Tampa Attractions

Busch Gardens Tampa FL
Busch Gardens Tampa FL

The Sunshine State is a popular destination, and visitors planning trips here will find plenty of attractions in Tampa Florida to keep them busy, from golfing at Rocky Point Golf Club to fun rides at Busch Gardens to swimming at Ben T. Davis Municipal Beach on the Causeway. In addition, Tampa sightseeing offers plenty of variety with interesting museums such as the Henry B. Plant Museum, built in 1891 as the Tampa Bay Hotel, or the landmark Tampa Theater, built in 1926, which operates year-round showing classic and film noir features and concerts.

SS American Victory Mariner's Memorial & Museum

SS American Victory
SS American Victory Mariner's Memorial & Museum

An especially interesting Tampa sightseeing adventure involves learning about the history of the 1940s at the SS American Victory Mariner's Memorial & Museum. This merchant cargo ship served during World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War and is open Tuesday through Sunday with tours of the entire ship.

Hillsborough State Park

Hillsborough State Park
Hillsborough State Park  Image: WalterPro4755 (flickr)

For a relaxing day of Tampa sightseeing, Hillsborough State Park is the ultimate location to spend the day. The park has canoeing, kayaking, fishing, hiking, bird watching, biking, picnicking, and a swimming pool. In addition, restrooms, ample parking, nature trails, biking trails, pavilions with barbecue grills, and a café and gift shop make the park a complete package. Within the park, visitors can tour Fort Foster, which depicts the type of fort built during the Second Seminole War in 1837.

Ballast Point Park

Ballast Point Park
Ballast Point Park  Image: gordontarpley (flickr)

For a day of fishing and picnicking, consider visiting Ballast Point Park, located on Bayshore Boulevard near downtown, as it's one of the free attractions in Tampa Florida. The pier, which extends more than 900 feet into the bay, is a good place to enjoy the view, soak up some sunshine, park a jet ski, or just relax and cast your line. The park area has a children's playground, picnic tables, covered shelters, restrooms, and a restaurant that serves fresh seafood and is located at the front end of the pier. Parking is free, but it's limited, so keep that in mind if you have a rental car.

Tampa Attractions
Tampa Attractions

The attractions in Tampa Florida that visitors are most familiar with are Busch Gardens, Adventure Island, the Florida Aquarium, and Lowry Park Zoo. There are several more Tampa attractions that also offer a day of adventure and discovery, including the Museum of Science and Industry (MOSI), Big Cat Rescue, Florida Museum of Photographic Arts, Ybor City State Museum, the Riverwalk, and the USF Botanical Gardens.

Seminole Hard Rock and Casino
Seminole Hard Rock and Casino

For gambling enthusiasts, there are three Tampa attractions that provide a variety of gaming entertainment. The Seminole Hard Rock and Casino has gambling available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Machines, poker and blackjack tables, restaurants, bars, and lounges are all part of the activities at the Hard Rock. Anyone can eat in the restaurant, but keep in mind that adults only are allowed in the casino.

Tampa Bay Downs
Tampa Bay Downs  Image: kthypryn (flickr)

The two other Tampa attractions that provide opportunities to test your luck are the Tampa Greyhound Track and Tampa Bay Downs. At the Tampa Greyhound Track, simulcast betting is available on greyhounds, Jai Alai, thoroughbred horse racing, and harness races. Lucky's Card room, open daily from noon to midnight, is available for card games and tournaments. The club offers a full dining menu for lunch and dinner, but it is open to adults only. Smoking allowed in designated areas, only.

Tampa Bay Downs live thoroughbred horse racing begins in December and continues through the running of the Kentucky Derby, held on the first weekend in May. The Downs has big-screen TVs throughout the club for visitors to watch and place bets on races around the county. There are snack bars, lounges, food kiosks, and a full restaurant, as well as covered seating and ample parking for the convenience of the guests.

SoHo and Channelside are both areas in the city that offer additional Tampa attractions. The SoHo area located on South Howard Avenue features cafes, restaurants, bars, and live music, and it is a popular area for late-night dancing. Further down Howard Avenue is the Hyde Park district with retail shops, boutiques, and cafes.

The Channelside complex has restaurants, water-side dining, live music, dancing, bowling, bars, retail stores, and specialty shops, and those interested in the local nightlife will be pleased to find that parking is available and that the dance clubs and bars are open late.

Best Attractions - Ybor City
Best Attractions - Ybor City

For authentic Spanish dining and Flamenco dancing at the Columbia Restaurant, visitors should head to historic Ybor City. It's also one top of the list of Tampa tourist attractions for anyone interested in the combination of boutiques, sidewalk cafes, cigar lounges, upscale nightclubs, live music, and classic hand-rolled cigars.

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