What's Happening in the Area?
• Check out the local festivals, exhibits and performances taking place during your event.
• Visit Tampa Bay has launched Visit Tampa Gay, a comprehensive guide for LGBTQ visitors.The guide provides an in-depth view of the region’s thriving LGBTQ community through interviews with key figures, including Tampa Museum of Art director Michael Tomor, Diversity Chamber director Justice Gennari and newly elected Tampa Mayor Jane Castor – the city’s first LGBTQ mayor.
Getting Active & Outdoors
• Following a $36 million redevelopment, Julian B. Lane Riverfront Park and its River Center structure have received two 2019 American Architecture Awards for design excellence from The Chicago Athenaeum: Museum of Architecture and Design and The European Centre for Architecture Art Design and Urban Studies. Completed in 2018 as part of the City of Tampa's plan to regenerate the West Tampa riverfront and adjacent neighborhoods, the park features expansive picnic and gathering spots with city views; first-class tennis, basketball, and football courts; a pedestrian wharf; raised walkways lined with more than 100 pre-existing oak trees; and a weekend water taxi stop. There's also a floating dock where visitors can watch the action on the Hillsborough River. The River Center has a swooping roof that channels runoff into an adjacent rain garden and incorporates a boathouse that offers kayak, canoe, paddleboard, dragon boat, and scull rentals.
• Break a sweat like a local with a sunrise jog along scenic Bayshore Boulevard in the morning, or come evening loop around the Tampa Riverwalk just as the lights come up and illuminate the city’s landmarks.
• To take in the sights
of Tampa Bay from the bay itself, arrange a two-hour stand-up paddleboard class and adventure organized by Urban Kai Stand Up Paddleboarding.
• The Florida Aquarium will soon harvest the power of the sun as partner TECO installs a new solar-powered roof and canopies in a project slated for completion in fall 2020. A small exhibit about solar energy is also being added. Situated near Tampa Bay’s Convention District, the aquarium can host groups of 250 to 4,000 people for off-site events. Individual event spaces include the Coral Reef Gallery, which can accommodate up to 200 attendees, the Mosaic Center & Rooftop, which can host up to 650 attendees and the Vinik Channelside room, for up to 125 guests.
Extending Your Trip in Tampa Bay
• Beer here (and there): In Tampa — known as the craft-brewing hub of the Southeastern U.S — craft beer is as much a part of life as sunshine and hand-rolled cigars. Choose from among hundreds of locally brewed craft beers at Cigar City Brewing Co. Its newest offering, Humidor Series IPA, features a unique dimension added by Spanish cedar, the same wood used to manufacture cigar humidors. In the Cuban enclave of Ybor City, Coppertail Brewing Co. serves a rotating menu of craft brews, with 20 options on tap at any one time. Tours of Coppertail’s brewing facility are available. Angry Chair Brewing is known for its stouts but offers a wide variety of IPAs, sours and porters. Five-ounce pours make it easy to choose your favorite offering. Brew Bus holds weekly public tours to visit local craft breweries, as well as chartered private craft-brewery tours for groups. Brew Bus Brewery beers are served on both public and private tour buses.
• Ahoy mateys: Tampa Bay's ties to pirates and Spanish explorers are celebrated at the Tampa Bay History Center's new "Treasure Seekers" exhibit. Visitors can climb a replica pirate ship, sight the stars through a sextant and learn about life below decks. The venue, a Smithsonian Affiliate Museum, offers three floors of exhibits exploring 12,000 years of Florida history. The museum also has four event venues and can accommodate up to 600 guests.
• Get Wet and Wild:Spend
a day screaming on the roller coasters and water rides at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay, then marvel at the more than 300 animal species on exhibit and enjoy the
many family-friendly shows on offer. This year, Busch Gardens debuted Tirgris, Florida's tallest launch coaster, which "catapults riders through an exhilarating array of looping twists with forward and backward motion, breathtaking drops, a 150-foot
skyward surge and an inverted heartline roll" at more than 60 miles per hour. Read more here.
"The Big Guava" Sports Scene
Tampa Bay, nicknamed "The Big Guava" in the 1970s, takes its sports seriously. Make some time to catch a home game of:
• Tampa Bay Buccaneers
• Tampa Bay Rays
• Tampa Bay Lightning
Hot F&B Spots in Tampa
• Tampa Bay's undeniably hip cocktail scene is showcased in "Tampa With a Twist: A Baycrafted Cocktail Guide to Tampa Bay," a new release in Visit Tampa Bay's book series. Available at Unlock Tampa Bay Visitors Center and at several local retailers, the book combines photography with commentary from the pioneers of the city's cocktail culture, inspired cocktail recipes from some of the region’s best mixologists, bar bite recipes, and tips on how to create a perfect charcuterie board. Then sample libations created by some of the mix masters featured in the book, including Ro Patel of The Collection in The Hall on Franklin, Daniel Bareswilt of CW's Gin Joint, and Scooby Oliver of Rock Brothers Brewing.
• The city has earned the Number 10 spot on WalletHub’s "2019 Best Cities for Vegans & Vegetarians" list. The list ranks the top 100 U.S. cities in this category based on 17 key metrics, including the of restaurants serving meatless options, number of salad shops per capita, and cost of groceries fo vegetarians. In addition to being named the 10th-best city for vegans and vegetarians overall, Tampa came in ninth place on the list for the diversity, accessibility, and quality of vegan and vegetarian options. The latter was calculated according to the number of restaurants where vegan and vegetarian fare is available, as well as by number of community gardens, degree of access to fresh vegetarian food, and number of smoothie bars per capita.
• The menu of dining and sipping options at the Tampa Convention Center has expanded with the completion of a project on the Riverwalk adjacent to the facility. Big Ray's Fish Camp, a fishing shack-themed restaurant, is now open. The area surrounding the 360-degree bar The Sail, formerly known as the Sail Pavilion, has been renamed Sail Plaza and revamped to include amenities like upgraded/expanded restrooms, additional seating, new shade structures, and a full kitchen for Big Ray’s Fish Camp. Renovations of concessionaires inside the convention center, such as Datz, are expected to wrap up by mid-September.
Among other local favorite eateries in the area are:
- Wright's Gourmet House - American
- La Terrazza Restaurant - Italian
- Wat Mongkolratanaram Thai Temple - Thai
- Al's Finger Licking Good Bar-B-Que - American, BBQ
- Happy Fish - Peruvian
- On Swann - American
- First Watch - American
- Mr. Dunderbak's - German
- Terra Gaucha Brazilian Steakhouse - Brazilian
- Bern's Steak House - French, Steakhouse
Guest Rooms - 727
Meeting Rooms - 45
Largest Conference Room - 6,815 sq. ft.
Total event space - 86,909 sq. ft.
Room Rate Range - $257-$404
Guest Rooms - 520
Meeting Rooms - 29
Largest Conference Room - 4,018 sq. ft.
Total event space - 30,714 sq. ft.
Room Rate Range - $177-$394
Guest Rooms - 266
Meeting Rooms - 24
Largest Conference Room - 3,128 sq. ft.
Total event space - 30,000 sq. ft.
Room Rate Range - $129-$365