Downtown Tampa is known for its vibrant nightlife, family-friendly entertainment, a beautiful waterfront, and award-winning parks. Whatever the age or budget, Downtown Tampa offers visitors a lot to see and do.
If you’re planning an upcoming vacation in this amazing place, make sure to write a list of Downtown Tampa things to do so you don’t miss anything when you get here. Let’s get started!
Cool Things to Do in Downtown Tampa
#1: Catch a Show at the Straz Center
Whether you’re into Broadway shows or rock concerts, there’s a show at the Straz Center for the Performing Arts that will leave you breathless.
This 335,000-square-foot performing arts center is known for premiering shows intended for Broadway, so there’s a possibility that a show that would end up making it to Broadway. And you were one of those who watched it first!
#2: Visit the Tampa Museum of Art
Located in the heart of Downtown Tampa, the museum houses one of the largest Greek and Roman antiquities collections in the southeastern United States, among a permanent collection of sculpture, photography, painting, new media, and more.
#3: Sample House Specialties at a Dunedin Food Tour
Join a walking food tour and experience Dunedin’s favorite independent eateries and craft breweries as you enjoy the views of this town and learn its story. This three-hour tour is truly a wonderful cultural experience and should be included in your Tampa Downtown things to do.
#4: Take a Walk Through Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park
The 8-acre Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park features a unique urban design and sustainable construction. It’s a great place to stroll around and enjoy some fresh air, have the kids have fun and cool off at the splash pads, or take your dog for a trip to the park.
#5: Shop ‘Til You Drop!
Go on a retail trip along upscale shops, malls, outdoor shopping, and markets. Hyde Park Village is a stylish open-air complex with higher-end retailers, restaurants, bars, and a movie theater. And if you want to buy Tampa-themed memorabilia and apparel, the place to go to is Unlock Tampa Bay Visitors Center.
#6: Experience the Cocktail Scene
Tequila’s, located in the heart of Ybor City, serves drinks in two full bars under the stars. It’s one of the best downtown Tampa bars, featuring over 100 tequilas hailing from all over the world, so be sure to add this to your list of downtown things to do in Tampa, Florida.
The Sail Pavilion, a hidden gem in the heart of the Channelside District, is Tampa’s only 360-degree open-air waterfront bar. Enjoy your drinks with fantastic water views and live music on the weekends.
Things to Do in Downtown Tampa in Summer
#7: Swim in One of the Many Nearby Natural Springs
From Weeki Wachee to Ichetucknee to Madison Blue State Park, there are lots of options you can choose from when deciding which nearby natural spring to cool off at. So, grab some floaties and head to one of these spots with your family or friends!
#8: Spot Some Gators at Lettuce Lake
Stroll the 3,500-foot boardwalk through a hardwood swamp, then climb a 3-story observation tower overseeing the swamp and the Hillsborough River. This 240-acre Hillsborough County park also features picnic and playground areas and a 1.25-mile paved exercise trail.
#9: Kayak Through a Mangrove Tunnel at Shell Key
Shell Key’s mangrove-lined coast is a bird sanctuary, home to Great Blue Herons, pink Roseate Spoonbills, and Anhingas that will swim right beside your kayak!
#10: Pick Some Berries and Taste the Wine at Keel Farms
Explore the 25-acre farm, say hi to the animals, learn about their operations, and take a scenic walk through the blueberry fields at Keel Farms. They also offer a Keel and Curley Winery tour with a wine tasting that lets you enjoy eight of their award-winning wines made fresh from the farm!
#11: Take a Day Trip on the Brew Bus
Board the Brew Bus and take a day trip to the local breweries in Tampa Bay. There are public bus tours that run on specific routes and schedules, or you can book a private tour that you can customize.
#12: Visit a Beachside Restaurant
When it comes to excellent beachside restaurants Downtown Tampa has got you covered! PCI Beach Bar & Snack Shack, Whiskey Joe’s Bar & Grill, Whiskey Joe’s Bar & Grill, Coconut Charlie’s Beach Bar and Grill, Palm Pavilion Beachside Grill & Bar, and Hurricane Seafood Restaurant – are just some of the food spots you’ll find by the beach.
Things to Do in Downtown Tampa with the Family
#13: See Mermaids at Weeki Wachee Spring
Kids are thrilled to see live mermaids in this enchanted spring, but there’s more to enjoy at Weeki Wachee Springs State Park. Take a trip on a riverboat cruise, swim in the pristine waters at Buccaneer Bay, or go on a paddling adventure down the waterway of the Weeki Wachee River.
#14: Ride a Ferry to Egmont Key State Park
Going to Egmont Key State Park from Fort De Soto aboard the Hubbard’s Ferry is a 60-minute ride that offers excellent chances to spot dolphins, sea turtles, and manatees! Once on the island, your family will have much fun shelling, swimming, and playing beach games in the sun.
#15: Tour the Downtown Tampa on the Pirate Water Taxi
Hop on and off the Pirate Water Taxi as you tour the restaurants, museums, parks, and attractions in Downtown Tampa. It’s a hassle-free way to sample several different areas with the whole family.
#16: Hike the Treetop Canopy at Myakka River State Park
There are so many fun activities at Myakka River State Park, such as fishing, kayaking, canoeing, hiking, geo-seeking, wildlife viewing, horseback riding, paddling, boating, birding, boat tours, and bicycling. You can visit for the day or stay overnight and camp.
Things to Do in Downtown Tampa at Night
#17: Enjoy Hand-Crafted Beers at Cigar City Brewing
One of the best things to do in Downtown Tampa at night is checking what’s on tap in Cigar City Brewing’s large, comfortable tasting room. The undisputed leader among Tampa’s craft breweries, CCB is a great place to gather with friends as you explore the diverse selection of highly rated brews, seasonal ales, and stouts.
#18: Try Your Luck at Tampa's Seminole Hard Rock Casino
One of the biggest casinos in the country, with over 200,00 square feet of gaming space, the Hardrock Casino has more than 5,000 Vegas-style slot machines and over 175 table games. Don’t forget to take a break and check out the world-class restaurants and live music venues inside the casino.
#19: Have a Few Laughs at Tampa Improv Comedy Club
Tampa Improv, located in the Ybor City historic district, is a premier comedy club that launched the careers of countless famous comedians like Jerry Seinfeld, David Spade, and Bette Midler. Come here to have a great time and eat great food. This is definitely one of the best Downtown Tampa things to do at night.
#20: Enjoy the Live Music at the “Skipperdome”
This legendary local hangout, Skipper’s Smokehouse, draws a faithful crowd of regulars because of the top musical acts that entertain with rock, soul, jazz, zydeco, blues, ska, and reggae under the stars. But, aside from the music, this place serves mouthwatering traditional Florida delicacies like ‘gator ribs and smoked mullet.
The things you can do and places you can explore in Downtown Tampa are endless! And this is why so many of those who have come here for a short visit have decided to move here and buy their home.
If you’d like to know your home options in Tampa, FL, I can help! You can give me a call at
(813) 789-2096 or email Realtor@EllenZusman.com so we can schedule a meeting.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the best places to eat in Downtown Tampa?
There are so many great places to eat in Downtown Tampa, but here are some of our top recommendations: Ulele, Oxford Exchange, Columbia Café, and Mise en Place.
What are the best places to shop in Downtown Tampa?
Some of the best shopping venues are Don Me Now, Joyful Notion, Maven Designs, Duckweed Urban Grocery & Liquors, and Publix Greenwise Market.
What are the best places to see live music in Downtown Tampa?
There’s Skipper’s Smokehouse, CW’s Gin Joint, Yeoman’s Cask & Lion, Dio Modern Mediterranean, Spain Restaurant & Toma Bar, The Sail, and Columbia Café.
What are the best places for nightlife in Downtown Tampa?
The best spots to enjoy the nightlife in Downtown Tampa are: Hotel Barn, Yeoman’s
Hattrick’s, The Sail, Anchor Barn, Gin Joint, and Taps.