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Top Landmarks of Tampa Bay

Florida’s Tampa Bay Region is known for its beautiful sunsets, outdoor lifestyle, diverse culture, and vibrant nightlife. No wonder this area is full of some of Florida’s most notable places to explore. Whatever your interests, there is something for you here. Join us as we check out the Top Landmarks of Tampa Bay.

Tampa Landmarks

Busch Gardens

10165 McKinley Drive, Tampa

World-class rollercoasters, rides, and entertainment make Busch Gardens one of the top landmarks of Tampa Bay. Opened in 1959, Tampa’s first theme park has expanded over the years to 335 acres of fun under the sun! In fact, Busch Gardens has so much confidence in Florida’s sunshine, if your visit is impacted by weather, you will be given the option of getting a pass to return within one year of their visit.

Busch Gardens offers world-class roller coasters and intense rides. If defying gravity and dramatic vertical drops aren’t your thing there’s still plenty to see and do at this Africa-themed park. Daily shows, concerts, and annual events, such as Howl-O-Scream and Christmas Town draw visitors back year after year.

For adventurers of all ages there’s the Serengeti Railway that circles the park and takes visitors through the range where animals roam free. Additionally, you can reserve a Serengeti Safari that takes you to meet giraffes and other friendly animals up-close.

For tips on planning and making the most of your exotic adventure click here.

Zoo Tampa at Lowry Park

1101 West Sligh Avenue, Tampa

Established in 1957 nonprofit Zoo Tampa at Lowry Park has long been one of Tampa Bay’s top landmarks.

Not just any old zoo – Lowry Preserve Park is considered a Florida wildlife conservation and biodiversity center. In addition to standard admission you can upgrade your experience in advance.  Get a behind-the-scenes look at the African penguins, meet and feed giraffes, visit the elephant barn, spend time with a giant tortoise, feed gentle sting rays, or get photo opp with Heathcliff the koala.

Bring the family! Parents Magazine has voted Zoo Tampa the #1 Family Friendly Zoo in the United States. Additionally, TripAdvisor has included Lowry Park among the Top 25 Zoos in the U.S.

Zoo Tampa is ADA accessible, including family restrooms. The Zoo has partnered with the Center for Autism & Related Disabilities to provide visitors with autism spectrum disorders a sensory friendly experience.

Parking at Zoo Tampa is free. For everything else you need to plan your visit, including admission hours and rates, visit here.

Eureka Springs Conservation Park

6400 Eureka Springs Road, Tampa

Jump off the beaten path and visit this laid-back lush oasis of tropical plants and flowers. Since 1938 Eureka Springs as been on of the top landmarks of Tampa Bay. This once private garden collection was donated to the County so visitors can learn about horticulture in a natural setting.

In addition to the parks rose garden and orchid room, this County park is home to the largest publicly owned collection of ferns in the Sunshine State.

The park also has a walk through greenhouse, a boardwalk that takes you through a cypress wetland, and picnic areas.

Plan your visit to Eureka Springs Conservation Park by clicking here.

Centro Espanol de Tampa Cultural Center

1526 East 7th Avenue, Tampa.

Since 1891 Centro Espanol de Tampa has been one of the top landmarks of Tampa Bay for generations of Spanish and Cuban immigrants. The club was founded as a hub of resources, information, and fellowship for newcomers to Tampa, particularly the immigrant enclave of Ybor City.

The oldest ethnic club in Tampa honors and preserves the cultural heritage and history of Spanish immigrants who made the area their home. Additionally, the club celebrates the story of Ybor and West Tampa neighborhoods with various events, exhibits, and programs.

Likewise, the Italian Club, L’Unione Italiana, helped forge the Latin identity of West Tampa and Ybor. Both venues host public events, and can be rented for private events, including weddings. Start planning your own Florida wedding or celebration by checking out our resources here.

Learn more about Centro Espanol, and see their event calendar, by checking out the club’s detailed website.

Ybor City

7th Avenue between 14th and 21st Streets

Once the world’s cigar-making capitol, Ybor (pronounced “EE-bore”) is a popular and diverse destination. Whether you’re into history, art, food, or the nightlife scene, this district has it all, making it one of the top landmarks of Tampa Bay for generations.

Ybor City was established in 1886 so it’s got some good stories to tell. You can learn about the district at the Ybor City Museum, or on an evening Ghost tour. You can check out even more spirits at the many bars and clubs that line Ybor’s 7th Avenue. For evening entertainment, the GaYBOR district around 7th Avenue and 15th Street welcomes a diverse crowd.

Shop til you drop at the eclectic boutiques and vintage stores on 7th Avenue. Even if cigars aren’t your thing, you can observe the traditional process at one of several shops on 7th Street. As far as tradition goes, Ybor City features some beautiful architecture – a mixture of styles, cultures, and time frames. Combined with newer murals, there are plenty of photo opps! The Saturday morning market at Centennial Park brings vendors and artists from around Tampa Bay.

No visit to Ybor City would be complete without trying a traditional Cuban Sandwich. Many of the district’s restaurants claim to have the “best Cuban” – maybe you’ll just have to sample them all to decide for yourself.

Parking is available in multiple lots, or garages. Be sure to bring coins or plastic to pay the meters. You can use the free TECO Streetcar to explore various stops in, and beyond, Ybor. As in any urban area, pay attention to your surroundings, especially at night. If nothing else, you are likely to see roosters and hens roaming freely, as their ancestors have for generations.

Channelside Tampa

615 Channelside Drive, Tampa

Channelside Tampa is a relatively new addition to the top Landmarks of Tampa Bay. The area is one of the fastest growing residential and entertainment areas of the city. This dynamic, compact district has something for everyone.

Find unique restaurants, shops, and even a bowling and game center, in the waterfront Sparkman Wharf complex. From there catch the TECO streetcar to the Florida Aquarium for up-close encounters with a wide variety of aquatic animals. Walk along the Riverfront to the Tampa Bay History Center or catch a Tampa Bay Lightning hockey game or concert at the Amelie Arena.

Surrounded by water, it’s no surprise that Channelside is an exciting area for visitors wishing to explore Tampa Bay. Hop on the Cross Bay Ferry, rent a waterbike, or witness the annual Gasparilla Pirate Invasion and Pirate Festival each January.

Old Hyde Park Village

West Swann Avenue at Rome Avenue, Tampa

Hyde Park Village opened in 1905 as a prime shopping destination, making it one of Tampa Bay’s top landmarks for generations of visitors. The Village was one of the first shopping districts in the United States and served as a model for many shopping malls as we now know them. Now, its a beautiful place to shop, people watch, or just relax among the beautiful setting.

Covering six blocks, the district is an upscale, open-air complex with high-end retails shops, restaurants, wine and coffee bars. This pedestrian friendly district is a great place for a relaxing stroll. For those who prefer indoor activities, the district has a movie theater/bistro, and many cafes and bars have indoor seating. Many evenings there is free entertainment near the fountain.

Parking at Old Hyde Park Village is free (unless there is a public event) in multiple parking garages. So, even if you’re on a budget, it doesn’t cost a thing to come and window shop!

St. Petersburg Landmarks

Sunken Gardens

1825 4th Street North, St. Petersburg

For over 100 years St. Pete’s Sunken Gardens has been one of the top Landmarks of Tampa Bay. This botanical paradise is a magical oasis in the middle of bustling St. Pete.

Explore the peaceful gardens along the winding paved pathways through over 50,000 tropical plants and flowers from around the world. The Gardens are also home to flamingos, turtles, koi, and an assortment of other birds. You can wander on your own, there are plenty of signs to let you know what you’re seeing, and several benches to sit and take it all in.

Additionally, tours are offered by knowledgeable guides who share information about the history of the gardens, and the exotic plants that make it so unique. Don’t miss the gift shop, located inside the historic building, for some quality, unique souvenirs of your adventures.

Parking is free in the large lot in front of the garden entrance. For hours of operation, admission rates, and more info click here.

St. Pete Pier

800 2nd Avenue NE, St. Petersburg

St. Petersburg is known for its beautiful and vibrant waterfront. Since the late 1800s, the St. Pete Pier has been one of the top landmarks of Tampa Bay.

After a massive makeover, the newest version of the St. Pete Pier promises to be a fun-filled, vibrant destination. With over 26 acres on Tampa Bay the park will have something for everyone. The park will be accessible to walkers, joggers, and cyclists.

If you want to get closer to the water, there are paddle board and kayak rentals. Those wanting to try their luck at fishing can bring their own gear or get equipment (rental and purchase) from the Pier’s tackle shop.

For date night The Pier has several restaurants and bars, at various price points, to choose from. And there’s no charge to stroll the pier and take in the scene or sunset.

For family fun visit the Pier’s Family Park and Kid’s Play Area playground. Cool off with the kiddos at the Pier Plaza splash pad or at the bay’s shore at Spa Beach. The Tampa Bay Watch Discovery Center offers educational programs for learners of all ages in their open-air classroom.

There is no admission charge to access the pier which is scheduled to be open from 30 minutes before sunrise until 11:00 p.m. daily. Parking is available in pay lots or metered street spaces. To learn more about the new St. Pete Pier click here.

South of the Skyway

Village of the Arts

Downtown Bradenton

This fun and funky area of Downtown Bradenton is where many artists work, live, and play. You can come here to get in touch with your inner artist, or just check-out all the area has to offer. With over 275 different properties, many from the 1920s, the Village is truly a one of Tampa Bay’s top landmarks.

This quirky neighborhood, between 9th Street West and 14th Street West, was established in 1999 by the Artists Guild of Manatee County. This vibrant area features art and music studios, where you can admire and purchase art, or create some of your own! There are also plenty of galleries from folk art to fine art, as well as many restaurants, and coffee shops to enjoy. Parking is free within the Village.

If you want to relax and unwind, the Village of the Arts is also home to healing arts practitioners such as acupuncturists, yoga studios, and Oriental medicine, to refresh your body, mind and soul.

A fun time to check out the area is during First Friday Art Walks each month (6:00 to 9:30 p.m.) and some Saturdays (11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.). To confirm times and plan your visit check out the VOTA Day Planner Guide here.

For directions, a Village map, or more information on the Village of the Arts or the Artists Guild of Manatee visit their website.

Big Cat Habitat and Gulf Coast Sanctuary

7101 Palmer Blvd., Sarasota, FL 34240

You won’t find any “Tiger Kings” at this large animal rescue and sanctuary in Sarasota, Florida. Founded by the Rosaire family to provide placement for animals in need, this sanctuary has been one of the top landmarks of Tampa Bay since 1987. This nonprofit organization is not affiliated with the Big Cat Rescue in Tampa.

This unique facility is focused on exotic and domestic animal conservation and education. Big Cat is home to tigers, lions, and bears (oh my!), as well as ligers, various primates, birds, and more!  You can explore the Sanctuary on your own. There are volunteer caregivers who can share stories about the individual animals. There is also a petting zoo with baby goats, alpaca, and other friendly animals.

Throughout the day there are shows featuring various rescue animals. On the fourth Saturday of every month you can participate in a unique yoga experience – Yoga with Tigers! Well, the tigers and other big cats actually hang out in their own spaces, but you will be close enough to hear them and other sounds of nature. You can make your reservation for Yoga with Tigers by calling 941-371-6377.

If you want to get even more up-close and personal with a fox or sloth, among other creatures, you can reserve an interactive, educational animal encounter. Call the reservations office to plan in advance to get in-touch with your inner creature.

To learn more about Big Cat Habitat and Gulf Coast Sanctuary visit here.

Herrmann’s Royal Lipizzan Stallion Ranch

32755 Singletary Rd. Myakka City, FL 34251

Visitors from around the world consider the Florida home of the Lipizzan stallions one of the top landmarks of Tampa Bay. For those who love horses it is truly a lovely way to spend your day. This long-time attraction is actually the home of the world-famous, and touring, Lipizzan Stallions!

This location is where they train and prepare for their touring shows. You can catch practice and training performances throughout the day. Visitors are also welcome to explore the stables. Guests are encouraged to call 941-322-1501 prior to visiting to verify admission rate, seasonal hours, and performance times.

You can make a day trip of your visit to Myakka City with lunch at one of several nearby locally-owned cafes or add a visit to the Myakka Canopy Walkway or the family friendly Crowley Museum and Nature Center.

Tampa Bay Landmarks Await

Set your summer plans on the many long-standing top landmarks of Tampa Bay, Florida. With sunshine always on the horizon, and something for everyone, you can’t go wrong. For get you started, check-out our important travel tips here.

Written by Jacqui May

Jacqui May has a background in nonprofit project management and writing. She is currently a freelance consultant, Florida Supreme Court Certified Family Mediator, and writer. She enjoys working with diverse organizations to connect them with resources, and make a difference in the community.

Jacqui is a straight ally and several of her close family and friends identify as lgbtq. She volunteers with organizations serving veterans, developmentally disabled adults, the homeless, and low-income community members.

Originally from New York City, she is a long-time Floridian and has extensively explored the Sunshine State. Jacqui loves history and believes that everyone has a story worth listening to.


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