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Old 03-29-2016, 01:31 PM
Location: Greater Orlampa CSA
4,496 posts, read 3,568,850 times
Reputation: 3161


I know there is a book by this name that I need to check out, but first, I figured I'd take my own crack at it. Of course, there will probably be some spots that I should've put on there, or should've left off, and I was curious to hear your thoughts about those. My general guideline was that for a place to be included on the list, it had to be within an hour (according to Google Maps, without traffic) of one of the two principal downtowns of the region, Tampa and St. Pete. It essentially is that way, with the exception of Sanibel/Captiva, Cayo Costa and Edison/Ford Estate (surprisingly, by using the Google Maps metric, Tampa CBD is 58 mins. to Disney, 57 mins. to Weeki Wachee and only about 70 mins. to Bok Tower). I understand that I am a product of my own biases and so certain places and hobbies probably got more attention than others, but I did try to make sure it was relatively balanced based on lifestyle and location. Enjoy, and I would also appreciate hearing your thoughts on any spots that should have made the cut.

1. Raymond James Stadium: I can guarantee a championship will be won there this year.
2. Amalie Arena: Ditto. In this case, a local team might actually do so also!
3. USF Sports: Not usually competitive, but football is looking up as long as Taggart is there.
4. USF Campus: Nice walk through the main green, contemporary art museum and gardens.
5. Spring Training: An essential Florida experience, at least somewhere.
6. Minor League: Tampa Yankees have 2$ Fridays and Bradenton Marauders 1$ Sundays I believe!
7. Busch Gardens: Had to be on the list, has awesome animals if coasters aren’t your thing.
8. Yuengling Brewery: It’s not the main campus of America’s Oldest Brewery, but it is free.
9. Columbia Restaurant: Florida’s oldest restaurant, and a cultural staple.
10. Parkesdale Farm Market: If you’ve never had the Strawberry Shortcake, do you even live here??
11. Bern’s Steakhouse: One of those things you do once. Because if you did it twice you’d be in debt
12. Oxford Exchange: Like something out of London or NYC. Classiest place around to sip coffee
13. Wat Temple Sunday Market: A hidden gem, but still a crowded parking lot.
14. Bayshore Boulevard: Walk, jog, roller blade, bike, or if you really must, drive.
15. Plant Museum: Thank this place, and this guy, for the fact that this area isn’t still undeveloped.
16. International Plaza Mall: Nicest (re: most expensive) mall in the region
17. Tampa International Airport: A life where travel doesn’t happen is a sad one. Get out some.
18. Tampa Cruise Terminal: But it’s nicer to be able to get out this way instead.
19. Cypress Point Park: Can’t afford to fly out, don’t want to drive all the way to the gulf? Go here.
20. Tampa Theatre: SEE, we do have gilded age architecture here! Wish they had more showings.
21. TECO Streetcar: One of several other parallels I see between Tampa and New Orleans. Relaxing.
22. Florida Aquarium: The state aquarium, quick to walk through, but pretty impressive displays.
23. Courtney Campbell Causeway: This looks like a really neat ride/long run, 10 miles, all over water.
24. Straz Center: 2nd largest performing arts center in the SE United States
25. Ruskin Drive In: Because Drive In movies just scream “Americana”. And Mosquito Repellent.
26. Alafia River State Park: Supposedly the best Mountain Biking in the state. Is hiking good too?
27. SS American Victory: One of only four fully operational WWII ships in the US.
28. Dade City: Because Tampa Bay has hills!! Well… kinda.
29. Tampa Bay Downs: I’d venture watching horses here is a good time, but I’ve never been.
30. Gasparilla: This basically covers every event associated with it over the course of Jan/Feb.
31. MacDill Air Show: Supposedly pretty awesome, and something to see while it still happens.
32. Hyde Park Village: Like International Plaza in neighborhood form. A nice walk.
33. Lowry Park Zoo: Excellent cheaper, or don’t feel like dealing with Busch Gardens crowds option.
34. Ybor City: The most historic character of anywhere in Florida besides St. Augustine. Stay on 7th.
35. Dinosaur World: Tacky, but kids would probably enjoy it, and it’s close/educational.
36. Legoland: Miniland is awesome, and it’s not terribly far, but honestly preferred Cypress Gardens
37. Disney World: Yes, I know, touristy/not in Tampa. But if you live here, you have to go once.
38. Bok Tower Gardens: Arguably the most bucolic/serene place in Florida, and only an hour away.
39. Florida Southern College: Worth a walk to see Frank Lloyd Wright’s work and lakefront views.
40. Downtown Lakeland: Has a very Main Street USA vibe, and rolling hills with the lakes is nice.
41. Florida Air Museum: Haven’t been, and don’t know if this is actually good, but needed a filler.
42. St. Petersburg Saturday AM Market: Supposedly the best/largest Farmer’s Market in the state.
43. Vinoy Park: One of the best developed urban waterfronts in the country.
44. Pinellas Trail: Have rode part of it, plan to eventually do all 37 miles in one go.
45. Muvico Sundial IMAX: Most advanced movie experience in our state’s most vibrant downtown.
46. Jannus Live: I hear about this a lot, so I suppose it’s the best music venue in the area?
47. Salvador Dali Museum: Largest collection of this (strange) man’s work outside of Spain.
48. Museum of Fine Arts: Haven’t been, but looks awesome. $5 on Thursday evenings!
49. Chihuly Collection: Looks pricy, but I’m guessing the combo ticket is cool/worthwhile.
50. Sunken Gardens: Probably the 2nd most talked about gardens in the area.
51. Fort DeSoto Park: A lot to explore here, between the fort/trails/mangroves/coastline.
52. The Canopy: Probably the best drink with a view there is in Greater Tampa Bay.
53. Ted Peter’s Smoked Seafood: I haven’t been, but I hear it’s very famous.
54. Mazzaro’s Italian Market: Supposedly the largest of it’s kind in the Southeastern US?
55. Mahaffey Theater: Like the Straz, but smaller. Don’t have means of comparison though.
56. John’s Pass Boardwalk: Sort of a Disney-fied, but cool looking area to day trip.
57. Caladesi Island: I was there a while back and it was really nice.
58. Sunshine Skyway Bridge: You have to drive over it once to appreciate the view/architecture.
59. Tropicana Field: Enjoy it while it lasts! Honestly, it has grown on me over the past few years.
60. Grand Central District: About as hipster as it gets in FL. Lots of good/inexpensive food.
61. Armed Forces History Museum: Haven’t been, but want to check it out.
62. Pier 60 Clearwater: Another touristy, but very beautiful beach option.
63. Clearwater Marine Aquarium: Haven’t been yet, would like to meet Morgan Freeman if I go.
64. The Original Hooters: While it’s a chain restaurant, the whole concept is very Florida.
65. Frenchy’s Caf√©: Famous for being famous I guess. I have never been.
66. Downtown Dunedin: Looks like a cool place to bike and drink beer.
67. Tarpon Springs Sponge Docks: Kitschy, but in the most awesome way. AMAZING Greek Food.
68. Critical Mass Bike Ride: There’s one in Tampa and St. Petersburg, and both look like fun.
69. Weeki Wachee Springs: Tubing at here or another spring is a possible antidote to summer.
70. South Florida Museum: Not massive, but has great setup/planetarium shows/events.
71. Edison and Ford Winter Estate: A decent drive, but some impressive history.
72. Go Boating/Fishing: Way better to know someone who owns a boat than to actually own one.
73. Go to a Gun Range/Show: Not something I would have thought to do, but cool experiences.
74. Red Barn Flea Market: Largest collection of randomness I know of in TB & authentic street tacos
75. Mixon’s Fruit Farm: Many amazing products, and they also offer a wildlife/grove tour.
76. Hard Rock Hotel/Casino: Only one in the area, and it can be a good time if responsible.
77. Yoder’s Amish Village: This one ranks high for uniqueness, and choc./peanut butter pie (OMG)
78. Ellenton Premium Outlets: Because this is infinitely better than suffering Orlando outlets traffic
79. St. Armand’s Circle: Very nice shopping and dining right next to the beach.
80. Gamble Plantation: The only one in peninsular Florida, and very historic. Great hammock spot.
81. De Soto National Memorial: The spot where Hernando De Soto started his expedition (we think)
82. Madira Bickel Mounds: Small, but I don’t know of anything else like this in the region.
83. Myakka River State Park: Florida’s largest state park. Offers jetboat ride, canopy walk, and more
84. Siesta Key Beach: Probably listed too many beaches, but it is a central thing to TB, like it or not.
85. Warm Mineral Springs: Yes, it sorta smells like sulphur. Yes, it’s 20$. But, just try it once.
86. Rosa Fiorelli Winery: I don’t know of other wineries in area, I know this one is very quaint.
87. Solomon’s Castle: This is a “Florida Roadside Stop” if there ever was one.
88. Downtown Sarasota: Not as vibrant as St. Pete’s, but still very nice.
89. Downtown Arcadia: Never been, was looking for a filler. I’m sure it’s charming.
90. Downtown Bradenton: It has a nice Riverwalk and a surprising number of events.
91. Legacy Trail: Bike trail through a state park in Sarasota County.
92. Downtown Venice: I’ve heard its cool, but haven’t actually been.
93. Ringling Museum: Best art museum in the State of FL, Top 5 in SE. Also has mansion/circus stuff.
94. Manatee Village Historical Park: Unless someone knows otherwise, best “pioneer village” in area
95. Marie Selby Botanical Gardens: Most esteemed botanical park in FL, perhaps Top 10 in US.
96. Cayo Costa/Cabbage Key: For the private getaway island vibe.
97. Sanibel Island/Captiva: For the touristy beach island vibe (haven’t been).
98. McCurdy’s Comedy Theatre: In Sarasota, it does look pretty cool.
99. The Villages: Only a little over an hour from Tampa. The sociologist in me is curious.
100. Hillsborough River State Park: Nice state park close to town.
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Old 03-29-2016, 01:51 PM
Location: Tampa, FL
27,798 posts, read 27,684,108 times
Reputation: 14611
Mods: Make this man's post a sticky for our subforum.
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Old 03-29-2016, 08:51 PM
Location: Colocated - Long Island and Florida
177 posts, read 119,330 times
Reputation: 243
6. Minor League: Tampa Yankees have 2$ Fridays and Bradenton Marauders 1$ Sundays I believe!

6A - Clearwater Threshers have $1 berm tickets and $1 hot dogs and $1 beer/soda on Tuesday.
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Old 03-30-2016, 12:58 PM
Location: Greater Orlampa CSA
4,496 posts, read 3,568,850 times
Reputation: 3161
Huh, I didn't know he smack talked the historic districts. Still though, hard to argue with results in time here. Thing that stood out to me the most was how after getting demolished by an FCS school in his opening game, the rest of the year, though they lost quite a bit, they were very competitive against some pretty solid teams (i.e. almost spoiling UCF's Fiesta Bowl run). He seems to be a coach that gets improved results over the course of a season.

NYMikeF and BucFan I appreciate your feedback!

Famalam: I think there are a few tourist traps on there, but I wouldn't say it's a primary majority. Obviously Disney, Legoland, Busch Gardens and Dinosaur World are, and I'll also give you John's Pass , and perhaps a few of the restaurants could fall under that umbrella, but that still leaves probably over 80 percent of the list that I don't think tourists are exactly flocking to, even if they did happen to be aware of it. Besides, it's supposed to be representing a wide range of interests : ).
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Old 03-30-2016, 01:19 PM
11,386 posts, read 11,199,711 times
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45. Muvico Sundial IMAX: Most advanced movie experience in our state’s most vibrant downtown.

I'm a big fan of the Muvico IMAX there, but I haven't been in a while. I haven't been since it was the abandoned shopping plaza with just the Muvico and a GameStop. I always thought they could do something with it, and I guess they did. I know at one point Apple was considering opening a store in that plaza. It would be interesting to go back and see what they did to the place.
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Old 05-23-2016, 11:04 AM
Location: Greater Orlampa CSA
4,496 posts, read 3,568,850 times
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Haha, good point.

I would certainly like to get tickets if at all possible (whether discounted thru volunteering with TBSC or what).

I finally got a chance to take a tour of Yuengling yesterday and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. Any similar factory tours in Tampa area? I thought about Tabanero Cigars but I believe it's 10$ and you have to be with a group. Does Publix (I know it's in Lakeland) or Zephyrhills ever offer tours of their HQs?

I also went hiking at Alafia River State Park and was kinda disappointed actually. Trail isn't well marked, and caters much more to mountain bikes than hikers. I wish there was a place with similar terrain except for trail runs, because I wouldn't feel comfortable setting foot on most of the hillier stretches with how fast people move there. Perhaps up in Dade City.
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Old 05-23-2016, 09:29 PM
Location: Tampa, Fl
4,091 posts, read 5,026,838 times
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Originally Posted by cavsfan137 View Post
I finally got a chance to take a tour of Yuengling yesterday and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. Any similar factory tours in Tampa area?
Cigar City Brewing. $8.
Tampa Bay Brewing Company. $10.
Coppertail Brewing. $10.
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Old 05-24-2016, 04:43 PM
747 posts, read 821,267 times
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Great thread, thanks for listing these!
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Old 05-29-2016, 09:00 PM
Location: Leminole, FL
73 posts, read 60,766 times
Reputation: 127
Great list! more for us to explore as we embrace our new home - and here are more:
[NOTE: Pinellas County alone has 21 parks, plus there are city parks, water management district and nature preserve parks]
Some favorites are:
~Boca Ciega Millenium Park off of Park Blvd & 125th in Seminole. Boardwalks and observation tower overlooking intracoastal. Peaceful and a respite from the busyness of life in Nature. Look carefully over the boardwalk railings and you might see the scurrying fiddler crabs; listen for the cry of osprey overhead.
~Across to the next causeway, where Hamlin Blvd. ends at Walsingham there is the George McGough Largo City Park aka the Turtle Park. Even us "big kids" love feeding the turtles and visting the nature center owls, hawks, snakes and Sarge the Eagle. A circular path leads out to a pier on the intracoastal with a front seat view of the drawbridge and some impressive boats coming through.
~The Florida Botanical Gardens, Walsingham/Ulmerton/125th junction. Gorgeous paths through tropical gardens and water features, Wedding Garden, Herbs, Cacti, etc., and information center. All free, donations accepted.
Adjacent to that, what I think would surely rival #94 is the Heritage Village with houses and "businesses" set up like the early settler days of Florida. Three trips and we haven't seen it all - also free.
Beyond nature and the parks, check out Groupon and Living Social for discounts to area attractions, classes (like glass blowing, pottery, and such; activities such as kayaking, Segway tours, the St Pete Pedalpub)- which in doing so will give you ideas on what else there is to experience in the area.
So much to do, I need a bigger bucket!!
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Old 05-31-2016, 07:36 PM
Location: North of South, South of North
8,704 posts, read 9,326,472 times
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GREAT list. Wish I had it prior to 3 years ago next month.
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