South Tampa, Florida, actually got off to a pretty inauspicious start – and almost didn’t at all.
For one thing, South Tampa hasn’t been around all that long, having been developed in earnest only about 100 years ago around the turn of the twentieth century. And the reason it wasn’t developed until then is that the area was considered uninhabitable.
“No one had any plans to develop it because it was considered to be uninhabitable. There was too much brush, and the cost to clear it all would be monumental. However, a few investors, mainly the Mabry family, purchased the land in hopes of convincing people to reside there. Originally named ‘Beach Park by the Bay,’ they hoped people wouldn’t mind that the city was nearly empty.”
But South Tampa has come a long way since then.
It is now considered one of the best places to live in Florida. And it is also known for its attractions and points of interest – think “Bayshore Boulevard, which is home to the longest continuous sidewalk in the world.”
So let’s take a look at some of the points of interest in South Tampa that make it a great place both to live and to visit.
South Tampa Shopping
South Tampa is known for shopping – the sheer number of places to shop and the dizzying variety available. But the real shopping stand-outs are the many boutiques where you can find the latest fashion trends, locally made goods, vintage treasures, and unique gifts.
These examples will give you a good idea of what we mean . . .
This “is a trendy clothing boutique with styles for every occasion from dress-up date nights to beach vacation swimwear. They have upscale to basic styles in addition to delicate jewelry pieces, chic accessories and shoes. The best part about fab’rik? The prices are super reasonable for the quality, so you don’t have to sacrifice breaking the bank here!”
Hazel and Dot
Said to be “one of the best go-to gift stores in South Tampa,” Hazel and Dot “stocks home décor, accessories, local art, and so much more.” They also support the community by selling creations from local artists.
Canvas Fashion Gallery
Hyde Park’s Canvas Fashion Gallery is a boutique where trendy intersects with classic. They offer an array of outstanding styles, from “occasion formal attire to everyday basics,” and the attentive staff make your shopping experience highly enjoyable.
South Tampa Neighborhoods
When you get right down to it, though, the neighborhoods are the real points of interest in South Tampa. But Hyde Park probably outshines them all.
Hyde Park is a renowned historic neighborhood with “the perfect mix of an urban lifestyle and picturesque grandeur.” It offers “shopping and entertainment in the midst of some of the most gorgeous homes in the entire Tampa Bay area.”
Hyde Park was first developed in 1886 by O.H. Platt who named it after his Illinois hometown. The neighborhood really took off after construction of the Hillsborough Bridge by Henry B. Plant as a means to draw visitors to Plant’s Tampa Bay Hotel. Over the following decades, continue to expand and became one of the most popular areas.
One of the notable glories of Hyde park is its custom homes. It has been called “one of the best custom home neighborhoods in Tampa Bay, due to the convenience and luxury of living near premium shopping, dining, and entertainment, as well as the gorgeous and upscale home designs that are found in the neighborhood.”
Architectural styles include “the simple and harmonious Craftsman style, the symmetrical and classic Colonial Revival style, and the more contemporary and eclectic Vernacular style. Specific home types vary from bungalows to mansions, single-family homes to condominiums.”
The other main draws in Hyde Park are its “variety of high-end shopping, dining, culture,” for example . . .
Hyde Park Cafe
This is not the quiet, homey place the name seems to suggest. Rather, Hyde Park Cafe is “one of the hottest party scenes in Tampa,” offering three different areas with distinct atmospheres, namely, Wally & Bernies, Cafe Courtyard, and Velociti. A VIP Bottle Service is available, and a dress code is enforced.
Hyde Park Village
“[O]ne of the tops shopping malls in the entire Tampa region, Hyde Park Village features “organic food, local stores, and Farmer Markets on the first Sunday of every month!” It also hosts outdoor concerts and other events that appeal to both residents and tourists. And the best part is that Hyde Park Village is an open-air mall where you can enjoy the refreshing breeze “while checking out some of the best retail opportunities Florida has to offer.”
Big Cat Rescue
The world’s largest cat rescue, Big Cat Rescue takes “care of abused large cats and give them a safe, loving environment, helping animals like tigers, lions, black panthers, leopards, and more!” Besides doing this valuable rescue work, Big Cat Rescue “promotes awareness of animal abuse and proper care.” If you want to tour the facility, be sure to book online ahead of time as space is limited.
Bayshore Homes of Note
And then there’s Bayshore Boulevard. Its first claim to fame is the sidewalk – the second-longest continuous sidewalk in the United States.
Its second claim to fame (though a very close second) is the iconic, highly desired homes. “Their typical acreage – huge by South Tampa standards – has given designers and builders the ﬂexibility to build homes in any number of styles, from sprawling two-story traditional mansions with wide front porches to contemporary West Indies-style homes. But homes on the street are up for sale infrequently, maintaining Bayshore’s elusiveness – and thus, its allure – for so many.”
Let’s take a look at a couple of prominent examples . . .
One of the newer Bayshore homes, 4613 is a “coastal-inspired West Indies property,” which was in fact designed so as to complement Bayshore. The home is constructed in an L shape, and window placement allows a view of Hillsborough Bay from “any point inside or outside. The highlight of the home is the resort-like backyard, which features a huge covered porch, courtyard pool and spa, kitchen, and living and dining area,” as well as a five-car garage.
This home was built in 1986 by Paul Revere Kickliter, a “former state senator, judge and rancher” (who is reputed to have ridden an ox from his Central Florida property the house). “[t]his Charleston-style house is set back from the street on nearly half an acre of land. . . . The inside is full of custom millwork and woodwork, from plank walnut ﬂoors to unique ceilings and built-in wood cabinetry. Outside, the pool and covered lanai sit beside the front of the home with clear views of the downtown skyline and Davis Islands.”
Your Next Move?
As you can see, then, South Tampa is now a far cry from its former “uninhabitable” self. Now it is, simply put, a great place to live with a lot to offer.
But the better homes are often hard to come by. So if you’re considering making the move, be sure to contact a premier Tampa agent.