6 Top-Rated Sight-Seeing Destinations in Tampa (2024)
Tampa, the economic centre of Western Florida, is widely known for its musical & cultural offerings and attractive tourist destinations. Situated on Tampa Bay, along the western Gulf Coast of Florida, the city of Tampa offers a variety of sites, including natural wildlife reserves, zoo, gallery (s), world-class museums and a lot to relax and lighten from a refreshing holiday. Being in Tampa takes you near the sun, sea, and endless natural beauties along with human-made attractions that are worth your time.
The city of Tampa is an ideal place for family vacations, and the below list of “Top-Rated Sight-Seeing Destinations in Tampa” will bring you some of the best options.
6 Top-Rated Sight-Seeing Destinations in Tampa
1. Busch Gardens
A site full of family adventure, thrilling experience and live entertainment, the Busch Gardens in Tampa is counted as the Top-Rated Sight-Seeing Destination to Visit in Tampa. It is an African themed animal park that is also counted within the world-renowned amusement parks that are ideal for every age group’s visitors.
Busch Gardens are spread over 335-acres, including more than 12000 animals (including various exotic animals as well) in their natural habitat settings. Visitors can opt for Serengeti Night Safari and see some of the exotic breeds from a closer distance. The garden also offers endless adventure in thrilling rides, live entertainment shows, water rides, and guided adventure tours. It holds everything for a full day of entertainment, and thus, one can also find some of the delightful cafes, restaurants, bars, and souvenir shops providing services 24*7.
- Address: 10165 N McKinley Dr, Tampa, FL 33612
- How to Reach: The Tampa International Airport is the nearest airport to Busch Gardens within a road distance of 24 km approximately. In contrast, the Tampa City centre is only at a distance of 14.2 km. Bus, Taxi, Shuttle, and town car services are frequently operated on the routes.
- Best Time To Visit: February to April has the ideal temperature and comparatively less crowded than the holiday months.
2. The Florida Aquarium
A 250,000-square-foot aquarium famously known as “The Florida Aquarium” exhibits more than 20,000 water species (both plants and animals) from around the world. A variety of human-friendly species like starfish, land dwellers, sea anemones, stingrays, horseshoe crabs, urchins, lemurs, dolphins etc., are even allowed to touch and fed by the visitors. Along with the beautiful water creatures, one can also witness the dangerous ones like an albino alligator, leafy sea dragons, snakes, and bats.
Being there also gives you the chance of immersing into experiencing 4-D films, join an off-site dolphin water cruise, experience the shipwreck dive, splash pad or even dive into the water to swim along with uncountable species alongside. The site hosts educational programs like Evening Tide Talks, where you can experience lecturers by renowned researchers, photographers, scientists and a lot more. The Florida aquarium is centred around animals and their natural environment (both freshwater and saltwater) and even offer school camps and summer camps known as “Aqua Camps” for children between the ages of 3 to 18.
- Address: 701 Channelside Dr, Tampa, FL 33602-5600
- How to Reach: The Florida Aquarium shares a road distance of approximately 15.4 km from the Tampa International Airport. Bus, Taxi, Shuttle, and town car services are frequently operated there.
- Best Time To Visit: The best time to enjoy swimming along uncountable species is during the Summers. The charm can be explored well throughout the year; however, it is ideal for visiting during early hours and weekdays to avoid crowds.
3. Zoo Tampa at Lowry Park
ZooTampa at the Lowry Park is a family-friendly zoo spread along 65-acres exhibiting more than 1300 animal species. It is recognized as the centre for Florida wildlife conservation and biodiversity by the State of Florida. Within the 65-acres, one can explore the Asian gardens, primate world, wallaroo station, Safari Africa, the Florida wildlife centre, and the main free-flight aviary. Along with that, the Zoo venture theatre with the park organizes fun and interactive show called“Spirits of the Sky Raptor” twice a day.
Visitors at the ZooTampa can closely experience the wildlife. They can even touch and feed a few human-safe species like a giraffe, Indian rhino, giant tortoise, slippery stingrays and a lot more. It is the only tourist site in Florida where Florida manatees can be seen anytime during the year. Apart from seeing the wildlife closely, Zoo Tampa also offers fun and entertainment through rides like a roller-coaster, Flying Bananas ride, a mini train ride for kids, and many more. Further, visitors can also experience the ride where a single three-story drop splashes the riders into a splash zone.
- Address: 1101 W Sligh Ave, Tampa, FL 33604-5958
- How to reach: The Zoo Tampa is located at a road distance of approximately 15.4 km from the Tampa International Airport. Bus, Taxi, Shuttle, and town car services are frequently operated there.
- Best time to visit: Visiting Zoo Tampa in summers is ideal for enjoying inside the water. Animals are equally energetic during the summers, which is the perfect time to visit any zoo or wildlife site. Whereas in winters, especially during the Christmas and new year, the entire area is heavenly beautified and is divine to experience.
4. Sunshine Skyway Bridge
Also known as the highway on stilts, the Sunshine Skyway Bridge is an engineering marvel of the Top-Rated Sight-Seeing Destination to visit in Tampa. This iconic landmark is a connection route between Terra Ceia and St. Petersburg. It is a four-lane bridge that has been a preferable shooting destination for various Hollywood films, including The Punisher and Loren Cass. Multiple races have also been organized here.
The Sunshine Skyway Bridge has an astonishing view ideal to capture some panoramic pictures along with enjoying the beauty of emerald green waters underneath. It is one of the world’s longest cable connected bridges spread over 4.14 miles and 430 feet high that is entirely composed only of steel and concrete.
- Address: 7508-7534 Sunshine Skyway Ln S, St. Petersburg, FL 33711
- How to reach: Pinellas Point Dr. S + 69Th Ave S, Florida is the closest station sharing a distance of 24.6 km from the Sunshine Skyway Bridge. Regular buses and taxies are available on the same route.
- Best time to visit: The Sunshine Skyway Bridge’s panoramic view stays beautiful during the entire year. However, it is recommended to avoid visiting here during high winds, foggy days, hurricanes, and thunderstorms as the bridge will be closed for visitors for safety reasons.
5. Tampa Theatre
For the admirers of theatre and Italian Renaissance, Byzantine and Greek Revival architecture, Tampa Theatre is known for being one of the Best Sight-seeing Destinations to Visit in Tampa. It is a historical U.S theatre that regularly exhibits foreign and independent films, documentaries, and a wide range of entertainment.
Tampa Theatre is one of the most elaborated theatres in the world that looks no less than a Mediterranean garden. When looked upon the ceiling, one can see a combination of 99 bulbs that resembles precisely as beautiful as a clear stary night. Apart from films, the theatre offers a 90 minutes tour named “balcony to backstage.” The tour is organized only on Tuesday and Saturday. It exhibits the art, architecture and stories that today gave this theatre recognition in the National Register of Historic Places and Tampa City Landmark status.
- Address: 711 N Franklin St, Tampa, FL 33602
- How to reach: The Tampa Theatre is a 5 minutes walking distance from the Tampa City Centre. In contrast, the Tampa International Airport is only 13.3 km away from the site.
- Best time to Visit: The entire year is ideal to be at this place.
6. Big Cat Rescue
Big Cat Rescue is a house of exotic as well as rehabilitates, injured or abused native wild cats. Spread over 67-acres; this sanctuary in Tampa is a house to more than 15 wild cat species, including tigers, lions, leopards, bobcats, lynx, jaguar, ocelot, bobcat, cougar, servals, caracals and more. The rescue centre runs with the mission of stopping cat trade, which degrades their conditions with injuries and abused behaviour.
The Big Cat Rescue facilitates tours, including feeding tours, night tours, and private tours. Due to immense popularity, tours at the sanctuary must be reserved in advance by the visitors to avoid large queues and sold-out tickets. Being here will fill you with entertaining, educating and fascinating experience.
- Address: 12802 Easy St, Tampa, FL 33625-3702
- How to reach: The Big Cat Rescue is only a 23.4 km road journey from the Netpark Transfer Center. Regular taxi and buses can be found for the same route. Whereas from Citrus Park, Big Cat rescue is only 2.2 km away.
- Best time to Visit: The site is ideal for visiting throughout the year.
Tampa is currently undergoing a significant revitalization and is counted as Florida’s next big tourist destination. Apart from the above listed Top-rated sight-seeing destinations to visit in Tampa, some other sites like Ybor city, Tampa Riverwalk, Amalia arena, Bayshore Boulevard, are equally crazed amongst the visitors.
From a weather perspective, Tampa experiences the ideal season during February Mid to April end and September mid to December Mid. However, from September to December, the city is less crowded with visitors, and thus hotels offer a significant discount. January to April is pleasant but expensive for tourists.