Tampa, Florida: Family Holidays Full of Culture, Attractions and Fun
Tampa is known for its family attractions like Busch Gardens and the Lowry Park Zoo, but the arts, gastronomy and culture are vital components of Tampa's vibrant community as well. Located on the west coast of Florida, Tampa is a city full of cultural entertainment and adventure!
Attractions for the Whole Family
One of the top attractions in Tampa is Busch Gardens, an enormous theme park, complete with thrill rides, roller coasters and exotic animal exhibits. It also has a water park, Adventure Island, for fun during the summer months.
Speaking of animals, another fun place is Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo, with a wide variety of animals in the park. It has also been ranked No.1 Zoo in America for kids by Parents Magazine. The vast and enchanting Florida Aquarium is also must-visit when travelling with kids.
For a change of pace, an ideal place to continue with the adventure is the Museum of Science & Industry that offers many exciting hands-on programs and exhibits for both children and adults.
Entertainment, Shopping and Nightlife
You should definitely not miss the historic and vibrant neighbourhood, Ybor City, that was once known as the "Cigar Capital of the World." Today Ybor City is famous for its festive events and great nightlife, mostly on the main street in the Historic District known as “La Setima” (7th Avenue). Here you can choose from a variety of cuisine – Spanish, Cuban, Italian, Greek and French, to name a few.
But the area’s trademark is Florida's oldest restaurant, The Columbia. This award-winning restaurant features flamenco dance performances and succulent Spanish/Cuban cuisine. It also has a fun bar, a second restaurant separate from the show and private banquet rooms. I left the restaurant with two coffee table books about the history of the restaurant and its recipes.
Located just a few miles away, you’ll find the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino. The casino is one of the world’s largest. Within this complex, you will find a variety of restaurants to choose from as well as lively bars and lounges.
Oh, and let's not forget the shopping! International Plaza and Bay Street is a large upscale shopping mall that conveniently borders Tampa International Airport. It's the most distinctive shopping destination on Florida's West Coast thanks to over 200 shops, 15 restaurants and fashionable department stores. I was able to get a new pair of more comfortable shoes to continue the shopping!
Festivals and Events – Here There Be Pirates!
When I think of pirates, I cannot help but to think of Tampa, because the city is home the Gasparilla Pirate Festival, a popular event celebrated once a year attracting visitors from all over the world.
Wherever your journey takes you, you are sure to unlock a new adventure in Tampa Bay.