Although Tampa is not as large as Jacksonville or as well-known as Miami, it certainly holds its own when it comes to interesting and fun things to do.
With the addition of the countless sights to see in nearby cities like Clearwater, St. Petersburg, and Orlando (some of which are already mentioned), the options become practically limitless.
If you’re planning a trip to this city and want to make the most of it, here are some of the greatest things to do in Tampa.
Meet the penguins at Florida Aquarium
Enjoyable for visitors of all ages, the aquarium takes you on a tour of aquatic environments ranging from pristine springs to the tropical waters of the Florida Keys.
Wetlands, beaches, and a coral reef teeming with colourful marine life await you as you make your way through the various zones.
The highlight is Penguins: Backstage Pass, where guests can get up close and personal with the adorable birds and watch them walk, eat, and wag their tails.
Watch a brief film about marine life in the 4-D Theater, where you can feel mist and wind as you see them on screen, and then let the kids play in the water at the outdoor Splash Pad.
Ride a roller coaster and go on a safari at Busch Gardens
Travellers like the 65-acre Serengeti Safari, a renowned destination that combines a zoo and an amusement park and is home to more than 200 different species.
To help narrow down your options, tours of hippos, elephants, and kangaroos are fun things to do in Tampa.
For those in need of a rush, the Iron Gwazi is the world’s steepest and fastest wooden/steel hybrid roller coaster. After jumping from a height of more than 200 feet, you can reach speeds of up to 76 miles per hour.
In addition, the gardens play host to the delectable Food & Wine Festival in the months of February and April.
Wine and dine during ZooBrews at ZooTampa
This well-liked attraction features a wide variety of animals, but there’s much more to see and do here than just the usual critters.
The zoo, which is home to over a thousand animals, primarily rare and threatened species, promotes a greater understanding and appreciation for wildlife via hands-on exhibits and programs that are great for the whole family.
Tuesdays are especially popular since they are “Toddler Tuesdays,” when activities are geared at the youngest guests. The yoga class is relocated to the African plains for this outdoor exercise program.
ZooBrews is a one-of-a-kind fundraiser with unlimited food and drinks, live music, and the opportunity to cuddle with some adorable animals!
See the riches of old Tampa at the Henry B. Plant Museum
Even before you enter, the beauty of this edifice from the 19th century will strike you; once inside, the extensive collection of ceramics, art decor, paintings, sculptures, and luxurious furnishings (many of which date back to the early 1800s) will wow you even more.
Some of the most notable pieces in the museum’s permanent collection are a Chinese chair from the late Quing Dynasty and a set of blue-and-white vases made in Japan and England.
This should be on the list of the top best things to do in Tampa. Truth be told, it was Plant’s foresight and wealth that catapulted Tampa into prominence.
Sample the culinary delights of Ybor City
Tampa’s Ybor City, with its vibrant Cuban and Latino culture, is a must-visit. Visitors delight in taking in the local scenery and aromas, but it’s the cuisine that will really impress them.
Tampa’s unique characteristics have developed in part because of the city’s different communities. While in Ybor, you must sample the deviled crab, Cuban sandwich, Spanish bean soup, and crab enchilau that have made the neighborhood renowned.
The four to six samples will be spread out across the tour’s stops throughout the three hours.
Race down the speedway at Grand Prix Tampa Family Fun Center
Enjoyable things to do in Tampa for the whole family are conveniently located throughout your visit to Grand Prix Tampa.
You can rev your kart at the twisting 1.2 kilometres long Big track, which features rapid corners, or you can race your kids on the shorter Family Track.
Mini-golfing through a storybook setting, a ropes course, a batting cage, the Turbo Bungy Dome, and a video arcade are just a few of the available activities.
Go zip lining in a Florida preserve
The Mobbly Bayou Wilderness Preserve has a network of five zipline cables, perfect for getting your heart racing on a thrilling excursion.
The momentum should be maintained by completing an activity like crossing a suspension bridge or using an auto belay.
There are many enjoyable outdoor pursuits, such as hiking and canoeing, available in this almost 400-acre park. Aside from the picnic tables, there are also restrooms and covered areas to eat in.
Explore the city’s landmarks on a Segway tour
Although it would be impossible to see everything the city has to offer in a single day on foot, you can glide around the streets on a Segway tour while picking up interesting and informative tidbits about some of the city’s most well-known landmarks.
The typical two-hour trip begins at the Embassy Suites and travels through the downtown area, stopping at the Amalie Arena, the Riverwalk, and Curtis Hixon Park.
It’s a great way to spend a day for things to do in Tampa, with knowledgeable guides and a friendly environment.
Get refreshed on a craft brewery tour
Let’s get a drink, who’s up for it?
Participate in a beer tour that visits a dozen Tampa-area establishments, including craft brewers, eateries, and watering holes, for samples of their wares.
Cigar City Brewing is a local favourite and a popular destination for tourists due to its extensive beer menu (from tangerine sour beers to imperial porters, which pack quite the punch) and cheeky handcrafted cigar selection.
There are some great places to go and beers to drink in Ybor. It is highly advised that you try some of the chocolate beer and expressive sours brewed by Coppertail Brewing Co. and Tampa Bay Brewing Co.
Captain a speedboat at Tampa Bay
The city of Tampa and the water go together like peanut butter and jelly; so, why not take the helm, punch the throttle, and enjoy the rush of racing across the city’s famous bay while taking in the sights?
A tour guide will show you the best places to see, such as Fort de Soto Park, and point out dolphins and manatees in the water below.
A Tampa history cruise can take you to picturesque harbors, mansions, and museums while you relax and let the skipper do the work. This is one of the best things to do in Tampa (must try by local).
Bring your own cocktails on a floating Tiki Boat bar
A tiki bar at sea where patrons bring their own alcohol? Count us in!
The bar cruises down the Hillsborough River, past the Riverwalk and into the heart of downtown Tampa, so naturally the scenery is breathtaking.
The boat has everything you need for a fun evening on the water—just bring the food, drinks, and a good attitude.
This 1.5-hour cruise begins with a gorgeous riverside setting and concludes in the heart of the city, complete with skyscrapers and traffic.
Soar over Tampa in a hot air balloon
You should get up early and catch the sunrise over Tampa to view the state’s spectacular display.
Seeing Tampa glisten in the early morning sun from above the clouds is an experience you won’t soon forget. If you still need convincing, a champagne toast will be waiting for you when you touch down.
Sunrise is when you can see the beautiful landscapes best, thus most trips leave from Hillsborough or Pasco County.
Take the controls of a seaplane over Clearwater Beach
Flying over Clearwater Beach and taking in the sights from above is one thing, but when the pilot hands you the controls, things get really exciting!
Once your pilot has gotten you airborne, you’ll be given a thorough tutorial on how to steer, throttle, and brake so that you can take the helm yourself.
The fundamentals of controlling a helicopter are first learned in a certified simulator. In no way will this flight be routine. You can’t cross this off your list of things to do in Tampa without a second thought if you try this a shot.
Sail into the Clearwater Beach sunset
There’s no better site than offshore Clearwater Beach to witness the breathtaking sunset over the Gulf of Mexico.
As the sun sets behind the Tampa skyline, the soothing sounds of the ocean lapping against the boat while under sail power are fascinating.
Raise a glass to the stunning sunset and spend the rest of the night taking in the live music and breathtaking scenery.
Experience the magic of Walt Disney World
Which way should I go first? Disney World is home to not one, not two, but four different types of parks and attractions, including golf courses and shopping malls.
Whether you’re six or sixty, if you’re visiting Florida, you just must go to Mickey Mouse’s house, the world’s most famous theme park.
Visit the Tower of Terror at Disney’s Hollywood Studios if you’re looking for a heart-pounding ride.
Hyannis Holiday sincerely hopes you had fun with our selection of things to do in Tampa! Please share your recommendations for further must-sees below.