Things to do in Tampa

Naveen Joshi

9 mins read

Mar 06, 2024


Unique Things to do in Tampa

Tampa is rich for its history, culture, and endless fun. But let’s admit it: Google’s results of ‘best places to visit in Tampa’ can get dull. If you’re tired of the same old tourist attractions and are looking for something a little offbeat, you’re in for a treat. In this blog, we will explore some of the most unique things to do in Tampa!

Oddities and Curiosities at Dysfunctional Grace Art Co.

Have you ever heard of a place where you can find beaver fetuses, mounted “jackalopes,” and cursed antique jewelry all under one roof? Well, welcome to Dysfunctional Grace Art Co.!

This offbeat shop is a treasure trove of oddities and curiosities that will leave you utterly fascinated. From rare mushroom coral to taxidermy heads of wild animals, it’s a paradise for those with a taste for the peculiar.

But wait, there’s more! You can find a full taxidermy dog or perhaps a Minock Appli-caster Castration tool here, too. It’s like stepping into a bizarre museum where every item has a story to tell. So, if you’re up for a truly unforgettable experience, visit Dysfunctional Grace Art Co. and prepare to be amazed!

Breakfast with the Animals at Zoo Tampa

Who’s up for a wild breakfast adventure? At Zoo Tampa, you can start your day with a side of pancakes and a close encounter with some of the planet’s most iconic creatures. Voted as the best family-friendly zoo in the US, Zoo Tampa is home to various animals, from playful koalas to majestic Indian rhinos.

Zoo Tampa also offers a range of things to do in Tampa, Florida, for the whole family, including fitness classes, comedy shows, and even Toddler Tuesdays for the little ones.

Rediscovering Childhood Magic with Ulele Fairyland Figures

Once upon a time, a beloved Fairyland exhibit captured children’s hearts everywhere in the magical land of Tampa. Fast forward to today, and you can still experience the wonder and nostalgia of Fairyland at Ulele restaurant. Restaurateur Richard Gonzmart rescued the fairy tale characters from storage oblivion and brought them back to life for all to enjoy.

As you wander around Ulele, you’ll encounter familiar faces like Cinderella, Snow White, and the Big Bad Wolf, lovingly restored and displayed for all to see. So, gather your family and friends and walk down memory lane as you marvel at these timeless treasures. Remember to “touch only with your eyes” – these fairy tale figures are delicate and deserve careful treatment.

Visit Florida Aquarium

Dive into a world of wonder at the Florida Aquarium, where you can come face-to-face with sharks, penguins, and even playful otters. Located on the scenic Riverside Walk, the Florida Aquarium is a must-visit destination for anyone craving a glimpse under the sea.

The Florida Aquarium offers a range of interactive things to do in Tampa, including dolphin viewing excursions and a popular splash pad for the little ones. And if you’re feeling extra adventurous, you can even tie the knot surrounded by your favorite aquatic friends – talk about a wedding to remember!

So grab your swimsuit and get ready to make some fin-tastic memories at the Florida Aquarium. From youngsters to people with a young heart, there’s something for everyone to enjoy at this underwater paradise.

Cultural Oasis: Parque Amigos de Jose Marti

Prepare to step into a little slice of Cuba in Tampa at Parque Amigos de Jose Marti. This hidden gem is a testament to Tampa’s rich cultural heritage and close ties to the Cuban community and is just a stone’s throw away from downtown.

As you pass through the archway into the park, you’ll feel like you’re in Havana itself. From vibrant murals to traditional Cuban music playing in the background, Parque Amigos de Jose Marti celebrates all things Cuban.

Encounter with Gentle Giants: Swim with Manatees

Prepare for an ultimate outdoor adventure as you embark on a journey to swim with the gentle animals of the sea – the manatees! Located in the natural springs surrounding Tampa, this unforgettable experience combines two of the city’s most fabulous activities: airboat rides and manatee encounters.

But what exactly is an airboat? Well, it’s exactly what it sounds like – a boat propelled by a giant fan that skims effortlessly over the water. As you glide through the pristine waters of the Everglades, you’ll have the chance to spot these majestic creatures in their natural habitat.

And if you’d rather stay dry, you can always opt for a visit to the Tampa Electric Manatee Viewing Center. Here, you can watch baby manatees bask in the warm water that flows from the Big Bend Power Station – a heartwarming sight that will leave you smiling from ear to ear.

Nature Escape in Lettuce Lake Regional Park

Escape the city’s concrete jungle and immerse yourself in the natural beauty of Lettuce Lake Regional Park. You only have to drive from downtown Tampa to reach this hidden gem. Lettuce Lake Regional Park is a nature lover’s paradise, teeming with native wildlife and lush flora.

One of the best ways to explore Lettuce Lake is by strolling along the 2 km loop trail. As you wander the park, keep your eyes peeled for alligators, turtles, and a wide variety of bird species – you never might be surprised by what you encounter!

If you’re feeling adventurous, rent a kayak or canoe and explore the lake and swamps at your own pace. Or, if you prefer to take it easy, you can relax at one of the picnic areas or let the kids burn off some energy at the playground while doing things to do in Tampa.

Find Spiritual Serenity in the Hindu Temple of Florida

Step into a world of tranquility and spiritual serenity at the Hindu Temple of Florida. Nestled amidst the lush vegetation of Tampa’s bay area, this architectural masterpiece is a sight to behold.

As you approach the temple, its distinctive design, towering spires, and intricate carvings will leave you in awe. Step inside, and you’ll instantly feel rejuvenated by the soothing sound of chanting and the scent of incense filling the air.

Whether you’re a devout Hindu or simply curious about different cultures and religions, the Hindu Temple of Florida offers a unique opportunity for reflection and contemplation. Take a moment to marvel at the beautiful statues and sacred symbols, or join a traditional pooja ceremony conducted by the temple priests.

The tip is to dress modestly and remove your shoes before entering the temple – a sign of respect for the sacred space.

Journey Through Time in Tampa Bay History Center

Embark on a journey through time at the Tampa Bay History Center and discover 12,000 years of Florida’s rich history and culture. Located on the scenic waterfront, this fascinating museum is a treasure trove of artifacts, exhibits, and interactive displays that bring the past to life.

Step back in time and explore the swashbuckling world of pirates who once roamed the Florida coastline, or trace the footsteps of ancient peoples and early explorers who shaped the Sunshine State. With everything from interactive timelines to cartographic maps, there’s something for everyone to enjoy at the Tampa Bay History Center.

Perfect for families, history buffs, and curious minds alike, the Tampa Bay History Center offers hours of educational things to do in Tampa, Florida. So plan a visit and immerse yourself in the rich tapestry of Florida’s history. It’s a journey you will remember.

Visit the J.C. Newman Cigar Factory

Step into a world of tradition and craftsmanship at the J.C. Newman Cigar Factory, the oldest family-owned cigar-rolling factory in the country. Located in the heart of Ybor City, once known as the world’s cigar capital, this historic factory is a testament to Tampa’s rich cigar-making heritage.

As you tour the factory, you’ll have the chance to witness firsthand the art of cigar rolling as skilled artisans painstakingly create each cigar by hand – just as they’ve done for over a century. And if you’re feeling adventurous, you can even try rolling your cigar under the guidance of master rollers.

But the history doesn’t end there! The factory is also home to a fascinating museum where you can learn all about the history of cigar making in Tampa and the legacy of the Newman family.

Live the Vibrant Nightlife of Ybor City

Get ready to paint the town red in Ybor City, Tampa’s historic and vibrant neighborhood known for its lively nightlife and cultural charm. Once home to Cuban and Spanish cigar factory workers, Ybor City is now a hotspot for music, art, and good times.

Music lovers will go crazy, with various venues offering everything from big-name acts to local indie shows. Whether you’re into rock, jazz, or electronic beats, you will find something that strikes a chord. And let’s not forget about the nightlife – from drag shows at Blur Nightclub to craft beer tastings at Tampa Brewing Company, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.

But Ybor City isn’t just about partying – it’s also a place steeped in history and culture. Take a spooky guided walk with Ghost Tours Ybor City and uncover the neighborhood’s hidden secrets, or explore the colorful street art and historic architecture that give Ybor City its unique charm.

Architectural Marvel: Henry B. Plant Museum

Step back in time and experience the grandeur of old-world luxury at the Henry B. Plant Museum in the historic Tampa Bay Hotel. Constructed in 1891 by railroad magnate Henry Plant, this magnificent building is a true architectural gem, with its Moorish minarets and opulent interiors.

As you wander through the museum, you’ll experience a bygone era of elegance and extravagance, where the wealthy elite once gathered to socialize and indulge in the finer things in life. Every corner of the Tampa Bay Hotel tells a story of luxury and leisure, from the ballroom’s grandeur to the private suites’ intimacy.

The museum is so much more about admiring the architecture – it’s also home to fascinating artifacts and exhibits that offer a peek into Tampa’s gilded past.

Witness the Artistic Splendor of the Chihuly Collection

Prepare to be awestruck by the breathtaking beauty of the Chihuly Collection, a world-renowned glass art showcase in Tampa. Created by famed artist Dale Chihuly, this stunning collection features a dazzling array of glass sculptures, installations, and works of art that will take your breath away.

As you wander through the Morean Arts Center, home to the Chihuly Collection, you’ll be surrounded by a riot of color and form, with each piece more mesmerizing than the last. From delicate glass flowers to towering chandeliers, Chihuly’s creations are a sight.

But the fun doesn’t end with the exhibits – the Morean Arts Center also offers many art classes and workshops where you can unleash your creative potential.

Learn at the Tampa Museum of Art and MOSI

Embark on a journey of discovery at the Tampa Museum of Art and MOSI, where you can explore the rich cultural heritage and scientific wonders of the Sunshine State. Located in the heart of downtown Tampa, these two museums offer many educational experiences for visitors of all ages.

At the Tampa Museum of Art, you can marvel at a diverse collection of artwork covering thousands of years and traditions, from ancient artifacts to contemporary masterpieces. Meanwhile, at MOSI (the Museum of Science & Industry), you can delve into the fascinating world of science through interactive exhibits, hands-on things to do in Tampa, and immersive experiences.

From exploring the mysteries of the universe in the planetarium to getting up close and personal with marine life in the aquarium, MOSI offers endless opportunities for discovery and learning.

But the fun doesn’t end there – both museums also offer a range of informative programs and workshops for visitors of all ages. Whether you’re a student, a teacher, or simply a curious mind, there’s always something new to learn at the Tampa Museum of Art and MOSI.

Ignite the Sporting Spirit

Calling all sports fans – get ready to immerse yourself in the rich history and tradition of America’s favorite pastime at the Tampa Baseball Museum. Located in the heart of downtown Tampa, this hidden gem is a must-visit destination for people who love the crack of the bat and the roar of the crowd.

As you wander through the museum, a treasure trove of memorabilia, exhibits, and artifacts celebrating baseball’s storied history in Tampa will surround you. From autographed baseballs to vintage uniforms, there are plenty of things to do in Tampa, Florida, for every fan to enjoy at this one-of-a-kind museum.

The Tampa Baseball Museum also offers a range of interactive experiences and special events for visitors of all ages.

Retail Therapy in Hyde Park

Indulge your inner shopaholic and treat yourself to a day of retail therapy in historic Hyde Park. Located just a stone’s throw away from downtown Tampa, this charming neighborhood is a shopper’s paradise, with a mix of high-end chain stores and independent boutiques to explore.

Start your shopping adventure at Hyde Park Village, an open-air mall that offers everything from designer fashion to unique gifts and home décor. Its picturesque streets and relaxed atmosphere make it the perfect place to wander and browse.

But shopping isn’t the only thing Hyde Park has to offer – the neighborhood is also home to a vibrant dining scene, with various restaurants, cafes, and eateries. You’ll find many options to satisfy your cravings in Hyde Park, from a gourmet meal to a snack.

Indulge in a Private Chef Experience

Level up your culinary experience with a private chef experience in Tampa. If you’re celebrating a special occasion or simply craving a gourmet meal, a personal chef can elevate your dining experience to new heights.

The best part about hiring a personal chef is that you can dine in the comfort of your own home, surrounded by friends and loved ones, as a talented chef prepares a delicious menu that you can choose from a diverse range of options. From mouthwatering appetizers to decadent desserts, each dish is crafted with care and attention to detail, ensuring a dining experience you’ll never forget.

The beauty of a private chef in Tampa experience goes beyond the food – it lies in creating dishes just the way you want. A Cookingenie chef will care for your dietary preferences and restrictions and curate a menu that caters to your needs and choices.

The benefits extend much more than cooking. The chefs will also shop for the ingredients required to cook for you. Once your chef finishes cooking the dishes, they will also clean the kitchen to leave it just how it was when they arrived.

All you have to do to get a freshly prepared restaurant-style meal in your home is to book a chef in a few taps and then sit back and relax.


Well, there you have it – a whirlwind tour of unique activities in Tampa, Florida. If you are looking for a more foodcentric experience, you can also go for a food tour in Tampa. With its vibrant atmosphere and friendly locals, Tampa will give you experiences you will remember forever. So pack your bags, gather your friends and family, and embark on your Tampa adventure. 

Naveen Joshi

Chief Marketing Officer

A bookworm at heart, Naveen's love for stories seeps into his writing, adding a dash of creativity to every dish he explores. With a thoughtful and easy-going spirit, Naveen offers readers a blend of insightful and relatable food narratives. You will find him trekking through the mountains when he's not writing or reading.

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