14 Best Things To Do In Tampa, Florida - Updated 2024

things to do in tampa florida
Michelle
Michelle 
Updated
| 7 min read

For all looking to unwind and relax in a beautiful surrounding, don’t think twice and head to Tampa, Florida. It has a wonderful mix of history, architecture and modernity and it attracts huge crowds of visitors, every year. Tampa’s downtown is vibrant and alive, with urban parks, the gorgeous Tampa Riverwalk, the MOSI, or the Museum of Science and Industry, theaters and much more. And if you’re wondering where to stay in Tampa, plenty of awesome accommodations are available - from vacation rentals to hotels with a rooftop pool. So go out and explore all that this lovely city has to offer. Check out these 14 best things to do in Tampa, Florida.

1. Visit the famous Florida Aquarium in Tampa Bay (from USD 33.0)

The Florida Aquarium in Tampa is located in the Channel district of Tampa and is an amazing place to explore with your family and friends. You can delve straight into this wonderful underwater kingdom, which features a majestic collection of 20,000 undersea plants and animals. It also has an outdoor water park and there are many interactive exhibits here, as well. In the Wetlands exhibit, you can observe the alligator swamps and an astounding 4.3 meter (14 foot) length Burmese python, or explore the open water by going on a wild dolphin expedition, on the aquarium’s 22 meter (72 foot) catamaran.

The Florida Aquarium in Tampa Bay

Address: 701 Channelside Dr, Tampa, FL 33602, USA

Website: The Florida Aquarium

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Skip the Line: The Florida Aquarium in Tampa Ticket

Duration: 1 to 2 hours

473 reviews

2. Go on a roller-coaster ride at Busch Gardens (from USD 107.0)

Riding a roller coaster at Busch Gardens in one of the most fun things to do in Tampa. It is a family adventure park, featuring animal encounters, live entertainment and the world’s best thrill rides. It has a fabulous roller coaster, making it Florida’s leader in thrill rides and it also has the best entertainment, for all ages. Busch Gardens also has animal habitats, with more than 12,000 animals and it is counted among the largest zoos in the US.

Busch Gardens Tampa

Address: 10165 N McKinley Dr, Tampa, FL 33612, USA

Website: Busch Gardens Tampa

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Busch Gardens Tampa Bay Admission Ticket

Duration: 8 hours

3. See the Tampa Theatre and Office Building

Tampa theater
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user FightingRaven531 used under CC BY 3.0

The Tampa Theatre and Office Building is located in the Uptown district of Tampa. It is a well-known and historical U.S. theater, built in 1926 and designed by the famous theater architect, John Eberson, built in his famous “atmospheric” style of design. When you enter the theatre, you’ll be transported to a lavish Mediterranean courtyard, resplendent with old-world statuary, flowers and gargoyles. This historical gem in Tampa was added to the U.S. National Register of Historic Places in 1978 and is considered one of the most stunning “movie palaces,” in America.

The Tampa Theatre and Office Building

Address: 711 N Franklin St, Tampa, FL 33602, USA

Website: The Tampa Theatre and Office Building

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4. Explore the Museum of Science & Industry

Manchester MOSI Roe Triplane
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Paul Hermans used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Visiting Tampa without seeing this amazing museum would be a crime! The Museum of Science and Industry in Tampa is an exciting place for adults and kids alike. Here, you can experience the amazing experience of pedaling a bicycle on a one-inch cable, suspended above the ground, 30 feet (9.1 meters) in the air or sleeping on a bed of nails.

The Imagination Playground and Mission: Moonbase are the latest additions here and quite popular among visitors. The Imagination Playground gives kids the chance to engineer everything from robots to cities, using cubes, bricks and cogs. The museum forged a partnership with NASA, to create Mission: Moonbase, where visitors can experience what it would be like to travel to the moon and operate a lunar colony, where they live and work, in the year 2070. There are also outside activities here, like rope trails, which provide a lot of excitement for tourists.

Museum of Science & Industry

Address: 4801 E Fowler Ave, Tampa, FL 33617, USA

Website: Museum of Science & Industry

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5. Take some selfies on the Tampa Riverwalk!

Kennedy Bridge; Tampa Riverwalk SE Tunnel
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user DanTD used under CC BY-SA 4.0

The Tampa Riverwalk is a 2.5-mile (4 km) pedestrian space on the Tampa riverfront. But this is not your regular waterfront! Instead, it is a beautifully transformed space, with the perfect selfie spots, including museums, restaurants, and parks. It is a must visit place in Tampa for anyone who wants to exercise, jog, do yoga, dog walk, cycle or just get away from the hustle and bustle of city life.

Tampa Riverwalk

Address: Tampa Riverwalk, Tampa, FL 33602, USA

Website: Tampa Riverwalk

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6. See the scenic Sunshine Skyway Bridge

Sunshine Skyway Bridge
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Robert Neff used under CC BY 2.0

The Sunshine Skyway Bridge, also known as the Bob Graham Sunshine Skyway Bridge, is one of the most iconic things to see in Tampa. It spans Tampa Bay. The main span is built of cables and has a total length of 21,877 feet (6,668.1 meters) and connects St. Petersburg in Pinellas County, Terra Ceia in Manatee County and Hillsborough County, in Florida.

The bridge’s construction began in 1982 and was opened to traffic in 1987. It is constructed of steel and concrete and designed by Figg & Muller Engineering Group. The bridge has been named as one of the Top 10 Bridges in the World and is a popular site for filming movies and commercials.

Sunshine Skyway Bridge

Address: I-275, St. Petersburg, FL 33711, USA

Website: Sunshine Skyway Bridge

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7. Visit Big Cat Rescue

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

Big Cat Rescue in Tampa Bay is one of the world’s largest sanctuaries in the world for abused and abandoned big cats. It was started in 1992 and now there are more than 80 lions, tigers, bobcats and cougars here, who have been rehabilitated after being abandoned, abused or orphaned. Big Cat Rescue also works at ending private possession and trade in exotic cats with the use of legislation and education.

Big Cat Rescue

Address: 12802 Easy St, Tampa, FL 33625, USA

Website: Big Cat Rescue

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8. Watch the manatees at the Tampa Electric Manatee Viewing Center

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

The Tampa Electric Manatee Viewing Center is one of the best things to do for any visitor to Tampa Bay. It is an official manatee sanctuary and it offers visitors a chance to spot manatees in the cold, Gulf water. Here, you can get a view of adult and baby manatees, lolling about in the water, when the waters are cool.

It is open from November 1 until April 15 and its elevated viewing area is structured as a perch, upon which you can spot manatees and catch a breath of fresh air. If you have any questions about manatees, just ask the employees and volunteers, moving about in the area and they will be happy to answer you. There is also an Educational Center here, which teaches visitors about manatees and you can also climb up the 50-foot (15.2-meter) wildlife observation viewing tower, to get a scenic view of the ecosystem or have a picnic near the tower’s base.

Tampa Electric Manatee Viewing Center

Address: 6990 Dickman Rd, Apollo Beach, FL 33572, USA

Website: Tampa Electric Manatee Viewing Center

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9. Splash about at Adventure Island (from USD 55.61)

things to do in tampa florida | splash about at adventure island

For a break from the Florida heat, head over to Adventure Island. This waterpark is the perfect way to cool off and spend an entire day with your family or friends. This sprawling waterpark has plenty of thrilling and exciting rides like Colossal Curl, Caribbean Corkscrew, Vanish Point, and more. For those who just want to laze around in the water can try out the massive wave pool or take a leisurely float in a lazy river. Kids can enjoy splashing about in a dedicated children’s play area and riding kiddie rides.

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Tampa: Adventure Island® Park Admission

16 reviews

10. Watch the kids have fun at Glazer Children's Museum

Get Moving at the Glazer Children's Museum
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Glazer Children's... used under CC BY-SA 3.0

A great place for your kids to learn while having fun is Glazer Children’s Museum. Conveniently located in downtown Tampa, this museum is part of a waterfront complex and offers a range of interactive exhibits and displays suitable for children of all ages. The exhibits range in their themes from art and history to engineering and wildlife and much more. The museum regularly conducts programs and workshops too.

Glazer Children's Museum

Address: 110 W Gasparilla Plaza, Tampa, FL 33602, United States

Website: Glazer Children’s Museum

Opening hours: Tue - Fri: 10am - 5pm; Sat: 10am - 6pm; Sun: 1pm - 6pm (closed on Mon)

Price: 12.50 USD onwards

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11. Admire the photos at The Florida Museum of Photographic Arts

FMoPA at night Front Page website
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Fmopa used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Another downtown Tampa gem, The Florida Museum of Photographic Arts is a must-visit spot for all art and photography lovers. Housed in a beautiful building, this museum is dedicated to displaying brilliant photographs taken by well-known national and international photographers. The museum has permanent and rotating exhibitions encompassing themes like nature, human behavior, social causes, travel, arts, portraits, landscapes, and more. The museum also conducts classes and events throughout the year.

The Florida Museum of Photographic Arts

Address: 400 North Ashley Drive Cube 200, Tampa, FL 33602, United States

Website: The Florida Museum of Photographic Arts

Opening hours: Mon: 12pm - 5pm; Wed: 12pm - 5pm (closed on Tue, Thu, Fri, Sat & Sun)

Price: 10 USD

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12. Experience flying at iFLY Tampa Indoor Skydiving (from USD 96.0)

If skydiving has always been on your bucket list but you’ve been too afraid to try it out, then indoor skydiving might interest you. At iFLY Tampa Indoor Skydiving, you can experience skydiving and flying with the aid of a vertical wind tunnel. After receiving detailed instructions and donning your flying suit, you will be guided into experiencing a minute-long freefall in the wind tunnel. This is surely one experience that you will never forget!

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Tampa iFLY Indoor Skydiving Experience

Duration: 1 hour 15 minutes

51 reviews

13. Take your kids to ZooTampa at Lowry Park (from USD 47.0)

Spend a day seeing and interacting with animals at ZooTampa at Lowry Park. Your kids will love watching diverse wildlife species housed here, like tigers, rhinos, koalas, panthers, manatees, apes, birds, and more. The zoo provides natural habitat for animals from across the continents and aids in their conservation. There are kid-friendly rides, splash pads and other attractions here that are sure to delight the little ones in your family.

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ZooTampa at Lowry Park Admission Ticket

Duration: 3 to 7 hours

222 reviews

14. Wild Florida Wildlife Park tour (from USD 94.0)

If you’re looking for cool things to do in Tampa, go on this Wild Florida Wildlife Park tour, which gives you a chance to explore the Florida Everglades ecosystem, by foot or airboat. Wild Florida Wildlife Park is situated in Kenansville, which is close to Tampa. You will need to buy the tickets for entry into the park, which roughly costs 18 USD for adults and 15 USD for children, and is included in the cost of the airboat tour (25–60 USD).

You can walk through the wildlife park, where there are exotic animals from all over the world, like Africa, Australia and South America and you will obviously also see species native to Florida, like alligators, white-tailed deer and tropical birds.

Wild Florida Wildlife Park tour

Address: 3301 Lake Cypress Road, Kenansville, Florida 34739, USA

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Wild Florida Wildlife Park and Airboat Tour from Orlando

Duration: 8 hours

32 reviews

Unwind and have the best time on an exciting Tampa holiday!

Downtown Tampa, Florida
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Clément Bardot used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Tampa, in Florida, is a paradise for tourists - it has everything any visitor would want to see. Some of the popular Tampa tourist attractions are MoSI (Museum of Science & Industry), Tampa Electric Manatee Center, the gorgeous Sunshine Bridge and of course, its world-famous Riverwalk. Need I say more? Visit Tampa, today!

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Any must-sees we missed? Tell us about them in the comments section or write a post here to help out fellow travelers!
Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.

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Michelle, formerly an investment banker, now revels in her role as a full-time mom with an unwavering passion for life. Her bags are perpetually packed, ready to embark on adventures and explore...Read more

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