Tampa – Vacation in the Heart of Florida
The county seat of Hillsborough County in Florida, Tampa is a major tourist destination renowned for its parks, beaches, museums and architectural splendors. Spanning on the West Coast of Florida, the city is part of Tampa Bay Metropolitan Area, which is home to 2.9 million residents. This is the 2nd largest metropolitan statistical area in Florida and 4th largest in the Southeastern United States. In 2008, Forbes ranked as the 5th best outdoor city and fifth most popular American city in 2009 by Pew Research Center study. The city has also been ranked as Gamma+ world city, by Southborough University. Explored by the Spanish in the 16th century, but no permanent settlements were found until 1819 after the city was acquired by United States. While the first frontier outpost was constructed in 1824 by United States Army, a small village called 'Tampa' was incorporated only in 1849. English is the official language spoken by 77.4% people. Spanish (17.8% of the population), French (0.6%) and Italian (0.6%0 is also spoken.
Tampa International Airport and St. Petersburg-Clearwater International Airport are the two major international airports serving Tamps and all flights coming to the city land at either of the airport. Sarasota–Bradenton International Airport is also an important airport which is connected mainly to Delta's Atlanta hub along with several other large U.S. cities. Though the city is located on southern fringe of the humid subtropical climate, Tampa has a tropical climate, featuring hot summer with frequent thunderstorms and cold winter. Summer last from May till August and July is the hottest as well as the wettest month of the year. This time of the year is holiday for school children; hence the amusement parks and town is crowded. The months from September till December is shoulder tourist season and prices of hotels are much lower. It is a decent time for outdoor activities. The peak tourist season in Tampa begin from January and last till April and the price of hotel is at its highest. Tampa International Gay and Lesbian Film Festival in October, Gasparilla Pirate Fest in January and Cigar Heritage Festival in November are the most popular events held in the city.
Spreading on 335 acre of land, Busch Gardens is a major attraction in the city. It is an African-themed family entertainment and adventure park where tourists can enjoy thrilling rides, live performances and sight animals in natural surroundings. Big Cat Rescue is a famous wildlife sanctuary home to hundreds of animals which include Geoffroy Cats, Jungle Cats and Clouded Leopard among others. Ybor City, a historic landmark and center of Latin community in the city is noted for its chic ambiance along with shops, galleries, restaurants and cafes. Boasting of a pretty long coastline, Clearwater Beach, Ben T. Davis Beach, Fred Howard Park, Sand Key Park, Indian Rocks Beach, Treasure Island, Caladesi Island State Park, Fort De Soto Park and St. Pete Beach are the top 10 beaches in Tampa.
Tampa Theatre is a luxurious movie palace featuring unique mix of architectural styles is another major draw. When in Tampa, do not miss visiting Sunshine Skyway which a scenic driveway is offering beautiful views out over the ocean. Tampa Electric Manatee Viewing Center at Apollo Beach (famous for its tidal walkway and houses variety of plants, birds and butterfly gardens), Lowry Park Zoo (home to 2,000 animals in natural habitat), Tampa Bay History Center (a museum showcasing historical edifices), Henry B Plant Museum (showcasing history of the hotel and Plant's contribution to the development of Tampa and Florida through various displays) and Columbia Restaurant (oldest and the nation's largest Spanish restaurant) are among the advisable attractions tourists should not miss in Tampa.
Eating and Shopping
Swaggering of an assorted culinary landscape, the city is lined with small cafes, bistros, bakeries and the most popular farm-to-table restaurants. A potpourri of culture, there are no dearth of restaurants serving Colombian, Italian, Vietnamese, Italian, Floribbean, Puerto Rican and Cuban cuisine options. Wide range of sea food delicacies should be enjoyed here. Cuban sandwich and Deviled crab are the most famous dishes in Tampa. Many food chain restaurants can also be found all over the city. Ybor City, which is the historical area in the town, is very popular for its bars and nightclubs. If you are looking for upscale and trendy nightlife destination, head to the Hyde Park or Channelside.
In Tampa, shoppers are spoilt for choices. From swanky malls to luxury boutiques, from high end branded outlets to local flea markets, everything is available here. International Plaza Mall, SoHo District, Palma Ceia Design District, East Lake Square Mall,Westshore Plaza Mall, Hyde Park Village, Channelside, University Mall, Citrus Park Town Center, Couture Designer Resale Boutique and Big Top Flea Market are the major hopping destinations in Tampa. The International Plaza and Bay Street are also well known shopping places in Tampa. Plan a holiday in Tampa to enjoy the best of Florida in US.
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