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11 Fantastic Things to do in Downtown Tampa

Nestled along the shimmering banks of the Hillsborough River, Downtown Tampa beckons visitors with its unique blend of history, modernity, and vibrant Floridian spirit. As the urban heart of the Gulf Coast’s hidden gem, Downtown Tampa offers an eclectic array of activities, from world-class museums and theaters to scenic parks and gastronomic delights.

Whether you’re an art enthusiast eager to explore the artistic expressions of the city, a foodie searching for the next best eatery, or simply looking for a waterside stroll beneath swaying palm trees, there are plenty of things to do in downtown Tampa you’ll love.

1. Tampa Riverwalk

tampa water taxi
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One of the most popular attractions in Downtown Tampa is the Tampa Riverwalk. This scenic walkway stretches along the Hillsborough River and offers stunning views of the city skyline. You can take a stroll, bike ride, or even rent a water bike to explore the river.

2. Tampa Theatre

Tampa Theatre
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If you enjoy classic movies and historic architecture, don’t miss the Tampa Theatre. This beautifully restored 1920s movie palace is on the National Register of Historic Places and features a variety of films, concerts, and other events throughout the year.

3. Tampa Museum of Art

tampa museum of art exterior
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Art lovers won’t want to miss the Tampa Museum of Art. This modern museum features a collection of contemporary and classical art, rotating exhibits and special events. The museum itself is quite spectacular. Designed by Stanley Saitowitz, its modern design has won many awards.

4. Sparkman Wharf

sparkman wharf
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Sparkman Wharf is an outdoor space along the Tampa Riverwalk with various food and drink vendors. Check out the Lighthaus Beer Garden.

5. Tampa Police Museum

tampa police museum
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If you’re interested in law enforcement history, don’t miss the Tampa Police Museum. This small museum features exhibits and artifacts that tell the story of the Tampa Police Department and its role in the community. Do take the time to visit the moving memorial to Tampa’s fallen officers.

6. American Victory Ship and Museum

SS victory
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The American Victory Ship is one of only four operation World War Two merchant ships in the United States. The ship was built in an impressive 55 days in 1945 and served in World War Two, Korea and Vietnam. It is now a museum and features exhibits and artifacts that tell the story of the ship and its crew.

7. Teco Streetcar

inside the tampa tram
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One of the most fun ways to get around Downtown Tampa is the charming Teco Streetcar. This historic streetcar. This historic streetcar system runs along a 2.7-mile route and stops at popular attractions like Ybor City and the Tampa Convention Center. And it’s free!

8. Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park

curtis hixon park
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Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park is a lovely park in Downtown Tampa’s heart. This park offers a variety of activities for visitors of all ages. Stroll along the Tampa Riverwalk, play a game of frisbee on the lawn, or relax in the shade of one of the many trees. The park also features a splash pad for the kids to cool off on hot days.

9. Florida Aquarium

florida aquarium
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The Florida Aquarium is home to over 7,000 aquatic animals, including sharks, stingrays, and sea turtles. You can get up close and personal with these creatures through various experiences.

Seatrek allows visitors to get up close and personal with the aquarium’s inhabitants in full scuba gear for 20 minutes. This guided underwater walking tour is a truly unique experience. Or have a 45-minute behind-the-scenes Penguin Encounter experience. If the penguins like you, contact with feathers may be possible!

10. Take a Craft Beer Tour

TBBC brewery
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Tampa is home to some of the best breweries in the country, and a craft beer tour is a must-do activity for any beer enthusiast. There are over 100 craft breweries to choose from in Tampa so a tour is a great way to sample a few.

11. Enjoy a Cuban Sandwich Tasting

bodega roast pork sandwich
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No trip to Tampa is complete without trying a Cuban sandwich. The city is known for its delicious Cuban sandwiches, made with ham, roasted pork, Swiss cheese, pickles, and mustard on Cuban bread. Some of the best places to try a Cuban sandwich include the famous Columbia Restaurant, Floridian Cuban Sandwiches, and La Segunda Central Bakery.

12. Have a night out on a Tampa Bar Crawl Tour

glass of wine on tampa riverwalk
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A Tampa bar crawl tour is a great way to explore the city’s nightlife if you’re looking for a fun night out. And why not go for a bar crawl in a golf cart for an extra fun night out?

13. Make Chocolate Truffles

Peterbrooke chocolate
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If you have a sweet tooth, a chocolate-making class at Peterbrooke Chocolatier is a must-do activity. You’ll learn about the chocolate-making process and get to make your own chocolate creations. Peterbrooke Chocolatier offers a range of classes, including truffle-making and chocolate-dipping classes.

14. Visit Tampa’s Top Gin Joint

The Gin Joint
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CW Gin Joint is a speakeasy-style bar that serves craft cocktails and small plates. But best of all it serves gin flights. Choose four different gins from its Gin Matrix. The Gin Matrix plots gin brand based on juniper, savory, floral and citrus flavors.

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