Are you looking for a fun-filled vacation in Tampa? Tampa is a vibrant city that offers many fun activities for adults. Whether you’re a foodie, an art lover, or an adrenaline junkie, there’s something for everyone in Tampa.
This Florida city is a charming mix of history, culinary delights, life on the water, and unique and often quirky experiences. The 2.6-mile Tampa Riverwalk is the heart of the downtown area and an excellent base for sightseeing. It runs along the Hillsborough River, home to some fantastic fun things to do in Tampa for adults.
I’ve covered the 39 most fun things to do in Tampa for adults in Downtown Tampa and historic Ybor City followed by different activities you might enjoy. There are loads of fun things for adults to do in Tampa Florida.
Things to Book Before You Leave Home
Few things are more frustrating on vacation than missing out on that amazing hotel or tour because it is sold out or waiting in long lines. Here are our top things to book before your vacation.
🏴☠️ Most Popular Tours and Tickets in Tampa:
1. Tampa Bay CityPASS – top value
2. Skip The Line Tickets for the Florida Aquarium
3. Dolphin Sightseeing Tour – the most popular Tampa tour
4. Busch Garden Tickets – minimize time spent in lines and maximize time on roller coasters!
🛏️Where to Stay in Tampa:
1. Hotel Haya – Ybor City -super stylish boutique hotel in historic Ybor City
2. JW Marriott Water Street – if you need to stay downtown
39 Fun things to do in Tampa for Adults
Table of Contents
- 39 Fun things to do in Tampa for Adults
- Downtown Tampa
- 1. Tampa Riverwalk
- 2. Tampa Theatre
- 3. Tampa Museum of Art
- 4. Sparkman Wharf
- 5. Tampa Police Museum
- 6. American Victory Ship and Museum
- 7. Teco Streetcar
- 8. Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park
- Ybor City
- 9. Ybor Walking Tour
- 10. Learn about Cigars in Ybor
- 11. Enjoy the Street Art
- 12. Sip a local Craft Beer
- 13. Visit the Tabernacle of Oddities
- 14. Take a Dysfunctional Grace Taxidermy Classes
- 15. Learn to Knit at Pop Yarn Knitting Lessons
- 16. Prana Nightclub
- 17. Castle Nightclub
- Wildlife Encounters
- 18. Florida Aquarium
- 19. ZooTampa at Lowry Park
- Culinary Experiences
- 20. Take a Craft Beer Tour
- 21. Enjoy a Cuban Sandwich Tasting
- 22. Have a night out on a Tampa Bar Crawl Tour
- 23. Taste Tampa on a Food Tour
- 24. Eat at Tampa’s oldest restaurant
- 25. Make Chocolate Truffles
- 26. Visit Tampa’s Top Gin Joint
- Tampa Bay Water-Based Activities for Adults
- 27. Enjoy a Sunset Cruise
- 28. Go Stand Up Paddleboarding
- 29. Take a Dolphin Cruise
- 30. Go to a Tiki Bar on the Water
- 31. Take a Speedboat Tour
- More Fun Activities for Adults in Tampa
- 32. Busch Gardens
- 33. Go Shopping at Hyde Park Village
- 34. Make Your Own Candle
- 35. Height’s Public Market
- 36. Check out What’s On at Amalie Arena
- 37. Henry Plant Museum
- 38. Drink Champagne at Oxford Exchange
- 39. Take a Scary Tour
- More Good Places to Eat in Tampa
- Casa Santo Stefano – Ybor City
- Psomi – West Tampa
- Timpano – Hyde Park Village
- Boutique Hotels in Tampa
- Hotel Haya – Ybor City
- JW Marriott Water Street
If you’re looking for a fun and vibrant area to explore in Tampa, Downtown Tampa is the place to go. With a variety of attractions, restaurants, and shops, there’s something for everyone.
1. Tampa Riverwalk
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.
The Tampa Riverwalk is open 24/7 and free of charge. It’s a great place to start exploring Tampa as it is home to many of the activities in this article.
2. Tampa Theatre
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
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 is an outdoor space along the Tampa Riverwalk with various food and drink vendors. Check out the Lighthaus Beer Garden.
5. Tampa Police Museum
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
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
One of the most fun ways to get around Downtown Tampa is the charming Teco 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 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.
NB: Some more things to enjoy in downtown Tampa are listed in sections further down this article.
If you’re an adult looking for a fun and unique experience in Tampa, Ybor City is the perfect place for you. This historic neighborhood is known for its vibrant nightlife, delicious food, and rich cultural heritage. I stayed in Ybor City when I visited Tampa and highly recommend it.
The best way to start a trip to Ybor City is with a walking tour. In the late 1800s, Ybor City became the cigar capital of the world. Founded by Vicente Martinez-Ybor, the city was almost entirely owned and populated by immigrants. The city flourished until the combination of the Great Depression and World War II led to it being abandoned. Rejuvenation of the area began in the early 2000s.
Whilst there are lots of plaques etc around the city, it really takes a tour guide to bring the stories of this neighborhood to life. Find out why chickens are protected in Ybor and wander the streets. Hear about Jose Marti and see the square in his honor. Learn about the social clubs that were the heart of the neighborhood, some of which are still in operation.
10. Learn about Cigars in Ybor
As you walk along 7th Avenue in Ybor City, the area’s cigar-making history quickly comes to life. You can watch the cigar makers at work, sample different blends, and even learn how to roll your own cigar. And if you are so inclined, you can enjoy a cigar in many seated areas inside and outside.
11. Enjoy the Street Art
Ybor City is home to several public art installations, including murals, sculptures, and mosaics. You can take a self-guided tour of the art, or join a guided tour to learn more about the artists and their works. Some of the highlights include the “Ybor City Centennial Mural” on 15th Street, the “Ybor City Gateway” sculpture at the entrance to the neighborhood, and the “Ybor City Heritage Trail” mosaic on 8th Avenue.
12. Sip a local Craft Beer
For beer lovers, TBBC Brewery is a must-visit. This local brewery has a wide selection of craft beers, from IPAs to stouts to sours. You can sample a flight of beers or enjoy a pint in the taproom.
13. Visit the Tabernacle of Oddities
For something a little more unusual, visit the Tabernacle of Oddities. This quirky shop is filled with oddities and curiosities from around the world. You’ll find taxidermy animals, vintage medical equipment, and even shrunken heads. They offer both live and dead entertainment!
14. Take a Dysfunctional Grace Taxidermy Classes
Dysfunctional Grace describes itself as a store where “death and dysfunction dance in a graceful ballet”. Quite the statement! It is essentially a contemporary art gallery with works by local and national artists. And if you’re interested it also offers taxidermy classes.
15. Learn to Knit at Pop Yarn Knitting Lessons
For something quite different in tone, check out Pop Yarn in Ybor City. This cozy knitting shop offers classes for all skill levels, from beginners to advanced knitters. You can learn how to knit a scarf, a hat, or a sweater.
16. Prana Nightclub
If you’re in the mood for dancing, check out Prana Nightclub. This multi-level club has something for everyone, from hip-hop to EDM to Latin music. The atmosphere is lively and energetic, and the drinks are reasonably priced. Plus, there are plenty of VIP areas if you want to splurge.
17. Castle Nightclub
If you want a unique nightlife experience, check out Castle Nightclub. This gothic-themed club has a dark and mysterious atmosphere, with a dance floor, a lounge area, and even a dungeon. I was told it best suits adventurous souls……
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!
Don’t miss the Wetlands, home to many local birds and a great place to get up-close wildlife photo opportunities.
ZooTampa at Lowry Park is home to over 1,300 animals worldwide, including elephants, giraffes, and tigers. The zoo offers a variety of animal encounters, including a rhino feeding and a penguin encounter. I most enjoyed seeing the manatees at Zoo Tampa. This was the closest I could get to these gentle giants on my trip to Florida and I managed to get some decent photos.
If you’re planning on visiting both the Florida Aquarium and Zoo Tampa. check out the ZooQuarium Pass for great value.
Tampa Bay is a foodie’s paradise, offering diverse dining options that cater to all tastes and preferences. Here are some of the best culinary things to do in Tampa Bay.
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.
21. Enjoy a Cuban Sandwich Tasting
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. Or why not take a Cuban Sandwich Tasting Tour?
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?
A Tampa culinary tour is a great way to explore the city’s diverse food scene and Ybor City has some of the most interesting and unique things to eat in Tampa. Combine learning about Ybor City with six food and drink tastings.
24. Eat at Tampa’s oldest restaurant
The Columbia Restaurant is a Tampa institution known for its delicious Spanish and Cuban cuisine. The restaurant has been serving customers since 1905 and is the oldest restaurant in Florida. Some of the must-try dishes at the Columbia Restaurant include the 1905 Salad, the Paella, and the Cuban Sandwich.
The original restaurant is in Ybor City (don’t miss its beautiful mosaics). There are also locations on the Tampa Riverwalk at the Tampa Bay History Center and at Tampa Airport.
25. Make Chocolate Truffles
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.
26. Visit Tampa’s Top Gin Joint
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.
Tampa Bay Water-Based Activities for Adults
27. Enjoy a Sunset Cruise
One of the best ways to experience Tampa’s waters is on a sunset cruise. You’ll get to enjoy stunning views of the city skyline and the sun setting over the water. Several companies offer sunset cruises, including Yacht Star.
28. Go Stand Up Paddleboarding
For a more active Tampa experience, try stand-up paddleboarding. I tried SUP for the first time on my visit to Tampa Bay. I was a little nervous at first, but my awesome instructor from Urban Kai really helped me to feel safe. I managed to stand up completely. I wouldn’t say it was relaxing but I didn’t fall in! Next time I am sure I will be able to appreciate the experience a bit more!
See dolphins and other marine wildlife on a guided, 90-minute cruise along the bustling waters of Tampa Bay. you could see dolphins, manatees and other local marine wildlife.
I love having a glass of wine on a boat. But even better is having a drink at a Tiki bar on a boat! This Tiki Boat Cruise is BYOB snacks and drinks and they provide the floating Tiki Bar that you can enjoy for 90 minutes along the Hillsborough River. There’s even a Bluetooth speaker so you can bring your own music.
31. Take a Speedboat Tour
Bay Rocket is a speedboat tour that takes you on a thrilling ride through the waters of Tampa Bay. 2800 horsepower with 180-degree spins, turns and dips, you’ll get a genuine adrenaline rush when on board. Friday and Saturday night evening tours are offered.
You might enjoy reading my article on the best beaches in nearby St Petersburg (a short drive from Tampa).
More Fun Activities for Adults in Tampa
Busch Gardens is one of the largest theme parks in the United States and it also has a zoo, shows, animal encounters and really everything. Busch Gardens also hosted a food and wine fair when I visited.
Whilst it is famous for its roller coasters, Busch Gardens offers so much more for adults. Have a close-up giraffe experience, sip cocktails, take a VIP tour or enjoy the flamingos.
33. Go Shopping at Hyde Park Village
Hyde Park Village is a shopping and dining destination in Tampa that offers a mix of local and national retailers. But it is more a neighborhood than a shopping mall with its walkable, tree-lined streets and open-air shopping.
34. Make Your Own Candle
The Candle Pour is located at Hyde Park Village and offers you the opportunity to make your own scented candle. I chose several of my favorite scents and then worked with the candle expert person to refine my scent and mix it with wax. A few hours later I popped back in and picked up my lovely candle which I of course called Tampa.
35. Height’s Public Market
Height’s Public Market is housed in a former trolley barn and is now home to over a dozen local restaurants. It offers al fresco dining by the Hillsborough River or inside, lawn games and cooking classes at Show and Tell.
36. Check out What’s On at Amalie Arena
Amalie Arena is a sports and entertainment venue in Tampa that hosts around 150 events throughout the year. Whether you’re a hockey, basketball, or concerts fan, there’s always something happening at Amalie Arena.
37. Henry Plant Museum
The Henry Plant Museum is a historic hotel converted into a museum. It offers a glimpse into the history of Tampa and the Gilded Age, with exhibits on the hotel’s architecture, the railroad industry, and more. The spectacular building that houses the museum is a Florida landmark.
38. Drink Champagne at Oxford Exchange
Oxford Exchange is a bookstore, cafe, and gift shop in Tampa that offers a unique atmosphere and a variety of events. The food is fantastic and there is both indoor and outdoor seating (the indoor seating is an inner atrium).
But best of all it has a lovely Champagne Bar. Enjoy an evening here or have some pre-dinner bubbles.
39. Take a Scary Tour
If you like getting scared, Tampa has the spooky tour for you! The Tampa Terrors Walking Ghost Tour mixes up history with spooky tales from the past. It takes place after dinner for maximum atmosphere.
Or take things a bit further with an interactive paranormal ghost tour. The Ghost Hunters Paranormal Tour takes you through Ybor City where you’ll visit mobster hangouts, basement morgues and more. And you can also add in dinner at a haunted restaurant before the tour.
More Good Places to Eat in Tampa
Casa Santo Stefano – Ybor City
I have enjoyed some of the best food I have ever eaten on my two trips to Sicily so I was excited to head to Casa Santo Stefano in Ybor City. The restaurant has the same owners as Tampa’s famous Columbia restaurant.
Santo Stefano is known for its octopus, which was served grilled with carrots and yellow tomatoes and is delicious. Their Italian sausage is served with chargrilled lemon and is a must-order. For main I enjoyed their homemade ink squid pasta with more octopus, olives, sweet peppers, and many perfectly ripe tomatoes. And speaking of tomatoes don’t miss Casa Santo Stefano’s amazing tomato bread.
Psomi – West Tampa
A Michelin bib gourmand restaurant, this Greek restaurant is famed for its in-house bakery and outstanding brunch menu. The light, bright restaurant has indoor and outdoor seating (the outdoor seating has a prime view of the bakery).
I went to Psomi for brunch; the menu is a American/Greek fusion. It was tough to decide on what to order with everything from Greek doughnuts to bougatsa french toast on the menu. I finally went with the bagle special of avocado, cucumber, tomato, shaved red onion, sprouts and whipped cream cheese.
Grab some sweet Greek breads from the bakery on the way out for dessert later in the day.
Timpano – Hyde Park Village
Another Michelin bib gourmand choice, this relaxed and stylish Italian neighborhood restaurant is one of the most popular in Hyde Park Village. I went for lunch and enjoyed iceberg lettuce with marinated white beans, crispy prosciutto, gorgonzola, roasted garlic and tomato dressing and the decadent parmesan truffle tots.
Timpano is also known for its cocktails, and I can imagine its tropical design with loads of greenery creates a great atmosphere.
Boutique Hotels in Tampa
🌟Rating: 8.9/10 I 📍Location: Ybor City I 🏩View on Booking.com
This is where you need to stay when you visit Tampa Bay. Located in Ybor City, Hotel Haya is a chic and modern hotel that pays homage to the area’s Cuban and Spanish roots. The hotel features 178 guest rooms and suites, each with a unique design that blends contemporary style with traditional elements.
The large open lobby feels like Soho House meets a bustling European train station. There is a respected fancy restaurant Flor Fina, a cool bar, a general seating area, and the fab Cafe Quiquiroqui which serves outstanding coffee.
The pool is located on the ground floor of the hotel and it has a clean and stylish design with some comfortable poolside loungers. There was a fitness center but I must be honest, I didn’t even look at it.
The rooms are a good size and the fixtures and fittings are high-end. In addition to a very comfortable bed, my room contained a mustard yellow chaise lounge perfect for getting some work done (the room also had a desk but I prefer plush seating if possible).
The bathroom is simple, with black edgings on the tiles and a large walk-in shower. The toiletries are from the lovely brand Alchemist.
The staff were all extremely friendly – from the front desk to the cafe to the valet. And its location means it is perfect for grown-up evenings out in Ybor City.
🌟Rating: 9/10 I 📍Location: Downtown Tampa I 🏩View on Booking.com
As mentioned above, you should absolutely stay at Hotel Haya in Tampa. However, if for some reason you have to stay downtown rather than in Ybor City check out the JW Marriott Water Street. It is huge – 727 rooms – with a sleek and modern design.
The key reasons to stay at the JW Marriott Water Street are its brilliant location on the Tampa Riverwalk and the lovely Anchor and Brine restaurant on the Hillsborough River’s edge.
The lovely Tampa Bay tourism board covered all of my accommodation, activity and food costs whilst I was in Tampa Bay – thanks guys! I covered the costs of my flights. However, as always my opinions are my own. Also, this article contains affiliate links. That means if you click on some of the links and end up making a purchase I may receive a small commission.