pavilion and lawn that are frequently used for local events. Julian B. Lane Park is a fantastic place to come out and feel the heartbeat of Tampa and the people who live here. 

And for dog owners, the Julian B. Lane Dog Park is a must. There are two dog parks (one for small dogs and one for large dogs) and both are maintained very well. 

Fort De Soto Park

Swim, hike, or sunbathe at this iconic Florida state park.

Old concrete of the foundation of Fort De Soto along the beach in St. Petersburg, Florida
Part of the original foundation of Fort De Soto 

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (727) 582-2267 | Website | Hours: 7 am – Sunset 

Fort De Soto State Park is about a 30-minute drive from Tampa. While it is a farther drive than most other activities on this list, it is well worth the extra drive time. 

For water lovers, Fort De Soto Park offers beautiful white sand beaches, a canoeing trail, and a fishing pier. For nature lovers, there are hiking trails and campsites and accommodations. And history lovers can explore the historic Fort De Soto and learn where this state park gets its name from. 

Fort De Soto also has one of the best off-leash dog beaches in the country. The beach is exceptionally well-maintained and dogs always have a blast. 

Tampa Theme Parks

Busch Gardens

Ride rollercoasters, try new foods, and say hi to animals all in one place at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay.

People enjoying the downward rollercoaster ride in Busch Gardens
(photo: Viaval Tours / Shutterstock) 

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (813) 884-4386 | Website | Hours: 10 am – 8 pm daily | Tickets: $132.99

Busch Gardens is a theme park in North Tampa. It features crazy rollercoasters that will provide a thrilling experience for the people brave enough to ride them!

In addition to rollercoasters, Busch Gardens has shows, a safari, animal encounters, and restaurants. There are enough attractions and rides to keep you busy from park open to park close. 

Don’t let the rollercoasters fool you, Busch Gardens also has plenty of activities for families with young children. Their website has a page dedicated to listing out family-friendly attractions, which you can find here

Empower Adventure Tampa Bay

Zipline above the trees and challenge yourself in ways you didn’t know possible.

A man enjoying the zipline above the trees in Empower Adventure Tampa Bay

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (813) 448-5635 | Website | Hours: 9 am – 5 pm daily | Tickets: $79

Empower Adventure Tampa Bay is located just northwest of Tampa. Their main attraction is the zip line course. It spans over 20 acres and has five zip lines all between 400 and 650 feet long. 

In addition to the zipline course, Empower Adventure Tampa Bay offers an aerial obstacle course and a ‘leap of faith’ challenge. It’s a great way to get out of your comfort zone, get into nature, and see Tampa from a whole new perspective. 

This activity is best suited for individuals who like heights and an adrenaline rush. Children over 70 pounds are welcome. Children under 15 years of age must be accompanied by an adult. 

Adventure Island

Splash around and soak in the Florida sun at this Tampa water park.

A huge colorful tube side view from the clear v-shaped pool in Adventure Island
The lazy river at Adventure Island (photo: Khairil Azhar Junos / Shutterstock)  

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (813) 884-4386 | Website | Hours: 10 am – 5 pm daily, Open March – November | Tickets: $82.99

Your very own water theme park in your backyard. Adventure Island is located in North Tampa and has the same parent company as Busch Gardens. This water park is the perfect place to cool off in the Sunshine State’s heat.

Adventure Island showcases waterslides, pools, water rides, and a lazy river. You can spend the morning getting your adrenaline pumping on a dual tailspin waterslide then take it easy in the afternoon while you float down the lazy river. This is definitely one of the best theme parks around.

Don’t worry about bringing lunch, Adventure Island has restaurants for you to enjoy.

Tampa Dining & Shopping

Armature Works

Support local Tampa businesses as you meet new people in the communal dining hall.

View of the communal dining hall surrounded by shops and restaurants on Tampa Riverwalk
(photo: Michael Gordon / Shutterstock)

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (813) 250-3725 | Website | Hours: 8 am – 10 pm daily

Armature Works is located in Tampa Heights and can be accessed from along the Riverwalk, as well. Armature Works features the Heights Public Market which is an open floor-plan building with communal seating. There are a variety of quick-service food options ranging from pizza to barbecue. 

In addition to the Heights Public Market, Armature Works features full-service restaurants and a beautiful front lawn that has one of the best views of the Hillsborough River. Grab a coffee and watch boats float by or play a game of life-sized chess on the front lawn. 

Armature Works also has many family-friendly local and seasonal events, so be sure to check out their event calendar. 


Stroll through this city within a city and shop, dine, and relax.

The author Marina Martinelli taking a self-portrait with the shops around Midtown
Me hanging out in Midtown

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (823) 738-4120 | Website 

Midtown is located in the Westshore area of Tampa. It is a small, up-and-coming community with many storefronts and eateries. It is designed to be a one-stop destination for anything you would need. From pet care to grocery shopping to fun restaurants, Midtown has it all. 

In the center of Midtown is a grassy area with tables and chairs called Midtown Commons. I love getting a coffee and then people-watching as I relax in the sun. 

There is also an apartment complex and hotel located here. If you are visiting Tampa, Midtown could be a great place to stay in Tampa. It’s only 10 minutes away from the Tampa International Airport. Check out Element Tampa Midtown here.

Sparkman Wharf

Try a beer or watch boats on the river at this trendy, outdoor social space.

Iconic signage at the entrance of Sparkman Wharf on a sunny day
Sparkman Wharf’s entrance on a sunny day 

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (813) 618-5844 | Website | Hours: 11 am – 9 pm daily, 11 am – 11 pm Fridays & Saturdays

Sparkman Wharf is a fun and hip outdoor space in The Channel District. It’s a family-friendly and dog-friendly space with shops, restaurants, and a beer garden. There’s also a large, grassy lounge area with life-size checkers and a waterfront view.

In addition to the storefronts, Sparkman Wharf has converted multiple shipping containers to quick-service restaurants! It all contributes to the trendy waterfront theme. 

Sparkman Wharf is within walking distance from the Amalie Arena so it’s a great place to go if you are in town for a Lightning game.

Bay Street at International Plaza

Spend the day shopping at the International Plaza then head over to Bay Street to try a local Tampa establishment for dinner.

Different shops and restaurants around Bay Street at International Plaza
A glimpse at Bay Street

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (813) 342-3790 | Website | Hours: 10 am – 9 pm daily 

Bay Street at the International Plaza is a trendy strip of restaurants and bars. It is conveniently located at the International Plaza which makes this a fantastic place to work up an appetite shopping before indulging in a delicious meal. It’s a great way to spend the day with family or a group of friends. 

It’s also conveniently located minutes from the Tampa International Airport. It’s a great spot to grab a bite to eat after a long plane ride! 

Tampa Animal Activities

Clearwater Marine Aquarium 

Get up close and personal with sea animals! 

Exterior and creative mural at the façade of Clearwater Marine Aquarium on a sunny day
(photo: alisafarov / Shutterstock) 

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (727) 441-1790 | Website | Hours: 10 am – 6 pm daily | Entrance: $35.95, adults, $26.95 under 12

The Clearwater Marine Aquarium is located in Clearwater, a short drive from Tampa. Pelicans, dolphins, otters, sharks, and others all call this aquarium home. 

The aquarium offers a variety of interactive experiences that is sure to provide you with a memorable experience. Build a salad for a sea turtle, take a photo with a dolphin, or feed a stingray. There’s also a kid zone that is designed specifically to educate and entertain children of all ages.

You are also able to book boat tours that allow you to learn about sea life while getting up close and personal with them in their natural habitat. 

Manatee Viewing Center

Say hi to the iconic Florida manatee as they migrate to this warm body of water.

A manatee and her calf swimming under the water
A manatee and her calf 

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (813) 228-4289 | Website | Hours: 10 am – 5 pm daily between Nov 1 and April 15

The Manatee Viewing Center is located at Tampa Electric’s Big Bend Power Station. Tampa Electric is one of Tampa’s primary electricity providers. At this power station, they circulate water from Tampa Bay for cooling. 

Florida Manatees are attracted to the warm water and come to this power station to bask in the water. This creates a perfect place to come out and see manatees!

The Manatee Viewing Center has a boardwalk, walking trails, and an observation tower for you to enjoy. This is a very family-friendly activity, so make sure you bring your whole family.

ZooTampa at Lowry Park

Learn about wildlife protection and preservation as you meet exotic animals from around the world.

Penguin Beach signage surrounded with tropical plants at ZooTampa
Penguin Beach at ZooTampa (photo: Linda White Wolf / Shutterstock) 

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (813) 935-8552 | Website | Hours: 9:30 am – 5 pm daily | Entrance: $45.95, adults, $35.95 under 11 

ZooTampa is located in the Lowry Park neighborhood of Tampa. This modern zoo is responsible for the care of over 1,000 animals! ZooTampa focuses on showcasing animals that have similar natural habitats and climates to Florida. Their goal is to educate the public on protecting and preserving wildlife. 

ZooTampa has four main park sections dedicated to animals from Asia, Africa, Australia, and Florida. In addition to meeting the animals, the zoo offers rollercoasters, a carousel, an African safari and other engaging amenities to enjoy with the whole family.

👉 Pro Tip: You can buy a CityPass and bundle your ZooTampa visit with other big attractions like Busch Gardens, Clearwater Marine Aquarium, and the Florida Aquarium.

Grady Goat Yoga Tampa Bay

Take a yoga class alongside some of the cutest goats you’ve ever met. 

A yoga class with the goats in the field of Grady Goat Yoga Tampa Bay
Do yoga with goats! 

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (813) 495-5083 | Website | Tickets: $37 

The Grady Goat Foundation hosts a goat yoga class every Saturday morning! Come out and take a yoga class while being surrounded by dozens of goats. Don’t be surprised when they jump up onto your back or try to help you out with your pose. 

For those not interested in the yoga part, no worries. You can come out and skip the yoga and just hang out with the goats. You’ll definitely want to buy tickets ahead of time because these classes sell out. 

The Grady Goat Foundation is a nonprofit organization that supports various charities throughout Tampa Bay. Every goat yoga class goes towards supporting the greater good!

The Dog Bar

Come out and paw-ty with your dog at this lively dog bar.

Handwritten signage of Dog Friendly with a smiley emoji on a chalkboard

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (727) 317-4968 | Website | Hours: 12 pm – 12 am daily 

As a dog lover and dog mom, I couldn’t create this list without a couple of dog-friendly activities. The Dog Bar is located in St. Petersburg and is one of the best dog bars in Tampa Bay. It’s less of a bar that allows dogs, and more of a dog park that happens to have a bar! 

The Dog Bar has indoor and outdoor dog parks, as well as a pool for the dogs to swim in. There’s a full bar, so while your doggo is having fun, you can order your drink of choice. 

There are many other great dog bars in Tampa Bay. Another great one that is in Tampa is Pups Pub. This one also has a full liquor bar. Grab your dog and have a fun night out together!

Tampa Nightlife

South Howard (SoHo)

Drink, dance, and sing at bars in South Tampa.

Illuminated red lights above the bar area with different drinks on the shelves and fridge

📍 Google Maps 

Whether you’re a Tampa local or you’re just visiting for the week, experiencing the city’s nightlife scene is a great way to get to know Tampa better. South Howard Avenue is one of the most popular places to go out in Tampa (so be expecting a crowd!) 

SoHo is near the University of Tampa, so many of the crowds at these bars are college-aged students. 

Most of the bars on this street don’t have covers unless it’s a holiday or a big event day. Most of them don’t have dress codes, either. If you are looking for a night out of dancing and singing, this would be my recommended spot. 

Downtown St. Pete (DTSP)

Experience a bumping party while also having a waterfront view. It doesn’t get better than that.

Crowded colorful bar in the beach area of Downtown St. Pete
Many St. Pete bars are beachy and colorful (photo: Viaval Tours / Shutterstock) 

📍 Google Maps 

Downtown St. Pete is another great nightlife destination. Although it’s technically not in Tampa, it is a very popular location for Tampa locals to go out at! It’s a short drive or Uber ride from Downtown Tampa.

DTSP is a mixed crowd of people of all ages (over the age of 21). Most of the bars and clubs that reside here are nice. Make sure you double-check your outfit before leaving because many of the clubs and bars have dress codes. 

Ybor City

Come join the party at one of Tampa’s liveliest nightlife scenes.

Long exposure of lights on the tourist road with restaurants and shops of Ybor City at night
7th Avenue at night (photo: RozenskiP / Shutterstock) 

📍 Google Maps 

7th Avenue in Ybor City has some of Tampa’s best bars and clubs. Coined ‘GaYBOR’, Ybor City has a very LBGTQ+ inclusive scene. There’s no shortage of fun, local establishments serving delicious drinks in this part of town.

If you are looking for a place where you can go out and dance and party until 3 AM, then Ybor City might be the place for you! While you’re there, you might get to see the Ybor City chickens, which are notorious for boldly walking around the city streets.

Tampa Museums & History

Glazer Children’s Museum

Grab your whole family and come learn something new!

Colorful exterior of Glazer Children’s Museum in the Downtown area of Tampa
The bright and colorful Glazer Children’s Museum (photo: Viaval Tours / Shutterstock) 

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (813) 443-3861 | Website | Hours: 10 am – 5 pm daily | Entrance: $16

The Glazer Children’s Museum is located in Gasparilla Plaza in Downtown Tampa. With over 150 interactive activities, this museum was specially designed with children 12 and under in mind. There are varying exhibits and activities for each age group. 

The museum also provides other amenities that are useful to growing families, like stroller parking and nursing rooms. There’s food and drinks available for purchase, so don’t worry about having to pack a lunch for everyone! 

Henry B. Plant Museum 

Learn something you didn’t know before at this interactive museum.

Beautiful landscape and exterior of the historic Plant Hall on the University of Tampa campus
One of the entrances to the Henry B. Plant Museum 

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (813) 254-1891 | Website | Hours: 10 am – 5 pm daily, 12 pm – 5 pm Sundays | Entrance: $18, adults, $12, youth

The Henry B. Plant Museum is located near Downtown Tampa, right next to the University of Tampa. This museum, which was once the Tampa Bay Hotel, is a National Historic Landmark. It has been preserved in order to represent the diverse individuals that made the hotel such a success. 

The museum, which stopped operating as the Tampa Bay Hotel in 1932, has many original artifacts and furnishings! There will be a piece of artwork for everyone in your group to admire and love. Of the things to do in Tampa, this one is a must!

Museum of Science and Industry

Learn something you didn’t know before at this interactive museum.

A child doing the Sky Trail Ropes course in a forest adventure park
Try something adventurous on the Sky Trail Ropes Course 

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (813) 987-6000 | Website | Hours: 10 am – 5 pm daily | Entrance: $14, adults, $10 under 17 

The Museum of Science and Industry is located in North Tampa, near the University of South Florida campus. This is a great activity for the whole family to enjoy together because there is an exhibit or activity designed for people of every age.

The exhibits range from virtual reality simulators to dinosaur exhibits that show what our planet looked like when dinosaurs still roamed. My favorite part of the museum is The Saunders Planetarium. Their high-quality telescopes give you an amazing view of the sky.   

For any thrill seekers, be sure to check out the Sky Trail Ropes Course located at the museum. It’s an additional $7, but well worth it. You will take on 35 different obstacles while you are suspended 36 feet in the air. The Sky Trail Ropes Course was designed for all ages to participate. 

Tampa Bay History Center

Immerse yourself in Florida’s history at this Tampa Bay learning center.

A modern exterior building of Tampa Bay History Center on a sunny day
Tampa Bay History Center (photo: Chad Robertson Media / Shutterstock) 

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (813) 228-0097 | Website | Hours: 10 am – 5 daily | Entrance: $16.95, adults, $12.95 under 17, $0 under 6

The Tampa Bay History Center is located along the Riverwalk in Tampa’s Channel District. This learning center has been accredited by organizations like the American Alliance of Museums. The three-story building was created and designed for its visitors to be immersed in the history of Florida’s last 12,000 years. 

The exhibits will walk you through when Florida was first inhabited and take you all the way to its establishment as a modern-day port city. The Tampa Bay History Center has a cafe onsite that sells food and beverages, so don’t stress about bringing food. 

Ybor City Walking Tour

Explore Tampa’s historic district while you learn how it became the cigar capital of the world.

View of the peaceful street of Ybor City in Florida
A street corner in Ybor City

📍 Google Maps | 👉 Browse Tours on Viator

Ybor City is one of Tampa’s historic districts – it’s even designated a National Historic Landmark District. Ybor City is rich in culture and significance when it comes to Tampa Bay. So, this list wouldn’t be complete without me recommending a day in Ybor City. 

You can easily spend the entire day wandering 7th avenue and visiting the eclectic shops and restaurants. But, if you want a guided experience, I recommend taking a guided tour. 

For food lovers, I recommend this Historic Ybor City Food Walking Tour. Come see why people say that Ybor City is home to some of the best Spanish-Cuban food around. 

For history buffs, check out this Ybor City Historic Walking Tour. You’ll learn about the history of the city.

Straz Center for the Performing Arts

See a broadway show in one of the most architecturally beautiful buildings in Tampa.

Exterior view of the Straz Center for the Performing Arts building sited along the river in Tampa Bay.
The Straz sits on the edge of the Hillsborough River (photo: JSvideos / Shutterstock) 

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (813) 229-7827 | Website

The Straz Center for the Performing Arts is an integral part of Tampa’s performing arts scene. It is located in Downtown Tampa and overlooks the Hillsborough River. The Straz Center is home to Carol Morsani Hall which has hosted broadway shows such as Wicked, Annie, Hamilton, and Chicago. 

Come see a broadway show, an opera performance, or a touring comedian. There is always something going on at the Straz! It’s the perfect place to have a night out in Tampa with friends.


That’s my list of the best things to do in Tampa! Did your favorite activity make it on the list? If you need more ideas for fun, check out my article on best day trips from Tampa Bay

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