Visiting Tampa Bay: Where to Eat, Stay and Play

January 11, 2023

Home to breathtaking sunsets, stunning beaches, world-class amusement parks and unique cultural experiences, Tampa Bay is a desirable destination for vacationers and locals alike. The city's location on the Florida peninsula provides a plethora of outdoor activities such as fishing, boating and swimming with the perfect mix of historic neighborhoods, parks and preserves for people of all ages and interests to explore. 

Whether visiting Tampa Bay for a weekend getaway or enjoying life as a coastal city resident, our local Tampa PR and digital marketing team is sharing a few of the top spots to eat, stay and play. From a gathering place that exudes the charm of the libraries and shops of London to one of the largest casinos in the U.S., the Bolt PR agency Gulf Coast professionals have a few tips on how to vacation where they live. 

Things to Do in Tampa

1. Armature Works

If you’re wondering where to eat in Tampa, look no further than Armature Works. Bringing a new level of vibrancy to the Tampa Heights Historic District, Armature Works is a mixed-use building that overlooks the Hillsborough River. Featuring eateries, creative event spaces and Heights Public Market, it’s hard to imagine that the restored historic space was once the streetcar warehouse for the city’s electric company in the early 1900s. The structure that served as the hub of surrounding neighborhoods is now the 73,000 square foot modernized centerpiece of the waterfront community where patrons can enjoy unobstructed river views, innovative dining, live entertainment and more.

2. Hunger Thirst Group

For a guaranteed good time in the Tampa area, Hunger Thirst Group is a must-do on the “where to eat” list. With seven fan-favorite locations offering creative food and drinks, the atmosphere of each destination revolves around having fun in a uniquely themed space and ambiance. What do we mean? Well, let’s start with the Avenue, or as locals call it, “The Ave,” which boasts 50 TVs with indoor and outdoor space for the ultimate game-viewing experience. Next up, let’s step into the tropical beach-like hangout of No Vacancy where local draft beers, tropical cocktails and delicious bites await. Now, to a former local laundromat turned hip cafe – Dirty Laundry has all the speakeasy vibes with a secret entrance through a vintage washing machine door, and if the Ybor City cigar factories inspiration wasn’t enough, the hot pressed Cuban or cafe con leche will perk you up. Find the full list of Hunger Thirst Group locations on their website.

3. Oxford Commons

A hospitality company with true charm, history and curation, Oxford Commons is a Tampa Bay staple. Their flagship brand, Oxford Exchange, is a place where true community takes place amidst a collection of ideas. Beautifully inspired by London’s iconic libraries and shops, Tampa holds a slice of this charming history where Afternoon Tea occurs every Sunday and The Champagne Bar is dripping in texture and flavor. From the restaurant to the bookstore, Oxford Exchange is a true experience to be had. Included in Oxford Commons’ family of brands is The Library, The Stovall House, The Current Hotel, Oxford Design Studio, Oxford Creative Studio, and Predalina – all must-visit destinations in the Tampa area.

4. The Florida Aquarium


Dive into a world of sea life adventure at The Florida Aquarium, located in downtown Tampa in the Channelside District.  The amazing aquarium habitats range from the Wetlands of Florida where alligators, river otters, birds, turtles and more roam amongst the mangrove trees that have grown in the Aquarium since 1995, to the Coral Reef habitat where tiger sharks, Atlantic stingrays and other reef dwelling creatures live. With awe-inspiring exhibits and educational opportunities, there’s much to do at The Florida Aquarium. Not only does the Aquarium serve as a thrilling educational experience, but their team focuses on conservation efforts in areas such as coral reef, sea turtle, imperiled wildlife, and mission-focused research programs.

5. Tampa Bay Rowdies

When you're looking for fun activities in Tampa, here’s a GOAL! Boasting the title as the first professional sports franchise in the area, the Tampa Bay Rowdies professional soccer team was established in 1975 – the same year they won the NASL Soccer Bowl championship. The team plays in Al Lang Stadium in downtown St. Petersburg, and it was acquired by the Tampa Bay Rays Major League Baseball club in 2018, uniting two professional sports franchises in the Tampa Bay area. Fans can purchase single game tickets or season tickets to enjoy nail-biting matches in a location that’s in the heart of dining, shopping and water sports action.

6. Epicurean Hotel

Nestled in South Tampa’s bustling Soho District, Epicurean Hotel is amidst the city’s best boutiques and innovative dining options. With 137 guest rooms and suites, this Tampa hotel is dripping in urban chic style with the comfort that Marriott Autograph Collection Hotels guests have come to expect. A stay at Epicurean is a full experience, awakening the senses – with a rooftop cocktail lounge that overlooks Tampa’s skyline and Élevage Soho Kitchen & Bar, there’s something to satisfy every palate. 

7. Cigar City Brewing

For high-quality ales and lagers, visit Cigar City Brewing. Its flagship ale, Jai Alai India Pale Ale, is a nod to the game of Jai Alai that originated in the Basque region of Spain and came to Florida in the 1920s. Staying true to the citrusy flavors of Florida, Cigar City Brewing produces year-round favorites, such as Florida Man Double India Pale Ale, Guayabera Citra Pale Ale, Fancy Papers Hazy IPA, and more. And staying connected to the tight-knit community, the brewery teamed up with the iconic Tampa Bay Lightning to brew the special release, High Boltage, and one of their three locations is in Thunder Alley at AMALIE Arena, where fans can grab a brew and take it into the hockey arena.

8. Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tampa

World-class entertainment, award-winning restaurants and one of the largest casinos in the country are found in this AAA Four-Diamond rated hotel. Featuring over 5,000 Vegas-style slots and live-action table games within its 245,000 square-feet of gaming space, Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tampa offers guests an exciting experience. In addition to the gaming action, guests can enjoy exceptional dining options, live entertainment, and luxurious hotel accommodations. With world-class amenities, such as contemporary pools and cabanas, ultimate pampering and relaxation at Rock Spa® & Salon, and on-site shopping, there is something for everyone at this vibrant hotel and casino.

9. Sparkman Wharf

Sparkman Wharf is a waterfront cultural destination situated in the heart of downtown Tampa. Part of full-service commercial real estate development firm Strategic Property Partners’ Water Street Tampa project, Sparkman Wharf is a vibrant piece to this outdoor community. Located on the Hillsborough River, this exciting new waterfront project offers something for everyone. With an impressive selection of restaurants, retail shops and loft-style office space, Sparkman Wharf provides an abundance of options within walking distance as well as a recreational lawn for both live events and relaxing days in the sunshine.

10. The Tampa EDITION

With a prime location in the Water Street Tampa neighborhood, The Tampa EDITION is a luxury hotel designed by New York-based Morris Adjmi Architects with interiors designed by Roman and Williams, offering guests unparalleled service and stunning views. The 172 guest rooms and suites, including one modernly adorned penthouse suite, feature luxurious amenities such as floor to ceiling windows with beautiful views of Tampa. Guests can also enjoy a variety of onsite amenities such as a full-service spa, 24-hour fitness center and an outdoor pool that transforms into a vibrant cocktail lounge on the weekends.

With this list of places to ‘take on’ in Tampa Bay, all that’s left to do is pack your sandals and sunnies and enjoy the destination that makes everything a bit brighter. From sampling a local beer bursting with Florida flavor, to catching a soccer match, our Bolt PR Tampa Bay team loves where they live and invites you to experience Tampa Bay the local way.

If you’re a business in the Tampa area, or anywhere across the country, our public relations, digital marketing and content development agency is serious about immersing in a brand and its audience – tapping into the local community and beyond – to create compelling narratives that drive results. Talk to our team of experts to see how we can charge toward your business goals together. 

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