Oh how I want to really like this city on the Bay. I love the idea of it. Great weather. Smaller city. Clean. Cool football uniforms. World Series baseball team. But I have been here twice in less than a month now, and the thing about Tampa is that it is like Charlotte. It closes at 5pm and there is very little to do downtown besides park your car.
A familiar scene around Tampa
View from my hotel room
I have made no bones about the fact that I prefer a city with personality. Some cities don’t offer this. Some cities are just there for commerce and business. Some cities have moved to the suburbs and that is where the real living occurs. And that seems to be the case here in Tampa.
A clock from India?
The JFK Memorial
On this trip, I am staying downtown on the waterfront near the new hockey arena . Down here they have built a new section of town called “Channelside”, with lots of restaurants, some shops and an aquarium. It’s all very nice and shiny and there are trolleys that will take you to various parts of the city.
Channelside is a hotbed of activity!
Mr. Rogers Trolley?
I was told that I should visit the Ybor City area to find entertainment. I never made it that far unfortunately (maybe next time!). Instead I walked around downtown and saw very little other than skyscrapers, parking garages & odd little pieces of sculpture that was placed around town. Some of it was kinda creepy…
Faceless tightrope walker guy…
Faceless bent-over backwards guy…
Trash robot guy…
There were a few restaurants scattered around though. A Cuban restuarant & an Italian place looked nice. There was a coffee shop that was open offering “Tampa’s BEST coffee!”. And there was a cool looking theater, simply called Tampa Theatre, that was showing foreign films with a grand marquee and old-time decor. But other than those businesses and a couple of bland parks, I really couldn’t find much to do. Most businesses were closed and dark at 5pm on Friday.
I won’t bad mouth Tampa simply because I don’t believe I really got a good look at it. I want to visit this Ybor City and hang out in St. Petersburg (which is the hotspot in this region apparently) before I give it a failing grade. For now, I’ll say it’s not my favorite city to be stuck downtown in without a car…and leave it at that.