A Tourist’s Guide in Tampa

Tampa, Florida is an awesome place to spend your vacation with its vast offerings of things to do, first-class restaurants, interesting festivals, and top-notch tourist spots. If you’re planning on visiting Tampa sometime in the future, here are some of the top spots in Tampa as well as some tips you should know when exploring the Cigar City.

There are hundreds of accommodations in Tampa, but hotels found on Downtown gives you the best access to many tourist attractions and business corporations. Le Meridian is the most unique and popular luxury hotel in Downtown Tampa that offers a top-notch accommodation and amenities. Sheraton Tampa Riverwalk is also a great place in Downtown that offers superb view and amenities. Since the Downtown area is a prime location of tourist hotspots, prices here can be a bit expensive especially during the peak season, so if you’re on a budget, look for hotels in Tampa’s historic Ybor City. The Westshore Grand is one of the best ones since it’s near the airport and Downtown. It also has a plethora of dining and shopping options.

Top Sights
Tampa has so many awesome sights and attractions to offer, I don’t even know where to begin. Busch Gardens is definitely on the top list. It is not actually a garden but an enormous African-themed adventure park with awesome thrill rides, live music, and several exotic animals that will have you and your family gawking. Another awesome sight you shouldn’t miss is the Florida Aquarium, which is one of the best aquariums in the state. They have amazing sites and activities like catamaran Eco Tour and programs that let you swim with the fishes and sharks. No kidding.

Other awesome sites include Ybor City, Adventure Island, Wat Mongkolratanaram, Big Cat Rescue, Tampa Museum of Art, and Tampa Theatre.

Tip: If you plan on visiting several of Tampa attractions, it’s best to secure a Tampa TRIO Pass that gives you admission to Tampa’s top sights like Florida Aquarium, the Museum of Science & Industry, and Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo all for an affordable price. What’s more, it has no expiration date. Also, don’t forget your sunscreens and hats. Tampa can be hot, so protect your skin and stay dehydrated.

Another must-know for every traveler is the best places to dine in and with Tampa, the choices are endless! If you’re looking where the best authentic Cuban, Italian and Spanish cuisines are served, you better head on to Ybor City. The best pick here is the longstanding Columbia Restaurant that’s been serving locals and tourist alike since 1905. Westshore and Airport area, on the other hand, is your destination if you’re craving for some delectable high-end cuisines and contemporary American dishes. If you’re undecided and just want to decide as you go, no worries. Just head over to SoHo, where restaurants of all sorts are lined up ready to serve your gastronomic needs.

Night Scene
Enjoying everything Tampa has to offer doesn’t stop during the day when the sun is up. Though daytime activities are awesome, Tampa’s night scene is also something you cannot miss. After the sun goes down, be ready to go pub/bar-hopping in Ybor City, SoHo, Westshore and Seminole Heights where the best pubs and clubs in the city are located.

In Ybor City, you can find Club Prana, a decade-old club with five levels of ultra-modern dance features, as well as Improv Comedy Club And Dinner Theatre, which is the very same club that catapulted many comedians to fame. If you prefer gambling the night away, no problem, I know the perfect place. Head over to Seminole Heights to Hard Rock Casino where there are over 4000 Vegas-style slot machines, Asian-inspired table games, live music and a selection of award-winning restaurants – it’s all here.

If being rowdy isn’t how you want to spend your night, then head to Downtown at Straz Center where world-class performances from musicals, opera, and orchestra are held.

For shopping, International Plaza is a go-to as well as Hyde Park Village. You can also visit flea markets for awesome deals.

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