Tampa Travel Guide

USA  #10 in Best Cheap Summer Vacations
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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

Updated September 22, 2017

  • #1
    Busch Gardens
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    #1 in Tampa
    Amusement Parks
    TYPE
    Half Day to Full Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Amusement Parks
    TYPE
    Half Day to Full Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    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,

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  • #2
    Tampa Theatre
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    #2 in Tampa
    Entertainment and Nightlife, Monuments and Memorials, Tours
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND
    Entertainment and Nightlife, Monuments and Memorials, Tours
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND

    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

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  • #3
    Florida Aquarium
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    #3 in Tampa
    Zoos and Aquariums
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Zoos and Aquariums
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    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

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  • #4
    Boat Tours
    View all Photos
    #4 in Tampa
    Recreation, Sightseeing, Tours
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Recreation, Sightseeing, Tours
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    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 theFlorida Aquarium, consider penciling in some time for its Wild Dolphin Cruise. The tour, which

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  • #5
    Tampa Electric's Manatee Viewing Center
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    #5 in Tampa
    Zoos and Aquariums, Free
    TYPE
    Less than 1 hour
    TIME TO SPEND
    Zoos and Aquariums, Free
    TYPE
    Less than 1 hour
    TIME TO SPEND

    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 littlesomethingfor you to enter are few and far between. Which is why the Tampa Electric's Manatee Viewing Center is so special.Vacationers

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  • #6
    Big Cat Rescue
    View all Photos
    #6 in Tampa
    Zoos and Aquariums
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Zoos and Aquariums
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    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

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  • #7
    ZooTampa at Lowry Park
    View all Photos
    #7 in Tampa
    Zoos and Aquariums
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Zoos and Aquariums
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    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

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  • #8
    Henry B. Plant Museum
    View all Photos
    #8 in Tampa
    Museums
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND
    Museums
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND

    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

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  • #9
    Glazer Children’s Museum
    View all Photos
    #9 in Tampa
    Museums
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND
    Museums
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND

    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.

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  • #10
    Tampa Bay History Center
    View all Photos
    #10 in Tampa
    Museums
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND
    Museums
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND

    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

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  • #11
    Ybor City
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    #11 in Tampa
    Free, Neighborhood/Area
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND
    Free, Neighborhood/Area
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND

    Pronouncedee-bore, this northeast enclave of Tampa was once a hotbed forcoffee 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

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Explore More of Tampa

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