Tampa has a long history as an important center for commerce, even earning its Cigar City moniker by rolling out as many as 500 million cigars in one year at the height of its cigar-making days. Like many port cities, Tampa grew substantially to support military endeavors during World War II. Now it’s a bustling city full of post-modern architecture, robust nightlife, and beautiful parks and beaches.
Plan your trip to Tampa to coincide with the Gasparilla Pirate Festival, an annual tradition since 1904. This mock pirate invasion is sometimes referred to as, "Tampa's Mardi Gras" and includes flotilla displays as well as several smaller parades and festivals in the months leading up to the main event. Tampa plays host to a number of film festivals, the Florida State Fair, conventions, and celebrations like Tampa Riverfest. The Tampa Riverfest takes place on the Tampa Riverwalk, a popular waterfront attraction that can connect visitors to several different museums as well as parks and other attractions. Plan a stroll along this pretty public way when you visit Tampa.
Make time in your itinerary for some of Tampa's many museums. If you're traveling with little ones, the Glazer Children's Museum is right next to the Tampa Museum of Art. You can hit both for the perfect family outing. The Florida Museum of Photographic Arts is great for lovers of this modern medium and the historic Henry B. Plant Museum can offer a taste of this resort town's past.
Throughout your adventures in Tampa, be sure to get a taste of the local cuisine. Tampa has a rich cultural landscape that encompasses Cuban, Caribbean, Italian, German, Spanish, Irish, Jewish, and Afro-Cuban influences, leading to delicious traditional and fusion dishes throughout the city. Make sure you explore restaurants and cafes before you go so you can make them part of your travel plans!