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 Raymond James Gasparilla Festival of the Arts. Every spring, hundreds of talented artists from around the country and abroad are hand selected to showcase their work to nearly 100,000 art enthusiasts during the weekend-long festival.
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 highly acclaimed Broadway productions, such as the Tony award-winning blockbuster musical Hamilton. 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 James Taylor and Justin Timberlake and traveling events like the critically acclaimed Game of Thrones® Live Concert Experience.
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 indie films and 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, Haven, 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.
In addition to the robust restaurant scene, Tampa has an active street food scene with regular food-themed festivals and food truck rallies held outside in public parks and on the riverfront. Tampa also has not one but two popular food halls in the Heights neighborhood just north of downtown Tampa. Armature Works is a fully restored mixed-use building that breathed new life into a historic structure on the Hillsborough River. It boasts private event venues, co-working space and innovative eateries in the Heights Public Market. The Hall on Franklin is a European-inspired food hall featuring seven diverse food culinary experts collected under one roof.
Tampa is a top-notch craft beer destination on par with the likes of Denver and San Diego. The Daily Meal included Tampa on its list of “25 Cities for Beer Lovers” and Fortune named Tampa among its list of “America’s 10 New Best Craft Beer Cities.” Cigar City Brewing most comes to mind when craft beer lovers hear Tampa, but Tampa Bay Brewing Company, Coppertail Brewing and Angry Chair Brewing are also making names for themselves. And across the Bay, St. Petersburg has its fair share of breweries, such as the highly-acclaimed Cycle Brewing, 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, or MOSI as the locals call it, is a scientific playground with more than 100 hands-on activities.
Just a few miles down the road is Zoo Tampa at Lowry Park, 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 family-fun 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 on the last two weekends of January. The Children’s Gasparilla Extravaganza, takes place first when pirates invade iconic Bayshore Boulevard for a family-friendly parade. On the following Saturday, the Gasparilla Pirate Fest’s shuts down Bayshore Boulevard for a parade that attracts 100,000 spectators and 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. Hundreds of thousands attend the 11-day festival to enjoy midway rides, fair food and shows, and live concerts featuring such headliners as Reba McEntire and Earth, Wind and Fire. But the real stars of the festival are 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.