Kick back and relax in the heart of the Sunshine State
A beachside paradise of sun, sea and sand, Tampa is as energetic as it’s enchanting. The long list of its attractions starts with pristine beaches and blue seas, but also includes stylish restaurants, outstanding museums, and dynamic nightlife. Looking for top-quality entertainment? Tampa has it all from major league baseball to live music and microbreweries. In need of a little retail therapy? Tampa has that too, with a clutch of glittering malls, boutique shops and sidewalk cafes.
If you've come ready to live it up, you probably want to know where to stay in Tampa for nightlife. All of Stay Alfred's travel apartments are located in the center of the buzzing entertainment district, so you're never far from a drink, a concert, or a good time. A generous living area and modern kitchen give you enough space to invite your new friends over for dinner, and with tons of great amenities like a swimming pool and fire pit, staying in is as valid an option as heading out.
Bring your best party clothes and get ready for exploring independent microbreweries, sampling cocktails in swanky bars, and dancing barefoot at beachfront clubs. Tampa's ready for you. Are you ready for Tampa?
The coolest place on the Gulf coast
Let's start with the obvious – Tampa has some of the best beaches in the country. Choose from family-friendly spots like Archibald Beach Park, which is conveniently close to an array of shops and restaurants, or the blissfully remote Caladesi Island State Park, an undeveloped island that's beloved of hikers and bird-watchers. Or there's laid-back Clearwater Beach, a seemingly endless stretch of soft white sand that draws active visitors for jet-skiing, parasailing and paddleboarding.
This city was designed with families in mind, and there's no shortage of stuff to keep the kids occupied. You could easily spend the whole day at Busch Gardens and still not see everything at this theme park, zoo and entertainment venue all rolled into one. Older kids will be thrilled with the dramatic roller coasters that dive 200 feet, while younger kids will want to splash about on the log flume ride, and the whole family will fall in love with the cute penguins and meerkats. No, you can't take one home! If the kids never tire of rides, there's also Adventure Islands, 30 acres of pools, splash areas and water slides where you can race down rapids or relax all day in a private cabana.
Just because you're in the city doesn't mean you can't see astonishing wildlife. The Manatee Viewing Center, a 30-minute drive out of town, is a protected marine reserve where manatees flock to bathe in the warm shallows. For the best views, climb the 50-foot observation tower, where you can see all the way across the estuary and back towards the city. Animal lovers of all ages will enjoy Tampa's Big Cat Rescue, an animal sanctuary that has been rescuing and housing exotic cats for more than 25 years. There are 100 big cats housed at this 45-acre site, including jaguars, leopards, lions, tigers and cougars. Hop on a guided tour to see the cats at play and learn about the rescue work done by the center, or join them for dinner during the special night tour that includes feeding sessions. If you're more interested in native wildlife, Weedon Island Preserve is a favorite of local birdwatchers and boasts vultures, spoonbills and pelicans as well as miles of hiking and kayaking trails.
You can't miss the historic neighborhood of Ybor City, known for its boutique and vintage shops, international cuisine and award-winning breweries. Grab lunch at one of the authentic Cuban eateries found on every corner, then pay a visit to Ybor City Museum for a fascinating glimpse into the area's unique cultural heritage. Exhibits focus on the immigrant groups who settled in the city and the area's renowned cigar industry, including a recreated cigar worker's home, or “casita.” Take a stroll around the shady streets to admire the picturesque architecture, and don't forget to grab a photo of the wild chickens that roam the streets of Ybor City, descendants of the ones that lived in Ybor's backyards a hundred years ago.
Bars, beaches and blue skies
Downtown Tampa has been transformed in recent years from a run-of-the-mill business district to the hippest place to hang out. The renaissance is especially noticeable in the city's nightlife, which has been boosted by brand new microbreweries, craft cocktail bars and vintage gin joints. The city's music scene has a long and celebrated history; Ray Charles wrote his first song here, and Ella Fitzgerald kicked off her career in Tampa. These days the Tampa Riverwalk hums to the beat of jazz, rock, hip-hop and every kind of music you can imagine. Let your hair down at the swarming nightclubs or party till dawn at the waterfront. If you're asking yourself, 'where should I stay in Tampa?', downtown is the only choice.
Tampa's center is a hotbed of arts and culture. An astonishing array of attractions includes the Tampa Museum of Art, an innovative museum that has a remarkable collection of ancient Greek and Roman art objects as well as extraordinary contemporary pieces. Its unmissable masterpiece is Leo Villareal’s Sky, a 14,000-square-foot LED installation on the south side of the museum. Slightly less showy but just as impressive is the Florida Museum of Photographic Arts and its ever-changing exhibitions of historic and contemporary photography by famous international photographers. Round out your artsy outing with a visit to the Straz Center for the Performing Arts, which has everything from rock concerts and classical music to lavish Broadway shows. Grab dinner beforehand at Maestro’s Restaurant in the center, which features an event-themed menu and a full bar.
Tampa is justifiably proud of its maritime history, which you can experience on the American Victory Ship. The SS American Victory is a fully-operational WWII ship, one of only four in the US, and visitors can explore the fully-restored hospital, galley, flying bridge and radio rooms full of rare artifacts and exciting exhibits. You can go even further back in time at the Tampa Bay History Center, whose cutting-edge interactive exhibits start from the first native inhabitants and tell the exciting stories of Spanish conquistadors, pioneering cattle ranchers, and piracy on the high seas.
You can't come to Tampa without visiting downtown's main attraction, the Florida Aquarium. This 250,000-square-foot aquarium gets you right up close to the critters, letting you pick up sea stars and stick your hand right in the stingray tank. There are incredible interactive programs like Dive with the Sharks, or you can take a trip out on a catamaran on their Wild Dolphin Tour. For a really special experience, sign up for Penguins: Backstage Pass and get nose to beak with these extraordinary birds.
Meet Stay Alfred on Franklin Street
If you've fallen for downtown's upbeat vibe, we've got the ideal home base. Stay Alfred on Franklin Street is fitted out in style with stainless steel appliances, quartz countertops and floor-to-ceiling windows. We know how important it is to have all the comforts of home even on vacation, which is why there's a dishwasher, washer and dryer in each apartment, along with the all-important coffee machine so you can start your morning with the perfect cup of joe.
Take full advantage of Tampa's sensational weather year-round with outdoor cabanas, a bocce court, and a fire pit on the 8th floor, where you can unwind, socialize and take in stunning city views. On the rare days it rains in Tampa, there's also a spacious lounge and clubroom with a pool table. And there's no need to skip leg day when Stay Alfred on Franklin Street has a state-of-the-art fitness center and heated pool for you to enjoy.
Business travelers will love the ground-floor business center and free high-speed WiFi throughout the apartment, so you have space and quiet to prepare for a meeting or tackle your inbox. Traveling with the family? Stay Alfred on Franklin Street has acres of space, walk-in closets and a queen-size sleeper sofa, plus a smart TV with free cable to keep the kids entertained.
If you can drag yourself away from your cozy apartment, the surrounding area has just as much to offer. Grab breakfast at The Portico Cafe, and not only do you get tasty eggs and bacon and great coffee, but every purchase helps the homeless in Tampa. For dinner, locals in Tampa flock to Anise Global Gastrobar, a swanky eatery featuring a global menu of seasonally-inspired fare and a series of handcrafted cocktails developed each week by the bar team.
We think you'll love both the innovative cooking and eclectic wine list at Bizou Brasserie, which serves American classics with a French-Creole twist in the atmospheric setting of Tampa's former courthouse. And no-one can say no to the churros and fried ice-cream at Urban Cantina, where the tacos are hot but the drinks are cold.
Franklin Street is undeniably the best area to stay in Tampa for nightlife. Right next door to your apartment is Franklin Manor, a trendy spot that has a premium beer selection and a roomy patio, perfect for chilling on balmy Florida evenings. Or kick-start your nightly entertainment in style at The Hub Bar, an iconic vintage bar that serves strong cocktails, has an acclaimed jukebox, and plays host to some of the best live music in town.
Only a five-minute walk away from Stay Alfred on Franklin Street, the Tampa Theater's eclectic program has everything from movies to plays and concerts to comedy nights, all in a lavish historic building from the golden age of film. Don't miss the magnificent Wurlitzer organ, installed in 1926 to accompany silent films, which is still played before screenings.
Whether you're staying with us for business or pleasure, to see Tampa's amazing wildlife or dance all night in its vibrant clubs, book one of Stay Alfred's magnificent apartments and you can relax in the lap of luxury. Pack your sunglasses and swimsuit and get ready for an adventure. We know you're going to love Tampa just as much as we do.