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Tampa Mini Guide
What can you Tell me About Tampa?
The name is thought to come from the language of the Native Americans who lived there before the Europeans and translates as ‘sticks of fire’. This is supposed to be representative of the many lightning strikes that hit the area in summer storms. The area was first colonised by Europeans as a fort to help fight the Seminole Indians who were trying to rid their land of the invaders. From the early days of the fort, people began to see the potential of Tampa Bay and a settlement grew to become one of the major conurbations in Florida.
What is There to See and Do in Tampa?
Tampa has the world famous Busch Gardens. Seen by some simply as an amusement park trying to rival Disney
, the park has wonderful gardens as well as a world class zoo. Billed as entertainment for all ages, it’s worth a visit despite the high cost. For watery entertainment, try the Florida Aquarium which has an unusual educational programme based on the journey of a raindrop. Try too, to visit Ybor City, the ethnic part of the city. An eclectic mix of nationalities and religions make for an interesting day of exploration of art, culture and food there.
What Should I buy When I’m in Tampa?
Much of the shopping in Tampa revolves around high class malls designed for the cruise ship passengers who visit the city. There’s little of note to buy that’s representative of the area apart from sports memorabilia from the city’s many competitive teams in football, soccer, baseball and basketball.
What is Good to eat in Tampa?
With its range of ethnic groups, Tampa and Ybor have a great selection of food to try. Romanian, Cuban, Irish, Italian and yet more restaurants tempt the diner with meatballs, pizza, stews, fish and rice and more. It’s been said that you can eat a different country’s food every night for a month in Tampa.
What is There for Entertainment in the City?
Tampa is a great city if you want to be entertained. Ybor City in particular has many bars, cafes and nightclubs including salsa clubs. The area is also well known for its live music, often spontaneous but always enjoyable. There are also several festivals including the city’s own version of Mardi Gras which takes place in the last few days of January. The Gasparilla Pirate Festival, as it is known, includes processions, floats, fireworks, food and more. Sant’Yago Knight Parade in February is another event not to be missed. Taking place at night, it’s an illuminated parade of medieval days. Tampa’s own take on Halloween, called Guavaween, takes place at the end of October and puts a tropical twist on witches, ghosts and wizards. All through the summer smaller festivals take place across the bay area so look out for the local press for details.