Is there much to do in Tampa, FL

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Hawkeye_Saver
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Is there much to do in Tampa, FL

Post by Hawkeye_Saver » Mon Dec 21, 2015 3:59 pm

6 of us, all adults, are looking at taking a 3/4 day vacation in Tampa/St. Petersburg in February. I've been looking online for things to do while there and not having much luck. We're in our 30's if that matters. Can anyone with knowledge of the area give me ideas. Or should we look elsewhere? I should probably add the reason we picked Tampa is the flights are cheap from the local airport.

magicj
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Re: Is there much to do in Tampa, FL

Post by magicj » Mon Dec 21, 2015 4:10 pm

Orlando area Boglehead here, but in Tampa all the time for work.

- Busch Gardens
- Beach - To me Clearwater/St. Pete have the nicest in Florida
- YBOR City has some good nightlife
- Fishing tour - If that type of stuff interests you. Heck, even if it doesn't it seems like a fun thing to do.
- Hockey Game - Lightning Amalie Arena
- Hard Rock Casino - Not my thing, but it's the main one in the area
- Downtown St. Pete - Not a busy downtown, but we often do a weekend in Tampa/St. Pete and find downtown St. Pete relaxing to grab a drink or two and be outside.
- Breweries - I'm not a beer drinker, but there seems to be a lot more breweries opening up.

What I like about Florida is the random weekend events outside. If you have a date set in mind look up an event calendar. You are bound to find a food truck gathering or some sort of random event.
Last edited by magicj on Mon Dec 21, 2015 4:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.

magicj
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Re: Is there much to do in Tampa, FL

Post by magicj » Mon Dec 21, 2015 4:13 pm

And to add to it, pick a good hotel/rental house spot. On the beach/close to the beach or in downtown will make for a much better experience. When we take vacations, walkability is a key factor for us. The ability to not have to get in the car..

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Ice-9
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Re: Is there much to do in Tampa, FL

Post by Ice-9 » Mon Dec 21, 2015 4:21 pm

I second Clearwater Beach. But, also, if you like a smaller beach setting and don't mind a little drive, Fred Howard Park is one of my favorites. If you look it up on Google Maps and zoom in on the "Earth" (satellite) view, you'll get a good idea of what it's like.

Edit to add: If any of your group enjoy bicycling, the Pinellas Trail is very nice.

alecrr
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Re: Is there much to do in Tampa, FL

Post by alecrr » Mon Dec 21, 2015 4:50 pm

Check out the Chihuly exhibit and the Dali museum if you make it over to St Pete. The beaches there are also unbelievable, especially that time of year.

Crystal River is a great place to see Manatees as well. It makes for a good day trip if you're up for the drive.

niceguy7376
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Re: Is there much to do in Tampa, FL

Post by niceguy7376 » Mon Dec 21, 2015 4:53 pm

I love to watch movies at the IMAX in MOSI. It has a curved screen that is of nearly 3+ floors height.

jerryk68
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Re: Is there much to do in Tampa, FL

Post by jerryk68 » Mon Dec 21, 2015 5:23 pm

Spring training games start on February 28th. There are also games on the 29th.

http://www.springtrainingonline.com/fea ... hedule.htm

http://www.floridagrapefruitleague.com/

Gill
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Re: Is there much to do in Tampa, FL

Post by Gill » Mon Dec 21, 2015 5:40 pm

Implicit in most of the responses you've received is that not many vacationers stay in Tampa which is much like any big city. The more desirable resort areas are close by in St. Pete, Clearwater and the other beach towns.
Gill

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tennisplyr
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Re: Is there much to do in Tampa, FL

Post by tennisplyr » Mon Dec 21, 2015 5:49 pm

Those who move forward with a happy spirit will find that things always work out.

zeep
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Re: Is there much to do in Tampa, FL

Post by zeep » Mon Dec 21, 2015 6:37 pm

The Dali Museum in St. Pete is great. The whimsical collection is a lot of fun, even for folks who don't normally care much for art museums.

jjdubbles
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Re: Is there much to do in Tampa, FL

Post by jjdubbles » Tue Dec 22, 2015 7:50 am

I grew up in Clearwater (across the Bay from Tampa), and as many others recommended I'd highly suggest spending a day out on Clearwater Beach. It's a very wide beach with powder white sand, and lots of great restaurants / bars. You can also boogie board (waves are fairly small though), parasail or rent jet skis. If you are looking for a beach that is a bit remote, take the ferry from Honeymoon Island in Dunedin out to Caladesi Island (it's about a ten minute ride). Caladesi is absolutely gorgeous and will be a lot less crowded than Clearwater Beach. You can also rent kayaks on the Dunedin Causeway and kayak out to Caladesi.

There are also some great fishing spots around the Bay Area. Depending on the time of year, there is amazing red fish and snook fishing. It's a bit expensive, but you should consider chartering a fishing boat for half a day, and having a local fisherman take you out to some good spots.

I'd also suggest going to a Lightning game... I'm a bit biased, but I think that the NHL fan experience at Amalie Arena is one of the best in the four major sports. Head to downtown and hit up one of the several sports bars for a pre-game (and post-game) party.

I'd recommend staying away from Tropicana Field and the Rays.... while I root for them, the baseball experience at the Trop isn't that great (I've been to 8-10 major league stadiums and Tropicana Field is certainly at the bottom of the list).

In regard to nightlife, spend some time at the bars in South Tampa / Hyde Park area. Lots of great options with many young professionals.

Hawkeye_Saver
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Re: Is there much to do in Tampa, FL

Post by Hawkeye_Saver » Tue Dec 22, 2015 8:19 am

Thanks everyone. We've found a hotel on Clearwater Beach next to a jet ski rental/parasailing place. I'll look into the other suggestions mentioned. Much appreciated. :sharebeer

Gary Guss
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Re: Is there much to do in Tampa, FL

Post by Gary Guss » Tue Dec 22, 2015 8:24 am

Just for fun, go to Tarpon Springs and see the sponge docks..touristy thing to do, but great greek food and fun to wander around

Placenshow
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Re: Is there much to do in Tampa, FL

Post by Placenshow » Tue Dec 22, 2015 8:40 am

John's Pass on Madeira Beach is another fun option with plenty of shops to visit, restaurants, and a boardwalk.

Another favorite of mine.....Derby Lane Dog Track. Go in the evening when it is a bit cooler.

kenner
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Re: Is there much to do in Tampa, FL

Post by kenner » Tue Dec 22, 2015 8:43 am

If you save a night for world-class dining (relatively casual wear is fine), Bern's Steakhouse in Tampa is excellent. US Presidents often go there when they're in town. Great food, one of the largest wine cellars anywhere on the planet.

http://www.bernssteakhouse.com/

Very fair prices, relatively casual. Must call way ahead of time for reservations.

Ybor City (downtown Tampa) for casual nightlife.

Enjoy your trip.

tony44
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Re: Is there much to do in Tampa, FL

Post by tony44 » Tue Dec 22, 2015 9:53 am

Downtown Tampa is awesome. Walk the Riverwalk and stop at Ulele Restaurant. Cross the Kennedy Blvd bridge and visit U. Tampa, especially Plant Hall. Walk over to the Convention Center and possibly take in a NHL hock game. Then hop the trolly to Ybor City for a Cuban Sandwich and a brew. Another must see is the Tampa Theater. Also head over to Soho for some nightlife. I love Tampa.

tony44
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Re: Is there much to do in Tampa, FL

Post by tony44 » Tue Dec 22, 2015 9:54 am

Sorry for the duplicate

skepticalobserver
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Re: Is there much to do in Tampa, FL

Post by skepticalobserver » Tue Dec 22, 2015 10:06 am

If you like swimming when you're in St Pete check out the North Shore Pool (http://www.stpeteparksrec.org/north-sho ... mplex.html). They have 25 and 50 meter pools. My recollection from a number of years ago is that the locker rooms were spartan.

Also, I had forgotten my goggles but found that I didn't need them because (multiple choice): the pool was lightly chlorinated or the chlorine dissipated in the atmosphere (the pools are outdoors) or some other chemical was used to kill off the whatever-stuff.

MrNewEngland
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Re: Is there much to do in Tampa, FL

Post by MrNewEngland » Tue Dec 22, 2015 6:15 pm

I absolutely love Tampa and St. Pete. The water is clear, the sand is soft, and it's warm. You can easily waste the whole trip just hanging out on the beach. But if you're trying to do other stuff I'll second the idea of going to Ybor City. It's a really cool area in Tampa that's a lot of fun if you like bars.

There's a day excursion that I've actually done twice now that is really worth it. There's a small island called Egmont Key just south of Tampa. You buy a package and take a boat ride out to it. You'll snorkel for a while over old ruins and have some time to walk around the island and explore old forts. Totally worth it.

I've caught a couple Rays games too. I love baseball and while I hate domes - it was nice to be out of the sun one of the days I went. I had a bit of a sunburn.

dowse
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Re: Is there much to do in Tampa, FL

Post by dowse » Tue Dec 22, 2015 6:30 pm

Agree with those who have suggested the museum in St. Pete with the Chihuly exhibit. Also agree on Clearwater Beach. For great Cuban cuisine, try the Columbia restaurant. The one in Clearwater Beach has a great view. The one in Ybor City (original) offers the unique experience of a Flamenco Dance show. Have the Spanish bean soup. Have the Cava Sangria.

radiowave
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Re: Is there much to do in Tampa, FL

Post by radiowave » Tue Dec 22, 2015 7:22 pm

One other beach to consider, Caldesi Island, it's deserted but you can either take the ferry across from Honeymoon Island state park (Dunedin) or rent a kayak on the causeway just west of 19A (basically just take Curlew due west cross 19A and about 1.5 miles on your left). you have to cross a busy waterway to get over the Caldesi but you also have the option of paddling through the mangrove forest.

One other possible beach is Ft Desoto at the very southern end of Pinellas Co. just before you go over the big bridge.

Have a great trip.
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dowse
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Re: Is there much to do in Tampa, FL

Post by dowse » Wed Dec 23, 2015 12:23 am

Also agree on Caledesi Is. Beautiful beaches out there. Watch out though - a few years ago, I was ready to sink my teeth into a nice Cuban sandwich I had brought with me for lunch when a clever seagull swooped down from behind and swiped it right out of my hand! Had to settle for a hot dog.

HIinvestor
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Re: Is there much to do in Tampa, FL

Post by HIinvestor » Wed Dec 23, 2015 5:06 pm

We were in Tampa for 6 days for meetings. We rented a car for one day and drove to Orlando to enjoy Epcot for a day. It was fun, but 2 hour drive each way. We also toured the Platt Museum, which is part of the U of Tampa. We found it more interesting than Riverwalk, which us not continuous in parts.

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tennisplyr
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Re: Is there much to do in Tampa, FL

Post by tennisplyr » Thu Dec 24, 2015 10:58 am

If you feel like driving south to Sarasota (it's less than an hour), there are good things to do. Siesta Key beach (rated #1 in USA) is nice, Ringling Museums, Armond Circle and lots of good places to eat.
Those who move forward with a happy spirit will find that things always work out.

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