Tampa, FL

Top 3 Places to Visit in Tampa, Florida

Haris Mohammad

For those looking to have some fun outdoors

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City Skyline, Tampa, Florida.Kristina Volgenau/Unsplash

Tampa. Also known as the Cigar City or The Big Guava.

Incorporated in 1849, Tampa is the third-most populous city in Florida and among the most populous cities in the United States. The city’s lovely waterfront, pleasant weather, mouth-watering cuisine, and a long list of attractions make it popular among tourists.

If you plan to visit the city or are already there and thinking about exploring it, here are some of the best places to visit in Tampa.

Busch Gardens Tampa Bay

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Tigris at Busch Gardens.Itai Aarons/Unsplash

Opened 1959, Busch Gardens Tampa Bay is a massive, 335-acre African-themed animal theme park — the eleventh most-visited amusement park in North America.

The park is divided into several regions — for example, Sesame Street Safari of Fun, Congo, and Jungala — each with its own theme and attractions. The Serengeti Express (a steam train) and Skyride transport people from one region to another.

The park has dozens of rides, including roller-coasters and water rides. Several of the rides hold (or have held in the past) records for being the tallest, fastest, or steepest in the world. So yeah, they can be scary and very much so!

But that’s not all. Busch Gardens is also Tampa’s largest zoo, housing thousands of animals belonging to over 200 species. There are tigers, lions, gorillas, giraffes, elephants, alligators, penguins, flamingoes, and many more.

The zoo also offers various Tours and Experiences that allow visitors a behind-the-scenes look, to get close to the animals, and in some cases, even interact with them.

Overall, there’s much to do and enjoy in the park, and it’s the biggest attraction in Tampa, with more than 4 million people visiting every year. But it also means the place can get crowded and you may have to wait in long queues. I would recommend buying their Quick Queue passes; they can save a lot of time.

I wouldn’t say the same about their All-Day Dine Deal. The food is good, though.

Lettuce Lake Park

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Limpkin carrying a large snail in a swamp at Lettuce Lake Park.Jeffrey Hamilton/Unsplash

Just outside Tampa’s city limits is the 240-acre Lettuce Lake Park with the Hillsborough River running through it. It’s a great place for anyone looking to get away from the rush and noise of city life and find some peace in nature.

The park features wooded picnic areas and playgrounds, a 1.25-mile paved exercise trail, and a 3,500-foot boardwalk. There’s also an observation tower on the boardwalk, offering beautiful views of the lake and surrounding areas.

Canoeing and kayaking are popular activities among visitors. Canoes and kayaks are available for rent at reasonable prices.

The presence of wildlife —various birds, turtle, fish, and even alligators — add to the place's charm.

Tampa Riverwalk

Another wonderful place with pleasant views to have a rejuvenating break.

Tampa Riverwalk is a beautifully landscaped open space and pedestrian trail development stretching for about 2.6 miles along the Hillsborough River. It has a nice collection of art in the form of numerous sculptures and monuments, and murals.

There are also playgrounds (a couple of them have splash pads, too) for the kids to have fun. Then, there are plenty of activities you can watch people do — boating, kayaking, paddleboarding — or you might yourselves get into.

To make it even better, the Riverwalk is lined with some of the city’s prominent attractions — like The Florida Aquarium — and excellent restaurants.

So these were some of the places you must visit if you’re in Tampa. I must add that due to the pandemic, some sections might not be open, or there could be certain restrictions. So make sure you do the necessary research before visiting.

Also, please follow the guideline. Have fun but stay safe.

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