Prospective residents pondering their relocation to the Sunshine State city of Tampa won’t be disappointed when it comes to the lifestyle opportunities on offer. From world-class museums and art galleries to hiking trails and lush green parks, there is something for everyone here.
Tampa’s nightlife scene is a lot of fun, and getting out and about for an evening is a great way for new arrivals to mingle with the friendly locals. Eating out in Tampa is also an awesome experience with a wide range of restaurants and eateries that’ll suit a range of tastes and price points.
Arts and culture in Tampa
New arrivals in Tampa with a passion for arts and culture won’t be disappointed. Tampa boasts an array of cultural gems mingled with history which will interest even the most discerning culture vultures. From historic artefacts to modern art, the scene in Tampa is eclectic. Particular highlights include the Tampa Bay History Center and the Florida Museum of Photographic Arts. For theatre, musicals and comedy shows newcomers should head to the Straz Center for the Performing Arts which boasts a full calendar of entertainment offerings.
Nightlife in Tampa
Of course, Tampa is famous for sunshine but newcomers looking for a good time will be pleased to learn that the city comes to life at sunset too. Tampa boasts everything from down-to-earth Irish pubs and trendy microbreweries to sophisticated cocktail lounges and sleek martini bars. Revellers will never need to look far when it comes to opportunities to let one’s hair down and getting acquainted with the locals.
Sport and outdoor activities in Tampa
Tampa is a real treat for the avid sports enthusiast. From the NFL Tampa Bay Buccaneers to the NHL Tampa Bay Lightning and the MLB Tampa Bay Rays, the city’s sports calendar is pretty packed. Then there is the fact that every spring season, the New York Yankees head to Tampa for training. There is also a range of semi-pro and collegiate teams worth keeping track of too.
For those who prefer participating in sport rather than watching from the bleachers, Tampa provides plenty of opportunities to spend time outdoors in the Florida sun pursuing a range of sporting pursuits. From deep-sea fishing, golf, cycling and hiking, Tampa residents score big when it comes to sport.
See and do in Tampa
New Tampa residents will enjoy getting acquainted with the city through its wealth of attractions. From scenic parks to historic buildings and fascinating museums, there is plenty to see and do in Tampa. Those relocating to Tampa with children will be pleased to find that there is an abundance of attractions that accommodate the whole family.
Here is our list of some of Tampa's top attractions to get new arrivals started.
Sunshine Skyway Bridge
Opened in 1987, the Bob Graham Sunshine Skyway Bridge is a cable-stayed bridge which connects St Petersburg to Terra Cela across Lower Tampa. The structure itself is quite spectacular and the views are breathtaking. Those with a fear of heights might be in for a challenge, but it’ll certainly be a fun and rewarding experience.
Dating back to 1926, the Tampa Theatre is one of the city’s most prominent historical attractions. Impressively, it is still fully operational today and visitors can be transported back in time as they purchase tickets at the vintage glass booth before settling into plush velvet seats. Here, cinema-goers can view a great selection of documentaries and art films.
Tampa Bay History Center
Travel back in time through 12,000 years of Florida’s history. From the conquistadors to the Cuban cigar rollers of Ybor City, visitors are treated to some wonderful insights into the state's storied past. With hands-on exhibits and an immersive theatre experience, the Tampa Bay History Center is always a hit with the kids.
The Florida Museum of Photographic Arts
At the Florida Museum of Photographic Arts, visitors can explore contemporary life and culture through the medium of photography. With collections and exhibits featuring both historic and contemporary works by nationally and internationally renowned photographers and graphic artists, a visit to FMOPA never disappoints.
Tampa Museum of Art
Florida’s largest museum of art features everything from Greek and Roman antiquities to modern photography. The Tampa Museum of Art is driven by a commitment to provide Florida residents with innovative public arts programmes. With a dynamic schedule of exhibitions, new arrivals will need to visit this attraction more than once to truly do it justice.
Annual events in Tampa
Newcomers to Tampa will quickly learn that locals love to have a good time. This is evident in the city's packed and exciting events calendar. With festivals of all kinds including fireworks, parade floats, live bands and fabulous food vendors showcasing their fare, there is no shortage of fun to be had. Whether it's food, cocktails, art or family-friendly fun that new arrivals are after, Tampa won’t disappoint.
Gasparilla Pirate Festival (January)
Described as ‘the Mardi Gras but with pirates’, the Gasparilla Pirate is one of Tampa’s favourite events. Dating back to 1904, the highlight is the Parade of the Pirates, when sea-faring buccaneers invade the bay of a giant pirate ship and take to Bayshore Boulevard. There is also an illuminated children’s parade that takes place in Ybor City.
Florida State Fair (February)
Each February, the annual Florida State Fair takes place in Tampa. Visitors are treated to live performances by local musicians, food stalls and art exhibits, and children have plenty of fairground rides to keep them entertained. It's an especially good opportunity for new arrivals to meet other local residents and get acquainted with the area’s culture.
Taste of South Tampa (March)
Held at the Tampa Garden Club, this has become one of Florida’s premier food festivals over the last couple of decades. Ticket holders can have their fill with unlimited food and drink samples from some of the state’s best restaurants as well as up-and-coming eateries. There is plenty of live entertainment which adds to the festive atmosphere.
Tampa Pride (March)
Join the crowds of Tampa residents as they take to the streets to celebrate the LGBTQ community. Taking place over two days, Tampa Pride raises funds for various programmes that support these under-represented communities. The event is bright, colourful and noisy, and features a broad range of art exhibits, photo displays and musical performances.
Tampa RiverFest (May)
This free event takes place along the Tampa Riverwalk, and features a number of stages showcasing music acts. Encompassing the best of the Cigar City’s food, culture and music, this is an event for the whole family. Many museums also offer discounts, so be sure to pop in. Without a doubt, the hot air balloon glow is a RiverFest highlight.
Tampa Bay Margarita Festival (May)
New residents are sure to have a blast as they join Tampa residents and indulge in a sneaky margarita (or three!). The festival features a showcase of margarita tastings, a lineup of local musical talent and an impressive fireworks display to end off the night. With all the cocktails being handcrafted by professional bartenders, festival-goers are in for a treat.
►Find out about the best neighbourhoods in the city on our Areas and Suburbs in Tampa page
Are you an expat living in Tampa?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Tampa. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
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