Restaurant in Tampa
Guides and Itineraries,  USA

Solo Traveling in Tampa: Must-See Destinations and Activities

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Heading to Tampa, Florida, on your own? That’s great! Tampa, with its sparkling waterfronts, cultural hotspots, and vibrant nightlife, is an urban explorer’s paradise that’s perfect for a personal rendezvous.

From world-class museums to secluded beach havens, here are the top spots to hit for an amazing solo vacation in Tampa.

Safety when traveling solo

Solo traveler in Tampa

Traveling solo means looking out for numero uno — you! Keep your wits about you, trust your gut, and take the usual precautions. Stick to well-lit areas at night, keep an eye on your belongings (yeah, those happy-hour cocktails might be sneaky!), and use common sense when interacting with new acquaintances.

Tampa’s warm, but caution is still king.

Things to Do in Tampa for a Solo Traveler

1. Sunset Cruises

Board a cruise in Tampa Bay and catch dazzling sunsets on the water while enjoying happy hour with a twist. Options range from large sightseeing yachts to intimate champagne catamarans. For something unique, sail on the American Victory Ship — a working WWII cargo vessel.

Many cruises feature live music, dancing, and all-you-can-eat buffets — not to mention an opportunity to make new friends and explore special-themed events and activities. Being out on the open ocean as the sun dips below the horizon makes for a truly unforgettable experience.

2. Downtown Tampa

Downtown Tampa
Downtown Tampa.

Downtown Tampa buzzes day and night with energy, making it a perfect base for solo exploration. You can stay at a stylish new boutique hotel like Ella’s Americana Folk Art Cafe, which is full of color and local character.

From there, you can get your urban fix wandering the Tampa Riverwalk, people-watching in Curtis Hixon Park, and weaving through world-class museums like the Tampa Museum of Art. When night falls, historic Ybor City transforms into a lively district full of bars, clubs, and drag shows with a vibrant LGBTQ scene.

3. Hyde Park Village

For upscale shopping, dining, and culture in a neighborhood vibe, visit walkable Hyde Park Village. Its cobblestone streets and bungalows hold high-end boutiques, cozy bakeries, and restaurants overlooking the water.

Catch a show at the Tampa Theatre or stroll around nearby Bayshore Boulevard, said to be the world’s longest continuous sidewalk overlooking the water. Cap off evenings relaxing on your balcony at the chic Epicurean Hotel with a glass of Champagne and a dessert from their award-winning pastry chef.

4. Historic Ybor City

Cigar presses in Ybor
Cigar presses in Ybor.

Step back in time in Tampa’s Heritage District, where Latin flair and old-world architecture offer a window into the city’s history as a major cigar hub. The Columbia Restaurant has been a fixture since 1905, and we highly recommend you make a reservation in their romantic Don Quixote room.

After, stroll down Seventh Avenue for a coffee and hand-rolled cigars at Tabanero Cigars. Then, embrace your solo freedom to socialize at Ybor’s many lounges and dance clubs into the night.

5. Bayshore Boulevard

Bayshore Boulevard runs along the waterfront for nearly five miles and is great for both recreation and incredible skyline views. Hit the wide pedestrian path for a scenic oceanfront stroll, or rent a bike to cover more distance.

Stop at any number of harborside restaurants for seafood with a waterfront vista, and in the evening, find a bench to take in a brilliant Tampa sunset. Nearby Ballast Point Park also offers serene green spaces and fountains by the bay.

6. Beach Communities

Clearwater Beach in Tampa
Clearwater Beach.

Just outside downtown Tampa are beach communities with nearly year-round sunshine and 35 miles of pristine beaches to revel in. For an artsy, relaxed vibe, stay at a boutique hotel in St. Pete Beach and spend days traversing white sand, grabbing sushi, or shopping along Beach Drive.

Those wanting seclusion can escape to Fort De Soto Park, with 7 miles of largely undeveloped shoreline and trails. End your evenings watching fiery sunsets at Clearwater Beach’s legendary Pier 60, where street performers and local vendors add to the vibrant atmosphere.

7. Busch Gardens

Busch Gardens Theme Park in Tampa

Get your adrenaline pumping at Busch Gardens Theme Park, home to Florida’s biggest rollercoasters. Ride Montu’s loops and spirals seven stories up or face off on Cobra’s Curse’s spinning cars. Experience walking through an African safari with giraffes, rhinos, zebras, and more on the park’s Serengeti Plain.

And cap off your days by taking in live shows, fireworks, and concerts at the Moroccan Palace. Special events like the Food & Wine Festival and Christmas Town also make for extra magic during your visit to Busch Gardens. With a variety of dining options and souvenir shops, there’s something for everyone to enjoy at this thrilling theme park.

8. Tampa Museum of Art

Tampa Museum of Art - one of the attractions in Tampa Florida
(Photo by Tampa Museum of Art)

When traveling solo to Tampa, don’t forget to drop by the Tampa Museum of Art for an afternoon of leisure. The museum has a diverse collection of artworks, ranging from Greek and Roman antiquities to modern and contemporary paintings, photography, sculpture, and new media.

But it’s not just the galleries that will captivate you — the museum also features a striking, angular architecture that stands out among other buildings in the area.

The museum is located downtown, just across the river, so you can take a nice, leisurely stroll afterwards.

9. Florida Aquarium

Florida Aquarium

For an immersive escape into the blue, check out the Florida Aquarium. Perfect for the solo tourist, the museum offers a self-guided tour across different exhibits, featuring marine life from Florida and around the world.

Marvel at marine habitats filled with corals and colorful fishes, sharks, sea turtles, and other interesting reef inhabitants. Feel the tickle of a sea star’s legs as it skitters across your palm, or the smooth skin of a jelly fish and a stingray.

The museum also holds occasional events, such as dolphin cruises, so make sure to check their schedule before you visit.

The Florida Aquarium doesn’t just show you the beauty of the ocean — it makes you feel a part of it, pulse beating in time with the waves. An absolute must-experience for anyone with a heart for adventure.

10. Golf Courses

With its subtropical climate and lush terrain, the Tampa Bay area is a golfer’s paradise with over 100 pristine courses to choose from. You’ve got the Historic Saddlebrook, which was designed by Arnold Palmer and offers a championship course set amidst cypress trees and crystal lakes.

For oceanside play, try the Innisbrook Copperhead course, home to the Valspar Championship. Of course, you can always treat yourself to new clubs or gear at the nearby World Woods Golf Shop to make the most of your trip.

11. State and National Parks

Some of Florida’s most magnificent and lesser-known wilderness parks lie just outside Tampa. Immerse yourself in primordial beauty at Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge, home to the largest concentration of endangered manatees, and you can actually kayak through mangroves and snorkel with these gentle giants.

Just north, Weeki Wachee Springs State Park lets you drift downriver past exotic birds, turtles, and lagoons, and it’s also where you can end evenings camping under a blanket of stars.

Dining and Nightlife

Restaurant in Tampa

For the best dining experiences, here are the classic go-to restaurants and bars in Tampa, Florida:

  • Columbia Restaurant: Indulge in Spanish and Cuban cuisine at this iconic Ybor City establishment, known for its historic ambiance and delicious paella.
  • Armature Works: Experience Tampa’s food scene at this historic warehouse turned food hall, offering a diverse array of culinary options, craft beer, and waterfront views.
  • Franklin Manor: Sip craft cocktails and enjoy live music at this stylish lounge located in downtown Tampa.
  • The Sail Pavilion: Relax with a drink at this waterfront bar located along the Tampa Riverwalk, offering views of the Hillsborough River and downtown skyline.

Whether you’re seeking vibrant cultural experiences, outdoor adventures, or simply basking in the warm Florida sun, Tampa has something for every solo traveler. With so much to see and experience on your own, this sunny Florida city makes for an unforgettable solo vacation.

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