For many, weekends are a time to relax and enjoy all that their city has to offer. For us? We often find that there is so much to do and take in throughout our beautiful region, we can’t fit it all in on our days off.
Arts From photography to glass sculptures, our diverse art offerings rival major cities across the globe.
Along the Hillsborough River in the Tampa River Arts District sit the Tampa Museum of Art and the Florida Museum of Photographic Arts. The award-winning Tampa Museum of Art is the region’s largest museum dedicated to modern and contemporary art. The Florida Museum of Photographic Arts contains permanent collections, pieces from local community organizations, and traveling exhibits.
The Tampa River Arts District is also home to one of the country’s highest-rated outdoor fine art and fine craft shows, the Gasparilla Festival of the Arts. Every spring, roughly 300 talented artists are hand selected from an entry pool of more than 1,000 to showcase their works for the public.
Downtown St. Petersburg also hosts several art museums that have landed the city as a top destination for art, according to AmericanStyle Magazine.
The Chihuly Collection presented by The Morean Arts Center is a permanent display of world-renowned glass sculptor Dale Chihuly’s work. Also on Beach Drive is the Museum of Fine Arts, the only comprehensive art collection of its kind on Florida’s west coast.
The Dali Museum is home to the largest assortment of Salvador Dali’s works, outside of Europe. Not only does the location boast 7 of his 18 masterwork pieces, but a one-of-a-kind building structure and three beautiful Avant-gardens round out the unique location.
Music, Film & Theatre
Our music, film and theatre scene make Tampa Bay the perfect location for musicians, filmmakers, actors, and fans alike.
The largest facility of its kind in the southeastern United States, the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts brings new artists and commercial blockbusters under one roof. The Straz Center also houses the only accredited performing arts school in the region, the Patel Conservatory. Ruth Eckerd Hall and the Mahaffey Theater host Broadway shows, comedians, family-friendly shows, and the Florida Orchestra across the Bay in Pinellas County.
In the heart of downtown, the Amalie Arena is our go-to center for live music and entertainment. Offering more than 150 events every year, we have enjoyed top concerts such as U2 and The Rolling Stones and traveling events like Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus there.
Live music venues like The Ritz Ybor, Jannus Live, and the MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre at the Florida State Fairgrounds sell out for big-name artists and music festivals throughout the year. During the spring, local acts and national headliners take the stage at Gasparilla Music Festival.
Following the weekend-long music festival, Gasparilla International Film Festival offers movie fans the opportunity to view films from a variety of genres as well as interact with and learn from filmmakers and actors. Often a host to films during GIFF, the Tampa Theatre remains an iconic venue for cinema locally and around the world. Rated one of the 10 best movie venues in the world by MPAA’s TheCredits.org, the Tampa Theatre shows classics in addition to modern box office hits.
Nightlife & Dining
Critically-acclaimed restaurants, breweries, clubs, bars, and the sixth largest casino in the world make up the fantastic lineup of our nightlife and dining features.
Dining options run the gamut from no-frills dives to top-rated, award-winning steakhouses and eateries. Whether it’s Cuban, Italian, Indian or Southern cuisine, we have the restaurants to satisfy your taste buds. Local fixtures The Refinery, Bern’s Steak House, SideBerns, and Columbia Restaurant have all been nominated as semifinalists for the national James Beard Foundation Awards. USA Today has also profiled our eclectic mix of restaurants, highlighting the top foodie recommendations, including Mise en Place and the now regional staple that started as a food truck, Taco Bus.
The food truck scene in Tampa Bay is unlike any other. We proudly hold the Guinness World Record for the world’s largest food truck gathering. Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn also hosts monthly food truck rallies in downtown, and food trucks have become regulars at outdoor markets, festivals, and events.
Craft breweries are also popping up all over town these days. Named a top five craft brewery in the United States, Cigar City Brewing draws on the area’s brewing history dating back to the 1890s. St. Petersburg and the surrounding areas also offer a wide array of breweries, such as 3 Daughters Brewing and Green Bench Brewing Company.
For nightlife activities, join us in areas like South Tampa and Ybor City, home to popular bars and clubs. Just a short drive from downtown, the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino offers table games, high-stakes poker, slot machines as well as a full-service spa, bars, and musical entertainment.
Tampa Bay offers world-class attractions for all ages, from wild animal adventures to festivals dedicated to one of our most beloved fruits.
At Busch Gardens, we get up close and personal with exotic animals from all over the world before taking thrilling rides on top-rated roller coasters Cheetah Hunt and SheiKra. The Museum of Science & Industry, MOSI, is the largest science center in the southeastern U.S. with over 450 hands-on activities and traveling exhibits, including MythBusters and BODIES The Exhibition.
Just a few miles down the road is Lowry Park Zoo, the top-rated zoo in the country according to Parents and Child magazines. With over 1,500 animals and interactive exhibits, the zoo stands as an educational and entertainment landmark in our community.
Downtown Tampa boasts a variety of attractions as well, including the Glazer Children’s Museum and the Florida Aquarium, rated one of TripAdvisor’s Top 10 U.S. Aquariums. Nestled in the heart of the University of Tampa’s campus, the Henry B. Plant Museum offers visitors a look at the preserved architectural details of what was once the Tampa Bay Hotel during the 19th century.
Across the Bay sits a multitude of activities among the beautiful Florida beaches, including the Clearwater Marine Aquarium. The nonprofit dedicated to the rescue, rehabilitation, and release of marine life is home to Winter, the dolphin who inspired the true story behind Dolphin Tale, as well as sea turtles, river otters, and sharks.
Once a year, we fall under the attack of pirates during Gasparilla Pirate Fest. At the Children’s Gasparilla Extravaganza, pirates invade iconic Bayshore Boulevard in a family-friendly parade, while the following Gasparilla Pirate Fest’s giant party shuts down Bayshore Boulevard for a parade that rivals Mardi Gras.
With mild temperatures year round, we are able to host a multitude of outdoor events, festivals, and fairs. In early spring, Plant City hosts the annual Florida Strawberry Festival, which began in 1930. In addition to headline concerts, midway rides, and traditional fair food, thousands of visitors flock to the festival to enjoy Plant City’s world-famous strawberries. Food and wine events highlighting local cuisine as well as events and festivals on the sandy beaches fill out the area’s calendar of must-see events.