By Daniela Ortega, Contributing Reporter
MIAMI BEACH, FLORIDA – Tampa is one of Florida’s major cities with just over 385,000 residents. At a mere four-hour drive, or one-hour flight away from Miami, the city has plenty of attractions, interesting sites and locations for everyone in the family.
The first thing that stands out is the family theme parks that have come close to rival the Orlando scene. Busch Gardens Tampa Bay was chosen the best theme park in the world in 2016, and it has only getting bigger and better with time. The park is a Humane Certified zoo with over 200 animal species, combined with thrilling rides, such as “Tigris,” Florida’s tallest coaster.
Ashley Gallant, PR & Communications Manager for the park commented, “This year Busch Gardens celebrates its 60th anniversary by offering guests two free beer samples in the #YearofBeer. We also offer events year round including fun, family-friendly Sesame Street Kids’ Weekends, Howl-O-Scream, kicking off to celebrate dates such as Halloween, Thanksgiving, and from November 16th is Christmas Town, which includes all of your holiday favorites including Santa Clause, hot cocoa, and beautifully decorated lights throughout the park.” Tickets prices start at $84.99.
For more family fun Tampa also offers the ZooTampa at Lowry Park, Adventure Island water park and the Big Cat Rescue animal sanctuary, devoted to “rescuing and housing exotic cats.” Reservations are required to visit the sanctuary.
Another trademark of the city is its exquisite craft beer. There are quite a few wonderful breweries in Tampa Bay, and for moderate prices starting at $10, guests can choose from several craft beers tasting and even themed tours with the Brew Bus.
Amongst the most popular ones with beer lovers, Cigar City stands out creating award-winning flavors that are inspired by the city of Tampa and its history. Coopertail Brewing Co, also stands out, for it is not only a beautiful local, but it offers a wide variety of quality beer and food in partnership with The Stein & Vine Restaurant.
Good weather is a staple for this time of the year in Tampa, which allows for a beautiful stroll alongside The Riverwalk. Start in Harbour Island, continue through Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park in Downtown, all the way down to Armature Works in the up and coming neighborhood of Tampa Heights.
Armature Works is a public market, eatery, and “premier community destination,” overlooking the Hillsborough River, that has become one of the hottest spots in town. Once a month on Sundays, they also host the Indie Flea Market featuring local vendors, home goods, clothes, accessories and more.
Ulele is also a popular spot alongside The Riverwalk for guest who enjoy, or wish to try native Florida food in a happening atmosphere.
Other chic and fun neighborhoods in Tampa for dining and drinking are Soho, featuring MacDington’s Irish Pub, Tampa’s classic Irish Pub and institution, Ciro’s Speakeasy, the first speakeasy offering delicious cocktails an food, and the Epicurean Hotel, with the Elevage bar in the lobby, and EDGE Social Drinkery in the rooftop for an amazing view.
Hyde Park is also known for its amazing restaurants, such as Wine Exchange, with an extensive wine list and delicious food, and Goody Goody’s, offering 50’s style dinner scrumptious breakfast, milkshakes and burgers. Other notorious attractions in Tampa, include the Tampa Museum of Art and the Florida Aquarium.
Also, since 1998, NFL team the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have played their home games at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa. The stadium stadium seats 65,618 and hosted Super Bowls XXXV and XLIII, and set to host Super Bowl LV on February 7, 2021.
The name “Tampa Bay” is often used to describe a geographic metropolitan area which encompasses the cities around the body of water known as Tampa Bay, including Tampa, St. Petersburg, Clearwater, Bradenton, and Sarasota.