comScore

Best Things To Do in Tampa

Tampa is tailor-made for families who love animals. Take your pick between the Florida Aquarium, Tampa Electric's Manatee Viewing Center, Big Cat Rescue or Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo. Not traveling with the kids? Tampa's got you covered there, too. When you're not getting a history lesson at the Henry B. Plant Museum, unwind with a cocktail or two and some delicious Cuban food in Ybor City. And although Tampa may not be known for its beaches, that doesn't mean sun and fun isn't within reach. You'll find some of Florida's most popular shorelines, including Clearwater Beach, Honeymoon Island State Park and Treasure Island are located less than an hour from downtown Tampa. 

How we rank Things to Do.

#1

#1 in Tampa

Spanning 297 acres and boasting more than 12,000 animals, live shows, restaurants, shops and games, Busch Gardens is a popular way to spend a day under the Tampa sun. Did you know that Busch Gardens is actually older than nearby Disney World? It's also cheaper and includes themed lands on Morocco, the Congo, Timbuktu, Egypt and Nairobi; plus animal exhibits based on the Serengeti Plain and the Myombe Reserve (and that's just scratching the surface). 
... more
Amusement Parks Type
Half Day to Full Day Time to Spend
Busch Gardens
Spanning 297 acres and boasting more than 12,000 animals, live shows, restaurants, shops and games, Busch Gardens is a popular way to spend a day under the Tampa sun. Did you know that Busch Gardens is actually older than nearby Disney World? It's also cheaper and includes themed lands on Morocco, the Congo, Timbuktu, Egypt and Nairobi; plus animal exhibits based on the Serengeti Plain and the Myombe Reserve (and that's just scratching the surface). 
... more

#2

#2 in Tampa

Even if you're not in town for a film screening or performance, visitors highly recommend a stop at the beautifully ornate Tampa Theatre. When it was built in 1926, the theater was considered one of the world's most elaborate theaters. Designed by architect John Eberson, the interior features a 900-pipe Wurlitzer organ and was constructed to look like a Mediterranean garden with flowers and gargoyles. Take a look at the ceiling and you'll spot 99 bulbs meant to resemble stars in the night sky. If you can't attend a show here, consider taking a tour instead. 
... more
Entertainment and Nightlife Type
1 to 2 hours Time to Spend
Tampa Theatre
Even if you're not in town for a film screening or performance, visitors highly recommend a stop at the beautifully ornate Tampa Theatre. When it was built in 1926, the theater was considered one of the world's most elaborate theaters. Designed by architect John Eberson, the interior features a 900-pipe Wurlitzer organ and was constructed to look like a Mediterranean garden with flowers and gargoyles. Take a look at the ceiling and you'll spot 99 bulbs meant to resemble stars in the night sky. If you can't attend a show here, consider taking a tour instead. 
... more

#3

#3 in Tampa

Located on the southeastern edge of downtown Tampa, the Florida Aquarium houses a massive collection of marine life  20,000 animal and plant life, by the last count. Past visitors said it'll take you at least three hours to make your way through the maze of stingrays, moray eels and sea turtles that live here, but there's a good chance your children will tire of the outing before then. Our shortcut advice involves a swing by the shark tanks, the African penguins and the polar bears especially. Travelers also recommend a stop by the Wetlands Trail exhibit, which includes alligators, otters and Burmese Pythons. Young kids are sure to enjoy the "Explore A Shore" exhibit, a 2-acre outdoor zone that includes a waterslide and geysers for youngsters to play in.
... more
Zoos and Aquariums Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
Florida Aquarium
Located on the southeastern edge of downtown Tampa, the Florida Aquarium houses a massive collection of marine life  20,000 animal and plant life, by the last count. Past visitors said it'll take you at least three hours to make your way through the maze of stingrays, moray eels and sea turtles that live here, but there's a good chance your children will tire of the outing before then. Our shortcut advice involves a swing by the shark tanks, the African penguins and the polar bears especially. Travelers also recommend a stop by the Wetlands Trail exhibit, which includes alligators, otters and Burmese Pythons. Young kids are sure to enjoy the "Explore A Shore" exhibit, a 2-acre outdoor zone that includes a waterslide and geysers for youngsters to play in.
... more
Powered by Viator

#4

#4 in Tampa

Make the most of Tampa's coastal location with a boat tour around its bay. You'll have your pick of tour options, including sunset sails, half-day trips and dolphin cruises. If you're already planning to visit the Florida Aquarium, consider penciling in some time for its Wild Dolphin Cruise. The tour, which departs from the aquarium daily, includes a 75-minute ride on a 72-foot catamaran. The aim of the tour is to get far enough into Tampa Bay to see the hundreds of bottlenose dolphins that call the area home, but you'll also likely spot several bird species and the occasional sea turtle. Note that you'll have to purchase the aquarium's combo ticket if you want to tack this experience onto your visit.
... more
Recreation Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
Boat Tours
Make the most of Tampa's coastal location with a boat tour around its bay. You'll have your pick of tour options, including sunset sails, half-day trips and dolphin cruises. If you're already planning to visit the Florida Aquarium, consider penciling in some time for its Wild Dolphin Cruise. The tour, which departs from the aquarium daily, includes a 75-minute ride on a 72-foot catamaran. The aim of the tour is to get far enough into Tampa Bay to see the hundreds of bottlenose dolphins that call the area home, but you'll also likely spot several bird species and the occasional sea turtle. Note that you'll have to purchase the aquarium's combo ticket if you want to tack this experience onto your visit.
... more

#5

#5 in Tampa

Free
Tampa is a city made for animal lovers willing to pay the price for cuddly, unique and cute. Science centers, zoos and aquariums that don't charge at least a little something for you to enter are few and far between. Which is why the Tampa Electric's Manatee Viewing Center is so special. Vacationers appreciate a little break in their itineraries to see manatees swimming through the Tampa Electric water plant, and they don't have to pay an arm and a leg for the privilege. In fact, you won't have to pay anything at all. At the Big Bend Power Station in Apollo Beach, manatees seek refuge in the power station's discharge panel, where clean, warm Tampa Bay saltwater flows. When the bay gets too chilly for the manatees, they retreat to this space for warmth. Keeping this in mind, it's best to visit the center from Nov. 1 to April 15, when you can actually spot the animals.
... more
Zoos and Aquariums Type
Less than 1 hour Time to Spend
Tampa Electric's Manatee Viewing Center
Tampa is a city made for animal lovers willing to pay the price for cuddly, unique and cute. Science centers, zoos and aquariums that don't charge at least a little something for you to enter are few and far between. Which is why the Tampa Electric's Manatee Viewing Center is so special. Vacationers appreciate a little break in their itineraries to see manatees swimming through the Tampa Electric water plant, and they don't have to pay an arm and a leg for the privilege. In fact, you won't have to pay anything at all. At the Big Bend Power Station in Apollo Beach, manatees seek refuge in the power station's discharge panel, where clean, warm Tampa Bay saltwater flows. When the bay gets too chilly for the manatees, they retreat to this space for warmth. Keeping this in mind, it's best to visit the center from Nov. 1 to April 15, when you can actually spot the animals.
... more

#6

#6 in Tampa

This northwest Tampa spot is more sanctuary than zoo; while here, you'll have the chance to learn all things concerning bobcats, tigers, cougars, lynx, snow leopards  even house cats. To give you a perspective on its size and scope, the complex sits on 67 acres, housing more than 100 animals from more than 14 different species. Recent visitors said this attraction definitely appeals to a niche audience, but those who love cats will be thrilled with what they learn from the friendly and informative guides here. If you're hoping to spot the animals when they're most active, sign up for a feeding or night tour; the cats are usually resting during the day.
... more
Zoos and Aquariums Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
Big Cat Rescue
This northwest Tampa spot is more sanctuary than zoo; while here, you'll have the chance to learn all things concerning bobcats, tigers, cougars, lynx, snow leopards  even house cats. To give you a perspective on its size and scope, the complex sits on 67 acres, housing more than 100 animals from more than 14 different species. Recent visitors said this attraction definitely appeals to a niche audience, but those who love cats will be thrilled with what they learn from the friendly and informative guides here. If you're hoping to spot the animals when they're most active, sign up for a feeding or night tour; the cats are usually resting during the day.
... more

#7

#7 in Tampa

Spanning 60 acres, Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo boasts natural habitats, educational shows and interactive animal encounters, water play areas, and a handful of rides. Here you'll find a variety of animals from around the world, including African elephants, koalas, orangutans, penguins, and tigers, among other species. Plus, for those that didn't spot any animals at Tampa Electric's Manatee Viewing Center, you're in luck; the zoo is home to Florida's only nonprofit acute care manatee hospital, which means it's one of a few places in Florida where you're guaranteed to spot the area's beloved sea cows no matter the season. 
... more
Zoos and Aquariums Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo
Spanning 60 acres, Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo boasts natural habitats, educational shows and interactive animal encounters, water play areas, and a handful of rides. Here you'll find a variety of animals from around the world, including African elephants, koalas, orangutans, penguins, and tigers, among other species. Plus, for those that didn't spot any animals at Tampa Electric's Manatee Viewing Center, you're in luck; the zoo is home to Florida's only nonprofit acute care manatee hospital, which means it's one of a few places in Florida where you're guaranteed to spot the area's beloved sea cows no matter the season. 
... more

#8

#8 in Tampa

Travelers like the setting of this museum and National Historic Landmark just as much as its contents. Housed in the Moorish Revival Tampa Bay Hotel on the University of Tampa campus, the Henry B. Plant Museum preserves a Gilded Age feel and affords visitors a glimpse into turn-of-the-century living and lodging. It also offers insight into the life and work of its creator, railroad magnate Henry Bradley Plant.
... more
Museums Type
1 to 2 hours Time to Spend
Henry B. Plant Museum
Travelers like the setting of this museum and National Historic Landmark just as much as its contents. Housed in the Moorish Revival Tampa Bay Hotel on the University of Tampa campus, the Henry B. Plant Museum preserves a Gilded Age feel and affords visitors a glimpse into turn-of-the-century living and lodging. It also offers insight into the life and work of its creator, railroad magnate Henry Bradley Plant.
... more
Powered by Viator

#9

#9 in Tampa

If you're in Tampa with young kids (12 and younger), consider a stop at the Glazer Children's Museum. Though Tampa isn't short on kid-friendly attractions, most of them are dependent on the weather, meaning you might want to have an indoor backup plan in case the clouds roll in.
... more
Museums Type
1 to 2 hours Time to Spend
Glazer Children’s Museum
If you're in Tampa with young kids (12 and younger), consider a stop at the Glazer Children's Museum. Though Tampa isn't short on kid-friendly attractions, most of them are dependent on the weather, meaning you might want to have an indoor backup plan in case the clouds roll in.
... more

#10

#10 in Tampa

If you're interested in learning more about Florida's first inhabitants, then a stop at the Smithsonian-affiliated Tampa Bay History Center should be on your itinerary. Spanning 60,000 square feet and ideally situated on Tampa's waterfront, the history center showcases 12,000 years of Florida's history through three floors of exhibits, educational films and interactive displays. Learn about Tampa's cigar industry and immigrant communities in Ybor City with the center's "Cigar City" exhibit, which features a model of a West Tampa cigar factory. Or, brush up on your knowledge of Florida's first European explorers with a look around the "European Exploration Story" exhibit. 
... more
Museums Type
1 to 2 hours Time to Spend
Tampa Bay History Center
If you're interested in learning more about Florida's first inhabitants, then a stop at the Smithsonian-affiliated Tampa Bay History Center should be on your itinerary. Spanning 60,000 square feet and ideally situated on Tampa's waterfront, the history center showcases 12,000 years of Florida's history through three floors of exhibits, educational films and interactive displays. Learn about Tampa's cigar industry and immigrant communities in Ybor City with the center's "Cigar City" exhibit, which features a model of a West Tampa cigar factory. Or, brush up on your knowledge of Florida's first European explorers with a look around the "European Exploration Story" exhibit. 
... more

#11

#11 in Tampa

Free
Pronounced ee-bore, this northeast enclave of Tampa was once a hotbed for coffee manufacturing and hand-rolled cigars  factory workers would roll millions of them annually. Now it’s a mash of old and new; the vibrating bars and pubs represent the modern city; the brick streets and historic streetcar serve as a tribute to the neighborhood's past. Recent visitors were divided on when to visit: some said the nighttime entertainment is the most interesting feature of Ybor City, while others recommended stopping by during the day for delicious, authentic Cuban food and an amazing selection of cigars. 
... more
Neighborhood/Area Type
1 to 2 hours Time to Spend
Ybor City
Pronounced ee-bore, this northeast enclave of Tampa was once a hotbed for coffee manufacturing and hand-rolled cigars  factory workers would roll millions of them annually. Now it’s a mash of old and new; the vibrating bars and pubs represent the modern city; the brick streets and historic streetcar serve as a tribute to the neighborhood's past. Recent visitors were divided on when to visit: some said the nighttime entertainment is the most interesting feature of Ybor City, while others recommended stopping by during the day for delicious, authentic Cuban food and an amazing selection of cigars. 
... more
Powered by Viator See more Tours & Tickets

Explore More of Tampa



Find the Best Price

Enter your check in and check out dates to find the best price

PriceFinder powered by TripAdvisor Primary Logo