When visiting Tampa Bay, you’ll want to stop by the chic, modern area of town called Hyde Park. Nicknamed SoHo for being located on South Howard Avenue, you’ll never find a lack of activity during the day or the after-party feel at night. With a variety of high-end shopping, dining, and culture, Hyde Park is the place to be in Tampa Bay.
Although the name might make you think of them as a quiet place to grab a bite to eat, the reality of Hyde Park Cafe is quite the opposite. It’s one of the hottest party scenes in Tampa, with three different atmospheres in the one club alone: Wally & Bernies, Cafe Courtyard, and Velociti. They offer VIP Bottle Service and a Happy Hour on Fridays from 8 pm – 10 pm. They do have a dress code that’s enforced, so you’ll find a comfortable, but energetic, crowd to be among and dance the night away.
Hyde Park Village is one of the top shopping malls in the entire Tampa region, featuring organic food, local stores, and Farmer Markets on the first Sunday of every month! The Village will also host the occasional outdoor concert or event (especially during Halloween!) that attracts both local residents and tourists alike. It’s an open-air mall, so you get a nice breeze while checking out some of the best retail opportunities Florida has to offer.
Tampa’s Big Cat Rescue is the largest cat rescue in the entire world. They take care of abused large cats and give them a safe, loving environment, helping animals like tigers, lions, black panthers, leopards, and more! It’s an educational experiences that promotes awareness of animal abuses and proper care. You’re able to take a tour of their facilities and see their animals, but you’ll have to book online ahead of time as room is limited.
The Melting Pot is a popular fondue restaurant, and the only one of its kind in Tampa Bay. It’s a great option for date night out with your significant other, or a fun memorable meal with your family who will always remember dipping their food into warm chocolate sauce right at their table. The Melting Pot is a unique way to enjoy a meal with a variety of different fondue options, from chocolate to cheese.
If you’re more of an adventurous person, then you’ll want to check out Vertical Ventures, an indoor rock climbing gym that’s perfect for climbers of all skill groups. It doesn’t matter if this is your first try at rock climbing or if you’re a veteran, there’s levels to satisfy all groups. It’s a different way to work out and get exercise instead of a traditional gym – and more fun! With over 6,000 sq feet of climbing, and with introductory lessons, it’s a healthy activity the entire family can enjoy. It’s a great choice for a meetup, a birthday party, a work group, or even to get the loved ones out to work off the vacation meals you’ve been packing on.
Originally built in the 1920’s, Tampa Theatre is one of the oldest movie theatres in all of the United States. It’s a preserved landmark, and now serves as a cultural center to the Tampa community. The theatre is home to The Mighty Wurlitzer Theatre Organ, which was rescued in 1980 by volunteers. The organ is played before every film screening as a tribute to the rich history of the building.
Florida Aquarium might just be the best aquarium in the entire state of Florida. A 250,000 sq foot not-for-profit attraction, it’s been accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums and their staff takes great care of their sea creatures and sea life. There’s plenty of exhibits to look through and tons of colorful fish to discover. Staff are knowledgeable and friendly, and there’s an outdoor play area for children who just aren’t ready yet to leave.
CineBistro found their own way to combine dinner and a movie: by doing it together! You can have your fine dining experienced delivered right to your seat as you check out first-run movies and independent films. It’s a new trend that’s slowly spreading throughout North America and makes it easier to time everything just right for your date night. They have a full bar with cocktails, wine, and beer as well as traditional movie snacks available to be ordered, all brought right to you before the movie begins!
Operating Hours: Check showtimes – you must arrive 30 minutes before each show
If you’re wanting to get a little bit of fresh air beside the ocean, then you’ll want to head over the Bayshore Boulevard. It’s the world’s longest sidewalk, running right alongside the view of the bay, and you can walk it or run it at your own pace. If you’re lucky, you’ll catch dolphins swimming in the water or the odd Manatee floating by slowly. It’s the perfect spot for a romantic stroll or a bike ride to get a bit of excersize while in one of the biggest cities in the state. It runs 7.2 km in total.
The Henry B. Plant Museum is a historical landmark right on the grounds of the University of Tampa. Originally a hotel built in 1888, it’s a classic part of Tampa full of history and the city’s culture. They have antiques on-site still from the times that it operated as a hotel in the 1800s, and the entire building is an educational adventure about the history of the city. It’s really well preserved, and Henry B. Plant is a major figure in Tampa’s history that helped make the city what it is today.
Operating Hours: Sun 12pm – 5pm, Tue – Sat 10am – 5pm