There are so many more things to do in Downtown Tampa these days. Here’s how to take advantage of all that Tampa has to offer.
In the winter months, when so much of the country battles sub-zero temperatures and snowstorms, the beaches of Tampa Bay and St. Petersburg offer a delightful escape for those fed up with harsh weather back home. Tampa Bay, where summer never seems to end, is the ideal place to get toasty in the winter and the snowbirds may never want to go back.
However in recent years, the Tampa Bay area has found that its appeal to tourists extends far beyond just the winter months – and beyond its beaches. There are plenty of things to do in downtown Tampa! The hip, urban heart of Florida’s Gulf Coast truly does beat in Tampa Bay, where theme parks, live entertainment, a rapidly evolving downtown and increasingly diverse dining options have not only made downtown Tampa a top tourism destination worldwide but also had a significant impact on the local economy.
The health of the tourism industry is helping to create jobs, bring the region’s unemployment rate to record lows, and encourage more and more people to move here to find work in the hospitality industry.
That’s also adding strength to Tampa Bay’s housing market, as those newcomers begin their search for a home.
What’s happening in Tampa Bay’s tourism industry?
Struggling to find things to do in downtown Tampa? Well look no further. Tampa Bay has been a popular tourist destination for a long time. The region offers not just those pristine beaches but also theme parks like Busch Gardens, the 335 acre African-themed adventure park that mixes thrill rides with live music and exotic animals in natural habitat settings.
But in recent years, something else has been going on here.
Tampa Bay has been experiencing big gains in tourism compared to other destinations across the country, according to Smith Travel Research, which tracks supply and demand data for multiple market sectors, including the global hotel industry, and provides market share analysis. STR noted that the Tampa Bay area recently experienced the largest increase in hotel occupancy rates, as well as the biggest jump in revenues per room. That’s great news for Tampa tourism.
The research by STR Inc. studied the top 25 tourism markets, and found that Tampa Bay, which includes destinations in both Hillsborough and Pinellas counties, had a 5.6 percent increase in occupancy to nearly 72 percent, and a 13.6 percent increase in revenue per room.
How is tourism impacting the economy?
Tampa’s tourism gains were behind only Nashville and Long Beach, Calif. In the rankings. Hillsborough County ranked third for average daily room rate for the year at $107.95, which was up 8.1 percent compared to last year.
Santiago Corrada, president and CEO of Visit Tampa Bay, the agency that promotes tourism in the region, noted that Tampa Bay had been aggressively competing for both convention and leisure travelers and has been successful at targeting both.
But the improvements in tourism are also reflected in the fact that the city of Tampa, the economic center of western Florida, is experiencing a major renaissance in its downtown, giving people more reasons to come here.
While visitors to the Tampa area have often flocked to historic old quarters like Ybor City and Old Hyde Park, enjoying downtown Tampa is now more fun than ever. Downtown provides more and more entertainment, dining and cultural attractions to compete on its own as a top tourism spot.
What’s happening in downtown Tampa?
So, what are some things to do in downtown Tampa? If you’re new to downtown Tampa, consider starting your day with a leisurely walk along the downtown Tampa Riverwalk to Sail Pavilion, where you’re going to take in some spectacular views of the waterfront. At Sail Pavilion, by the way, you can further explore that water by going paddle boarding.
If paddle boarding is not your thing, here’s another idea: rent a bicycle from Coast Bike Share – which can easily be done using a smartphone and credit card — and explore more of downtown Tampa this way. Moving by bicycle is a terrific way to explore gems like The Tampa Riverwalk, which runs for 2.4 miles along the Hillsborough River and Garrison Channel.
More importantly, Tampa Riverwalk will link some of downtown’s most popular attractions. You can find the Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park, where there are plenty of different events and activities going on. Right next to the park is the Tampa Museum of Art, where you can check out both the permanent collection and travelling exhibits, and artwork that ranges from pop art by Andy Warhol to ancient Greek objects.
And during your time in the heart of the city, you’re also going to find a vibrant and hip downtown Tampa restaurant scene. It’s a diverse one that offers a terrific glimpse into the city’s history and the different cultures that have been attracted here, including Cuban, Italian, Spanish and German influences.
In fact, you might find you never manage to make it to the beach during your week-long stay in Tampa, because there’s so many things to do in downtown Tampa.
How is tourism impacting the local economy?
The Tampa Bay economy performed extremely well in 2017, with the creation of 28,000 jobs, the third highest number of jobs for all Florida metro areas. Tampa ended the year with a 3.6 percent unemployment rate, lower than the state average of 3.7 percent and the national average of 4.1 percent.
Remarkably, at the start of this year, the numbers got even stronger. Tampa’s unemployment rate dropped to 3.4 percent, down 1.1 percentage points from January 2017.
The Tampa area remained first among the state metro areas in job demand in December, with 40,143 openings, and the top industries with the highest growth over the year in Tampa included professional and business services, education, health services – and hospitality and tourism.
That’s no surprise. With Tampa’s enjoyably laid-back atmosphere, warm weather, and long list of entertainment options, living here can feel a bit like being on vacation year-round. And the growing number of new tourist attractions in downtown is creating jobs as well and encouraging more people to move here looking for new opportunities – and to enjoy all the options they have after work.
Things to do in Downtown Tampa
For those who have recently chosen to relocate to Tampa, attracted by the jobs market and all the exciting things to do here, and are in need of a home, contact Domain Homes today. Domain Homes is your urban renaissance new home builder, procuring home sites in Tampa Bay’s most sought-after, established neighborhoods.
That includes South Tampa, West Tampa, North Hyde Park, the Heights, and St. Petersburg. Domain Homes helps buyers find opportunities in these markets by procuring older, run-down dilapidated homes in need of repairs, and construct beautiful new homes on those sites, close to highly rated school districts, shopping, and the downtown attractions. Domain Homes could be building your dream home right now.