Tampa Travel Guide

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Free Things To Do in Tampa

If you have extra time, Tampa Electric's Manatee Viewing Center is worthwhile.
  • #1
    Things to do in Tampa
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    #1 in Tampa
    1.4 miles to city center
    Parks and Gardens, Recreation, Free
    TYPE
    Less than 1 hour
    TIME TO SPEND
    1.4 miles to city center
    Parks and Gardens, Recreation, Free
    TYPE
    Less than 1 hour
    TIME TO SPEND

    The Riverwalk is a 2.6-mile-long trail which runs along the Hillsborough River in Tampa. Visitors can walk, bike, rollerblade, enjoy public art and access any number of restaurants, stores, parks and playgrounds, bike rental shops and attractions, such as the Florida Aquarium and the Glazer Children's Museum, along the route.

    Recent visitors were impressed by how well-maintained and clean the park is and noted that it's an ideal place to catch the sunset. You can access the Riverwalk from any number of places along the river. Visit the Friends of the Riverwalk website for more information and maps.

  • #2
    Armature Works
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    #2 in Tampa
    2.3 miles to city center
    Entertainment and Nightlife, Shopping, Free
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND
    2.3 miles to city center
    Entertainment and Nightlife, Shopping, Free
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND

    The Armature Works Heights Public Market – a 22,000-square-foot industrial market – is Tampa's latest go-to spot for foodies and architecture fans. The 1910 building was formerly the storage and maintenance facility for Tampa Electric's streetcars, contributing to the urban feel it embodies today.

    Recent visitors loved the variety of dining options and the space itself. In addition to all the eateries, there is retail shops and a rooftop bar as well as a "Show + Tell" workshop, which is used for everything from cooking classes to wine tastings. There are plenty of activities outside too, including concerts and movies nights. Since the property is right on the Riverwalk, it is easily accessible. It's open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday, until 11 p.m. Friday and from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Saturday. It welcomes visitors from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday. Entrance is free. Parking is free during the visit and costs $5 on the weekends. Visit the market's website for more information.

  • #8
    Tampa Electric's Manatee Viewing Center
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    #8 in Tampa
    10.2 miles to city center
    Zoos and Aquariums, Free
    TYPE
    Less than 1 hour
    TIME TO SPEND
    10.2 miles to city center
    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 little something for you to enter are few and far between. Which is why 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.

    When your eyes aren't on the water, turn your attention to the center's other attractions, including a mangrove exhibit, a butterfly garden and a gift shop. You can also get a bird's-eye view of the area by climbing up the stairs to the 50-foot viewing tower, located halfway down the Manatee Viewing Center's habitat loop trail.

  • #14
    Ybor City
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    #14 in Tampa
    2 miles to city center
    Free, Neighborhood/Area
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND
    2 miles to city center
    Free, Neighborhood/Area
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND

    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 lively 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. 

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