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City of Tampa, Florida
—  City  —
Downtown Tampa facing south from the newly renovated Curtis Hixon Park.


Location in Hillsborough County and the state of Florida
City of Tampa, Florida is located in the USA
City of Tampa, Florida
Location in the United States
Coordinates: 27°56′50″N 82°27′31″W / 27.94722°N 82.45861°W / 27.94722; -82.45861
Country  United States
State  Florida
County  Hillsborough
Settled 1823
Incorporated (village) January 18, 1849
Incorporated (town) December 15, 1855
 - Type Mayor-Council
 - Mayor Pam Iorio (D)
 - City attorney Chip Fletcher[1]
 - Governing body City Council
 - City 170.6 sq mi (441.9 km2)
 - Land 112.1 sq mi (290.3 km2)
 - Water 58.5 sq mi (151.6 km2)  34.3%
 - Urban 802.3 sq mi (2,077.9 km2)
 - Metro 2,554 sq mi (6,614.8 km2)
Elevation 48 ft (14.6 m)
Population (July 1, 2008[3])
 - City 340,882 (53rd )
 Density 2,969.6/sq mi (1,146.7/km2)
 Urban 2.7 million (19th)
 Metro 4 millionUNIQ444d798fb46da5c-ref-00,000,096-QINU
Time zone EST (UTC-5)
 - Summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
ZIP Codes 33601-33626, 33629-33631, 33633-33635, 33637, 33647, 33650-33651, 33655, 33660-33664, 33672-33675, 33677, 33679-33682, 33684-33690, 33694, 33697[4]
Area code(s) 813
FIPS code 12-71000[5]
GNIS feature ID 0292005[6]
Website City of Tampa official website

Tampa (pronounced /ˈtæm.pə/) is a Gulf Coast city in the U.S. state of Florida. It serves as the county seat for Hillsborough County.[7] Tampa is located on the west coast of Florida. The population of Tampa in 2000 was 303,447. According to the 2008 estimates, the city's population had grown to 340,882,[8] making it the 53rd largest city in the United States.

The current location of Tampa was once inhabited by various indigenous cultures, most recently the Tocobaga. It was spotted by Spanish explorers in the early 1500s, but there was no permanent American or European settlements in the area until 1824, when the US Army established a frontier outpost called Fort Brooke at the site of today's Tampa Convention Center. The village of Tampa began as a small group of pioneers who settled near the fort for protection from the Seminole population in the area.

Today, Tampa is a part of the metropolitan area most commonly referred to as the Tampa Bay Area. For U.S. Census purposes, Tampa is part of the Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, Florida MSA. The four-county area is composed of roughly 2.7 million residents, making it the second largest metropolitan statistical area (MSA) in the state, and the fourth largest in the Southeastern United States, behind Miami, Washington, D.C., and Atlanta.[9] The Greater Tampa Bay area has just over 4 million residents and generally includes the Tampa and Sarasota metro areas. The Tampa Bay Partnership and U.S. Census data showed an average annual growth of 2.47 percent, or a gain of approximately 97,000 residents per year. Between 2000 and 2006, the Greater Tampa Bay Market has experienced a combined growth rate of 14.8 percent, growing from 3.4 million to 3.9 million and hitting the 4 million people mark on April 1, 2007.[10]

Tampa has a number of sports teams, such as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the NFL, the Tampa Bay Lightning in the National Hockey League, and the Tampa Bay Rays in Major League Baseball. It also has many tourist attractions.

In 2008, Tampa was ranked as the 5th best outdoor city by Forbes.[11] A 2004 survey by the NYU newspaper ranked Tampa as a top city for "twenty-somethings".[12]



The word "Tampa" may mean "sticks of fire " in the language of the Calusa, a Native American tribe that once lived south of today’s Tampa Bay. This might be a reference to the many lightning strikes that the area receives during the summer months. Other historians claim the name means "the place to gather sticks".[13]

Toponymist George R. Stewart writes that the name was the result of a miscommunication between the Spanish and the Indians, the Indian word being "itimpi", meaning simply "near it".[14] The name first appears in the "Memoir" of Hernando de Escalante Fontaneda (1575), who had spent 17 years as a Calusa captive. He calls it "Tanpa" and describes it as an important Calusa town. While "Tanpa" may be the basis for the modern name "Tampa", archaeologist Jerald Milanich places the Calusa village of Tanpa at the mouth of Charlotte Harbor, the original "Bay of Tanpa". A later Spanish expedition did not notice Charlotte Harbor while sailing north along the west coast of Florida and assumed that the current Tampa Bay was the bay they sought. The name was accidentally transferred north.[15]

Map makers were using the term Bay or Bahia Tampa as early as 1695.[16]

Early explorations

Hernando de Soto.

Not much is known about the cultures who called the Tampa Bay area home before European contact. When Spanish explorers arrived in the 1520s, they found a ring of Tocobaga villages around the northern half of Tampa Bay from modern-day Pinellas County to Tampa and Calusa villages along the southern portion of the bay in modern-day Manatee County.[17]

Expeditions led by Pánfilo de Narváez and Hernando de Soto landed near Tampa to look for gold and possibly start a colony. Neither conquistador stayed in the region for long once it became clear that the local riches were only abundant fish and shellfish. The native inhabitants, who derived most of their resources from the sea, repulsed any Spanish attempt to establish a permanent settlement or convert them to Catholicism.

The newcomers brought a weapon against which the natives had no defense: infectious disease. Archeological evidence reveals a total collapse of the native cultures of Florida in the years after European contact. The Tampa area was depopulated and ignored for more than 200 years.[13]

Seasonal residents and U.S control

In the mid-1700s, events in American colonies drove the Seminole Indians into the wilds of north Florida.[18] During this period, the Tampa area began receiving (seasonal) residents: Cuban and American[19] fishermen. They stayed in temporary settlements on the shore of Tampa Bay along a small freshwater stream near today’s Hyde Park neighborhood.[20]

In 1821, the United States purchased Florida from Spain (see Adams-Onís Treaty), partly to reduce Indian raids, and partly to eliminate a refuge for escaped slaves from neighboring southern states. One of the first U.S. actions in its new territory was a raid which destroyed Angola, a settlement built by escaped slaves and free blacks on the eastern shore of Tampa Bay.[21][22]

Frontier days

The Treaty of Moultrie Creek (1823) created a large Indian reservation in the interior of the peninsula of Florida. As part of efforts to establish control over the vast wilderness, the U.S. government built a series of forts and trading posts in the new territory. "Cantonment Brooke" was established on January 10, 1824 by Colonels George Mercer Brooke and James Gadsden at the mouth of the Hillsborough River on Tampa Bay, at the site of the Tampa Convention Center in Downtown Tampa. On January 22, 1824, the post was officially named Fort Brooke.[23]

Barracks and tents at Fort Brooke circa 1840

During its first decades of existence, Tampa was very much an isolated frontier outpost. The sparse civilian population practically abandoned the area when the Second Seminole War flared up in late 1835. After almost seven years of vicious fighting, the Seminoles were forced away from the Tampa region and many settlers returned.[24]

The Territory of Florida had grown enough by 1845 to become the 27th state.

Four years after statehood, on January 18, 1849, Tampa had also grown enough to officially incorporate as the "Village of Tampa". Tampa was home to 185 inhabitants, not including military personnel stationed at Fort Brooke.[25] The city's first census count in 1850, however, listed Tampa-Fort Brooke as having 974 residents, inclusive of the military personnel.[26]

Tampa was reincorporated as a town on December 15, 1855 and Judge Joseph B. Lancaster became the first Mayor in 1856.[27]

Tampa during the Civil War

During the American Civil War, Florida seceded along with most of the southern states to form the Confederate States of America. Fort Brooke was manned by Confederate troops, and martial law was declared in Tampa in January 1862. Tampa's city government ceased to operate for the duration of the war.[28]

In late 1861, the Union Navy set up a blockade around many southern ports to cut off the Confederacy from outside help, and several ships were stationed near the mouth of Tampa Bay. Blockade runners based in Tampa were able to repeatedly slip through the blockade to trade cattle and citrus for needed supplies, mainly with Spanish Cuba.[29]

Union gunboats sailed up Tampa Bay to bombard Fort Brooke and the surrounding city of Tampa. The Battle of Tampa on June 30 to July 1, 1862 was inconclusive, as the shells fell ineffectually, and there were no casualties on either side.[30][31]

More damaging to the Confederate cause was the Battle of Fort Brooke on October 17 to October 18, 1863. Two Union gunboats shelled the foot and surrounding town and landed troops, who found blockade runners hidden up the Hillsborough River near present-day Lowry Park Zoo and destroyed them. The local militia mustered to intercept the Union troops, but they were able to return to their ships after a short skirmish and headed back out to sea.[32]

The war ended in April 1865 with a Confederate defeat. In May 1865, federal troops arrived in Tampa to occupy the fort and the town as part of Reconstruction. They remained until August 1869.


The Reconstruction period was hard on Tampa. With little industry, and land transportation links limited to bumpy wagon roads from the east coast of Florida, Tampa was a fishing village with very few people, and poor prospects for development. Throughout its history, Tampa had been affected by yellow fever epidemics borne by mosquitoes from the surrounding swampland, but the sickness was particularly widespread during the late 1860s and 1870s. The disease was little understood at the time, and many residents simply packed up and left rather than face the mysterious and deadly peril.[33]

In 1869, residents voted to abolish the City of Tampa government.[34] The population of "Tampa Town" was below 800 in the official 1870 census count and had fallen further by 1880 (see demographics, below).

Fort Brooke, the seed from which Tampa had germinated, had served its purpose and was decommissioned in 1883. Except for two cannons displayed on the nearby University of Tampa campus, all traces of the fort are gone. A large downtown parking garage near the old fort site is called the Fort Brooke Parking Garage.[35]


Ybor's 1st Cigar Factory c. 1900

The founding of Ybor City, the building of Plant's railroad and hotels, and the discovery of phosphate - all within a dozen years in the late 1800s - were crucial to Tampa's development. The town expanded from a village to bustling town to small city.[36]

Tampa's fortunes took several sudden turns for the better. First, phosphate was discovered in the Bone Valley region southeast of Tampa in 1883. The mineral, vital for the production of fertilizers and other products, was soon being shipped out from the Port of Tampa in great volume. Tampa is still a major phosphate exporter.

Henry B. Plant's railroad line reached Tampa and its port shortly thereafter, connecting the small town to the country's railroad system. Tampa finally had the overland transportation link that it needed. The railroad enabled phosphate and commercial fishing exports to go north,[37] brought many new products into the Tampa market, as well as its first tourists.

The new railroad link enabled another important industry to come to Tampa. In 1885, the Tampa Board of Trade helped Vicente Martinez Ybor move his cigar manufacturing operations to Tampa from Key West. Nearness to Cuba made imports of tobacco easy by sea, and Plant's railroad made shipment of finished cigars to the rest of the US market easy by land.[36]

Since Tampa was still a small town at the time (population less than 5000), Ybor built hundreds of small houses around his factory to accommodate the immediate influx of mainly Cuban and Spanish cigar workers. Other cigar factories soon moved in, and Ybor City (as the approximately 40 acres (16 ha) settlement was dubbed) quickly made Tampa a major cigar production center. Many Italian and a few eastern European Jewish immigrants also arrived starting in the late 1880s, operating businesses and shops that catered to the cigar workers. The majority of Italian immigrants came from Alessandria Della Rocca and Santo Stefano Quisquina, two small Sicilian towns with which Tampa still maintains strong ties.[38]

The Moorish Revival Tampa Bay Hotel

In 1891, Henry B. Plant built a lavish 500+ room, quarter-mile (400 m) long, Moorish Revival style luxury resort hotel called the Tampa Bay Hotel among 150 acres (0.61 km2) of manicured gardens along the banks of the Hillsborough River. The eclectic structure cost US$2.5 million to build. Plant filled his expensive playground with exotic art collectibles from around the world and installed electric lights and the first elevator in town.[39]

The resort prospered for decades, hosting thousands of guests and celebrities of the era, and even played a noteworthy role during the Spanish-American War (see below). It closed in 1930, but reopened in 1933 as the University of Tampa.[40]

Mainly because of Henry Plant's connections in the War Department, Tampa was chosen as an embarkation center for American troops in the Spanish-American War. Lieutenant Colonel Theodore Roosevelt and his Rough Riders were among the 30,000 troops who waited in Tampa for the order to ship out to Cuba during the summer of 1898, filling the town.[41]

Franklin Street, looking North, Tampa c. 1910s-1920s

Early 20th century

During the first few decades of the 20th century, the cigar making industry was the backbone of Tampa's economy. The factories in Ybor City and West Tampa made an enormous number of cigars—in the peak year of 1929, over 500,000,000 cigars were hand rolled in the city.[42]

In 1904, a local civic association of local businessmen dubbed themselves Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla (named after local mythical pirate Jose Gaspar), and staged an "invasion" of the city followed by a parade. With a few exceptions, the Gasparilla Pirate Festival has been held every year since.[43]

Bolita and organized crime

Beginning in the late 1800s, illegal bolita lotteries were very popular among the Tampa working classes, especially in Ybor City. In the early 1920s, this small-time operation was taken over by Charlie Wall, the rebellious son of a prominent Tampa family, and went big-time. Bolita was able to openly thrive only because of kick-backs and bribes to key local politicians and law enforcement officials, and many were on the take.[44]

Profits from the bolita lotteries and Prohibition-era bootlegging led to the development of several organized crime factions in the city. Charlie Wall was the first major boss, but various power struggles culminated in consolidation of control by Sicilian mafioso Santo Trafficante, Sr. and his faction in the 1950s. After his death in 1954 from cancer, control passed to his son Santo Trafficante, Jr., who established alliances with families in New York and extended his power throughout Florida and into Batista-era Cuba.[45][46]

The era of rampant and open corruption ended in the 1950s, when the Senator Kefauver's traveling organized crime hearings came to town and were followed by the sensational misconduct trials of several local officials. Although many of the worst offenders in government and the mob were not charged, the trials helped to end the sense of lawlessness which had prevailed in Tampa for decades.[44]

Panorama of Downtown Tampa taken in 1913.

Mid to late 20th century

Tampa grew considerably as a result of World War II. Prior to the United States' involvement in the conflict, construction began on MacDill Field, the predecessor of present day MacDill Air Force Base. MacDill Field served as a main base for Army Air Corps and Army Air Forces operations, with multiple auxiliary airfields around the Tampa Bay area and surrounding counties. At the end of the war, MacDill remained as an active military installation while the auxiliary fields reverted to civilian control. Two of these auxiliary fields would later become the present day Tampa International Airport and St. Petersburg-Clearwater International Airport.

Four attempts have been made to consolidate Tampa with Hillsborough County (1967, 1970, 1971, and 1972), all of which failed at the ballot box; the greatest loss was also the most recent attempt in 1972, with the final tally being 33,160 (31%) in favor and 73,568 (69%) against the proposed charter.[47]

The biggest recent growth in the city was the development of New Tampa, which started in 1988 when the city annexed a mostly rural area of 24 square miles (62 km2) between I-275 and I-75.

East Tampa, historically a mostly black community, was the scene of several riots, mainly due to problems between residents and the Tampa police.

Geography and weather

Tampa is located on the West coast of Florida at 27°58′15″N 82°27′53″W / 27.97083°N 82.46472°W / 27.97083; -82.46472 (27.970898, -82.464640).[48]

Tampa Bay Landsat image.


According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 170.6 square miles (441.9 km²), of which 112.1 square miles (290.3 km²) is land and 58.5 square miles (151.6 km²) (34.31%) is water. The highest point in the city is only 48 feet (15 m). Tampa is bordered by two bodies of water, Old Tampa Bay and Hillsborough Bay, both of which flow together to form Tampa Bay, which in turn flows into the Gulf of Mexico. The Hillsborough River flows out into Hillsborough Bay, passing directly in front of Downtown Tampa and supplying Tampa with its main source of fresh water. Palm River is a smaller river flowing from just east of the city into McKay Bay, which is a smaller inlet, sited at the northeast end of Hillsborough Bay[49]. Tampa's cartography is marked by the Interbay Peninsula which divides Hillsborough Bay (the eastern) from Old Tampa Bay (the western).


Paddling on the Hillsborough River

Tampa has a humid subtropical climate (Köppen Cfa), with hot summer days, frequent thunderstorms in the summer (rain is less frequent in the fall), and a threat of a light winter freeze from November 15 through March 5, and even then not every year. It is listed as USDA zone 10, which is about the northern limit of where coconut palms and royal palms can be grown. Highs usually range between 65 and 95°F (18 and 35 °C) year round. Surprising to some, Tampa's official recorded high has never hit 100 °F (38 °C) - the all-time record high temperature is 99 °F (37 °C), recorded on June 5, 1985.[50]

Temperatures are hot from around mid-May through early October, which coincides approximately with the rainy season. Summertime weather is very consistent, with highs in the low 90s °F (32-34 °C), lows in the mid-70s °F (21 - 23 °C), and high humidity. Afternoon thunderstorms, generated by the interaction of the Gulf and Atlantic sea breezes, are such a regular occurrence during the summer that the Tampa Bay area is recognized as the "Lightning Capital of North America". Every year, Florida averages 10 deaths and 30 injuries from lightning strikes, with several of these usually occurring in or around Tampa.[51]

In the winter, average temperatures range from the low to mid 70s during the day to the low to mid 50s at night. However, sustained colder air from Canada does drop through, pushing the highs and lows to 20 degrees below the average, and sometimes even lower than that. This brings the temperature below freezing (32 °F , 0 °C) three times per year on average, though this does not occur every season.[52] Since the Tampa area is home to a diverse range of freeze-sensitive agriculture and aquaculture, major freezes, although very infrequent, are a major concern. The lowest temperature ever recorded in Tampa was 18 °F (-7.8 °C) on December 13, 1962.[53]

The rare 1977 snowfall

In the Great Blizzard of 1899, Tampa experienced its one and only known blizzard, with "bay effect" snow coming off Tampa Bay.[54][55] The last measurable snow in Tampa fell on January 19, 1977. The accumulation amounted to all of 0.2 inches (0.5 cm), but the city, unprepared for and unaccustomed to wintry weather, came to a virtual standstill for a day.[56] Three major freezes occurred in the 1980s: in January 1982, January 1985, and December 1989. The losses suffered by farmers forced many to sell off their citrus groves, which helped fuel a boom in subdivision development in the 1990s and 2000s.[57][58]

Yearly precipitation trends

Because of the frequent summer thunderstorms, Tampa has a pronounced wet season, receiving an average of about 28 inches of rain from June to September but only about 18 inches during the remaining eight months of the year. The historical averages during the late summer, especially September, are augmented by passing tropical systems, which can easily dump many inches of rain in one day. Outside of the summer rainy season, most of the area's precipitation is delivered by the occasional passage of a weather front.[59]

Climate data for Tampa, Florida
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °F (°C) 70
Average low °F (°C) 50
Rainfall inches (mm) 2.1
Source: Monthly Climate Summary

Surrounding communities

Northwest: Oldsmar, Palm Harbor, Tarpon Springs, Westchase, Town 'N' Country, New Port Richey North: Lutz, Land O' Lakes, Egypt Lake, Northdale, Carrollwood Northeast: Temple Terrace, New Tampa, Thonotosassa, Wesley Chapel, Mango, Zephryhills, Dade City
West: Clearwater, Largo, Clearwater Beach Tampa East: Brandon, Gibsonton, Seffner, Valrico, Dover, Plant City, Lakeland, East Tampa,
Southwest: St. Petersburg, St. Pete Beach, Indian Rocks Beach, Pinellas Park South: Bradenton, Apollo Beach, Ruskin, Sun City Center Southeast: Riverview, Gibsonton, Boyette, Fish Hawk, Wimauma



Tampa displays a wide variety of architectural designs and styles. Most of Tampa's high rises demonstrate Post-modern architecture. The design for the renovated Tampa Museum of Art, displays Post-modern architecture, while the city hall and the Tampa Theatre belong to Art Deco architecture. The Tampa mayor as of 2008, Pam Iorio, has made the redevelopment of Tampa's downtown, especially bringing in residents to the decidedly non-residential area, a priority.[60] Several residential and mixed-development high-rises are in various stages of planning or construction, and a few have already opened. Another of Mayor Iorio's initiatives is the Tampa Riverwalk, a plan which intends to make better use of the land along the Hillsborough River in downtown where Tampa began. Several museums are part of the plan, including new homes for the Tampa Bay History Center, the Tampa Children's Museum, and the Tampa Museum of Art. [61]

Tampa is the site of several skyscrapers. Overall, there are 18 completed buildings that rise over 250 feet (76 m) high. The city also has 69 high-rises,[62] more than any other city in Florida after Miami. The tallest building in the city is 100 North Tampa, formerly the AmSouth Building, which rises 42 floors and 579 feet (176 m) in Downtown Tampa.[63] The structure was completed in 1992, and is the tallest building in Florida outside of Miami and Jacksonville.[63]

Hyde Park Village in Tampa's Hyde Park neighborhood.

Neighborhoods and surrounding municipalities

The city is divided into many neighborhoods, many of which were towns and unincorporated communities annexed by the growing city. Generally, the city is divided into the following areas: Downtown Tampa, New Tampa, West Tampa, East Tampa, North Tampa, and South Tampa. Well-known communities include Ybor City, Forest Hills, Ballast Point, Sulphur Springs, Seminole Heights, Tampa Heights, Palma Ceia, Hyde Park, Davis Islands,Tampa Palms, College Hill and non-residential areas of Gary and the Westshore Business District


The Sulphur Springs Water Tower, a landmark in Sulphur Springs section of the city, dates back to the late 1920s. This boom period for Florida also saw the construction of an ornate movie palace, the Tampa Theatre, a Mediterranean revival on Davis Islands, and Bayshore Boulevard, which borders Hillsborough Bay from downtown Tampa to areas in South Tampa. The road has a 6-mile (9.7 km) continuous sidewalk on the eastern end, the longest in the world.[64][65]

The Ybor City District is home to several buildings on the National Register of Historic Places and has been declared a National Historic Landmark. Notable structures include El Centro Español and other social clubs built in the early 1900s.

Babe Zaharias Golf Course in the Forest Hills area of Tampa has been designated a Historical Landmark by the National Register of Historic Places. It was bought in 1949 by the famous 'Babe', who had a residence nearby, and closed upon her death. In 1974, the City of Tampa opened the golf course to the public [66] The Story of Tampa, a public painting by Lynn Ash, is a 4' x 8' oil on masonite mural that weaves together many of the notable aspects of Tampa's unique character and identity. It was commissioned in 2003 by the city's Public Art Program and can be found in the lobby of the Tampa Municipal Office Building.[67] Park Tower (originally the First Financial Bank of Florida) is the first substantial skyscraper in downtown Tampa. Completed in 1973, it was the tallest skyscraper in Tampa until the completion of One Tampa City Center in 1981.[68] The Rivergate building, a cylindrical building known as the "Beer Can building", was featured in the movie "The Punisher".

Spanning the southern part of Tampa Bay, is the massive steel-span Sunshine Skyway Bridge.

Tampa City Hall.


Tampa is governed under the strong mayor form of government. The Mayor of Tampa is the chief executive officer of city government and is elected in four-year terms, with the maximum of two terms. The current mayor is Pam Iorio.

The City Council is a legislative body served by seven members, in which four are elected from specific areas of town and the other three are "at-large" (serving citywide).[69]


University of Tampa's Plant Hall

Higher education

University of South Florida is currently ninth in the nation in terms of enrolled students, with a total of 44,891 students for the 2007 academic year. Its mascot is the Brahman Bull, with green and gold as its colors.

University of Tampa, located across the Hillsborough River from downtown Tampa, is a private university accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. UT has over 5,500 students attending. Its mascot is the Spartan, with scarlet, black, and gold as its school colors.

Other colleges and universities include Saint Leo University, Argosy University, Everest University, Hillsborough Community College (multiple locations), Southwest Florida College, Stetson University College of Law (satellite campus called Tampa Bay Law Center in Tampa), Strayer University, The Art Institute, South University (satellite campus in Tampa), International Academy of Design & technology, and Remington College - Tampa Campus.

Hillsborough High School in Tampa's Seminole Heights neighborhood.

Primary and secondary schools

Public primary and secondary education is operated by Hillsborough County Public Schools, officially known as the School District of Hillsborough County (SDHC). It is ranked the eighth largest school district in the United States, with around 189,469 enrolled students. SDHC runs 206 schools, 133 being elementary, 42 middle, 25 High Schools, 2 K-8's, and 4 Career centers. There are 73 additional schools in the district that are charter, ESE, alternative, etc. 12 out of 25 High schools in the SDHC are included in Newsweek's list of America's Best High Schools.

Public libraries

Tampa's library system is operated by the Tampa-Hillsborough Public Library System. THPLS operates 28 libraries throughout Tampa and Hillsborough County, including the John F. Germany Main Library in Downtown Tampa. The Tampa library system first started in the early 1900s, with the West Tampa Library, which was made possible with funds donated by Andrew Carnegie.

Healthcare and utilities

Tampa and its surrounding suburbs are host to over 20 hospitals and four trauma centers. Three of the area's hospitals were ranked under "America's best hospitals" by US News and World Report. It is also home to many health research institutions.

Water in the area is managed by the Southwest Florida Water Management District. The water is mainly supplied by the Hillsborough River, which in turn arises from the Green Swamp, but several other rivers and desalination plants in the area contribute to the supply. Power is mainly generated by TECO Energy.

Phone service is provided by Verizon and Bright House Networks. Cable TV and internet are also provided by these companies.


Arts and entertainment

Tampa is home to a variety of performance halls and theaters, including the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center, Florida Orchestra, Jobsite Theater, Tampa Theatre, Tampa Museum of Art, Stageworks Theater Company, Gorilla Theatre, USF Contemporary Art Museum.

Current popular nightlife districts include Channelside, Ybor City, SoHo, International Plaza and Bay Street, and Seminole Hard Rock. Downtown Tampa also contains some nightlife, and there are more clubs/bars to be found in other areas of the city. Tampa is rated sixth on Maxim magazine's list of top party cities.[70]

Tampa is known as the cradle of death metal, an extreme form of heavy metal music that evolved from thrash metal. Many of the genre's pioneers and foremost figures are based in and around the city. Chief among these are Death, Deicide, Cannibal Corpse, Six Feet Under, Obituary and Morbid Angel. The Tampa scene grew with the birth of Morrisound Recording, which established itself as an international recording destination for metal bands.[71]

The underground rock band, the Baskervils, got their start in Tampa. They played the Tampa Bay area between 1994–1997 and then moved to New York City. Underground Hip-Hop group Equilibrium is based out of Tampa, as well as rappers Majik Most and Celph Titled.

In 2009, the new Frank Wildhorn musical Wonderland: Alice's New Musical Adventure hosted it's world premiere at the TBPAC. Renamed for the musical as the David Straaz, Jr. Center for the Performing Arts, it began performances on November 24, with an official and world premiere performance of December 5. The musical brought in a reported number of over $8 Million for the local Tampa economy. The musical's budget was $3 MIL.


The Tampa area is home to a number of museums that cover a wide array of subjects and studies. Perhaps the most well known of these is the Museum of Science & Industry. It is home to one of the 250 IMAX dome theaters in the world, the only one in Florida. It also houses Tampa's planetarium. Tampa is also home to the SS American Victory, a former World War II Victory Ship which has now been preserved as a museum ship. Other museums in the area include the Tampa Museum of Art and the Tampa Bay History Center, a complex in Tampa's Channel District displaying the area's unique history and culture. The Salvador Dali Museum is located to the southwest of the city, in St. Petersburg, Florida.

Tourism and recreation

A street festival onYbor City's famous 7th Avenue.
The Channelside Entertainment Complex in Tampa's Chanel District.

The city of Tampa operates over 165 parks and beaches covering 2,286 acres (9.25 km2) within city limits; 42 more in surrounding suburbs covering 70,000 acres (280 km2), are maintained by Hillsborough County. These areas include the Hillsborough River State Park, just northeast of the city. Tampa is also home to a number of attractions and theme parks, including Busch Gardens Tampa Bay, Adventure Island, Lowry Park Zoo, and Florida Aquarium

Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo features over 2,000 animals, interactive exhibits, rides, educational shows and more. The zoo serves as an economic, cultural, environmental and educational anchor in the City of Tampa.

Busch Gardens Tampa Bay is a 335-acre (1.36 km2) African-themed park located near the University of South Florida. It features many thrilling roller coasters, for which it is known, and hosts a number of African wildlife, which one could tour and interact.

Adventure Island is a 30-acre (120,000 m2) water park just adjacent to Busch Gardens. It features many water rides, dining, and other attractions typical to a water park.

The Florida Aquarium is a 250,000 sq ft (23,000 m2) aquarium located in the Channel District of Tampa. It hosts over 20,000 species of aquatic plants and animals. It is known for its unique glass architecture. Just adjacent to the Aquarium is the SS American Victory, a World War II Victory ship preserved as a museum ship.

The Tampa Bay History Center is a museum of Tampa Bay History located in the Channel District, Tampa, Florida of Tampa. It boasts over 60,000 sq ft of exhibits through 12,000 years. Theaters, map gallery, research center and museum store.

Well-known shopping areas include International Plaza and Bay Street, WestShore Plaza, SoHo district, and Hyde Park Village. Palma Ceia is also home to a shopping district, called Palma Ceia Design District.[72] Previously, Tampa had also been home to the Floriland Mall (now an office park), Tampa Bay Center (demolished and replaced with the new Tampa Bay Buccaneers training facility, known as "One Buc Place"), and East Lake Square Mall (now an office park)



Perhaps the most well known and celebrated event is the Gasparilla Pirate Festival, usually referred to simply as Gasparilla. It has been held yearly since 1904. Gasparilla, often referred to as the Mardi Gras of Tampa, is usually held on the last Saturday of January. The invasion-themed event has an attendance of over 400,000 people and impacts over 23 million dollars to the city of Tampa. The Sant'Yago Knight Parade, or Gasparilla Night Parade is usually held one week to a few weeks after. It is considered more adult-oriented.

Other notable events include the Outback Bowl, which is held New Year's Day at Raymond James Stadium. The Florida State Fair in mid-February, also brings in an attendance of around 400,000, and Guavaween, an open street Halloween celebration with Latin flavor taking place in Ybor City. Also in Ybor is "GaYbor Days", an annual four-day street party in the GLBT-friendly GaYbor district.[73]


Major daily newspapers serving the city are The Tampa Tribune and The St. Petersburg Times. La Gaceta is the nation's only trilingual newspaper, written in English, Spanish and Italian. There is also a wide variety of smaller regional newspapers, alternative weeklies and magazines, including the Florida Sentinel Bulletin, Creative Loafing, Reax Music Magazine, Tampa Bay Times, The Oracle, Tampa Bay Business Journal and MacDill Thunderbolt. Major television affiliates include WFTS 28 (ABC), WTSP 10 (CBS), WFLA 8 (NBC), WTVT 13 (Fox), WTOG 44 (The CW), WTTA 38 (MyNetworkTV) and WVEA 62 (Univision).


Tampa’s first church was established in 1846 by a congregation of Methodists. Today, the First United Methodist Church still actively meets in downtown Tampa.[74] The Methodists were followed by the Baptists, who organized the First Baptist Church of Tampa in 1859,[75] and the Catholics, who founded a parish in Tampa the following year.[76] As the city grew in the years to come, other denominations founded their first local congregations, including St. Andrew's Episcopal in 1871,[77] First Presbyterian in 1884,[78] and Zion Lutheran in 1893.[79] One of the oldest and grandest buildings erected by these early Tampa churches survives today in the heart of downtown as the home of Tampa’s Catholic parish. Sacred Heart Catholic Church is noted for its soaring, Romanesque style, granite and marble construction, and its 70 stained glass windows from Franz Mayer & Co. of Munich, Germany. Completed in 1905 at a cost of $300,000, the downtown landmark appears today much the same as it did when it was first dedicated.[76]

In order to serve the varied ethnic groups amongst the diverse immigrant populations of Tampa, West Tampa, and Ybor City, separate, segregated congregations were commonly established. This gave rise to churches like St. James Episcopal, founded in 1895 to serve the predominately black cigar workers from The Bahamas and Cuba.[80] Tampa's oldest African Methodist Episcopal congregation, St. Paul A.M.E., was founded in 1870.[74] Their current sanctuary, built in 1914, has seen the likes of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.,[81] and President Bill Clinton speak from its pulpit,[82] and is designated a Local Landmark Structure by the city.[83] Other early churches in Tampa's African-American community include Port Tampa’s Mt. Zion A.M.E. Church, founded 1889,[84] and Beulah Baptist Institutional Church, formed by freed slaves in 1865.[85]

Downtown Tampa’s Franklin Street, in 1939, was where a 21-year old Billy Graham began his career as a spiritual evangelist and preacher. The future spiritual adviser to multiple U.S. Presidents was a student at the Florida Bible Institute in nearby Temple Terrace.[81]

Today, Tampa has a broad representation of churches from the above denominations, as well as Christian Science, the Church of God, United Church of Christ, Unitarian Universalist, Metropolitan Community Church, Seventh-day Adventist, Eastern Orthodox (Greek, Coptic, Syrian, and OCA), various Pentecostal movements, the Quakers, Jehovah's Witnesses, and the Mormons.

Not every community of faith in Tampa’s early years was Christian. The city’s Jewish citizenry founded Tampa’s first Synagogue, Schaarai Zedek, in 1894.[86] Today, Tampa is home to several Jewish congregations practicing Orthodox, Conservative, Reform, and Messianic Judaism.

The Church of Scientology, based in nearby Clearwater, has a church located in Tampa.[87] A handful of mosques are located in the Tampa area for followers of Islam. Likewise, the area is home to a Tibetan-style Buddhist Temple[88] and a Thai Buddhist Wat[89]. Additionally, there are local worship centers for the Hindu and Bahá'í faiths.


Tampa is represented by teams in three major professional sports leagues: the NFL, the NHL, and Major League Baseball. Tampa was also represented in the Arena Football League before the league ceased operations. Two of the teams play in Tampa proper, while the Tampa Bay Rays of Major League Baseball play across the bay in St. Petersburg. All of the teams represent the entire Tampa Bay metropolitan area.

The Tampa Bay Rowdies of the North American Soccer League (NASL) were the area's first major sports franchise, beginning play in Tampa Stadium in 1975. The Rowdies were an immediate success, drawing good crowds and winning the inaugural Soccer Bowl in their first season to bring Tampa its first professional sports championship. Though the NASL ceased operations in 1984, the Rowdies continued play in various indoor and outdoor soccer leagues until finally folding in 1993. In 2008, the United Soccer Leagues First Division formally announced that the Rowdies would be revived as an expansion franchise as part of a newly-organized NASL. These new Rowdies are scheduled to begin play in 2010.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers began in 1976 as an expansion team of the NFL. They struggled mightily at first, losing their first 26 games in a row to set a league record for futility. After a brief taste of success in the late 70s, the Bucs again returned to their losing ways, and at one point lost 10+ games for 12 seasons in a row. The hiring of Tony Dungy in 1996 started an improving trend that eventually led to the team's first Super Bowl title in 2003 under coach Jon Gruden.

The St. Pete Times Forum

The NHL's Tampa Bay Lightning was established in 1992, and currently play their home games in the St. Pete Times Forum, located in the Channelside district of downtown Tampa. The team won their first Stanley Cup championship in Tampa against the Calgary Flames in game 7 of the 2004 Stanley Cup Finals.

Due to the plethora of spring training sites in the area and a history of strong amateur teams, the Tampa Bay area has had a long-term connection with baseball. Accordingly, there was some cross-bay competition for a Major League Baseball franchise throughout the 1980s and '90s until the Tampa Bay Rays (originally "Devil Rays") began play in nearby St. Petersburg in 1998. The Rays struggled through their first decade of existence, finishing last in the American League's East Division in nine of those ten seasons. However, the Rays finally tasted success in 2008, winning their first division title and the AL pennant to earn a spot in the World Series.

The Tampa Bay Storm played in the Arena Football League before it suspended operations. They will resume play as part of a newly formed Arena Football League. Originally playing in Pittsburgh, the team moved to Tampa in 1991. The Storm won their first Arena Bowl championship in 1991, and have won four subsequent championships in 1993, 1995, 1996, and 2003, more than any other AFL team. Since 1997, the team has played its home games in the St. Pete Times Forum.

Tampa also has a roller derby league called the Tampa Bay Derby Darlins. Their home games are played at USA Skateplex in Temple Terrace. As of 2010, the Derby Darlins are in their fifth league season and plan to host the third annual Florida Roller Derby Championship, The Sunshine Skate.[90]

The USF Sundome

College sports

The football program at the University of South Florida played its first season in 1997. After competing their first four years as a Division I-AA (now Division I FCS) independent, the Bulls moved to Division I-A, now Division I FBS, in 2001 but remained independent. They joined Conference USA in 2003 until becoming a member of the Big East in 2005. Under former head coach Jim Leavitt, the Bulls have steadily risen to national prominence. The 2007 season was the most successful so far, as the team reached as high as 2nd in the BCS rankings and received much community support.

The University of Tampa Spartans, located in downtown Tampa, are the oldest active sports organization in the city, having begun play in 1933. "Tampa U" once had a successful Division I football program and was the first regular tenant of Tampa Stadium before giving up the sport in 1974. Today, UT competes at the NCAA Division II level in the Sunshine State Conference (SSC). UT is among the top schools in the SSC in both championships and student-athletes named to the Commissioner's Honor Roll.

Spartan teams have won NCAA-II titles in men's soccer (1981, 1994 and 2001), women's soccer (2007), baseball (1992, 1993, 1998,2006 and 2007), golf (1987 and 1988), and volleyball (2006). With their win in 2007 the UT baseball team became the first team in Div. II baseball to win consecutive titles since UT won in 1992 and 1993.[1] The University of Tampa fielded a highly successful men's football team from 1933 to 1974 winning against then rivals University of Florida and other major college teams, and was the first sports team to call Tampa Stadium home.

Other sports & events

The Tampa Bay Bandits of the defunct United States Football League (USFL) began play in 1985, and played three seasons in Tampa Stadium before the league and the team folded. Coached by Steve Spurrier, their crowd-pleasing style of play was known as "Banditball". The Tampa Bay Mutiny of Major League Soccer began play at Tampa Stadium in 1996, and continued through 2001 before folding.

Tampa has hosted four Super Bowls: Super Bowl XVIII (1984), Super Bowl XXV (1991), and Super Bowl XXXV, which was played in the newly built Raymond James Stadium in 2001, and Super Bowl XLIII in February 2009.

The Tampa Bay Area also hosts a number of Major League Baseball teams for spring training, as well as several minor league baseball teams. The New York Yankees of Major League Baseball play spring training games at George M. Steinbrenner Field in Tampa.

The NCAA football Outback Bowl at Raymond James Stadium is held in Tampa each January. The USHRA holds an event every January at Raymond James Stadium.


Tampa Convention Center, built at the site of Fort Brooke

Service, retail, finance, insurance and real estate play a vital role in the area's economy.[91] Hillsborough County alone has an estimated 740,000 employees, a figure which is projected to increase to 922,000 by 2015.[91] Many corporations, such as large banks and telecommunications companies, maintain regional offices in Tampa. Several Fortune 1000 companies are headquartered in the metropolitan area,[92] including OSI Restaurant Partners, WellCare Health Plans, Inc., TECO Energy, Walter Energy and Raymond James Financial.

Downtown Tampa is undergoing significant development and redevelopment in line with a general national trend toward urban residential development. The Tampa Downtown Partnership notes development proceeding on 20 residential, hotel, and mixed-use projects as of April 2007.[93] Many of the new downtown developments are nearing completion in the midst of a housing market slump, which has caused numerous projects to be delayed or revamped,[94] and some of the 20 projects TDP lists have not broken ground and are being refinanced. Nonetheless several developments are nearing completion, which city leaders hope will make downtown into a 24-hour neighborhood instead of 9 to 5 business district.[95]

Tampa's port is now the seventh largest in the nation and Florida’s largest tonnage port, handling nearly half of all seaborne commerce that passes through the state. Tampa currently ranks second in the state behind Miami in terms of cruise ship travel. Besides smaller regional cruise ships such as Yacht Starship and SunCruz Casino, Tampa also serves as a port of call for three cruise lines: Holland America's MS Veendam, Royal Caribbean's Grandeur of the Seas, and Carnival's Legend and Inspiration.[96]

The main server farm for Wikipedia and other Wikimedia Foundation projects is located in Tampa.[97]


Historical populations
Census Pop.  %±
1850 974
1870 796
1880 720 −9.5%
1890 5,532 668.3%
1900 15,839 186.3%
1910 37,782 138.5%
1920 51,608 36.6%
1930 101,161 96.0%
1940 108,391 7.1%
1950 124,681 15.0%
1960 274,970 120.5%
1970 277,714 1.0%
1980 271,523 −2.2%
1990 280,015 3.1%
2000 303,447 8.4%
Est. 2008 340,882 12.3%

At the 2005–2007 American Community Survey Estimates, the city's population was 67.2% White (47.8% non-Hispanic White alone), 26.3% Black or African American, 0.6% American Indian and Alaska Native, 3.6% Asian, 0.3% Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander, 3.8% from some other race and 1.7% from two or more races. 22.1% of the total population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.[98]

As of the census[5] of 2000, there were 303,447 people, 124,758 households, and 71,236 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,707.8 people per square mile (1,045.4/km²). There were 135,776 housing units at an average density of 1,211.6/sq mi (467.8/km²).

The racial makeup of the city was 64.2% White (51.0% White Non-Hispanic), 26.1% Black or African American, 0.4% American Indian and Alaska Native, 2.2% Asian, 0.1% Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander, 4.17% from other races, and 2.9% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 19.3% of the population. The largest ancestries are German (9.2%), Irish (8.4%), English (7.7%), Italian (5.6%), and French (2.4%).[99]

There were 124,758 households out of which 27.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 36.4% were married couples living together, 16.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 42.9% were non-families. 33.7% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.36 and the average family size was 3.07.

In the city the population was spread out with 24.6% under the age of 18, 10.0% from 18 to 24, 32.3% from 25 to 44, 20.5% from 45 to 64, and 12.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 34.7 years old. For every 100 females there were 95.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 92.1 males.

In 2006, the median income for a household in the city was $39,602, and the median income for a family was $45,823. Males had a median income of $40,461 versus $29,868 for females. The per capita income for the city was $26,522. 20.1% of the population and 16.4% of families were below the poverty line. 31% of those under the age of 18 and 13.6% of those 65 and older are living below the poverty level.

As of 2000, English spoken as a first language accounted for 77.43% of all residents, while 22.56% spoke other languages as their mother tongue. The most significant was Spanish speakers who made up 17.76% of the population, while French came up as the third most spoken language, which made up 0.63%, and Italian was at fourth, with 0.56% of the population.[100]

A 2006 study by UCLA suggests that Tampa has one of the highest GLBT populations per capita with 6.1% of citizens polled identifying as gay, lesbian, or bisexual. The Tampa Bay metropolitan area also ranks 5th of all major metropolitan areas with 5.9% being GLBT.[101]



Three motor vehicle bridges cross Tampa Bay to Pinellas County: the Howard Frankland Bridge (I-275), the Courtney Campbell Causeway (SR-60) and the Gandy Bridge (US 92). The old Gandy Bridge was completely replaced by new spans during the 1990s, but a span of the old bridge was saved and converted into a pedestrian and biking bridge renamed The Friendship Trail. It is the longest overwater recreation trail in the world.[102] However, the bridge was closed in 2008 due to structural problems.[103]

There are two major expressways (toll) bringing traffic in and out of Tampa. The Lee Roy Selmon Crosstown Expressway (SR-618) (also known as the Crosstown Expressway), runs from suburban Brandon at its eastern terminus, through Downtown Tampa, to the neighborhoods in South Tampa (near MacDill Air Force Base) at its western terminus. The Veterans Expressway (SR-589), meanwhile connects Tampa International Airport and the bay bridges to the northwestern suburbs of Carrollwood, Northdale, Westchase, Citrus Park, Cheval, and Lutz, before continuing north as the Suncoast Parkway into Pasco and Hernando Counties.

Three interstate highways run through the city. Interstate 4 and Interstate 275 cut across the city and intersect near downtown. Interstate 75 runs along the east side of town for much of its route through Hillsborough County until veering to the west to bisect New Tampa.

Along with highways, major surface roads serves as main arteries of the city. These roads are Hillsborough Avenue (US 92 & US 41), Dale Mabry Highway (US 92), Nebraska Avenue (US 41), Florida Avenue (US 41 Business), Bruce B. Downs Boulevard, Fowler Avenue, Busch Boulevard, Kennedy Boulevard, Adamo Drive, and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard.


Tampa holds a unique distinction in the history of aviation, a status gained just ten years after the Wright Brothers first took flight in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. On January 1, 1914, pioneering aviator Tony Jannus captained the inaugural flight of the St. Petersburg-Tampa Airboat Line, the world's first commercial passenger airline. The airline flew scheduled flights from downtown St. Petersburg, Florida, across the bay to just south of where Tampa International Airport sits today, carrying just the pilot and a single passenger in a flying boat biplane.[104] The airline's historic significance is officially recognized by the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, and its pilot is memorialized annually by the awarding of the Tony Jannus Award to individuals of outstanding achievement in scheduled commercial aviation.[105] A permanent exhibit honoring the award recipients is maintained at Tampa International Airport, which also hosts a 12.5 feet by 32 feet (3.8 meters by 9.8 meters) painted mural from the 1930s titled, History’s First Scheduled Airline Passenger Arrives in Tampa, depicting the events of New Year's Day, 1914.[106]

  • NPS map symbol airport.png Tampa International Airport (IATA: TPA, ICAO: KTPA) is Tampa's main airport and the primary location for commercial passenger airline service into the Tampa Bay area. It is also a consistent favorite in surveys of the industry and the traveling public. The readers of Condé Nast Traveler have frequently placed Tampa International in their list of Best Airports, ranking it #1 in 2003,[107] and #2 in 2008[108] A survey by Zagat in 2007 ranked Tampa International first among U.S. airports in overall quality.[109] During 2008, it was the 26th-busiest airport in North America.[110]
  • NPS map symbol airport.png Peter O. Knight Airport (IATA: TPF, ICAO: KTPF)is a small general aviation terminal located on Davis Islands near downtown.
  • NPS map symbol airport.png Tampa Executive Airport (IATA: VDF, ICAO: KVDF), formerly known as Vandenberg Airport, is another option for general aviation fliers. The airport is located east of Tampa in Hillsborough County, near the interchange of I-4 and I-75.
  • NPS map symbol airport.png St. Petersburg-Clearwater International Airport (IATA: PIE, ICAO: KPIE) lies just across the bay from Tampa International Airport. Though mainly a general aviation facility, the airport has become a popular destination for passenger service by discount and charter carriers.[111]


The railroad legacy brought to Tampa by Henry Plant continues to serve the city. Uceta Rail Yard was established by Plant System corporate descendant, Atlantic Coast Line Railroad, in the industrial sector on Tampa's east side, between Gary and Brandon. It continues to service CSX as a storage and intermodal freight transport facility today. Freight and container cargo operations at the city's seaports also depend upon dockside rail facilities.[112]

Since 1912, Tampa's intercity passenger rail service has been based out of Tampa Union Station. The historic facility, adjacent to downtown between the Channel District and Ybor City, is serviced by Amtrak today. Amtrak's Silver Star calls on Tampa twice daily: number 91 southbound to Miami and number 92 northbound for New York City.[113]

Union Station also serves as the transfer hub for Amtrak Thruway Motorcoach service, offering bus connections to several cities in Southwest Florida, as well as to Orlando for transfers to the northbound Silver Meteor[113].

Tampa is to be the site of a high speed rail line which will run between downtown and the Orlando area, and eventually to Miami and south Florida. Construction of the line is slated to begin in 2011, with the initial phase completed by 2014.[114]

Early morning at the Port of Tampa


Since Tampa Bay was first spotted by Spanish explorers in the 1500s, sailors have admired its wide, sheltered beauty. However, its shallow nature has always presented a navigability problem; the bay is less than 30 feet (9.1 m) deep almost everywhere and considerably less than that in many places near the coast, including the approach to the city of Tampa.[115] By the late 1800s, typical cargo ships had grown large enough that they were not able to navigate upper Tampa Bay and reach the ports of Tampa at all.

In 1899, however, the US Congress authorized the dredging of a 27' deep channel to Port Tampa, Henry Plant's rail-to-ship facility just west of Tampa. In 1917, another channel was dredged out to the Port of Tampa proper, instantly making Tampa an important shipping location.[116]

The bay bottom is very sandy, and the ship channels need constant dredging to keep them navigable to the largest modern cargo ships. Every year, the US Army Corps of Engineers dredge up enough sediment from the bay to fill Raymond James Stadium 10 times.[117]

Today, the Port of Tampa is the largest port in Florida in throughput tonnage, making it one of the busiest commercial ports in North America.[118] Petroleum and phosphate are the lead commodities, accounting for two-thirds of the 37 million tons of total bulk and general cargo handled by the port in 2009.[119]

The Tampa Port Authority currently operates three cruise ship terminals in Tampa's Channel District. The Port of Tampa is the year-round home port for Carnival Cruise Lines' MS Carnival Inspiration and MS Carnival Legend. In 2010, Tampa will also be a seasonal port for Holland America Line's MS Ryndam, as well as Royal Caribbean International's MS Grandeur of the Seas and MS Radiance of the Seas.[120] A fourth company, Norwegian Cruise Line, has announced plans to sail out of Tampa for the first time. The 2,240 passenger MS Norwegian Star will be Tampa's largest cruise ship when it debuts a seasonal schedule in 2011. Cruise itineraries from Tampa include stops in the Eastern and Western Caribbean islands, Honduras, Belize, and Mexico.[121]

A TECO streetcar picking up passengers in Ybor City.

Mass transit

Public mass transit within Tampa is operated by the Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority (HART), and includes public bus and paratransit service, as well as a streetcar line. The HART bus system's main hub is the Marion Transit Center in Downtown Tampa, serving nearly 30 local and express routes. HART has a signed transit deal with the University of South Florida, allowing students to ride for free on most bus routes,[122] while students from other schools may receive discounted fares.[123]

In October, 2002, the TECO Line Streetcar System brought electric streetcar service back to Tampa for the first time in over half a century. The line operates from ten stations along a 2.4 mile (3.9 km) route, connecting Ybor City, the Channel District, the Tampa Convention Center, and downtown Tampa.[124] Work is currently underway to extend the line along Franklin Street to the Fort Brooke Parking Garage by December 2010. The TECO Line fleet features varnished wood interiors and other appointments reminiscent of the streetcars that traversed Tampa between the late 19th and mid 20th centuries. The nostalgic design is incorporated with modern functionality, as the cars are both wheelchair accessible and air conditioned.[125]

Limited transportation by privately-operated "Neighborhood Electric Vehicles" (NEV) is available, primarily in Downtown Tampa and Ybor City.[126] Water taxis are available on a charter basis for tours along the downtown waterfront and the Hillsborough River. Regular water taxi service may be possible in the future as docks and facilities are developed in conjunction with the Tampa Riverwalk.[127]

In July 2007, the Tampa Bay Area Regional Transportation Authority (TBARTA) was formed to develop bus, light rail, and other transportation options for the seven-county Tampa Bay area.

MacDill Air Force Base

MacDill Air Force Base, located in south Tampa, was constructed as MacDill Field just prior to World War II. During the 1950s and 1960s, it was a Strategic Air Command base for B-47 and B-52 bombers. In the 1960s, it transitioned to a Tactical Air Command installation for F-4 Phantom II fighters, followed by F-16s in the 1980s. It is currently an Air Mobility Command installation, home to the 6th Air Mobility Wing, and includes both the 310th Airlift Squadron, flying the C-37, and the 91st Air Refueling Squadron, flying the KC-135. MacDill AFB is also home to the headquarters for two of the U.S. military's joint warfighting commands: Headquarters, United States Central Command (CENTCOM), and Headquarters, United States Special Operations Command (SOCOM). Both commands are independent from one another and each is commanded by a respective 4-star general or admiral. Like Tampa's seaport, MacDill AFB could also potentially be a target for terrorism.

The MacDill AFB flight line was temporarily closed and the 56th Fighter Wing transferred to Luke AFB, Arizona following the 1991 round of base closings under the Base Realignment and Closure Commission (BRAC) discussions; at the time, the base was used for F-16 fighter training and operations and increasing level of civilian air traffic in the Tampa Bay area was considered detrimental to training. The noise produced by the fighter aircraft was also considered inappropriate in a densely populated area. However, despite committee recommendations, the base remained open to house and support CENTCOM and SOCOM under the cognizance of the newly-activated 6th Air Base Wing. With the disestablishment of Tactical Air Command a few months later, claimancy for MacDill passed to the newly-created Air Combat Command.

The MacDill flight line was initially reopened in 1992 to temporarily support F-16 aircraft from the 31st Fighter Wing and the Air Force Reserve's 482d Fighter Wing, following the destruction of their home station, Homestead AFB, Florida in the wake of Hurricane Andrew. In 1993, the MacDill flightline was permanently reopened for NOAA WP-3D "hurricane hunter" operations, which had relocated from Miami International Airport.

In 1996, the 91st Air Refueling Squadron moved to MacDill from Malmstrom Air Force Base, Montana, the 6th Air Base Wing was renamed the 6th Air Refueling Wing (later 6th Air Mobility Wing) and the installation officially came under the Air Mobility Command.

Approximately 14,000 people work at MacDill Air Force Base, with a significant number of military personnel and their families living on base in military housing, while remaining servicemembers and military families live off base in the Tampa Bay area. MacDill AFB is a significant contributor to Tampa's economy and the city is very supportive of the military community. In 2001 and 2003, the Tampa Bay area was awarded the Abilene Trophy, which annually honors the most supportive Air Force city in Air Mobility Command.

MacDill also hosts an annual air show that is enjoyed by thousands of spectators each year. However, there were no shows in 2002 and 2003 due to 9/11.[128] The 2006 show was also canceled due to security concerns on base,[129] but was reinstated in 2008. In 2008, pursuant to BRAC 2005, the Air Force Reserve Command's 927th Air Refueling Wing (927 ARW) relocated without aircraft or equipment from Selfridge Air National Guard Base, Michigan to MacDill AFB, where it became an "Associate" wing to the 6th Air Mobility Wing sharing the same KC-135R Stratotanker aircraft.

Sister cities

Tampa has formalized sister city agreements with the following cities:[130]

See also


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  22. ^ Looking for Angola
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  • Brown, Cantor. Tampa Before the Civil War. University Press of Florida.
  • Deitche, Scott M. Cigar City Mafia : A Complete History of the Tampa Underworld (2004), Barricade Books ISBN 1-56980-266-1.
  • Lastra, Frank. Ybor City: The Making of a Landmark Town. 2006. University of Tampa Press.
  • Stewart, George R. Names on the Land, Houghton Mifflin Company: Boston (1967).

External links

Coordinates: 27°58′15″N 82°27′53″W / 27.970898°N 82.46464°W / 27.970898; -82.46464

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Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Tampa skyline
Tampa skyline

The city of Tampa[1] is the county seat of Hillsborough County and the largest city in the greater West Central Florida region.


Tampa is situated on the north shore of Tampa Bay in West Central Florida. Saint Petersburg lies west of the bay, while Bradenton is on the southern shore. The downtown business center of the city is on the north shore of Hillsborough Bay (a small bay within Tampa Bay which is bordered by the eastern shore of Tampa Bay and the small peninsula of South Tampa) and Ybor City lies just to the east. MacDill Air Force Base is on the southern tip of South Tampa, while the city also extends to the north all the way to the newly incorporated area of New Tampa.


The Tampa Bay area was visited by many Spanish explorers, beginning with Panfilo de Narvaez in 1528. However, no long term permanent settlements were created until 1824 when the US federal government created a reservation for north Florida Seminole Indians. At the same time, the US created Fort Brooke to oversee the reservation as well as protect the strategic harbor.

The 1880s saw the town's first population boom. In 1883, phosphate was discovered in the area, spurring the development of the mining and shipping industries in the area. Shortly after, Henry B. Plant completed work on his railroad linking Tampa to Jacksonville. He began promoting Tampa as a holiday spot and built the grand Plant Hotel as a luxury resort destination. In 1886, Vicente Martinez Ybor opened Tampa's first cigar factory in Ybor City which encouraged the immigration of many Spanish, Cuban and Italian (primarily Sicilian) workers. During the Spanish American War at the turn of the century, Tampa was the main port of departure for troops heading for Cuba. During this time, the Plant Hotel was converted into officer's accommodations, housing the Rough Riders and Teddy Roosevelt.

In more recent times, MacDill Air Force Base was created in 1939 and the University of South Florida in 1956. Over the course of the Twentieth Century, Tampa has grown into the center of a large metropolitan area; it now hosts the regional headquarters of many international companies, has acquired numerous professional sports teams, and has even bid for the summer Olympics.


Tampa is a very diverse city. The first residents were the members of the Seminole Indian tribe that was relocated there from northern Florida and the soldiers stationed at Fort Brook to control the reservation. The town remained a mostly military town until the 1880s when Tampa saw its first major waves of immigration from Cuba, Spain and Sicily. The major growth of the area did not occur until air conditioning became common in the years after World War II, but the region has been growing steadily since then. Tampa is now home to many native Floridians, including Seminoles, Cubans, Spaniards and Italians, as well the residence of many 'transplants' from the Midwest and other areas of the states and new immigrants from the Caribbean and central America. Tampa's population swells during the winter months with the arrival of the 'snowbirds,' retired persons from the northern U.S. and Canada who come down for a few months to enjoy the relative warmth.


Tampa has a growing economy and serves as a major port. Among others, Raymond James, Home Shopping Network, Outback Steakhouse, and a major portion of Citigroup are all headquartered in Tampa. Tampa's major industries today are phosphate mining, shipping, citrus processing, shrimping, and tourism.

Tampa, Florida, seen from the historic Ybor district.
Tampa, Florida, seen from the historic Ybor district.
  • Tampa International Airport (IATA: TPA) (ICAO: KTPA), [2], located near the waters of Tampa Bay along I-275. Saint Petersburg Airport (IATA: PIE)[3] is an alternative only fifteen miles away, generally serving smaller routes and discount airlines. A bit further away is Sarasota International [4], offering proximity to beautiful Gulf beaches to the south of Tampa.

By train

Tampa's Amtrak [5] station is located at 601 Nebraska Avenue in downtown Tampa. Amtrak's Silver Service runs daily from New York City or Miami to Tampa. The train journey through Florida offers great views, but be aware that the schedules are often more of a suggestion than a reality.

By car

Tampa is easily accessible via the major interstate highways, I-75 from north and south, and I-4 from the east. From either highway, exit onto I-275 to reach Tampa. However, be prepared for frequent traffic jams particularly when it rains; nearly all of Downtown and the airport area are under constant and complete construction. Also be ready to deal with terrible drivers, as this is the retirement state.

By bus

Tampa's Greyhound [6] station is at 610 Polk Street in downtown Tampa. Funtime Coaches toll free 1-888-952-LIMO

By boat

Cruise ships from five cruise lines operate from Tampa, mostly to Caribbean islands and Mexico. The Tampa cruise terminal is on the Ybor channel downtown. Starlight Cruises toll free 1-888-952-5466 [7]

Get around

By car

Car rentals are the most convenient for of transportation for visitors, with local companies offering better prices but national chains offering more convenience vis-a-vis return policies and times.

Car Rental Companies include:

  • Alamo Rent A Car, Toll free: 1-800-462-5266, [8].
  • Avis Rent A Car, Toll free: 1-800-331-1212, [9].
  • Budget Rent A Car, Toll free: 1-800-527-0700, [10].
  • Dollar Rent A Car, Toll free: 1-800-800-3665, [11].
  • E-Z Rent-A-Car, Toll free: 1-800-277-5171, [12].
  • Enterprise Rent-A-Car, Toll free: 1-800-261-7331, [13].
  • Hertz Car Rental, Toll free: 1-800-654-3131, [14]].
  • Thrifty, Toll free: 1-800-847-4389, [15].
  • Starlight Toll free: 1-888-952-5466[

The main freeways in Tampa are Interstate 275, Interstate 4, the Veterans Expressway (toll FL 589), and the Leroy Selmon Crosstown Expressway (toll FL 618). Some of the main east-west roads through town are Kennedy Boulevard (SR 60), Gandy Boulevard (SR 694), Hillsborough Avenue (US 92) and Fowler Avenue (SR 582), while some of the north-south roads are Dale Mabry Highway (US 92) and Florida/Nebraska Avenue (US 41). Traffic is especially bad during the rush hours: from about 7:30 to 9:30 AM and 3:30PM to 7:30PM. During these times, try especially to avoid I-275, especially between I-4 and SR 60 (by the airport) as this section runs by downtown and is currently being rebuilt.

By bus

HART, [16], provides extensive bus service throughout Hillsborough County. There are three types of routes offered: "local", "Commuter Express", and Trollies (see below). Local routes are ones which have many stops in a small region. Commuter Express lines are long-distance lines namely providing service from suburbs into Tampa. Only local to local & commuter express to local transfers are allowed. Fares are $1.75 for local routes and $2.75 for commuter express lines. Four small routes (83, 87, 88, & 89) have a 50¢ fare with no transfers. Riders over 65, 17 and under, on Medicare, or disabled are half-price: 85¢ for "local" routes and $1.35 for "commuter express" routes. Bus transportation in the Tampa area is not popular and one can expect plenty of room in busses.

Tampa streetcars
Tampa streetcars

PSTA, offers service in Pinellas County (the county west of Tampa Bay, home to Clearwater and St. Petersburg) similar to what HART offers in Hillsborough.

By Streetcar

Tampa also has the TECO Line Streetcar [17] that runs from Dick Greco Plaza downtown to Centennial Park in Ybor City with 8 stops along the way (10 total stops). The line is useful for tourists and convention goers. The line runs by many local shops, restaurants, and attractions including the convention center/ Embassy Suites, the St. Pete Times Forum, Channelside, the Florida Aquarium, and through Ybor City. There are 3 types of streetcars in operation: 9 "Birney Safety" replicas (picture, right), one "Breezer" open-air replica (picture, left), and one original "Birney" car (#163, not pictured) which operated in Tampa from 1923-1946 and went through 10,000 man-hours of restoration. Even if you're not using it for transportation, the streetcars are a fun way to see some of the city's historic and cultural sights.

As of December 2008, a one-way fare is $2.50. A 1-day, unlimited rides pass for both streetcars and trollies are available for $5, since this is the cost of 2 rides (not synonymous with "round-trip"), it's highly recommended. Riders over 65, 17 and under, on Medicare, or disabled are discounted to $1.25 each trip or $2.50 for 1-day unlimited. Children under 4 are free, but if taller than the fare box ID is required. Exact change is required, streetcar drivers do not provide change. Three-day and one year passes are available from Hart bus line ticket vendors, not from the streetcars. Service is available: 11AM-10PM Monday-Wednesday, 11AM-11PM Thursday, 11AM-2AM Friday, 9AM-2AM Saturday, and noon-8PM on Sunday. Streetcars arrive every 15 minutes, except service 9-11AM & midnight-2AM every 30 minutes.

By Trolley

Tampa also two-line trolley system serving the Central Business District. Unlike the streetcars, which are electric and run on a fixed track, the trollies are simply small, diesel busses styled to look like a streetcar. The purple line runs north-south from I-275, through downtown to the northern end of Harbor Island. It has service every 10 minutes at 17 stops( [18]), Monday through Friday from 6-9AM and 3-6PM. The green line trolley runs only on Friday and Saturday nights from 6PM-2AM. It has service every 10 minutes at 17 stops along the Hillsborough River (west side of CBD), the northern tip of Harbor Island, and along Channelside Drive (between Franklin St. and Kennedy Blv.). As of June 2008, rides are $0.25 (no transfers), $3.25 for a 1-day pass, and $5 for a 1-day streetcar/trolley pass. Riders over 65, 17 and under, on Medicare, or disabled are discounted to $1.60 for a 1-day trolley pass or $2.50 for a 1-day trolley/streetcar pass. Children under 4 are free, but if taller than the fare box ID is required. Only $1 bills are accepted.

  • Channelside. Entertainment complex in the revitalized Channelside district near the Port of Tampa. Numerous upscale restaurants, several mid-range chain restaurants and bars, an IMAX movie theater and a trendy (if you can believe it) bowling alley.
  • Florida Aquarium, 701 Channelside Drive, Phone: (813) 273-4000, [19]. Daily 9:30AM-5PM. Channelside district, just east of downtown. Fabulous aquarium following a drop of rain from a swamp through Florida's aquifer, to its rivers and out into the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Ocean. Restaurant, gift shop, children's play area, touch tank, interactive dive experiences, and eco-tours of Tampa Bay. Adults $17.95, ages 3-12 $12.95.
  • Tampa Museum of Art, 600 N. Ashley Drive, Phone: (813) 274-8130, [20]. Daily 10AM-5PM, Closed Mondays. An extensive collection of Greek and Roman antiquities, as well as contemporary and traveling exhibitions. Check the website for monthly "Art After Dark" exhibitions. Adults $8, Children under 6 Free. Free admission on Saturdays 10AM-Noon. As of August 2008 a new larger museum is under construction and most of the permanent collection is not on display.
  • Tampa Theatre, 711 Franklin Street, Phone: (813) 274-8982, [21]. Opened in 1926 and located right downtown, the Tampa Theatre is a historic movie palace featuring a wide range of independent, foreign, and documentary films on a daily basis. Architecturally stunning both inside and out, it is no wonder that the Tampa Theatre has become both a city and national landmark being listed in the National Register of Historic Places since 1978. It is Tampa's only non-profit theatre and operating costs are largely covered by its membership program, various corporate sponsors as well as ticket sales.
  • University of Tampa. Formerly the Tampa Bay Hotel built at the turn of the 20th century by railroad magnate H.B.Plant, the beautiful old building is now used as the administration building and classrooms for the University of Tampa. It has been lovingly restored to most of its prior glory; the ballroom is a showpiece with its domed ceiling under brilliant silver minarets. There is a small, but very interesting museum in the building that recreates a large portion of Tampa's early history, as well as giving visitors a peek into how the hotel appeared when it first opened.
  • Busch Gardens, McKinley Drive, Toll Free: 1-888-800-5447,[22]. More than just an amusement park -- also a top-notch zoo. Expensive, but a very enjoyable day -- rides, shows, and the Anheuser-Busch Clydesdales! This is a fun place for all ages, kids, teens, and even adults. It has a family friendly atmosphere with lots of things to do and see. The scenery is amazing; it has a feel of different places as you travel throughout the park. Rides vary from a huge merry go round to the famous rollercoaster, Montu. There are many different types of rides to choose from and also many roller coasters to choose from as well. Not a ride fan? You can check out the many shows they perform daily. Ice skating, singing, magic, birds, dolphins and other performances can be found all around the corners of Busch Gardens. Not a show fan either? Then check out the many food establishments spread out through the park. They offer fast food like popcorn and fries to a nice sit down meal. Also check Busch Gardens out during different holidays. They always have special events and offers. For instance, for Halloween they have Howl-O-Scream when the park is open all night long. They also have special events for over night stays, New Years, and special ticket sales for Florida residents. Always watch out for these special events because they happen all the time. If you do one thing while you’re in Tampa, go visit Busch Gardens. It is a great place to remind you about how fun Tampa really is. It is one of the biggest attractions in the Tampa Bay area. The rides, food, and shows will make you want to come back!
  • Lowry Park Zoo, 1101 West Sligh Avenue, Phone: (813) 935-8552, [23]. Daily 9:30AM-5PM. One of the top-rated zoos in the country, featuring children's areas, restaurants, a manatee hospital, and first-rate encounters with animals from around the world. Make sure to tour the aviary and feed the lorikeets. Adults $15, ages 3-11 $10.50.
  • Museum of Science and Industry (MOSI), 4801 E Fowler Av., Phone: (813) 987-6100, [24]. Daily 9AM-6PM. Hands-on children's science museum, including an IMAX dome and stellar revolving exhibits. Great way to spend a day with the family. Adults $23.95, ages 2-12 $19.95.
  • University of South Florida. The main campus for this university. Blossoming from five buildings in its opening (1960) to 164 buildings on the Tampa campus alone, this beautiful college is now educating more than 29,000 students. With beautiful greenery, fountains, and named the “top architecture school in Florida” by the Florida Board of Architecture and Interior Design in 2002. A sports fan? The University of South Florida has you covered here as well! Home to the Division-1 football (at Raymond James Stadium) and basketball (at the on-campus SunDome) among others.

Ybor City

This historic multi-ethnic district located northeast of downtown & north of the Channelside district is best known to locals for its wide range of nightclubs, bars, and shops making it a popular evening and weekend hotspot. However, this historic district has much to offer the tourist by day. Originally home to thousands of Cuban, Spanish and Italian immigrants (as well as smaller numbers of Romanian Jews and Germans), this neighborhood was famous for its many cigar factories and is where the 'Cuban sandwich' was first popularized in the United States. Ybor City is one of only two active National Historic Landmark Districts in the state of Florida and can be easily visited by catching one of its famous streetcars that connects downtown Tampa to Ybor City (see "Get around" section).

  • Ybor City State Museum ([25], $3, 1818 9th Avenue) on 9th Avenue between 18th & 19th Streets, should be the first stop for any new visitor to the area. This small, but intriguing museum highlights the colorful history of this city-turned-Tampa-suburb and has a gift shop filled with small trinkets. The museum offers walking tours (see "Do" section, below). Open daily 9AM-5PM, except major holidays. Visitors must park at metered spots on 9th/nearby streets.
  • Ybor City Cigar Museum — 1600 8th Ave. Presents the history of cigar making in Ybor City. Nice gift shop. Open Mon-Sat 10AM-6PM, Sun Noon-6PM.
  • Centro Ybor[26] Centered by a 20-screen mega-cinema, plenty of shopping, bars, and nightclubs, this large entertainment complex/plaza at the heart of Ybor City, it is the mecca of Tampa's young-adult nightlife.
  • Saturday Market — Every Saturday from 9AM-3PM in Centennial Park, the market features local-grown produce, arts, crafts, and local food.
  • Ybor City ArtWalk — The first Saturday of every month, this event brings out the best area arts and crafts, from business owners to professionals to studio-dwelling amateurs showing off their goods. Also
  • Walking tour of Ybor City — Every Saturday at 10:30AM, the Ybor City State Museum offers a 60 minute walking tour of Ybor City highlighting the cigar industry's impact on the area, historic cottages/businesses, and tours of the YC State Museum & YC Cigar Museum. The $6 cost includes both museum entrance fees. Longer tours are available by appointment Tues-Thurs for $12. If possible, stop by the 100-year-old Columbia Restaurant at the end of the tour for a tasty Cuban lunch.
  • Cruise ships, Port of Tampa.
  • Gasparilla Pirate Festival, [27] is an annual event consisting of several parades, live entertainment, and fireworks. The event is also known as the Mardi Gras of Tampa, and normally takes place on the last two Saturdays in January.
  • Guavaween. [28] offers daytime events and nighttime parade on the last Saturday in October in Ybor City.
  • Sant'Yago Knight Parade is an illuminated nighttime parade that takes place one Saturday in February in Ybor City.
  • Several film festivals take place at the Tampa Theatre several times a year.
  • Read the Tampa Tribune -- Tampa has some sort of event going on nearly every weekend, especially in the spring and early summer. Art festivals, a terrific Renaissance festival, street festivals -- take advantage of the great weather and enjoy our city.
  • Surprisingly, ice skating is a popular activity in the Tampa Bay area. The Tampa Bay Skating Academy in nearby Oldsmar has two NHL-sized ice surfaces. Other well-known rinks include Sunblades Center and the rink in Westfield Countryside Mall, both in Clearwater.
  • Lettuce Lake Park between I-75 and the University of South Florida has boardwalks that go through a nearly pristine area with 700 year old cypress trees, alligators, egrets and herons. One end of the boardwalk overlooks the Hillsborough River in its original state, a far cry from what it looks like in the downtown area.
  • Dade City's Wild Things, 37245 Meridia nave, 352-567-9453, [29]. Tue - Sa 9:00 - 5:00. A zoo with over 190 animals and private guides who facilitate animal encounters.  edit
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers playing at Raymond James Stadium off Dale Mabry Highway.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers playing at Raymond James Stadium off Dale Mabry Highway.
  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers are an American football team whose home field is Raymond James Stadium (off Dale Mabry a couple of miles north of I-275). Routinely near the top of the NFC South, they are the 2002 Super Bowl champions and the team which receives the most support in the Tampa Bay region (although the recent performance of the Rays has gotten much more support and attention). The season lasts from August(preseason)-January(postseason, if they qualify). Tickets start at $50.
  • Tampa Bay Lightning are an NHL(ice hockey) team who won the Stanley Cup in the 2003-2004 season. Their home is in the St.Pete Times Forum. Season includes 41 home games and lasts October-June. [30]
  • Tampa Bay Storm an Arena Football League team playing in the St.Pete Times Forum. They have won more Arena Bowl titles than any other team in the AFL. Season lasts March-June. [31]
  • Spring Training Baseball The New York Yankees train at George M. Steinbrenner Field during the month of March. However, tickets are usually sold out several weeks before a game. [32]
  • Tampa Yankees a minor league baseball team which plays its games at George M. Steinbrenner Field from April-September
  • Ace Golf/Pebble Creek Golf Club, 10550 Regents Park Drive, Phone: 813-973-3870, [33].
  • Babe Zaharias Golf Course, 11412 Forest Hills Drive, Phone: 813-631-4374, [34].
  • Boat Charters. [35] Find a fishing charter, sunset cruise or yacht charter to see Florida froma different point of view.
  • Bloomingdale Golfers Club, 4113 Great Golfers Place, Phone: 813-685-4105 (Fax: 813-654-1227), [36].
  • The Claw at USF, 13801 N 46th Street, Phone: 813-632-6893, Fax: 813-975-6695, [37].
  • Emerald Greens Golf Resort and Country Club, 13941 Clubhouse Drive, Toll-Free: (866) 974-7336, Phone: (813) 961-9400, Fax: (813) 961-9424, [38].
  • TPC Tampa Bay, 5300 W. Lutz Lake Fern Road, Phone: 813-949-0090 [39]


Union Electrician, Citigroup, Raymond James, Outback Steakhouse Corporate Office, Home Shopping Network, Tech Data.

  • International Plaza Mall Located near the airport, would be worthwhile if one is trying to spend a few hours. The usual stores are present, plus a collection of boutique shops in the outdoor area. Lots of food and drink options as well.
  • Westshore Plaza Mall Also near the airport, has a movie theater and shops.
  • Channelside Beside the cruise terminals in downtown, this shopping complex has a theater (including Imax screens) shops, food, and drinking places. Take the streetcar into Ybor City for more shopping and restaurants, the ride takes about 10 to 15 minutes.
  • University MallLocated near University of South Florida, has a movie theater, shops and food. Take the Heartline buses.
  • Citrus Park Town Center. In the Northwest part of the county. Another Westfield Shopping Town.  edit
  • Carmine's Restaurant, 1802 E 7th Ave, Ybor City neighborhood. Cuban, Spanish, and Italian.
  • Hugo's Spanish Restaurant, 931 S Howard Ave., (813) 251-2842. Slightly more expensive than La Teresita, but still a bargain in the pricey SoHo neighborhood. $10 will buy you a mountain of food at lunch time.
  • The Jerk Hut, 207 E Twiggs St., (813) 223-4473. and 1406 E Fowler Ave (813) 632-9551 Don't be put off by the name - "jerk" is a Jamaican term for slow-roasting meats. The Jerk Hut serves theirs with an addictive sweet red sauce. Also, curries and oxtail stew.
  • Mel's Hot Dogs, 4136 E Busch Blvd., (813) 985-8000. A tacky little restaurant near Busch Gardens. Good hot dogs and bizarre hot dog related memorabilia.
  • Mema's Alaskan Tacos, 1724 E 8th Ave, Ybor City. (813) 242-8226. "Alaskan" or not, the good fresh made tacos and tamales are a favorite with locals and visitors alike in the Ybor City neighborhood, right on the trolley car line.
  • New Soul Sandwich Shop, 518 N Willow Ave., (813) 251-3720. Definitely "off the beaten path." Great soul food in industrial neighborhood, just off Kennedy. Don't mind the ramshackle surroundings, as the proprietors and the regulars are quite friendly.
  • El Taconazo, 913 E Hillsborough Ave., (813) 232-5889. Known locally as the "Taco Bus." Simple and delicious Mexican food for very little money. The ceviche is a steal at only $5, but be forewarned: there's no air conditioning.
  • La Teresita, 3246 W Columbus Dr., (813) 879-4909. Inexpensive Cuban diner with good food and interesting characters. A true Tampa institution.
  • Westshore Pizza, 927 S Howard Ave., (813) 251-2020. Numerous other locations throughout Tampa Bay. A local chain with good, cheap eats including pizza and cheesesteaks.
  • Xtreme Juice Smoothies, 619 S. Dale Mabry Hwy.., (813) 879-6033. South Tampa's best smoothies. A local smoothie shop that offers Buy One Get One Free on Sundays.
  • Bahama Breeze, 3045 N. Rocky Point Drive E., Phone: (813) 289-7922.
  • Fuego, [40] 1721 West Brandon Blvd, Brandon (Just outside the Tampa city limits; Highway 60/Adamo Blvd becomes Brandon Blvd. at the line) Tel. (813) 413-8382. Brazilian. If you're a meat eater and looking for something a bit different, this is a treat. Waiters bring a wide variety of chicken, beef, pork, and sausages fresh cooked in various ways to your table to sample as much as you wish of.
  • T. C. Choy's Asian Bistro, 301 S Howard Ave., (813) 251-1191. Sushi and dim sum, along with other traditional Chinese fare.
  • Tampa Bay Brewing Company [41], 1600 E. 8th Avenue, Ybor City section of Tampa. Tel. 247-1422. Brew pub with a good food menu including shepard's pie and huge calzones in addition to more standard fare.
  • The NoHo Bistro [42] 1714 N Armenia Avenue, Tampa 33607, Tel. 813-514-0691. Local independent bistro located in the historic West Tampa district. Lunch and dinner service available. Menus change seasonally and weekly in the case of dinner. Classic European-style bistro fare with an eclectic American flare. Catering and private dining also available.
  • Bern's Steak House, 1208 S Howard Av. +1 813-251-2421, [43]. Considered to be the best steakhouse in America along with one of the largest wine lists as well
  • Cafe Don Jose, N. 56th St. A bit cheaper than the Columbia Restaurant, yet the quality seems to be much better.
  • The Columbia Restaurant, 2117 East 7th Avenue, Phone: (813) 248-4961, [44]. Spanish, a landmark in the Ybor City neighborhood since 1905.
  • Mise en Place, 442 W Kennedy Blvd., (813) 254-5373, [45].
  • The Palm, 205 Westshore Plaza Dr. +1 813-849-7256, [46].
  • The View at CK's, Atop the Marriott at Tampa International Airport, (813) 878-6500, [47]. A revolving gourmet restaurant right in the middle of the Tampa Airport.
  • Ybor City is a historic area of Tampa which now hosts the region's best known bar and nightclub district. In the 1980's it was reborn as an arts/bar district, but increased demand for rental space eventually crowded out the artists and independent, small-scale bars. Now chains and drunken hooligans predominate in the late hours; it can still be pleasant in the day and early evening before the late night rowdies come out.
    • Tampa Bay Brewing Company [48], 1600 E. 8th Avenue, Ybor City section of Tampa. Tel. 247-1422. Good variety of well made beers.
  • Gram's Place, 3109 North Ola Ave., 813-221-0596, [49]. Clean, Quiet, Restful MUSIC THEMED "Bed & Beat" Rooms and a simulated RAILROAD Station Depot and Sleeper Car, over-sized in ground Jacuzzi and BYOB Bar in courtyards.
  • Amerisuites Budget Hotel, [50]. Various locations, free Wifi access, breakfast and special offers.
  • Best Western All Suites Hotel Near USF Behind Busch Gardens, 3001 University Center Drive, +1 813 971-8930, Toll-free: +1 800 786-7446, Fax: +1 813 971-8935, [51].
  • Best Western Brandon Hotel & Conference Center, 9331 Adamo Drive, +1 813 621-5555, Toll-free: +1 877 287-6026, Fax: +1 813 699-1939, [52].
  • Best Western The Westshore Hotel, 1200 N West Shore Boulevard, +1 813 282-3636, Toll-free: +1 800 449-4343, Fax: +1 813 282-0055, [53].
  • Motel 6 Tampa Downtown, 333 E Fowler Avenue, +1 813 932-4948, Fax: +1 813 931-4577, [54].
  • Motel 6 Tampa East - Fairgrounds, 6510 US 301, +1 813 628-0888, Fax: +1 813 620-4899, [55].
  • Suburban Extended Stay Hotel Airport, 6902 W. Hillsborough Ave. , Tampa, FL 33634, +1 813 886-7799, Fax: +1 813 243-9833, [56].
  • Tampa Stadium (Hillsborough) Microtel Inn & Suites, 5405 North Church Ave., +1 813 739-2244, Fax: +1 813 739-2250, [57].
  • Courtyard Tampa Brandon, 10152 Palm River Road (Rt 60 & Falkenburg Road behind Circuit City), +1 813 661-9559, Fax: +1 813 661-4583, [58].
  • DoubleTree Guest Suites Tampa Bay Hotel, 3050 North Rocky Point Drive West, (813) 888-8800. [59].
  • Embassy Suites Hotel Tampa-USF Busch Gardens, 3705 Spectrum Blvd, (813) 875-1555, [60].
  • Embassy Suites Hotel Tampa Airport, 555 N. Westshore Blvd, (813) 977-7066, [61].
  • Holiday Inn Tampa Busch Gardens Hotel, 2701 E. Fowler Ave, (813) 971-4710. [62].
  • Mainsail Suites Hotel & Conference Center, 5108 Eisenhower Blvd, +1 813 243-2600, Fax: +1 813 243-2600, [63].
  • Tampa Airport Marriott, Tampa International Airport, +1 813 879-5151, Toll-free: +1 800 564-3440, Fax: +1 813 873-0945, [64].
  • Hilton Tampa Airport Westshore, 2225 North Lois Avenue, +1 813 877-6688, [65].
  • Emerald Greens Golf Resort and Country Club, 13941 Clubhouse Drive, Toll-Free: (866) 974-7336, Phone: (813) 961-9400, Fax: (813) 961-9424, [66].
  • Grand Hyatt Tampa Bay,[67] 2900 Bayport Drive., 35-acre resort-like hotel - set along a wildlife preserve on the upper shores of the bay
  • Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, 5223 N. Orient Rd., Tampa. + 1-813 627-7625.
  • Renaissance Tampa Hotel International Plaza, 4200 Jim Walter Blvd, [68], +1 813 877-9200. Located in the heart of Tampa's Westshore business district and walking distance from the International Plaza Mall.
  • Safety Harbor Resort, 105 North Bayshore Drive, Tampa. +1 888 237-8772,[69].
  • Tampa Marriott Waterside Hotel & Marina, 700 South Florida Ave, +1 813 221-4900, Toll-free: +1 888 268-1616, Fax: +1 813 204-6342, [70].
  • Tampa Marriott Westshore, 1001 N Westshore Boulevard, +1 813 287-2555, Toll-free: +1 800 564-3489, Fax: +1 813 289-5464, [71].
  • Westin Tampa Harbour Island Hotel, 725 South Harbour Island Boulevard, +1 813 229-5000. [72] .
  • Quorum Hotel Tampa, 700 North Westshore Boulevard, +1 813 289-8200, Toll-free 1 877 4QUORUM,[73]
  • Boba's Internet Cafe, 2764 University Sq. Dr.. Great internet cafe with Boba or (bubble) tea, try some!  edit

Stay safe

Be aware while in Suitcase City, the part of town surrounding Busch Gardens, USF and University Square Mall. It can be dangerous traveling toward Pasco countytoo. Hitchiking is also prevelent in this area, but do not stop!

  • Disney World in Orlando.
  • Gulf Beaches- Take State Route 60 West towards Clearwater and follow signs. 45 minutes to an hour drive
  • Sarasota About an hour south off of I-75. Home ot the John Ringling Museum (house, circus exhibit and art museum).
  • Crystal River Dive with manatees in a natural spring
Routes through Tampa
End  W noframe E  BrandonOrlando
AtlantaOcala  N noframe S  BradentonMiami
End at  N noframe S  ClearwaterSt.Petersburg
AtlantaBrooksville  N noframe S  BradentonMiami
Clearwater  W noframe E  BrandonVero Beach
This is a usable article. It has information for getting in as well as some complete entries for restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please plunge forward and help it grow!

1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

TAMPA, a city and the county seat of Hillsboro county, Florida, U.S.A., in the western part of the state, at the head of Hillsborough Bay (the E. branch of Tampa Bay), at the mouth of the Hillsborough river. Pop. (1880) 720; (1890) 5532; (1900) 1 5, 8 39, of whom 5085 were foreign-born and 4382 were negroes; (1910, U.S. census) 37,782. It is served by the Tampa Northern, the Atlantic Coast Line and the Seaboard Air Line railways, and by lines of steamers to the West Indies and to the Gulf and Atlantic ports of the United States. The larger vessels enter at Port Tampa (pop. in 1905, 1049), 9 m. from the city, on the W. side of the peninsula separating Hillsborough Bay from Old Tampa Bay, the W. branch of Tampa Bay. In order to reach water sufficiently deep for the steamers, the railway tracks have been carried by earth filling about seven-eighths of a mile into the bay. The United States government has greatly improved the harbour, and in 1899 adopted a project (modified in 1905) for constructing a channel 26 ft. deep and 300 ft. wide (500 ft. across the bar) from Port Tampa to the Gulf of Mexico; in July 1909 80 per cent. of this work had been completed. In1905-1908the channel of Hillsborough Bay was made 20 ft. deep at mean low water and 150 ft. wide from the lower bay to the mouth of Hillsborough river, with a turning basin at the inner end 450 ft. wide and 1050 ft. long. Tampa Bay has permanent sea-coast defences. Tampa is the principal gateway for trade and travel between the United States and the West Indies. Owing to its delightful climate and its attractive situation it has become a favourite health resort. Many visitors are attracted by the fishing (especially for tarpon) and shooting in the vicinity, water-fowl being plentiful in the Bay, and deer, quail and wild turkeys being found in the vicinity inland. There are large prehistoric shell-mounds at Indian Hill, about 20 m. S.E. Tampa is an important shipping point for naval stores and phosphate rock, for vegetables, citrus fruit and pineapples, raised in the vicinity, and for lumber, cattle and fuller's earth. The Florida Citrus Exchange has its headquarters here. After the Spanish-American War (1898)(1898) a large trade with the West Indies developed. Cattle and pine lumber are sent to Cuba, and Havana tobacco and fine grades of Cuban timber are imported. There is a large trade with Honduras also. The imports increased from $755,316 in 1897 and $490,093 in 1898 (an extremely unfavourable year owing to the SpanishAmerican War) to $4,179,464 in 1909; the exports from $820,792 in 1897 and $521,792 in 1898 to $1,344,786 in 1899 and $4,492,498 in 1909; a part of the custom-house clearings of Key West are actually shipped from Tampa. In 1905 the value of, the factory product was $11,264,123, an increase of 59 per cent. since 1900. The principal product is cigars; most of the tobacco used is imported from Cuba, and the manufacturing is done chiefly by Cubans who live in a district known as Ybor City. It is said that more clear Havana cigars are manufactured in Tampa than in Havana. Other manufactures are boilers, foundry products, lumber and fertilizers; and there are two shipyards.

Tampa Bay was the landing-place of the expeditions of the Spanish explorers, Pamfilo de Narvaez and Hernando de Soto. (See Florida.) In January 1824 the United States government established here a fort, Fort Brooke, which was an important base of supplies during the second Seminole War, and around it a settlement gradually developed. The fort was abandoned in 1860, and its site is now a public park. During the early part of the Civil War a small Confederate force was in possession, but in November 1862 it was driven out by United States gunboats. Tampa grew rapidly after the completion of the first railway thither in 1884, and in 1886 it was chartered as a city and became a port of entry. During the SpanishAmerican War United States troops were encamped in De Soto Park in Tampa, and Port Tampa was the point of embarkation for the United States army that invaded Cuba.

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Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary


Proper noun




  1. City in the state of Florida, located on Tampa Bay.

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