In this Tampa travel guide I lay out all the best bars, restaurants, beaches, and activities here in Tampa! There are still so many things I want to see and do here in Tampa that I’ll surely be adding to this post until I leave!
Also, I have to add that I had help from my boyfriend, Robert with this guide. He grew up in the Tampa, Bay Area and has been the best local guide!
TAMPA AND THE SURROUNDING AREAS
Before I got to Tampa, I didn’t realize that Tampa and the Tampa Bay Area aren’t the same thing. Tampa is a city while the Bay Area encompasses the cities all around the bay which include St. Pete, Clearwater, Largo and more.
In this guide, I really focus on Tampa itself, but I do touch on a few surrounding areas that are only 30 minutes to an hour away from Tampa and are great for day trips!
TAMPA TRAVEL GUIDE: ACTIVITIES TO DO IN TAMPA
Armature works & the River walk – This is a great food hall with all different types of cuisines, bars and more! Right outside is the Riverwalk which is just as it sounds. Take a stroll or rent a bike along the water!
Oxford Exchange – This place is kind of hard to describe as it has so many things going on under one roof! They have a restaurant, coffee and tea bar, home store, optical store, bookstore and my favorite, a champagne bar!
If you go to the champagne bar try a French 75 or a Pimms Fizz. And at the restaurant the chorizo eggs benedict was amazing!
Walk the tree lined streets in Soho – I’m honestly obsessed with the tree lined streets here in Florida. Head to Soho where you can walk the streets and look at some of the cutest homes! Plus the area has a ton of cute shops and restaurants to try as well!
Hyde Park – This little shopping area has a ton of great bars and restaurants and is a great place to take a walk. Most recently we tried a place called “The Hyppo” which has frozen ice pops! Perfect for a hot Florida day!
Ben T. Davis Beach – There aren’t really any beaches in the city of Tampa, but close by is the Ben. T Davis Causeway. Definitely not as nice as the real beaches in other areas that I mention below, but a great option to head for dinner and watch the sunset. We did see a shark here though, so I personally won’t be swimming haha.
Ybor City – Once known as the “cigar capital of the world” the city has a lot of Cuban flair. You can grab a cigar at many of the local shops or head to “Lions Den” to smoke one. I’m not much of a cigar lover, but if you are, this is the place to be!
Ybor normally has a great nightlife scene, but for now, you can walk the historic streets and hang with some of the chickens that roam the area! haha
WHERE TO EAT AND DRINK IN TAMPA
I’ve got to say, Tampa and the surrounding areas do not disappoint when it comes to awesome food and drinks. Especially craft cocktails! It wouldn’t be a complete Tampa travel guide if I didn’t mention some of my favorites.
Ciros Speakeasy – You’ll want to make a reservation in advance for this place as they tend to fill quickly. You’ll get a text with the secret password before your arrival and you’ll have to say it when you get there!
A few recommendations would be the chicken and waffles, sliders, crab cakes and the milk and cookies for dessert (made to order, with alcoholic milk! so freaking good) As far as drinks go, “just a thot” or the “old cuban” were great. Apparently their menu changes frequently though!
Cigar City Brewing– A nice spot for a beer on a hot Florida day. They also have a few cider options if you’re like me and don’t love beer!
Mandarin Heights– Ok, I haven’t been here yet, but Robert has told me great things. They have craft cocktails and apparently an area perfect for some instagram shots.
TAMPA TRAVEL GUIDE: WHERE TO EAT AND DRINK IN TAMPA
Chocolate Pi- The yummiest dessert bar!
Buddy Brew- One of Roberts favorite places for a coffee. This locally and family owned shop seems to be a favorite among Florida residents!
The Gin Joint- If you claim to not like gin, please try one of their incredible gin cocktails and I swear they will change your mind!
Daily Eats– Daily happy hour on mimosas from 2-7 for $2! As far as food goes, the buffalo Mac and cheese is amazing!
Berns Steak house and Dessert Room – Another place Robert talks about all the time and I can’t wait to try. This upscale steak house also has its own dessert room and the largest wine collection in the US.
Boca– We loved this spot for their creative dishes. The sweet potato gnocchi was to die for!
TAMPA TRAVEL GUIDE: DAY TRIPS FROM TAMPA
Originally built for military use, parts of the fort and surrounding buildings are now just a few bricks outlining what used to be dorms, hospitals, etc.. In the main part of the fort you can see cannons and abandoned rooms used by the military. It’s a bit creepy in my opinion!
You’ve probably heard of this stunning white sand beach! Walk along the Main Street to find great bars and restaurants and all sorts of shops. Stop by Jimmy’s Crow’s Nest for stunning rooftop views!
We haven’t spent a ton of time in St. Pete, but I hope to before we leave. So far we have gone to St. Pete Beach and grabbed a drink at Sea Dog. You can spend a whole day just strolling through the cute downtown area!
Siesta Key Beach– A very popular beach surrounded by the cutest town. The sand here wasn’t quite as soft at at Clearwater or St. Pete beach though!
Walk Main Street – Another great place to take a stroll, shop, drink and eat!
Drinks at the Pangea Alchemy lab – To find this bar you have to go down an alley that honestly looks a bit creepy, but once you get into the bar it’s super unique! I got the aviation and Robert got a clover club and we loved both. They also have a fun twist where you can get cereal in alcoholic milk. I thought this was such a fun snack!
Dinner at El Melvin Cocina Mexicana – We stopped here for dinner and loved both the cocktails and the food. They also had live music which was a great touch!
Check out the Yachts in the Marina – After dinner, head to the marina to take a walk by the water and feel poor while looking at all of they yachts haha.
Hunsader farms is about an hour from Tampa, but totally worth it for a fun day! I describe it as almost like a fair. They have a petting zoo, live music, shows, pumpkin festivals, and a ton of different food options!
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