14 Exciting Things to Do in Tampa, Florida

While Tampa isn’t right on the beach, it does have a major port in Florida, the Port of Tampa Bay.

Tampa’s temperatures are influenced by its location near the Gulf of Mexico, which might explain why temperatures there have never climbed over 100 degrees. It’s typically cooler than the rest of Florida because of that.

While you’re enjoying the more temperate weather, check out some fun outdoor activities, a few tasty places to eat, and things that will help you better understand the spirit of Tampa.

Things to Do in Tampa, Florida


If you want to spend the day checking out places perfect for tourists, check out one of Tampa’s many attractions. 

Tampa Museum of Art

tampa museum of art
Address: 120 W Gasparilla Plaza, Tampa, FL 33602
Opening Hours: Monday-Wednesday & Friday-Sunday: 10am-5pm, Thursday: 10am-8pm
Best Time to Visit: Weekday mornings to avoid crowds
Cost: Adults $15, Seniors (65+)/Military $7.50, College Students $5, Youths (7-17) $5, Children (6 and under) Free

Right off the Riverwalk, you’ll find the Tampa Museum of Art.

It’s hard to miss the giant LED light installation on the side of the building.

Inside, there are plenty of exhibits both from local and international artists.

Not everything is modern, either.

In 2023, they featured a show called Identity of the Ancient World with many ceramics.

Check out the outdoor overlook while you’re nearby.

It’s not a huge museum, but it is worth dropping in to look around.

The Museum is wheelchair accessible, with ramps and elevators available for those who need them.

Public transportation options and parking facilities are also available near the museum.

Tip: Check their website for special exhibitions and events.

Imagine museum

imagine museum
Youtube/FOX 13 Tampa Bay
Address: 1901 Central Ave, St. Petersburg, FL 33713
Opening Hours: Tuesday-Sunday: 10am-5pm, Closed on Mondays
Best Time to Visit: Weekdays to avoid weekend crowds
Cost: Adults $15, Seniors (65+) $13, Military/Students/Teachers $10, Children (6-17) $7, Children (5 and under) Free

The Imagine Museum is a contemporary glass art museum with many interesting and beautiful pieces.

While you’re there, check out the scavenger hunt they have set up.

One thing to consider if you decide to visit is the delicacy of the pieces.

They are set up so that a child could potentially reach out and touch them.

Which could be an issue for people with young children.

If you’re new to Tampa and not just visiting, check out the special rate for local residents. 

The Imagine Museum is wheelchair accessible and close to public transportation options for visitors who prefer not to drive.

Tip: Be mindful of children around the delicate glass art pieces.

The Florida Aquarium

the florida aquarium
Address: 701 Channelside Dr, Tampa, FL 33602
Opening Hours: Daily: 9:30am-5pm
Best Time to Visit: Weekdays or early mornings on weekends
Cost: Adults $28.95, Seniors (60+) $26.95, Children (3-11) $23.95, Children (2 and under) Free

Come check out the Florida Aquarium and learn more about local marine and sea life with lots of living and interactive exhibits.

You can interact with stingrays, jellyfish, and starfish.

There’s even a splash zone to cool down the kids on hot summer days.

In addition to the marine exhibits, there are also birds you can visit.

Once you’re done checking everything out, grab some food in the on-site cafe, where you can eat inside or outside.

The aquarium can be easily reached by public transportation and is accessible to people using wheelchairs.

Tip: Plan ahead for parking and consider the annual pass if you visit more than once. 

Active Activities

If you want to get out, walk around, and get some sun while enjoying what Tampa offers, check out these activities. 

Second Sunday Art Walk

second sunday art walk
Youtube/Melanie Griesemer
Address: Armature Works, 1910 N Ola Ave, Tampa, FL 33602
Opening Hours: Second Sunday of each month, 11am-3pm
Best Time to Visit: Arrive early for the best selection of art and vendors
Cost: Free admission

Head over to Armature Works and join the Second Sunday Art Walk on the second Sunday every month from 11 am until 3 pm.

You won’t just see beautiful displays of art; there are also many vendors where you might find the perfect thing to take home from your trip.

They sell jewelry, art, gifts, and woodwork, among other things.

Head to the courtyard and western walkway to stroll through the art walk.

Armature Works is easily accessible by public transportation, and parking is available nearby.

Tip: Bring sunscreen and cash because not all vendors will necessarily take cards. 

Busch Gardens

busch gardens
Address: 10165 N McKinley Dr, Tampa, FL 33612
Opening Hours: Daily, hours vary by season (check website)
Best Time to Visit: Weekdays and non-holiday periods for shorter lines
Cost: Single-day tickets start at $89.99, annual passes and multi-park tickets available

Head to Busch Gardens to ride roller coasters, play carnival games, and explore the Serengeti Plain in an open-air truck.

The park offers VIP tours, food and wine tours, a special pass to spend time with rescued animals, a behind-the-scenes rollercoaster tour, and more.

They also have annual events throughout the year, so check out the park calendar before you book in case something strikes your fancy.

You can easily spend a whole day at Busch Gardens, so plan to get there early to see everything the park offers. 

Public transportation options and parking facilities are available at the park.

Tip: Arrive early to maximize your day and check the park calendar for special events.

Tampa Riverwalk

tampa riverwalk
Address: Tampa Riverwalk, Tampa, FL 33602
Opening Hours: 24/7, but businesses along the walk have their own hours
Best Time to Visit: Early mornings or evenings for cooler temperatures
Cost: Free, but individual attractions may have fees

The Riverwalk is an area of Tampa where people will zoom by on skates, bikes, and even Segways as they explore the art, restaurants, shops, and museums along the walk.

It’s different at all times of the day and changes throughout the year as various events are hosted.

It’s only 2.4 miles long, but you can easily pack in hours of entertainment as you move from one end to another. 

In the afternoon, check out the street performances and artists.

In the evening, grab a drink and listen to live music at an outdoor restaurant while you enjoy the breeze.

The Riverwalk is accessible by public transportation, and parking options are available nearby.

Tip: Wear comfortable shoes and bring water for walking.

Sunset Tiki Cruise

sunset tiki cruise
Youtube/ Grumpy Husband
Address: Varies by company, but many depart from Tampa Riverwalk
Opening Hours: Tours typically start around sunset, check with individual companies
Best Time to Visit: Anytime, but sunset cruises are particularly popular
Cost: Prices vary by company and tour length

Check out Totally Tiki Tours to pile on a boat with friends, have a few drinks, and spend time on the water.

The vibe changes depending on your tour and company, but Cruisin’ Tikis is a popular choice with great reviews.

You will have to bring your drinks and food, but they have ice available in coolers to keep them cold.

The length of the tour varies, so check out how long it could be before you book.

Most companies have a maximum number of occupants and an age limit, so confirm those before you book if your party is large or includes small children. 

Tip: Bring your own food and drinks, and confirm occupancy and age limits before booking.

Bayside Fun

Before you head to Tampa, it’s essential to know it isn’t precisely an oceanside destination. Instead, there’s a bay with access to many nearby beaches with oceanside and gulf coasts. 

Atlantic versus Gulf Beaches

atlantic vs gulf beach
Flickr/Liz Gilbert
Address: Varies depending on beach choice
Opening Hours: Varies by beach, but typically open during daylight hours
Best Time to Visit: Early mornings or late afternoons for cooler temperatures and less crowded beaches
Cost: Varies, some beaches have parking or entrance fees

Deciding whether you want to spend part of your trip on an Atlantic or Gulf beach is important.

Atlantic shores are more like classic beaches you’ve likely seen if you’ve spent time on the USA’s east code.

The waves are bigger, you’re likelier to find good surf for boarding, and the sand is golden.

On the side that faces the Gulf of Mexico, the sand is white, and the waves are gentle.

If you’re looking for sea sports, try the Atlantic. If you’re traveling with children, Gulf beaches might be better. 

Ferry to Caladesi

caladesi ferry
Address: Honeymoon Island State Park, 1 Causeway Blvd, Dunedin, FL 34698
Opening Hours: Daily, ferries depart every hour starting at 10am, last ferry returns at 5:30pm
Best Time to Visit: Morning or late afternoon to avoid peak sun
Cost: Adults $14, Children (6-12) $7, Children (5 and under) Free; State Park entrance fees: $8 per vehicle

If you want to wander a beach with plenty of seashells, check out Caladesi Island.

The ferry ride is only 20 minutes from Honeymoon Island State Park, so it doesn’t take much time until you’re walking on the sand.

It’s meant to be an unspoiled paradise, so don’t expect many vendors.

Pack food, water, and hiking shoes to try the island trails.

While you’re on your way, look out for dolphins in the water; there’s a good chance you’ll spot at least one.

Tip: Bring food, water, and hiking shoes for island trails; watch for dolphins during the ferry ride.

Great Eats

Tampa is known for having some truly delicious cuisine. You won’t have to break the bank to find something for every palate while you’re in town.

Le Segunda Center Bakery

la segunda bakery
Youtube/City of Tampa
Address: 2512 N 15th St, Tampa, FL 33605 (Ybor City location)
Opening Hours: Monday-Saturday: 6:30am-3pm, Sunday: 7am-3pm
Best Time to Visit: Early morning for the freshest bread
Cost: Prices vary depending on items purchased

You absolutely have to try one of Le Segunda’s Cuban sandwiches.

Reviewers praise the crisp crust, melted ingredients, and delicious fresh bread.

Le Segunda supplies many other Cuban eateries with their bread, so you get a sandwich straight from the source.

They can produce over 20,000 loaves in a day! There are three locations to choose from, but my favorite is the one in Ybor City.

The bakery has been open for over 105 years and is a must-try for visitors. 

It is accessible by public transportation and has nearby parking options.

Mr. B’s Restaurant

mr. b's resturant
Address: 3401 N Nebraska Ave, Tampa, FL 33603
Opening Hours: Monday-Saturday: 11am-8pm, Sunday: 11am-6pm
Best Time to Visit: Lunchtime or early dinner to avoid long waits
Cost: Prices vary depending on items purchased

Mr. B’s does soul food in a way that warms you up from the first bite.

The buttermilk-brined chicken, savory shrimp, smothered chops, and incredible grits will tempt you with their rich scents from the moment you walk in the door.

If you visit, try a few sides, or you’ll miss out on some delicious options.

The proprietors say bringing people together is sweeter than honey, so invite someone you enjoy to share the meal with. 

Mr. B’s is accessible by public transportation and offers nearby parking options.

Tip: Don’t forget to try their sides, as they offer many delicious options.

Jamaica Jamaica

jamaica jamaica
Bipper media
Address: 1408 E Hillsborough Ave, Tampa, FL 33604
Opening Hours: Monday-Saturday: 11am-10pm, Sunday: 11am-8pm
Best Time to Visit: Weekday evenings for a relaxed dining experience
Cost: Prices vary depending on items purchased

Jamaica Jamaica has incredible beer, great options for vegans, and plenty of savory meat for omnivores.

You’ll find it here if you’re looking for an entire fish, sweet plantains, jerk chicken, or an in-house passion fruit drink.

The restaurant itself isn’t huge, so many people choose to get takeout, especially if they’re eating with a crowd.

Call ahead to ask about feeding large groups if desired because they also offer catering services.

It is easily accessible by public transportation and has nearby parking options.

Tip: Consider takeout for larger groups; inquire about catering services for events.

Babe’s Pizza

babe's pizza
Address: 107 N Kings Ave, Brandon, FL 33510
Opening Hours: Monday-Saturday: 11am-10pm, Sunday: 12pm-9pm
Best Time to Visit: Weekday evenings or weekend afternoons
Cost: Prices vary depending on items purchased

There are a lot of great pizza places in Tampa.

You should check out Babe’s because they do something a little different with the double-decker.

They roll out the pizza dough, cover it with sauce and toppings, and then add another crust on top.

Once the edges are folded, they top it with sauce, cheese, and topping.

They have many great other options, too – including a cauliflower crust – but a double-decker is an original option you should try at least once. 

Babe’s Pizza is accessible by public transportation and offers nearby parking options.

Bern’s Steak House

bern's steak house
Flickr/visit florida
Address: 1208 S Howard Ave, Tampa, FL 33606
Opening Hours: Monday-Thursday: 5pm-10pm, Friday-Saturday: 5pm-11pm, Sunday: 5pm-9pm
Best Time to Visit: Weekday evenings or early dinner on weekends
Cost: Prices vary depending on items purchased

Bern’s Steak House is a Tampa class perfect for a date night or celebration.

They offer dry-aged steaks, aged wine by the glass, and even a cool dessert room you can check out when you’re done.

They’re known for giving their servers extended training before they start on the floor. If you’re going to go, you must have a reservation.

They aren’t always easy to get!

Refresh the reservation page repeatedly during the day until one appears, and you might get lucky unless you’d rather call ahead.

Book early and be prepared to meet the dress code.

Bern’s Steak House is accessible by public transportation and has parking options nearby.

Explore Tampa’s Wonders: Begin Your Amazing Trip Now!

There’s a lot to love about Tampa, which is why 15 million or more people flock to visit it almost every year.

With three cruise lines operating year-round, a Superbowl-winning football team, and plenty of friendly locals, it’s a great place to be.

Start planning your itinerary today to have a trip you remember for the rest of your life. Happy travels!

Discover More Florida Destinations: Things to do in Destin, Florida.

Note: Keep in mind that information about travel can change quickly. To make sure your trip is fun and safe, we encourage you to double-check official websites and government/travel advisory sites for the latest information on travel restrictions, entry requirements, and safety measures.