Over the past decade the Port of Tampa has grown up right along with the Tampa Bay Area itself, and now is the epicenter of a lively tourist and residential community. Carnival, Holland America, Norwegian and Royal Caribbean are all now calling the Port of Tampa home and the great port facilities aren’t the only reason! Tampa Bay, and particularly the Channelside District that hosts our cruise ship HQ, offers a great place to stay and play before and after your cruising adventure.
The Cruise ship berth at the Port of Tampa is located right in the heart of Tampa and is an easy walk to just about everything worthwhile to do and see in the City of Tampa itself. Terminal 2 is sandwiched right between Channelside Bay Plaza and The Florida Aquarium. The Florida Aquarium is the premiere public facility of its kind in the state and offers a Florida focused look at this fascinating eco-system. The Aquarium was designed to both educate and entertain; start at the top floor where the surface area of our lakes, rivers and bay are explored…complete with Alligators, turtles and other surprising, unique wildlife, then as you descend through the aquarium the tidal pools eventually give way to the ocean floor. On the other side of the Terminal is Channelside Bay Plaza, our cruiser’s favorite spot to shop, eat and play before and after you shipboard adventures. Channelside often hosts live music in its central area, and has great restaurants, an Imax movie theater and some of the most popular bars and clubs in the Tampa area.
If you feel like stretching your legs, you can walk just one block towards downtown for the start of Tampa’s new Riverwalk. Riverwalk is a beautiful pathway that leads along the water toward the Tampa Convention Center and up along the Hillsborough River, all the while providing you with some of the best views in the city and a mini-education on our ecosystem along the way. At the head of the Riverwalk you’ll find the Tampa History Center where you’ll learn about our Cuban and Italian heritage and why we have such a fascination with Pirates (Buccaneers).
Tampa’s Riverwalk by the Tampa History Center
Also pictured above is one of Tampa’s most well-known landmarks, the St. Pete Time’s Forum. Not only is the Forum the home of the Tampa Bay Lightning, but is a noteworthy concert venue that hosts everyone from Taylor Swift to Alicia Keys. I wonder who’s in town to see you off on your cruise… Along the Riverwalk just a bit further you’ll have the chance to see Tampa’s new Museum of Art and the Glazer Children’s Museum, both right across the river from the University of Tampa.
If you really want to see the what makes Tampa Bay’s heart beat you’ll need to hop onto the Trolley right in front of Channelside Bay Plaza and let it take you to our own Ybor City. This 10 minute ride takes you from the Miami style architecture and palm trees of Tampa Bay over to where Cuban settlers rolled their first cigar, made their first Cuban Sandwich and gifted this Southern city with a Latin spirit. Brick streets, wrought iron railings and a party atmosphere (at night) make this our own little version of New Orleans. During the day you can enjoy eclectic shopping, watch a few cigars get rolled by hand and take in the events at the park and the Ybor City History Museum. In the evenings, Ybor lights up with the some of the best restaurants in the Tampa and nightlife that brings people from all over the State to enjoy. While you’re here, have dinner at the famous Columbia Restaurant and watch their legendary flamenco dancers perform!
Take the Trolley to Ybor City
There’s so much to do and see here in the Tampa Bay Area! Take the opportunity before or after your next cruise to get out and enjoy everything Tampa has to offer.
Written by www.tampaflattractions.com