Best Things to Do in Tampa (Complete Guide)

Whether you’re looking for the traditional sight seeing or secret spots off the beaten path, you can find tons of things to do in Tampa Bay.

We’ve broken the attractions and activities into sections to make it easily searchable no matter what you’re looking for.

Check it out below:

Big Attractions

Busch Gardens

This theme park in East Tampa is an African jungle-themed amusement park. You can ride roller coasters like Cheetah Hunt, Falcon’s Fury & Kumba. There are large roller coasters and rides. You can also visit animals on the open-air safari.

If you like giraffes, you can get up close & personal with them!

Adventure Island

This is the Tampa Water Park across the street from Busch Gardens. You can enjoy a wide-variety of water slides, from single person-slides to group tube slides. There are also kid-friendly water areas, lazy rivers and pools.

The Florida Aquarium

In addition to Florida’s natural ecosystems, you can explore environments from around the world! There are tons of sea life to enjoy – over 9,000 creatures to be exact!

You can swim with sharks, explore stingray pools,

> Dolphin Tours

The Aquarium offers dolphin tours on their 70 ft. Catamaran. If you’re into boat tours, this is a must-do activity for you! You board the boat at the Aquarium splash pad, with boarding beginning 10 minutes prior to departure time.

> Grab a Bite to Eat After:

After you visit the Aquarium, stop by Sparkman’s Wharf for a bite to eat or something to drink. There’s a beautiful view of the bay and tons of choices to grab a bite.

Tampa Zoo @ Lowry Park

If you’re wondering what kind of animals you can see at the zoo, you can explore the specific animals online. Native Florida animals live in the zoo, as well as other species frmo aroudn the world.

The zoo features, “endangered, threatened and vulnerable species from Florida-like climates” and stresses the importance of Wildlife Areas. This gives animals an environment similar to their natural habitats.

Where to Eat in Tampa

The Attic

This hidden gem cafe & bar in downtown Tampa is a must. Enjoy beautiful views of downtown while you sip on coffee or craft beers (depending on the time of day you visit).

Breakfast is also served all day with yummy choices!

** Not open on Sundays and only open on Saturday till 2 pm.

The Joinery Food Hall

While it’s 40 minutes from Tampa, this food hall in Lakeland, FL offers a bunch of different options for food. Choose from pizza, sushi, taco, artisan ice cream, ramen, Mediterranean bowls, burger and a full bar!

The Joinery is open daily Monday – Thursday, 11 am-9 pm; Friday & Saturday, 11 am-10 pm; Sunday, 11 am-8 pm.

Datz & Dough

These are 2 separate spots. One is a restaurant and the other is a bakery & sweet shop – you can’t miss either! Datz has the most delicious food we’ve ever had…monkey bread, burger with mac & cheese patty and so many other things to try. Dough has homemade cookies, donuts, ice cream, and every other sweet you can imagine!

** Dough won best donuts in Tampa, so it’s a great place to stop for breakfast (& Datz has amazing brunch)!

Their unique spin on food is definitely something you can’t miss! There are locations in Tampa, St. Pete & Riverview so you can stop in no matter where you are…

Local Things to Do

Eat & Drink at Armature Works: Heights Public Market

If you’ve got multiple people adventuring with you, Armature Works is the perfect place to stop for a bite to eat, a drink or both! There’s 15+ restaurants, bars & a cute lil shop at Heights Public Market (the food hall inside Armature Works). Local vendors include:

  • AVA Wood-fired Pizza (Our personal fav)
  • Ichicoro Imoto Ramen
  • BnB (Butcher & BBQ)
  • SOHO Juice Co.
  • Kipos Mediterranean Fare
  • Zukku Sushi
  • Astro Ice Cream Co.
  • Cru Cellars Wine Bar & Kitchen
  • Dixie Dharma Plant-based Foods
  • Kuba Cuban Cuisine
  • Empamamas Empanadas
  • Pane Rustica Due Sandwiches

This local hangout is located on the river, so you can enjoy water views on their large outdoor patio or lounge chairs. Enjoy playing yard games while you wait for food. You can even bring your dogs!

There’s also an outdoor bar & small patio where you can enjoy the views, weather and unique drinks. Each spot within Armature Works features different foods, so you can be sure everyone will find something they love.

It’s located on the top of The Riverwalk, so it’s perfect for a walk…

Walk the Tampa Riverwalk

If you like exploring new cities while walking around, the Tampa Riverwalk is the perfect place! It’s a long, wide sidewalk on (& over) the river in the middle of downtown Tampa. There are shops, restaurants, bars & even shows along the path.

Places to Stop on the Riverwalk:

  • Armature Works
  • The bench swings along the river
  • American Social (great happy hour & views!)
  • Tampa Museum of Art
  • The Sail Bar (cute outdoor seating)
  • Sparkman’s Wharf – filled with tons of local restaurants & a bier garden

Check out the events along the Riverwalk to see what’s happening! Each year at the beginning of April, end of May, the city holds their annual Riverfest, so be sure to stop by if you’re visting then.

If you don’t like walking, there’s another option…

Ride the Pirate Water Taxi

This hop-on-hop-off boat taxi travels to 13 different stops along the river. At each stop, there are multiple attractions and restaurants to explore.

You can buy day passes, 2-day passes and week passes depending on how long you’ll be riding. It’s a unique way to see Tampa from the water. Plus, you’ll save your feet!

Walk the World’s Longest Sidewalk: Bayshore Boulevard

This 4.5 mile long sidewalk trail offers beautiful water views. The entire path runs along the bay!

Check out our complete guide to Bayshore Boulevard for local tips & things to do.

Weedon Island Preserve

Go kayaking at this 3,000+ acre preserve where you can explore nature Florida has to offer. You can also explore the boardwalk and nature outlook, guided tours, nature hikes and other trails to explore. You can find more info online.

Tampa Parks to Visit

Ballast Point Park

This is a smaller park in South Tampa near the bay. There are nice sitting areas and a water splash area to cool off in.

There’s also a small pier that you can walk out on to watch the sunset. There’s also the Taste of Boston restaurant offers a place for you to grab a bite to eat.

USF Botanical Gardens

These gardens cover 15 acres at the University of South Florida campus. Half is developed gardens and the other half is natural areas where the local foliage is growing. It’s open Monday to Saturday 9 am to 3 pm and closed on Sundays.

If you visit Tampa in October, the Botanical Gardens host an annual Fall Plant Festival.

Phillipe Park

This park in Safety Harbor is actually located over the Clearwater bridge. With 122 acres, this is a larger park in Tampa Bay. Features a playground, rock climbing park and other fun things to do.

There are great views of the bay and paths along the water for you enjoy views as you walk. You can find additional information online.

Cypress Point Park

This is a bayfront park where you can enjoy the waterfront views.

There are hiking trails, a boardwalk, dunes, shelters for a picnic and dock for canoes and kayaks. They are not rental services here, but you can bring your own or dock here.

Lettuce Lake Park

Walk along the boardwalk or plan a picnic with the BBQs along the trail. There are canoe rentals, biking & hiking trails, playground, restrooms & paved trails to make walking easier.

Museums in Tampa

Museum of Science & Industry

This Tampa museum features a variety of exhibits about science and technology. You can explore space, dinosaurs, a planetarium, Sky Trail Ropes Course and other fun things to do.

Henry B. Plant Museum

The Henry B. Plant Museum is located in downtown Tampa, facing the riverfront. Currently, it is home to a univerty.

It was originally the Tampa Bay Hotel in 1891 that represented the opulent elegance of railroad travel. While it highlights the past lifestyles in Tampa, there are actual features from the past that allow you to feel exactly what it was like back then.

Tampa Museum of Art

If you like art, you don’t want to miss this artsy attraction in Tampa. There are a variety events and exhibits, including ancient glass, Frank STella, Modern Women, White Gold ad Kiss and the Classical World.

From 4 to 8 pm, the Tampa Museum of Art you pay what you’d like with their “pay-as-you-will” policy.

The Florida Museum of Photographic Arts

For the photo-loving followers, the Florida Museum of Photographic Arts allows you to explore photography from the past and present. Their gallery features a variety of rotating and permanent displays, so you can always see something new when you visit.

Glazer Children’s Museum

If you have children, be sure to check out the children’s museum. Glazer Children’s Museum features tons of fun things to do to keep them interested in learning and engaged in exploration. It is an interactive laboratory where you can get hands on with each exhibit.

Things to Do NEAR Tampa

If you’re willing to drive a little further out of the city, there are tons of fun things to do nearby.

We will start with the obvious….

St. Pete:

This is our favorite area – by far!

You can explore downtown St. Pete or soak up the sun at St. Pete Beach. The new pier in St. Pete is also a great place to visit! It has been newly renovated with 3 restaurants, a giant playground, beach, water play area, museum & a small market area for local makers.

Be sure to check out our complete guide to St. Pete to find the best things to do there!

Clearwater Area:

We’ve included a few of our favorites here, but you can also find a entire guide to fun things to do in Clearwater!

Shell Key Kayaking

This is one of our favorite activities in Tampa Bay. Kayak around Shell Key, an island with clear waters & private beaches. You’ll get to kayak through mangroves and explore the shore.

Clearwater Beach

If you’re visiting from out of town, this is a great beach. There’s more than enough parking (which isn’t true for all beaches here). Once you come over the Clearwater bridge, there’s a parking garage to your right that is a block from the water.

You can also enjoy the boardwalk and restaurants surrounding the beach.


If you didn’t know how close Orlando is to Tampa, now you do! It’s less than 1.5 hours drive depending on where you’re headed in Orlando.

It’s a great day trip from Tampa if you’re visiting from out of town. You could even go visit a Disney theme park for the day! You can visit Disney parks, water parks, Universal Studios…the list goes on and on.

Florida Cactus Inc.

Into plants? Visit the indoor foliage capital of the world! This is located in the Orlando metro, so be sure to stop by if you head to Orlando for the day!

Prices are extremely affordable, the selection will blow your mind and the people are the sweetest. They’re only open Monday to Friday, 7 am to 4 pm, so keep that in mind when making plans.

There are tons of fun things to do in Tampa Bay, so be sure to check out at least a few of the items on this list!

If you find other activities you love, drop them in the comments for us to add. Then others can enjoy them too!

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