Tampa Bay History Center

#13 in Best Things To Do in Tampa
Tampa Bay History Center picture
Keir Magoulas/Visit Tampa Bay

Key Info

801 Old Water St.

Details

Museums Type
1 to 2 hours Time to Spend
3.4

scorecard

  • 3.5Value
  • 4.0Facilities
  • 4.0Atmosphere

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. 

Many recent visitors reported being pleasantly surprised at the interactive, informative features at the history center, including the short films that accompany many of the exhibits. Travelers also said the center does a good job appealing to younger visitors thanks to its kid-friendly displays and welcoming personnel. Reviewers were also complimentary of the on-site eatery, Columbia Cafe, which serves Spanish-and Cuban-inspired dishes.

The center is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Admission for adults costs $14.95; seniors and college students get in for $12.95; and children ages 7 to 17 can enter for $10.95. The history center is located just southeast of downtown Tampa. If you arrive by your own set of wheels, you can valet park your car for $10. You can also get here by bus (take the No. 8 route to Channelside Drive and Jefferson Street) and by streetcar (the center is situated between station No. 8 and 9). For more information, visit the center's official website.

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Type
Time to Spend
#1 Tampa Riverwalk

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.

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