Weekend City Guide: Tampa, Florida
Tampa has long been recognized as a hot spot for family fun. Add now, with its exciting restaurants, bursting arts and culture community, and abundant outdoor spaces for adventure, Tampa has become a hub of urban cool. It’s perfect weekend destination, whether you’re vacationing with the kids, want to get the guys together or just need a couple’s escape.
Arts & Entertainment
If you’re in the mood for live music set outdoors, the “Skipperdome” is the place to be. This waterfront venue features everything from rock to reggae. In addition to the tunes, guests can enjoy the eclectic and ever-changing mix of local artists’ work on display.
Ybor City Saturday Market
Open year round, the market is a one-stop-shop for Tampa-based art like jewelry, photography and woodworking; handmade items like bath and body products, clothing and candles; and local fare such as produce, artisanal baked goods and ready-to-devour foods. Bring your dog, so Fluffy can browse the pet treat booths.
Morean Arts Center
Celebrating its 100th year of education and programming, the Morean Arts Center, located in the Central Artist District of Downtown St. Petersburg, is packing its calendar with new classes, workshops and exhibits. Check out the glass art of the Chihuly Collection, and visit the Glass Studio & Hot Shop to watch local artists in action, create your own piece or buy a souvenir.
Glazer Children’s Museum
Kids can explore their talents and future careers with exhibits and hands-on activities in engineering, art, health, safety, environmental conservation and banking. They can also burn off extra energy in Poe Family’s Get Moving physical challenges.
Manatee Viewing Center
Manatees favor Big Bend Power Station’s discharge canal for its warm waters. Humans like it because they can watch the sea cows. The educational building features exhibits on manatees, hurricanes and conservation, and the grounds also contain a butterfly garden and a 50-foot observation tower for more wildlife viewing.
TreeUmph! Adventure Course
Embrace your inner Tarzan. If your kids are age seven and up, they’ll enjoy (and so will you) the adrenaline surge on the obstacles at TreeUmph, located south of Tampa. TreeUmph has five courses through the tree canopy with various foot bridges, zip lines and swinging ropes.
Big Cat Rescue
For the past 25 years, Big Cat Rescue has been home to rescued lions, tigers, leopards and more. The 67-acre sanctuary offers daily tours (except on Thursdays), including photo, feeding and night excursions. While you finish planning your Tampa trip, check out the big cat live stream!
Food & Drink
Ulele, located in Tampa Heights, will satisfy any self-proclaimed foodie with its menu that fuses sea and land ingredients in Native American-inspired dishes. Sides like white cheddar popcorn mashed potatoes pair perfectly with a main feast. Wash it all down with a pint from the on-site Ulele Spring Brewery. Brewery tours are also available.
No matter how late you sleep in, you can still grab Sunday brunch at Datz in South Tampa, which runs until 8 p.m. (Saturday until 3 p.m.) The crème brûléed french toast with fresh Florida strawberries indulges the sweet tooth. Or order a savory egg sammy paired with bacon-infused house-cut potatoes.
Ciro’s Speakeasy & Supper Club
The low lights, the swanky décor and the intimate setting make Ciro’s the right place for a date night in South Tampa. Enjoy craft cocktails at happy hour along with shareable bites, or indulge in a post-dinner dram.
Hillsborough River State Park
Head northeast of Tampa, to get an outdoor fix of just about any kind. Kayak or canoe the Hillsborough River’s Class II rapids, swim in the park’s pool, hike the nature trails, camp or visit the park’s interpretive center. Canoes, kayaks and other equipment rentals are available at the Hillsborough Park Café, where you can also eat lunch or stock up on picnic supplies.
Grab a bike at Le Meridien Tampa (it’s free to SPG members!) and cruise the Bayshore Linear Park Trail for scenic views of the water and some of Old Hyde Park’s most beautiful homes, some of which are listed on the National Historic Register. You’ll find fitness stations and water fountains along the way.
Cypress Point Park
The beach at this city park, with its dunes and wildflowers, will give you your sand and water fix. It’s a great spot for catching the sunset on Old Tampa Bay.