Florida may be famous for man made wonders like Disney World, Universal Studios and Sea World but it also has abundance of natural beauty lying in some of its amazing cities. The city that tops the list is Tampa, a small but stimulating city located on the west coast of Florida. Tampa is also county seat of Hillsborough County and famous for its beautiful scenery, Busch Gardens, museums, the City Hall, the resident football team, the Buccaneers and a rich history. It is the largest city in Hillsborough County and third most populous city of Florida. The main contribution factors to Tampa’s economy are tourism, finance, construction and agriculture. Back in 15th century, the area of Tampa was known as the Tampa Bay and it became part of United States in 1845. The economic boom here started during 1890s when phosphates was found here which gave rise to mining and shipping industries and today this city has the 7th largest port in United States. Tampa has also been a famous location among filmmakers as movies like China Moon, Cocoon, Lethal Weapon, Once Upon A Time in America and some others were filmed here. Tampa also has the largest wine cellar in the world, Florida’s first brewery, longest sidewalk of the world, some oldest restaurants of Florida, famous birding sites and 200 factories producing more than 700 million cigars per year.
Tampa has a humid subtropical climate just like most of the cities in Florida with quite hot summers with no dry seasons. July is the hottest month with maximum temperature of 90 degrees and January is the coldest with 51 degrees. You will see rainfalls here very often as Tampa gets 47 inches of rain and no snowfalls during the year. However, there are around 240 sunny days per year and humidity touches a high level during summer. The best time to visit Tampa is during spring season.
How to get here?
Tampa International Airport is one of the most functional airport terminals in the world with roof top auto parking, shuttle system and a lot of escalators. You can also arrive by water at the Garrison Seaport Center’s Cruise Terminal with multi deck parking garage and good customs facilities. You can easily get any cab, taxi, rental car or shuttle from these places to reach downtown comfortably. Getting around Tampa is also quite easy as there are buses from Hartride Area Regional Transit, also known as HARTLine, and limousines always available.
Accommodation and Food
From lavish resort hotels to cozy hostels and B&Bs, you wouldn’t be disappointed from the lodging options in Tampa. There are hundreds of accommodation spots in downtown area and WestShore District of Tampa. Some of the hottest options are SpringHill Suites by Marriott, located right in the heart of Westshore with king and double bedded suites and 4 meeting rooms, The Westin Tampa Harbour Island, located just 7 miles from Tampa International Airport, with 299 guest rooms and 19 suites, The Resort and Club at Little Harbour with its Caribbean style offering some great waterfront views and Tampa Marriott Westshore with its perfect location around shopping malls and corporations. Budget options include Wingate by Wyndham Tampa, Floridan Palace, Embassy Suites and Sheraton Tampa Riverwalk Hotel.
The cuisine of Tampa is known internationally for its great taste and incomparable dining experience. You will surely love the seafood and authentic Spanish dishes this delicious city has to offer. One of the best is Water’s Edge, located at Cortez Boulevard, featuring some delicious seafood and shrimp specialities with pasta, chicken, meat and sandwiches. Other good options include GameWorks offering great grilled swordfish, tasty meat loaf with pizza and burgers, Bern’s Steakhouse with more than 7000 selections, Armani’s with some exotic Italian food, Bridie Gannon’s Pub & Eatery, Columbia, Louis Pappas’s Riverside Restaurant and Chateau France.
Busch Garden is a theme park located at N Malcolm Mckinley Dr in Tampa. It covers an area of 335 acres and has been leading theme park of Florida for more than 50 years now. The main attractions of Busch Gardens are Falcon’s Fury which is a thrilling ride, Food & Wine Festival, the Seaworld & Busch Gardens Conservation center, The Wildlife Docs featuring the enriching works of animal care experts, Animal Care Center featuring close look at animal care, surgeries & Nutrition, Happy Tails which fosters more than 30000 pets from around the place. The park also holds some special exhibits like Myombe Reserve, Curiosity Caverns, The Serengeti Plain and Edge of Africa.
The Florida Aquarium is a 250,000 square foot aquarium located at Channelside Dr in Tampa and features a Water Fun Zone, Wild Dolphin Cruise, Dive with the Sharks, Swim with the Fishes and a behind the scene tour. The aquarium also holds some educational camps, youth & family programs, teacher & school programs and camps for people of all ages. The aquarium remains open daily and can be reached easily by all means of transport. The ticket costs differently for different purpose but generally it costs $23.95 for adults and $18.95 for children.
Lowry Park Zoo
The Lowry Park Zoo is a non profit zoo located at W Sligh Avenue in Tampa and features more than 2000 animals, shows, rides, dining, shopping and some interesting exhibits. It was opened in 1988 and today it has become one of the most visited zoos in US. The zoo covers an area of more than 56 acres and features Safari Africa & Ituri Forest, Wallaroo Station, Asian Gardens & Sulawsi Aviary, Free Flight Aviaries, Florida Boardwalk, Florida Manatee & Aquatic Center and Primate World.