A bustling city located on Florida’s Gulf Coast, the undisputed heart and soul of the Tampa Bay Area, Tampa is a major business center, cultural melting pot, and world famous tourist destination. Tampa’s economy is primarily driven by tourism, healthcare, finance, insurance, technology development, commercial construction, and the maritime industry. Tampa is home to over 384,000 residents, making it the third-most populous city in the state and the 52nd largest city in the country.
Given its strategic location in Tampa Bay, the region was first utilized as a military center during the 19th century. The cigar industry followed soon after, and Tampa was officially incorporated as a city in 1887. Once the military presence in the city receded after the end of the Civil War, Tampa became a major port town, an economic trend that continues today. Tampa’s port is the largest in Florida, responsible for over $15 billion in local economic impact.
To bolster its growing economy with new talent, Tampa also has several top-rated schools. These help young locals and incoming residents alike receive a quality education. Schools include Plant High School, Steinbrenner High School, Brooks DeBartolo Collegiate High School, and Bryant Elementary School.
Given its prominence as a major tourist destination, there is no shortage of local attractions and weekly events to entertain residents and visitors alike. Busch Gardens, an Africa-themed amusement park, offers a diverse range of activities from thrilling amusement park rides to exotic animal-viewing areas. For those who want to skip the rides and enjoy seeing animals from all over the planet, ZooTampa at Lowry Park is an excellent choice. Tampa is also known for its summer camps, a favorite for local children and visiting families.
Tampa is also a major center for professional sports teams, with more professional sports teams and stadiums in this city than any other Florida city except Miami. Tampa Bay hosts:
- The NHL’s Tampa Bay Lightning and AFL Tampa Bay Strong, at the Amalie Arena
- The MLB’s New York Yankees Spring Games at the Steinbrenner Field
- The NFL’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers at the Raymond James Stadium
- The USF Bulls at the Florida Sun Dome
- The MLB’s Tampa Bay Rays at the Tropicana Field
- The USL’s Tampa Bay Rowdies at the Al Lang Stadium
Tampa is also home to a variety of professional golf courses, many of which can be found at the city’s exclusive country clubs like the Tampa Bay Golf and Country Club. Other popular golf courses include the Rocky Point Golf Course, TPC of Tampa Bay, and the Cheval Golf & Country Club. The city also has yacht clubs (the most well-known being the Tampa Yacht and Country Club) and several local marinas, affording residents easy access to water activities.
One of the most popular regions of Tampa is historic Ybor City, a neighborhood that Cuban and Spanish cigar-factory workers developed in the early-1900s. This district still features turn-of-the-century buildings and restored cigar factories, several of which are now popular dining and nightlife destinations.
From Ben T. Davis Beach to the New Tampa Recreational Center, Tampa hosts a wide range of outdoor activities, parks, rec centers, and nature preserves. The city’s Parks and Recreation Department maintains an updated roster of local parks with contact information and addresses for each city-managed nature area.
Tampa has the fullest event schedule of any city on the Gulf Coast, a roster rich in diverse happenings. The city’s designated tourism website hosts an interactive event calendar, complete with an option to sign up for regular updates on upcoming activities.
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IMPORTANT LINKS AND RESOURCES:
City of Tampa: