31 Fun & Unique Things to Do in Tampa | 2024 (with Photos)

James A. Smith

James A. Smith - Chief Editor

Published: June 29, 2023

Hey there! I'm James, a passionate traveler who has explored the vibrant city of Tampa. Through my own adventures, I've discovered a myriad of fun and unique activities that will make your trip unforgettable.

Tampa, Florida

Welcome to Tampa Bay, Florida's Gulf Coast gem and a popular tourist destination that offers a variety of fun and unique experiences for visitors of all ages.

From exploring the city's vibrant culture and history to indulging in delicious cuisine and soaking up the sun on pristine beaches, there is no shortage of exciting activities to enjoy here.

In addition, Tampa Bay is home to four theme parks that offer thrilling rides and attractions for the whole family.

Whether you're a traveler visiting Tampa Bay for the first time or you're a seasoned traveler, this list of 31 fun and unique things to do in Tampa, Fl. is sure to inspire your next adventure.

Most Recommended Thing to Do

Busch Gardens

Top Choice Hotel

The Epicurean Hotel

Our Top Choice Restaurant

Rooster & the Till

Our Top Choice Bar for Nightlife

The Ritz Ybor

Best Time to Visit

September to December

Average Temperature

Warm and humid weather all year round

Transportation Options

Buses, trains, taxis, bikes, walking

Average Cost ($, $$, $$$)

$$

My Top Recommendation

Be sure to explore the beautiful and vibrant Ybor City, known for its rich history and bustling culture - marvel at the colorful and well-preserved architecture while enjoying a delightful stroll through its streets lined with shops, restaurants, and quaint little cafes.

Take a leisurely walk along the Tampa Riverwalk, where you can explore the city's stunning waterfront views, visit nearby parks, and discover various attractions such as the Florida Aquarium and the Tampa Museum of Art, as well as enjoy a wide range of dining options.

What You'll Need to Bring

  1. Comfortable walking shoes
  2. Lightweight and breathable clothing
  3. Sunscreen and a hat
  4. Swimsuit and beach towels
  5. A reusable water bottle
  6. Bug spray
  7. Camera or smartphone for capturing memories
  8. Travel guidebook or map
  9. Portable charger for electronic devices
  10. Travel pillow and eye mask for long journeys

What Not to Miss

  1. Tampa Bay History Center
  2. Busch Gardens Tampa Bay
  3. Tampa Riverwalk
  4. Florida Aquarium
  5. Ybor City
  6. Tropicana Field
  7. The Dali Museum
  8. Gulf of Mexico beaches
  9. Tampa Theatre
  10. Lowry Park Zoo

What to Avoid

  1. Traffic congestion during rush hours
  2. Overpriced tourist traps
  3. Walking alone in certain areas at night
  4. Leaving valuable belongings unattended in public spaces
  5. Ignoring Tampa's unpredictable weather forecasts. Stay prepared!

1. Meet the Penguins at Florida Aquarium

Florida Aquarium

If you're looking for a unique and unforgettable experience during your visit to Tampa Bay, a trip to the Florida Aquarium is a must. Located just a short drive from the city in Plant City, the Florida Aquarium is home to a diverse range of marine life, including the beloved penguins.

The Florida Aquarium offers visitors the opportunity to get up close and personal with these fascinating creatures, which allows you to interact with and learn about the African penguins in a fun and educational setting.

The Florida Aquarium is a truly one-of-a-kind experience that's perfect for animal lovers of all ages.

2. Explore Downtown Tampa, Fl.

Downtown Tampa, Fl

Exploring downtown Tampa, also known as Downtown St., is a vibrant experience that offers visitors a diverse range of activities.

From visiting the Tampa Riverwalk and the Tampa Museum of Art to enjoying the culinary delights of the city's many restaurants and bars, there is something for everyone in downtown Tampa, Fl.

Whether you're a local or a tourist, you'll be captivated by the lively atmosphere and the stunning views of the city skyline. So make sure you add exploring downtown Tampa to your list of things to do in Tampa, Fl.

3. Visit an Exhibit at the Tampa Museum of Art

Tampa Museum of Art

If you're in downtown Tampa and looking for a cultural experience, a visit to the Tampa Museum of Art is a must.

Situated in Curtis Hixon Park and just steps away from other art galleries in Gasparilla Plaza, the Tampa Museum showcases a diverse range of contemporary and modern art pieces.

With rotating exhibits and special events, there's always something new to discover at the Tampa Museum of Art.

Plus, the stunning waterfront location in downtown Tampa and the picturesque park setting make this museum an ideal destination for art lovers and nature enthusiasts alike.

So take a break from the hustle and bustle of downtown Tampa and indulge in the beauty of the Tampa Museum of Art.

4. Get Adventurous at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay

Busch Gardens Tampa Bay

For thrill-seekers looking for an exciting day out, Busch Gardens Tampa Bay is the perfect destination.

Situated in North Tampa by Ybor City and just a short drive from other parks like Legoland Florida, this amusement park offers a variety of rides and attractions that are sure to get your adrenaline pumping.

From roller coasters to water rides, Busch Gardens has it all. Visitors at Busch Gardens can also enjoy live shows, animal encounters, and delicious dining options.

With its African safari-themed setting and spectacular landscapes, Busch Gardens Tampa Bay provides a unique and unforgettable experience. Enjoy the rides, the entertainment, and the fun at Busch Gardens, one of Florida's premier theme parks.

5. Take a Day Trip to Clearwater Beach

Clearwater Beach

Clearwater Beach is one of Florida's most popular coastal destinations and for good reason. With its pristine white sands and crystal-clear waters, this beach offers the perfect setting for a relaxing day trip.

Clearwater Beach isn't just about sunbathing and swimming. Visitors can also take a short trip to the Clearwater Marine Aquarium, which is home to a variety of marine animals including dolphins, sea turtles, and otters.

The Clearwater Marine Aquarium also features interactive exhibits and educational programs that provide a unique learning experience for all ages.

Whether you're looking to soak up the sun or explore the fascinating world of marine life, a day trip to Clearwater Beach and the Clearwater Marine Aquarium is a must for things to do in Tampa.

6. Stroll Tampa Riverwalk at Night

Tampa Riverwalk at Night

Taking a nighttime stroll along the Tampa Riverwalk by Ybor City is one of the enjoyable things to in Tampa after dark. With its stunning waterfront views and lively atmosphere, the Tampa Riverwalk is a popular destination for locals and tourists alike.

For dog owners, the Tampa Riverwalk also offers a designated dog park area where pets can run and play while their owners enjoy the scenery. Whether you're out for a romantic evening stroll or a fun night with friends, the Tampa Riverwalk is a beautiful attraction.

7. Hop on Board the Tampa Bay Fun Boat

Tampa Bay Fun Boat

Looking for a fun-filled adventure that the whole family can enjoy? Hop on board the Tampa Bay Fun Boat.

This 45-minute tour takes you on a thrilling ride through Tampa Bay, with views of the city's skyline, the Sunshine Skyway Bridge, and even some of the area's wildlife.

However, the Fun Boat isn't just about the sights, it's also a party on the water. With music, dancing, and games, the Fun Boat provides a festive atmosphere that's great for all ages making it the perfect family fun activity.

8. Kayak Along the Hillsborough River

Hillsborough River

Kayaking along the Hillsborough River in Hillsborough River State Park is an exhilarating way to explore Florida's natural beauty.

Starting at Hillsborough River State Park or Curtis Hixon Park, paddlers can navigate through the serene waters of the Hillsborough River, past lush greenery, and fascinating wildlife.

The Hillsborough River has a variety of currents that offer an exciting challenge for experienced kayakers, while the calm areas provide the perfect opportunity for beginners to practice their skills on the Hillsborough River.

Kayakers can also venture out to the Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park and Hillsborough Bay, where they can enjoy breathtaking views and the natural beauty of the Tampa skyline.

For those seeking a more remote experience, the Hillsborough River offers routes that lead to the charming town of Plant City.

Whether you're a nature enthusiast wanting to explore Hillsborough River State Park or just looking for an exciting adventure, kayaking along the Hillsborough River is an unforgettable experience that showcases the beauty of Florida's natural landscapes.

9. Get Gambling at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Tampa

Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Tampa

If you're looking for risky things to do in Tampa, Florida, the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Tampa is the perfect destination.

With a vast array of slot machines, table games, and poker rooms, the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Tampa offer something for every type of gambler.

However, the Seminole Hard Rock isn't just about gambling. The hotel also offers luxurious accommodations, fine dining options, and exciting entertainment options such as concerts and shows.

10. Watch a Film at Tampa Theatre

Tampa Theatre

Tampa Theatre is a historic movie palace located in the heart of downtown Tampa on Franklin St and by Ybor City.

This stunningly beautiful theater, originally opened in 1926, has since been restored to its original grandeur, complete with ornate architecture and a starry sky ceiling.

Visitors can catch the latest blockbuster hits, independent films, and classic movies while enjoying the charming atmosphere of Tampa Theatre. In addition to movies, the theater also hosts special events such as concerts, lectures, and film festivals throughout the year.

11. Try Out the Ropes Courses at the Museum of Science and Industry

Museum of Science and Industry

The Museum of Science and Industry in Tampa offers a variety of exciting exhibits and attractions, including the Sky Trail Ropes Course.

This high-flying adventure offers visitors the opportunity to navigate their way through a multi-level course that's suspended high above the museum's main atrium.

With multiple challenge elements including rope bridges, tight ropes, and swinging platforms, the Sky Trail Ropes Course offers a thrilling experience for visitors of all ages.

Make sure to add the Sky Trail Ropes Course to your list of things to do in Tampa if you want an adrenaline rush!

12. Let the Children Play at Glazer Children's Museum

Glazer Children's Museum

The Glazer Children's Museum, located in downtown St. Petersburg on Gasparilla Plaza, is a wonderful destination for families with young children. There are also plenty of exciting things to do in St. Petersburg.

This interactive museum is designed to spark children's curiosity and encourage them to learn through play.

Featuring a wide range of exhibits, including a fire station, a bank, and even a pirate ship, children can immerse themselves in imaginative play while learning about science, art, and culture.

The Glazer Children's Museum offers a variety of educational programs and events throughout the year, including summer camps, after-school programs, and birthday parties.

13. Meet Lions and Tigers at Big Cat Rescue

Big Cat Rescue

Big Cat Rescue, located in Tampa, Fl., is an animal sanctuary dedicated to rescuing and providing a permanent home for abused and abandoned big cats.

Visitors can take a guided tour of the facility and meet some of the resident lions, tigers, leopards, and other big cats.

The knowledgeable guides provide insights into the animals' behaviors, habitats, and the challenges they face in the wild.

Visitors can also learn about the efforts of Big Cat Rescue to protect these majestic creatures and how they can help support their mission.

14. Discover the Tampa Bay History Center

Tampa Bay History Center

The Tampa Bay History Center is a fascinating museum located in downtown Tampa, Fl. and by Ybor City that tells the story of Florida's rich history and diverse cultural heritage.

The exhibits at the Tampa Bay History Center showcase the region's Native American roots, Spanish colonial period, Civil War history, and much more.

Visitors can explore interactive exhibits, watch historical films, and view authentic artifacts and documents from various eras. The Tampa Bay History Center also hosts special events and programs throughout the year, including educational programs for children and adults.

15. Go on Tampa Bay Food Tours

Tampa Food Tour

Tampa Bay food tours offer a unique culinary experience, allowing visitors to explore the city's diverse and vibrant food scene through food tours.

Led by knowledgeable guides, the food tours take participants to some of the best local restaurants, food trucks, and markets in the area, where they can sample a variety of delicious dishes and learn about the city's culinary history and culture.

16. Take the Tidal Walk at the Manatee Viewing Center

Manatee Viewing Center

The Manatee Viewing Center is a popular destination in Florida for those who want to observe and learn about the endangered Florida manatees.

The Tidal Walk is a guided tour offered at the center that takes visitors on a walk along the tidal flats, where they can watch the manatees as they feed and interact with their environment.

The Florida manatees are usually gathered at the Big Bend Power Station, where the water is especially warm.

The guides at the Manatee Viewing Center offer a wealth of information about the manatees' habits, biology, and conservation efforts. You should definitely add this attraction to your list of things to do in Tampa.

17. Wander With the Dinosaurs at Dinosaur World Florida

Dinosaur World Florida

Dinosaur World Florida is an exciting theme park located in Plant City, Florida, that offers visitors a unique opportunity to step back in time and explore the world of dinosaurs.

Dinosaur World features over 150 life-size dinosaur sculptures and interactive exhibits that provide a fun and educational experience for guests of all ages.

Visitors at Dinosaur World can take a self-guided tour through the park's various trails and encounter animatronic dinosaurs, participate in a fossil dig, and learn about the prehistoric creatures that once roamed the earth.

If you're interested in learning about these historic creatures, make sure to add Dinosaur World to your list of things to do in Tampa, Fl.

18. Spend a Day in Ybor City

​​ Ybor City

If you're looking for historic things to do in Tampa, spend the day at Ybor City, a national historic landmark located in Tampa, Florida, and experience the vibrant history of this multicultural community.

Founded in the late 19th century by Cuban and Spanish immigrants, Historic Ybor City is a living testament to Florida's history as a melting pot of cultures.

Today, visitors to Ybor City can stroll through the brick streets and admire the historic architecture, enjoy the vibrant local culture, and learn about the fascinating past of Ybor City at one of the many museums and cultural institutions.

Whether you're interested in the arts, and history, or simply soaking up the atmosphere of this lively community in Ybor City, a visit to Ybor City is sure to be a memorable experience.

19. Learn the History of the American Victory Ship

American Victory Ship

The American Victory Ship is a historic cargo ship that served during World War II and the Korean War. Constructed in 1945, it was used to transport supplies and troops to various theaters of war.

Today, the American Victory Ship is docked in Tampa, Florida, and is open to the public for tours.

20. Embrace the Beauty at the South Florida Botanical Gardens

South Florida Botanical Gardens

The South Florida Botanical Gardens is a lush and vibrant botanical oasis.

The gardens feature numerous themed areas, including a butterfly garden, a tropical fruit pavilion, and a native plant section.

Spread over 83 acres, the gardens offer visitors the opportunity to explore a diverse range of plants, trees, and flowers from around the world.

21. Go Ziplining at Empower Adventures Tampa Bay

Empower Adventures Tampa Bay

For those seeking adrenaline-pumping outdoor adventures in the Tampa Bay area, Empower Adventures offers an exhilarating zip-line experience. Visitors can soar through the treetops on multiple zip lines that stretch over 3,000 feet in length.

With trained guides ensuring safety and providing informative commentary, a trip to Empower Adventures is a unique and unforgettable way to experience zip lines in Tampa Bay.

22. Ride the Thrilling Roller Coasters at Adventure Island

Adventure Island

At Adventure Island, visitors can experience the thrill of riding some of the most exciting roller coasters in the country. But that's not all.

Adventure Island is also home to a variety of water attractions, including outdoor pools and an outdoor water playground, making it one of the best water parks to visit.

Going to these water parks is one of the best things to do in Tampa to cool off on a hot day while still enjoying all the fun and excitement that Adventure Island has to offer.

23. Say Hello to the Animals at ZooTampa in Lowry Park

ZooTampa in Lowry Park

Located in North Tampa, Fl., ZooTampa at Lowry Park offers visitors the chance to get up close and personal with a wide variety of animals from all around the world. From big cats and primates to reptiles and birds, there's something for everyone at this amazing zoo.

The park is committed to conservation and education, and visitors can learn about the importance of protecting these incredible creatures and their habitats while enjoying a fun-filled day at the park.

24. Catch a Live Show at Straz Center for the Performing Arts

Straz Center for the Performing Arts

The Straz Center for the Performing Arts is one of the best things to do in downtown Tampa, Fl. This world-class venue is home to a wide range of performances, from Broadway shows to ballet and everything in between.

The center also hosts a variety of educational programs and community events, making it a true hub for the arts in the Tampa Bay area.

25. Go on a Wild Dolphin Cruise From the Florida Aquarium

Wild Dolphin Cruise

For one of the more thrilling things to do in Tampa, go on a wild dolphin cruise from the Florida Aquarium. It's an experience that allows visitors to see these intelligent marine mammals up close in their natural habitat.

The aquarium offers a variety of cruises, including a two-hour tour aboard a 72-foot catamaran that explores Tampa Bay and the Gulf of Mexico.

26. Have a Picnic at Lettuce Lake Regional Park

Lettuce Lake Regional Park

Lettuce Lake Regional Park is a beautiful spot for a relaxing picnic in Tampa Bay. In addition to its sprawling green spaces and scenic views, the park also offers a variety of hiking trails that wind through the natural Florida landscape.

Whether you're an experienced hiker or just looking for a leisurely stroll, Lettuce Lake has hiking trails that are right for you. Pack a picnic lunch and spend the day exploring.

27. Camp at Fort de Soto Park

Fort de Soto Park

One of the adventurous things to do in Tampa is to pitch a tent at Fort de Soto Park. Camping at Fort de Soto Park is a unique and memorable experience for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts.

Located on the Gulf of Mexico, this park boasts stunning beaches, lush vegetation, and a wide array of wildlife.

There are over 200 campsites available, including both tent and RV sites, each with access to electricity, water, and nearby restroom facilities.

28. Practice Your Golf Skills at Tampa Bay Downs

Tampa Bay Downs

Golf enthusiasts can improve their skills while enjoying the beautiful Florida weather by practicing at Tampa Bay Downs, located near Bay Street in Tampa, Fl.

Tampa Bay Downs boasts a state-of-the-art practice facility that includes a driving range, putting green, and chipping area. Golfers can work on their swing with the help of professional instructors or participate in a group clinic.

29. Dine at Columbia Restaurant in Ybor City

Columbia Restaurant Ybor City

Dining at the Columbia Restaurant in Ybor City is a delightful experience that combines delicious cuisine, impeccable service, and a rich history.

Established in 1905, Columbia is Florida's oldest restaurant and has been serving up authentic Spanish and Cuban dishes for over a century.

The restaurant features elegant decor, including colorful tiles and wrought-iron balconies, and offers both indoor and outdoor dining options.

Signature dishes include paella, ropa vieja, and the famous "1905" salad, which is prepared tableside. If you're a foodie, make sure you add this to your list of things to do in Tampa.

30. See Original Furnishings at the Henry B. Plant Museum

Henry B. Plant Museum

Visiting the national historic landmark of Henry B. Plant Museum in Hyde Park and near Bay Street is a fascinating journey into the Gilded Age history of the Tampa Bay region.

The museum is housed in the former Tampa Bay Hotel, which was built by railroad magnate Henry B. Plant in 1891 and is located in the Old Hyde Park neighborhood.

The Plant Museum features original furnishings, art, and artifacts that showcase the opulence and grandeur of the hotel during its heyday in Hyde Park.

31. Spend a Day at Walt Disney World

Walt Disney World

One of the unique things to do in Tampa is to enjoy a day at Walt Disney World, as it is a magical experience that brings out the child in everyone.

With it located only 1.5 hours away from the Tampa International Airport, you can be sure to go right when you land.

Guests can explore the park's themed lands, such as Adventureland and Fantasyland, and take part in attractions like Space Mountain and Pirates of the Caribbean.

FAQs Regarding Things to Do in Tampa, Florida

Let's take a look at some of the most frequently asked questions about Tampa, Florida.

What is the weather like in Tampa, Florida?

Tampa has a humid subtropical climate with hot summers and mild winters. Temperatures typically range from the mid-60s to the mid-90s throughout the year.

What is the best time of year to visit Tampa, Florida?

The best time to visit Tampa is from September to December when the weather is cooler and there are fewer crowds. However, the city is a popular tourist destination year-round, so plan accordingly.

What are some of the best beaches in Tampa, Florida?

Some of the best beaches in Tampa include Clearwater Beach, St. Pete Beach, and Honeymoon Island State Park.

What is the transportation like in Tampa, Florida?

Tampa has an extensive public transportation system, including buses and trolleys, as well as a streetcar line that runs through downtown. Taxis and ride-sharing services are also widely available.

Summing up: Best Things to Do in Tampa, Fl.

As you can see, there are plenty of things to do in Tampa, Fl.

From exploring the city's rich history at the Henry B. Plant Museum by Bay Street to experiencing the thrill of rides at Walt Disney World, there is something for everyone in this vibrant city.

Whether you are traveling with friends, family, or a romantic partner, you will find plenty of fun things to do while you are in Tampa.

So what are you waiting for? Pack your bags and enjoy the sunshine State.

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