As one of the largest cities in the state of Florida, there are plenty of things to do in and around Tampa. If you are thinking about planning a three-day adventure here in the sunshine state, this is one of the best big city options you could choose.
Because there is so much to see and do in the Tampa area, you simply cannot squeeze everything into one 48-hour trip. However, if 48 hours is all you have, then we have pulled together some of the best options for getting the absolute most out of your visit.
Day One: Getting to Know Tampa
No matter what time you roll into town, you are probably going to be pretty hungry, and you can always count on Eddie & Sam's NY Pizza to have some pies ready for you. Since Tampa is the spring training home of the New York Yankees, the area has a deep connection to New York City, and Eddie & Sam's pizza is the best in town.
After filling up on pizza, the best way to introduce yourself to Tampa is to take one of the many tour options you can find throughout the city. The best way to get an overview of the city is in a helicopter. Old City Helicopters offers tours of Tampa Bay and Davis Island that will blow your mind.
If you prefer to stay a little closer to the ground, another local tour company that is incredibly popular with tourists is USA Trike AdVentures. Their Bayshore Drive Motorbike Tour is an absolute blast that will show you all of the highlights around town.
For dinner on your first night in town, we are going to sample some of the best local seafood in a classy environment at Oystercatchers. This restaurant is located in the Grand Hyatt Tampa Bay and offers up one of the most unique seafood menus in the city.
Following dinner, we're heading over to CW's Gin Joint for an elegant nightcap in an entertaining cocktail bar. Gin is the name of the game here, but they also have plenty of other spirits to choose from. And don't be surprised if you catch some live jazz performances!
Day Two: Exploring the Major Attractions of Tampa
On our second day in Tampa, we are going to take off the kid gloves and dive a bit deeper into the main attractions the city is known for, and we are going to start that with a morning of museums and art galleries.
You can choose your own adventure at this point and head to the Henry B. Plant Museum, the Glazer Children's Museum, the Tampa Bay History Center, the Museum of Science and Industry, or the Tampa Museum of Art.
After finishing up at one of the many museums, lunch is going to be served at Lolis Mexican Cravings. Taco stands are all the rage right now, and this Tampa spot delivers all of the best authentic Mexican dishes for a reasonable price. They're also super quick, so it's a perfect stop for tourists on the move.
For our afternoon activity, we are going to offer up another opportunity to choose your own adventure. Take your pick between The Tampa Aquarium, Busch Gardens, and ZooTampa. Each of these attractions is relatively self-explanatory, and all three have a reputation for exceeding expectations.
Following our long day of fun in the Tampa sun, our next stop is going to be dinner at Edison. This is one of the most popular special occasion restaurants in town, and thanks to the special occasion of your visit, you are going to get to find out why! Enjoy!
If you are feeling up to it after dinner at Edison, the final stop on the second day of our Tampa adventure will be the Seminole Hard Rock Casino. This massive casino features just about every type of gaming you can imagine. You can have a blast playing everything from penny slots to high roller craps tables!
Day Three: Getting Out on the Water
Assuming that you are going to want to sleep in a bit after a fun night at the casino, our third day in Tampa is going to start with brunch at Keke's Breakfast Cafe. You can expect to find a bit of a wait here no matter what day of the week it is, but the food is always worth it!
For our final activity in Tampa, we are going to offer up another opportunity to choose your own adventure.
It's time to get out onto the water, and you can do that by signing up for the Tampa History Cruise, the Olde World Sailing Line, or the Tampa Bay Fun Boat. Each of these options offers a slightly different experience, so choose the one that is best for you depending on whether you are looking to focus on history, sailing, or just pure fun.
Where to Stay in Tampa
One of the highest rated places to stay in Tampa is the Grand Hyatt Tampa Bay, which is also an extremely convenient option if you are planning to dine at Oystercatchers during your visit. The Grand Hyatt is located right on the water and offers a perfect combination of luxury suites and discounted rates. Honestly, there is no reason to stay anywhere else.
If for some reason you aren't interested in staying at the Grand Hyatt, one trendy alternative is the Epicurean Hotel. You'll have to pay a little bit more for a room here, but the eclectic decor is really fun and the location is a bit closer to some of the popular attractions in the heart of the city.
No matter which way you break it down, 48 hours is never going to be enough to see everything there is to do in Tampa. But thanks to our options to choose your own adventure, we were able to include almost all of the most popular attractions that the city has to offer, and you can always come back again to see more!