10 Cool Things To Do in Downtown Tampa | RachelsFindings

Rachel HannahMarch 7, 2021

In the last decade Tampa, Florida has continued to become an increasingly popular city for tourism with an increase of 67%! It goes without saying that being the Super Bowl hosts and champions of 2021 only added our publicity.

A great perk I have enjoyed about Tampa is that the airport is just 10 minutes away from all the best things to do in downtown Tampa so it’s super easy to explore the city for a few hours before or after a flight. Shortly after I had moved to Florida I took a 24-hour trip from St. Pete to Tampa to watch the Superbowl and I learned there were a lot of things to do in downtown Tampa in that timeframe.

My Findings Fact: Did you know Tampa is within range of over a dozen gulf coast beaches all under an hour away?

10 Things to do in Downtown Tampa

1. Sparkman Wharf

Sparkman Wharf sign

The Sparkman Wharf is a modern outdoor courtyard with restaurants and shops on the east side of downtown Tampa. It has a diverse group of restaurants ranging from casual, grab-and-go, and upscale. The Wharf makes for a great stop when you’re on a time crunch because you can do so much all in one place! I’ve heard rave reviews about Jeni’s ice cream so don’t miss out on grabbing a scoop.

2. Have Lunch at Jotoro Kitchen & Tequila Bar in Sparkman Wharf

Inside Jotoro Kitchen & Tequila Bar in Sparkman Wharf

While in Sparkman Wharf grab some lunch at Jortoro’s. Food in downtown Tampa, like any major city, can be quite pricey, but this place is pretty reasonable! The portion size of the burrito was satisfactory, plus free chips and salsa always put me in a good mood. Although I’m particular about Mexican food, this spot was above average, and the service on a busy game day was exceptional!

3. Grab Cocktails From Rivers Edge Overlooking the Riverwalk

Sheraton Tampa Hotel Bar in Tampa, Florida

Rivers Edge is a bar & restaurant which is a part of the Sheraton Riverwalk Hotel in downtown Tampa. As the name suggests it’s located right on the Hillsborough River and connected to the Tampa River Walk. You can enter directly from the river walk or from the street, there’s no need to enter into the hotel lobby.

My boyfriend and I ended up here as a last resort to watch the Super Bowl… we couldn’t find anywhere else that wasn’t at full capacity or that didn’t require a reservation. The Sheraton saved our night and turned into a surprise gem we never would have found unless we were desperate for a place with a TV, lol.

Not sure how lively the atmosphere would be on a normal night but if the crowd isn’t as lively you can still enjoy drinks with a view.

4. Breakfast at Attic on Kennedy for a View of Downtown Tampa

Latte in white coffee cup inside Attic Cafe in downtown Tampa, Florida

From Kennedy St., you will see signs for Attic Café which is on the 4th floor. The inside has a very industrial look with the focal point being the city views from the balcony. We came super early on a Monday morning before going back to St. Pete so there was no wait but our server told us it gets super packed at normal breakfast and lunchtimes so plan accordingly.

I really enjoyed their hazelnut latte. The lengthy menu of breakfast classics, pricing, and portion sizes reminded me of a diner. The food was nothing special but it tasted really good as we were recovering from our Superbowl victory-induced hangovers from the night before lol. So in reality, it’s the coffee and the views that are worth coming for.

City view in downtown Tampa, Florida from the 4th floor of Attic Cafe

5. Kiley Gardens

Sign of the Kiley Gardens in Tampa, Florida

Kiley Garden is easy to walk past without noticing it’s even there. What makes this spot unique is that it is elevated from the street. It’s a cool place to have a picnic, walk around, or take some pictures. It also has a view of Tampa University right across the Hillsborough River.

Rachel Hannah walking on top of cement blocks in the Tampa Kiley Gardens in Tampa, Florida

6. Tampa Riverwalk

A portion of the Tampa Riverwalk bridge in Tampa, Florida

Probably the most “touristy” place on my list, but I kinda have to include it as it is one of the main walking spots in the city. The riverwalk is 2.6 miles and the best part is that many attractions are along with it.

Where to start:

Grab lunch in Sparkman Wharf and then walk northwest which will lead you to the Tampa Convention Center which goes along the boating docks. It’s a beautiful-looking building with shade and benches for resting.

Another suggestion I heard is popular is starting at the opposite end at Armature Works and walking southeast.

7. Armature Works

Side view of Armmature Works from the outside in Tampa, Florida

Armature Works as briefly mentioned above is a hot spot to visit.

It is a large historical building with over a dozen food, drink, and dessert options to choose from including a rooftop bar and weekend farmers market. It also has a monthly event calendar and rentable event spaces.

Arial view inside the Oxford Exchange in Hyde Park Village in Tampa, Florida

8. Hyde Park Village

An upscale outdoor shopping center strip with restaurants and stores like Madewell, Anthropologie, and West Elm

Bonus Tips to Plan Your Visit to Downtown Tampa

Be Careful in Ybor City

Ybor City is not the place to wander off if you don’t know the area well. I’d stick to the busy area which is 7th Ave. There are usually people walking there all the time.

I had booked a hotel there because our Airbnb was canceled last minute by the host. One room in a sketchy area of Ybor City was all that was left for Super Bowl Sunday. As our Uber was dropping us off after the game he audibly gasped when he saw where our hotel was and he warned us to be careful. We barely slept that night and got out of there at 6 am, lol.

My Finding’s Tip: Wheather you’re just visiting or thinking about living in Tampa make sure to research the best neighborhoods in Tampa before you get serious about a place.

Downtown Tampa is not the best place for bar hopping.

As far as things to do in downtown Tampa goes, bar hopping isn’t quite what I thought it would be. I discovered this the night of the super bowl when we were trying to find a place to pre-game at. The bars are all spread out and most I entered were very dive-bar-esque with a stale atmosphere and an older crowd. They didn’t seem trendy or fun. If you want to bar hop in Tampa SOHO and Ybor are the places to go.

While planning or visiting the Tampa Bay area here are some additional posts that will be a great resource for you:

Best coffee shops in St. Pete

Best restaurants in St. Pete

Free and cheap birthday deals in Tampa Bay

Nighttime view from the Hillsborough River of the Tampa Convention Center in Tampa, Florida

Comments (15)

  • Jenny

    May 22, 2021 at 2:58 pm

    Great list. I’d love to check out the restaurants at the Sparkman Wharf and Kiley Gardens sounds like a great place for a picnic.

  • Elena Pappalardo

    May 22, 2021 at 4:31 pm

    Thanks for putting these non-touristy spots on my radar! I go to Florida every so often, so I will have to be sure to check some of these out!

  • Ophelie

    May 22, 2021 at 8:08 pm

    So great to discover this city with you! It seems that Tampa is full of good vibes!

  • Amy Aed

    May 23, 2021 at 9:40 am

    I have actually always wanted to visit Tampa! It sounds like such an interesting place, and your photos are all super pretty! One day…

  • Natalie

    May 23, 2021 at 4:11 pm

    I don’t think I’ve ever been to Tampa (definitely not as an adult), but it seems like a place worth stopping by!

  • Lindley Gallegos

    May 29, 2021 at 8:34 am

    I’ve never been, but now I want to go!! Love your photos

  • 30+ Best Free Birthday Meals in Tampa & Saint Petersburg |RF

    October 1, 2021 at 1:54 am

    […] and then McAllister’s for tea, and your free cookie. I did additional shopping/errands (here are 7+ ideas in Tampa to kill time!) and then left Tampa for downtown St Pete for my free dinner with friends at […]

  • The Best St. Pete Coffee Shops | RachelsFindings

    November 13, 2021 at 10:20 pm

    […] don’t want to drive to Tampa to try it! The first time I tried it was at the Oxford Exchange in Tampa and didn’t like it… I had to give it another shot and it was a completely different story the […]

  • Ultimate List of Parks in St. Petersburg, Florida | RachelsFindings

    December 8, 2021 at 6:21 pm

    […] Thanks for reading, and hopefully you learned about some new parks to check out all year long…. and speaking of parks, check out this riverside city park in Tampa! […]

  • The BEST St Pete Coffee Shops to Try

    July 10, 2022 at 7:21 am

    […] who live in Tampa are OBSESSED with Buddy Brew and The Libary is the best brunch / coffee shop in St Pete to go to if […]

  • 40+ Best St. Pete Restaurants For Every Occasion (+Desserts!)

    August 14, 2022 at 11:08 pm

    […] Things to do in Tampa […]

  • How to plan the BEST Bachelorette Party in Tampa Bay

    August 21, 2022 at 4:51 am

    […] Cool things to do in Tampa […]

  • https://ufaten168.store

    May 12, 2023 at 12:06 pm

    Hi colleagues, fastidious piece of writing and good arguments commented here, I am truly enjoying by these.

  • wow878.site

    May 12, 2023 at 7:12 pm

    Admiring the time and effort you put into your site
    and in depth information you provide. It’s nice to come across a blog every once in a while that isn’t
    the same out of date rehashed material. Fantastic read!
    I’ve bookmarked your site and I’m including your RSS feeds to my Google account.

  • Inside Tampa's only operational cigar factory: JC Newman Cigar Company (El Reloj)

    March 2, 2024 at 7:59 pm

    […] Cool things to do in Tampa […]

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Prev Post

11 Cheap things to do in Gatlinburg for adults

Next Post

Quick and Easy Matcha Latte | With Milk Frother or Blender