Things to do

20 Free Things To Do In Tampa

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Welcome to the enchanting city of Tampa where the sun graces the Gulf Coast with its warmth, and cultural diversity thrives. For those seeking economical yet enriching experiences, this city presents a myriad of opportunities that require no financial investment.

Whether you are a budget-conscious traveler or a resident in search of novel pursuits, Tampa offers a wealth of cost-free activities. Embark with us on a guided exploration as we unveil a curated list of 20 free things to do in Tampa, showcasing the intrinsic value found in the city's diverse, complimentary attractions.

1. Visit Henry B. Plant Museum

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The Henry B. Plant Museum housed in the former Tampa Bay Hotel, offers a glimpse into the history of the hotel and contributions of diverse individuals. Visiting this museum is one of the things to do in Tampa FL.

Recognized as a National Historic Landmark, the museum showcases original opulent furnishings and artifacts collected by Mr. and Mrs. Plant during their travels, providing insight into Florida's early tourist industry and Tampa's formative years.

Address: 401 W Kennedy Blvd

2. Explore Ben T Davis Beach

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Ben T. Davis Beach is a popular destination known for its convenient location next to the four-mile Courtney Campbell Trail. Open from sunrise to sunset, the beach offers picnic areas and metered parking at $2.50 per hour.

Despite not having the pristine sand of Clearwater Beach, this beach is a lively and convenient option for those exploring the Tampa area, especially due to its proximity to other attractions. So, for individuals in the neighborhood, this is one of the best beaches in Florida and is a must-visit.

Address: 7740 W Courtney Campbell Cswy

3. Walk in Lettuce Lake Park

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Lettuce Lake Park, a 240-acre park opened in 1982 and has become a favorite spot for suburban residents, University of South Florida students, and those seeking a nature escape. The park offers wooded picnic areas, a playground, a 1.25-mile paved exercise trail, and a 3,500-foot boardwalk with an observation tower providing scenic views of the Hillsborough River.

With a hardwood swamp forest covering more than half the park, visitors can also rent canoes and kayaks at the entry station to explore the river and its natural features.

Address: 6920 E Fletcher Avenue

4. Visit Tampa Bay History Center

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The Tampa Bay History Center, located on the Tampa Riverwalk in Florida, is an accredited museum showcasing three floors of exhibits on Florida's history. Accredited by the American Alliance of Museums and affiliated with the Smithsonian, it covers topics from Florida's first peoples to its modern role as a port city.

The center includes amenities like a museum store, classrooms, and event spaces. Additionally, it houses the Touchton Map Library and Florida Center for Cartographic Education, boasting a comprehensive collection of historical Florida maps and documents.

Address: 801 Water St

5. Take A Historic Ride

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The TECO Line Streetcar is a free 2.7-mile electric heritage line in connecting Downtown, Channel District, and Ybor City. Operated by HART and managed by Tampa Historic Streetcar, Inc., it runs daily every 15 minutes, with extended hours during Amalie Arena events.

With 11 accessible stations, it's a popular and scenic way to travel between key districts in Tampa. So, if you are in the neighborhood, this is one of the fun things to do in Tampa bay.

Address:  603-611 Channelside Dr

6. Enjoy The Florida Aquarium

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The Florida Aquarium, a non-profit organization located in downtown Tampa, is a leading institution accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. Spanning 250,000 square feet, it is highly regarded among the best aquariums in the US.

The aquarium showcases diverse aquatic and terrestrial animals, aiming to raise awareness and inspire conservation. Committed to conservation, the aquarium actively participates in initiatives like the Coral Conservation Program, making it both an educational and conservation-focused destination

Address: 701 Channelside Dr

7. Walk Through Hillsborough River State Park

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Hillsborough River State Park, located in the northeast corner of Hillsborough County near Zephyrhills, covers over 3,383 acres. It's known for its natural beauty, featuring more than seven miles of trails and a swiftly flowing section of the Hillsborough River with small rapids.

The park offers various recreational activities such as camping, hiking, fishing, and kayaking. Visitors can also enjoy picnicking, birding, and native plant tours. The park includes a 112-site campground with electricity on most sites, each equipped with water and a fire ring, making it a must-visit place.

Address: 15402 US-301, Thonotosassa

8. Have Fun At Busch Gardens Tampa Bay

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Busch Gardens Tampa Bay, a 335-acre animal theme park in Florida owned by SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment, is themed around Africa and Asia. It boasts thrilling rides like Tigris, Cheetah Hunt, and Falcon's Fury, along with animal encounters, shows, and dining.

Open year-round, the park, with over 12,000 animals, including tigers and elephants, is a popular destination for families and thrill-seekers. It also features Adventure Island, a water park located across the street.

Address: 10165 McKinley Dr

9. Stroll Through Tampa Riverwalk

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The Tampa Riverwalk is a 2.6-mile path along the Hillsborough River, linking downtown Tampa's museums, shops, restaurants, and transportation hubs. A favorite for both locals and visitors, the Riverwalk offers a scenic environment for daytime strolls, biking, and leisure activities.

In the evening, it transforms into a vibrant area with music, entertainment, and colorful lights. Recognized as one of the top riverwalks in the United States, it serves as a hub for events, cultural arts, and a valuable amenity for the community, contributing to the economic and social impact of Downtown Tampa.

Address: Riverwalk, Tampa

10. Enjoy Bayshore Boulevard

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Bayshore Boulevard boasts the longest continuous sidewalk in the United States at 4.5 miles. With stunning waterfront views, it's a popular spot for outdoor activities like walking, running, cycling, and skating. The sidewalk offers benches, a water fountain, bicycle parking, and workout stations.

As part of the regional trails system and a designated National Recreation Trail, Bayshore Boulevard is not only great for exercise but also runs through the historic Hyde Park neighborhood, offering opportunities for exploration.

Address: Bayshore Blvd

11. Admire Pinellas Trail

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The Pinellas Trail is a 38-mile linear park in Florida, running from St. Petersburg to Tarpon Springs. It follows the former Atlantic Coast Line rail bed, connecting downtown St. Petersburg with various communities.

Named after Fred Marquis, the trail is a well-maintained, multi-use path for walking, jogging, skating, and biking. Popular among outdoor enthusiasts, it provides a convenient and scenic way to explore urban and natural landscapes along its route.

Address: Pinellas Trail, Tampa

12. The American Victory Ship & Museum

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The American Victory Ship & Museum in Tampa's Channel District is a significant historical attraction—one of only four fully operational WWII ships in the U.S. Recognized as a National Historic Landmark, it played a role in World War II and the Korean War.

The museum offers a self-guided audio tour, displays rare artifacts, and showcases educational programs. The ship underwent a significant restoration and occasionally offers cruises in Tampa Bay. A must-visit for history enthusiasts and veterans, it highlights the vital role of merchant mariners during wartime.

Address: 705 Channelside Dr

13. Enjoy Ballast Point Park

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Ballast Point Park is a waterfront park in the Ballast Point neighborhood, offering stunning views of Hillsborough Bay and downtown Tampa. Popular for picnics, strolls, and outdoor activities, it features a 24/7 fishing pier, making it ideal for fishing enthusiasts.

The park includes a playground, picnic areas with shelters, and a restaurant, catering to families and individuals seeking outdoor enjoyment. Well-maintained with free parking and fishing from the pier, it's a beautiful and relaxing spot to take in scenic bay and city views.

Address: 5300 Interbay Blvd

14. Take A Fitness Class

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Hyde Park Sweat is a free outdoor fitness class in Tampa held every Tuesday at 6 pm in the Hyde Park neighborhood. Led by local instructors, the classes are open to all fitness levels and include yoga, Pilates, and Zumba. Part of Tampa's outdoor fitness scene, Hyde Park Sweat is supported by the Tampa Downtown Partnership.

It's a great way to stay active and healthy while enjoying Tampa's outdoor spaces and is part of the Hyde Park Village community, offering free classes and events to promote a healthy lifestyle.

Address: Curtis Hixon Park

15. Visit Manatee Viewing Center

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The Manatee Viewing Center at Tampa Electric's Big Bend Power Station in Apollo Beach is open from November 1st to April 15th. Visitors can observe manatees in their natural habitat, seeking warmth from the power plant's water.

The center has a 50-foot Observation Tower, coastal boardwalks, and trails. The Education Center provides manatee information, and the on-site Southshore Café offers meals. Admission and parking are free, reflecting Tampa Electric's commitment to manatee conservation and providing an educational experience for these sea giants.

Address: 6990 Dickman Rd, Apollo Beach

16. Visit Glazer Children's Museum

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The Glazer Children's Museum in downtown Tampa, near the Tampa Museum of Art and Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park, is a non-profit dedicated to providing an interactive learning space for children and is among the best free things to do in Tampa today.

Features include hands-on exhibits, an outdoor park with water fountains and a playground, free parking, membership options, field trips, and special events like Imagination Day. A family-friendly destination, the museum aims to engage and entertain young minds through interactive exhibits and educational programs.

Address: 110 W Gasparilla Plaza

17. Watch A Movie/Show At Tampa Theatre

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Tampa Theatre, a historic movie palace in downtown Tampa, built in 1926, is a beloved community landmark managed by the Tampa Theatre Foundation. Hosting over 600 events yearly, it features classic movies, new releases, live performances, and more.

Key features include a romantic Mediterranean-style courtyard, a single auditorium with a realistic night sky for an immersive movie-watching experience, live performances, membership options, and special events like the annual WineFest. A must-visit for movie lovers, Tampa Theatre offers a charming and historical experience in a classic movie palace setting.

Address: 711 N Franklin St

18. Tour Florida Cane Distillery

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The Florida Cane Distillery, located in Ybor City, is a craft distillery known for its award-winning flavors of vodka, gin, rum, whiskey, and moonshine. Dedicated to capturing the Florida lifestyle, the distillery uses fresh Florida produce and sugar cane in its products.

Features include a tasting room with a full line of craft spirits, a cocktail program, tours, tastings, a full dining menu, and a unique atmosphere in historic Ybor City. Hosting events like live music, this place is a must-visit for spirit enthusiasts and those seeking a vibrant culinary experience in Tampa.

Address: 1820 N 15th St

19. Explore The Ybor City Saturday Market

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The Ybor City Saturday Market, the largest ongoing outdoor market in the Tampa Bay Area, has operated in Tampa's Historic District since 2000. This popular shopping destination features locally produced gourmet foods, arts, and crafts, and more.

Held every Saturday throughout the year, it provides a chance to meet artists, purchase unique pieces, and enjoy a vibrant shopping experience. The market is free to enter, dog-friendly, and located at Centennial Park. With extended hours until 3 pm, the market offers a diverse and enjoyable experience for both visitors and locals.

Address: 1901 N 19th St

20. Tour The Tampa Bay Farmer's Market

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The Tampa Bay Farmers Market in Florida, operating since 1977 and open daily, offers a diverse range of locally sourced products. With over 120 vendors, it provides a one-stop shopping experience for fresh fruits, vegetables, flowers, plants, gifts, and more.

Known for great deals, the family-owned market is an ideal destination to support local producers and enhance your culinary experience with a wide selection of fresh foods and unique items. If you are looking for some cheap things to do in Tampa, visiting this farmers market is a must.

Address: 10001 N Armenia Avenue