Tampa / St Pete's FL travel guide
October 1, 2009 9:38 AM   Subscribe

Looking for travel advice for Tampa / St. Pete's FL area for November 13-16. If you live in the area or have visited there I'd love to hear your suggestions.

I'm going to a conference at the convention center in downtown Tampa. I have a relative I'd like to visit that lives about an hour South in Bradenton. So I started looking at places to stay between those two points and think I like the St. Petersburg area.

What places would you'd recommend to a visitor of the area? Is Busch Gardens fun in a campy typical amusement park way? It's my husband and I so I wouldn't mind it being a little romantic, and we're pretty adaptable and open to most places and things. We'll have a rental car. We like quirky places, historic neighborhoods, music stores, natural places, coffee shops, margaritas. He's a musician, we both have backgrounds in various arts. I'll be there for an oncology conference so I may just like to lounge around along the beach or in a pool a good lot of the time. We're not really into bars anymore - unless they are seriously low key or live music is playing. Budget is moderate - not completely splurging, but not really going budget either. But of course - I always like a bargain if available.

I read good things about the Dali Museum from previous threads. Thank you so much for your recommendations for what you love about the area.
posted by dog food sugar to Travel & Transportation around Tampa, FL (14 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Ybor City, of course! Eat at La Tropicana (casual) or The Columbia (a little more expensive).
posted by jquinby at 9:48 AM on October 1, 2009

Best answer: Seconding Dali Museum and Ybor City. Also, mid-November is still decent beach weather, and the Tampa/St. Pete beaches have lovely white sands.

It's been years since I've been to Busch Gardens, so I can't help you there.
posted by cereselle at 11:44 AM on October 1, 2009

Best answer: Stayed at The Pier Hotel in St. Pete for a weekend and loved it. It's right downtown, and walking distance to the Dali museum (as well as the Pier itself, which is worth skipping IMO).
posted by contessa at 12:00 PM on October 1, 2009

Best answer: http://www.tampatheatre.org/is lovely. They giave tours, and there's one on the 14th.
St. Pete's farmers market is nice, the weather should be perfect for that then a stroll downtown.
Dunedin Brewery in Dunedin is great. Great beer, live music at night, very low key, although it can get busy at night if there is a good band playing. The food is pretty good as well..baja fish tacos, amazing beer cheese dip. Man I freaking miss that beer dip.
There's the 2nd Friday Art Walk and a Blues Festival in Dunedin on Saturday as well.
posted by Epsilon-minus semi moron at 12:18 PM on October 1, 2009

Best answer: Globe Coffee is great but not open Sunday so check it out on a different day that you are there.
posted by vsync at 1:39 PM on October 1, 2009

Best answer: I was born and raised in Tampa AND I went to USF in Tampa, so I have a pretty good idea of the area.

Ybor City is great in the day, especially if you are trying to enjoy the historical and quirky aspects of it. I wouldn't recommend going there at night...not dangerous...just collegey (it's a word) and young.

For grown-up nightlife, go to Channelside. It is ALL kinds of fun.

The Dali Museum is one of the most incredible places on the planet. Do not miss it. And, the St. Pete Pier is quite a good spot to chill.

Busch Gardens is great if you like roller coasters and animals. I actually got my first job there when I was in high school. They fired me, but I'm not bitter anymore.

Hyde Park is great for shopping; it is an older, though probably not historical, area in Tampa.

Definitely try to take in a film at the Tampa Theatre. The theater is amazing. You don't even have to pay attention to the movie.

In St. Pete Beach, look for a restaurant called Caddy's. It is an awesome gem. The tables are on the beach, live music...great for a sunset meal.
posted by AlliKat75 at 2:26 PM on October 1, 2009

Best answer: Whatever you do, get yourself a Cubano sandwich. It's the first thing we do when we visit my in-laws. La Tropicana has a pretty good one, but I've never had a bad one in Tampa.
posted by qwip at 5:11 PM on October 1, 2009

Best answer: Nthing Ybor City, The Colombia , and the Dali Museum. I also love the Lowry Park Zoo.
posted by Ochre,Hugh at 5:25 PM on October 1, 2009

Best answer: Fresh Cuban bread! If you like crusty-on-the-outside-soft-on-the-inside bread this is the beast bread in the universe. La Segunda Central in Ybor is probably the most well known bakery, but there are others as well.

The Florida Aquarium is pretty darn nice, I think. I had my senior prom there. (Best. Prom. Venue. Ever.) MOSI can also be nice, but it's really a kid's museum, so . . . you have to like children. Busch Gardens is worth a visit if you like roller coasters. Watch out for the seagulls, they'll steal your food. Too bad it'll be too chilly for Adventure Island--it's a good water park.

St. Pete beach is really nice if the weather's good.
posted by that girl at 6:03 PM on October 1, 2009

Best answer: If you're looking for a postcardy sort of beach, I suggest the on Ft Desoto State Park.
posted by nulledge at 6:05 PM on October 1, 2009

Best answer: Seconding Fort DeSoto State Park. We had a wonderful (romantic!) time there, watching dolphin moms & their babies from the pier...
posted by The Toad at 1:14 AM on October 2, 2009

Response by poster: Oh yay! Thank you so much Tampa area Mefites! You are all awesome! I'm looking forward to so many of these places. AlliKat75 thanks for the Tampa theater rec - I love historic theaters and that place looks amazing.
posted by dog food sugar at 4:17 PM on October 2, 2009

Response by poster: Epsilon-minus semi moron, we're definitely going on one of those tours. The farmers market and festival stroll and the brewery sound really great. Thank you so much!
posted by dog food sugar at 4:35 PM on October 2, 2009

Response by poster: For anyone else that's interested I'm making a google map for this trip. Bear with it - right now it's an early work in progress. Thanks again each and every one of you.
posted by dog food sugar at 4:48 PM on October 2, 2009 [1 favorite]

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