18 Best Things to Do in Tampa, Florida

Apr 19, 2024

Tags:FLtravel guide

picture of Tampa across the water with reflections at sunset best things to do in Tampa

Exploring Tampa, Florida, uncovers a treasure trove of activities that cater to every interest and age group. From the thrill-seekers looking to conquer the roller coasters at Busch Gardens to the history buffs eager to step into Ybor City's rich past, Tampa offers diverse experiences. Whether you're planning to relax on its sun-drenched beaches, embark on a dolphin-spotting boat tour, or indulge in the local culinary delights, this guide aims to highlight the best things to do in Tampa, ensuring your visit is filled with memorable adventures. So, what is there to do in Tampa? The answer lies in the wealth of attractions and hidden gems waiting to be discovered in this vibrant city.

What’s There to Do in Tampa? Our 18 Recommendations

  1. Visit Busch Gardens
  2. Visit Florida Aquarium
  3. Spot Dolphins on a Boat Tour
  4. Sample Cuban Food in Ybor City
  5. Relax on the Beach
  6. Explore Tampa Riverwalk
  7. Visit the Museum of Science and Industry
  8. Take a Day Trip to St. Petersburg
  9. Catch a Game or Concert 
  10. Explore Tampa’s Historic Neighborhoods
  11. Go on a Ghost Tour
  12. Rent a Motorcycle or Slingshot
  13. Take a hike or bike ride
  14. Go Shopping
  15. See a Show at the Tampa Theatre
  16. Have a Picnic
  17. Go Kayaking or Paddleboarding
  18. Visit a Farmers’ Market

1. Indulge your inner thrill-seeker at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay. 

Looking for something to do in Tampa? This world-famous theme park is home to exciting roller coasters, animal encounters, and live shows. You can experience a taste of Africa on the thrilling cheetah hunt roller coaster or get soaked on the Gwazi wooden coaster at Busch Gardens in Tampa Bay.

2. Marvel at more than 8,000 animals at the Florida Aquarium. 

Explore the wonders of the aquatic world at this sprawling aquarium. You can see sharks, stingrays, sea turtles, and a variety of fish from all over the globe. The Florida Aquarium also offers interactive exhibits, such as the touch tank, where you can learn about the different textures of sea creatures. Get directions here!

picture of the outside of the Florida Aquarium things to do in Tampa Florida

3. Spot wild dolphins on a boat tour. 

Take a boat tour through Tampa Bay and see dolphins playing in their natural habitat for an unforgettable day in Tampa, Florida. You may also see manatees, sea turtles, and other marine life.

picture of a boat on the water in Tampa best things to do in Tampa Florida

4. Sample authentic Cuban food in Ybor City. 

Ybor City is a historic district that was once the center of Tampa's cigar industry. Today, it's a lively neighborhood with a variety of Cuban restaurants, shops, and bars. Be sure to try a Cuban sandwich, a classic Tampa dish made with ham, roasted pork, Swiss cheese, pickles, mustard, and salami on Cuban bread.

picture of historic Ybor City best things to do in Tampa Florida

5. Relax on the beach.

Tampa Bay is home to some of the most beautiful beaches in Florida. Clearwater Beach, Fort De Soto Park, and Honeymoon Island are all popular spots for swimming, sunbathing, and shelling.

6. Explore the Tampa Riverwalk.

The Tampa Riverwalk is a 2.6-mile scenic walkway that winds along the Hillsborough River. It's a great place to take a walk, jog, or bike ride if you’re looking for something to do in Tampa. You can also stop by one of the many restaurants or cafes along the Riverwalk for a bite to eat or a drink.

picture of a covered tunnel on the Tampa Riverwalk  at night best things to do in Tampa Florida

7. Visit the Museum of Science and Industry (MOSI). 

MOSI is a great place to learn about science, technology, and space exploration. The museum has a variety of interactive exhibits, as well as an IMAX theater.

8. Take a day trip to St. Petersburg. 

St. Petersburg is a vibrant city located across the bay from Tampa. It's home to the Salvador Dalí Museum, the Museum of Fine Arts, and many other cultural attractions. You can also visit St. Pete Beach or Fort De Soto Park beaches.

For a list of other great day trips in Florida, click here!

picture of the welcome to St. Petersburg monument best things to do in Tampa Fl

9. Catch a game or a concert. 

Tampa Bay is home to several professional sports teams, including the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (NFL), the Tampa Bay Lightning (NHL), and the Tampa Bay Rays (MLB). You can also catch a concert or other live performance at one of the many venues in the city, such as the Amalie Arena or the MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre.

picture of the outside of the Amalie Arena best things to do in Tampa Fl

10. Explore the historic neighborhoods. 

Tampa has several historic neighborhoods worth exploring, such as Ybor City, Hyde Park, and SoHo. As mentioned before, Ybor City was once the center of Tampa's cigar industry. Today, it's a lively neighborhood with various Cuban restaurants, shops, and bars. Hyde Park is a charming neighborhood with tree-lined streets, bungalows, and historic mansions. SoHo (South Howard) is a trendy neighborhood with art galleries, boutiques, and restaurants.

picture of The Palace of Florence located in the Hyde Park Historic District, Tampa, Florida best things to do in Tampa Fl

11. Go on a ghost tour. 

Tampa has a rich history, and many ghost tours are available that will take you to some of the city's most haunted spots. You might even hear some spooky stories about the Tampa Theatre, which is said to be haunted by the ghost of a former projectionist.

picture of the Tampa Theatre best things to do in Tampa Fl

12. Rent a Motorcycle or Slingshot with Riders Share

For those seeking an unforgettable experience in Tampa, renting a motorcycle or Slingshot with Riders Share offers an unparalleled opportunity to explore the city and its surroundings in style. This unique platform allows you to choose from a wide range of motorcycles or the exhilarating three-wheeled Slingshot, perfect for cruising along Tampa's scenic routes or discovering hidden gems at your own pace. Whether you're an experienced rider or looking to try something new, Riders Share provides a convenient and flexible option to enhance your Tampa adventure, making it one of the best things to do in the Bay area.

13. Take a hike or bike ride.

Tampa Bay has several parks and trails that are perfect for hiking or biking. The Lettuce Lake Park, Hillsborough River State Park, and Alafia River State Park are popular spots for outdoor enthusiasts.

picture of the Hillsborough River State Park best things to do in Tampa Fl

14. Go shopping. 

Tampa Bay has various shopping options, from malls and outlet stores to unique boutiques and local shops. The Tampa Premium Outlets, International Plaza, and Bay Street are popular choices for brand-name finds.

15. See a show at the historic Tampa Theatre. 

The Tampa Theatre is a historic landmark that was built in 1926. It's a beautiful venue that hosts a variety of shows, from movies and concerts to plays and musicals.

16. Have a picnic in the park. 

Tampa Bay has many beautiful parks that are perfect for a picnic. Pack a lunch and head to Curtis Hixon Park, Bayshore Boulevard Park, or Picnic Island Park for a relaxing afternoon outdoors.

17. Go kayaking or paddleboarding. 

Tampa Bay is a great place to go kayaking or paddleboarding. You can explore the mangroves, see wildlife, and enjoy the beautiful scenery.

18. Visit a farmers market. 

Tampa Bay has several farmers' markets where you can buy fresh produce, local crafts, and prepared foods. The Tampa Riverwalk Market, the St. Petersburg Saturday Morning Market, and the Seminole Heights Sunday Market are all popular choices.

So, What Is There to Do in Tampa, Florida?

A lot. Tampa, Florida, is a city where every day promises a new adventure and the opportunity to create lasting memories. Whether you've spent time marveling at the wonders of the Florida Aquarium, enjoying the serene beauty of the Tampa Riverwalk, or experiencing the unique thrill of renting a motorcycle to explore the city's scenic vistas, Tampa has something for everyone. This guide has explored just a fraction of what Tampa offers, inviting you to dig deeper into the city's attractions. So pack your bags, set your itinerary, and get ready to uncover everything to do in Tampa, where every visitor is guaranteed to find their slice of paradise.