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Tampa Holidays

Tampa Holidays, Florida

With the world’s tourism mecca – Orlando – Just 70 miles up the road, it might be easy to overlook the city by the bay as a major travel destination. But Tampa and its adjoining communities have a great deal to offer the visitor. And yes, there’s a theme park here, too: Bush Gardens Tampa Bay preceded Walt Disney’s dream by 12 years.

But there ar also some things Mickey and friends don’t have. With varied cultural offerings, world-class attractions, championship sports teams, water recreation opportunities, a vibrant Latin heritage and savory Spanish and Cuban-influenced cuisine, Tampa merits a closr look.

During the 18th century the bay belonged to pirates who left a decided influence on the area. One of them, the legendary Jose Gaspar, may have pilaged and kidnapped his way to annual celebrity Tampa’s first Gasparilla Pirate Festival was help in 1904. and the area’s NFL team, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, also takes its name from this era.

Cigars were once the city’s mainstay, and brick and frame factories housing such companies as Hava-Tampa and Cuesta-Rey provided employment for Spanish, Italian and Cuban immigrants who labored at long tables hand-rolling tobacco leaves. Cigars are still produced, but the area business community has diversified.

Tampa is the foremost port of Florida’s west coast and one of the nation’s busiest, with petroleum, coal, steel and cement among its major inbound cargoes. The port’s strategic location contributes more than 100,000 jobs and $8 billion each year to the local economy. A state-of-the-art cruise terminal welcomes passengers of Carnival Cruise Lines, Holland America Line and Royal Caribbean International bound for Caribbean and Latin American destinations



Thing to do in Tampa

Sightseeing: With its scenic views of Hillsborough Bay, 4.5 mile long Bayshore Boulevard is not only a popular walking and excercise area for residents but also a preferred driving route. Among th beautiful residential neighborhoods to explore are Davis Islands, built on three man-made islands in the 1920s, and historic Hyde Park. The ybor City Mseum State Park offers a guided walking tour of historic Ybor City.

Spectator Sports: Tampa Bay area fans have the option to root for a home run; slap high-fives after a touchdown; cout down the time during a power play; watch dogs chase a stuffed rabbit; or applaud as a favorite horse makes a photo finish. Whatever your pleasure, the following options will have you cheering.

Football: The NFL’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 2003 Super Bowl champs, play a Raymond James Stadium, between N. Dale Mabry Highway and N. Himes Avenue; for ticket information phone (813) 879-2827. The stadium also is the setting for the Outback Bowl game, played on New Year’s Day.

Golf: With dozens of golf courses to choose from and weather that allows for year-round play, the bay area is a true golfer’s paradise. Some of the public and semiprivate cousers include Bloomingdale, The Claw, Heritage Harbor Pkwy, Northdale, Rocky Point, Rogers Park and Westchase.

Shopping/Malls: Tampa’s  retail  front offers a great deal of activity, wether you prefer expansive malls with high-end merchandise or the diversity and uniqueness found in specialty shopping districts. The Dillard’s Neiman Marcus and Nordstrom anchor International Plaza and Bay Street, an upscale extreme shopping mall with an outdoor dining and entertainment center. In  addition to nationally recognized department stores, women’s fashions are well represented by exclusive designer boutiques Betsey Johnson, Custo Barcelona and Jessica McClintock, as well as A Pea in a Pod for mothers-to-be; men’s by Abercrombie & Fitch, BOSS Hugo Boss, Burberry and J. Crew; and children’s by Adrenalia and Gymboree.

More than 200 retailers have all your shopping needs covered, from jewelry to home  deccor to electronics. There’s even a Build-A-Bear Workshop. A food court, two cappuccino bars and a children’s play area  provided R and R time for weary shoppers, while nearly 15 restaurants in the open-air Bay Street village adjoining the mall offer variety for lunch or post-shopping dinner. The complex is located at 2223 West Shore Blvd. at Boy Scout Boulevard, near Tampa International Airport.

Nightlife: Evening options in Tampa range  from weekday happy-hour get-togethers at wine and marini bars to full-out weekend partyiing at velvet-rope dance clubs. Or maybe you’d prefect an evening of mellow jazz, twangy country sounds or high-energy pop music. Tampa’s eclectic nightlife scene appeals to everyone.

Dontown Tampa’s business core is sprikled with gentrified, after-five gathering places. Unwind over signature champagne cocktails and live or recorded nightly music on the rooftop of Fly Bar & Restaurant, in the North Fraklin Street Historic Distric. TAPS Wine & Bar Merchant on North Ashley Drive pairs its upscale environs and extensive libations list with a Thursday-night live jazz event. On Friday nights catch a live performance in the casual environment an Indigo Coffee, on North Franklin near East Madison Street. And if you land in town on the third Thursday of the month, join locals at Downtown Alive after Five for music and drinks in Poe Plaza, a pedestrian mall on Franklin Street between Jackson and Whiting streets.



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