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Arts & Culture

Guide To A Long Weekend In Tampa Bay

June 21, 2014 8:00 AM

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If you’re vacationing in Tampa Bay, there is plenty to do and lots to see. Whether you are a Tampa native or an out-of-towner, Tampa holds dozens of cultural and culinary secrets that are just waiting to be discovered. Here’s a guide to some of Tampa’s can’t-miss attractions.
Where to Stay

The Tampa Bay area is chock full of beautiful hotels and resorts. Most of them are on the beach or are within walking distance of salty breezes and powder-white sands. If you’re not sure where to go, try Tradewinds.

Tradewinds Island Grand
5500 Gulf Blvd.
St. Pete Beach, FL 33706
(855) 360-4016
www.tradewindsresort.com

Tradewinds is nothing short of a vacationer’s paradise. This full-service resort offers easy access to the crystal waters of St. Pete Beach, an adults-only pool as well as a family pool, two hot tubs, a full-service spa and a variety of on-site restaurants. You can join a morning yoga class, get a hot stone massage or lie on the beach with your favorite book while your stress melts away.

Where to Dine

There is no shortage of local and international flavor in Tampa Bay. From Thai to Ethiopian to authentic Cuban cuisine, there is a dining experience to please any palate.

Queen of Sheba
3636 Henderson Blvd.
Tampa, FL 33609
(813) 872-6000
www.ethiopianrestauranttampa.com

If you’re bored with the same old burgers and fries and simply can’t look at yet another pepperoni pizza, give Ethiopian food a try. This flagrant, flavorful cuisine typically comes with three main staples: a spice mixture called berbere, a spiced butter called niter kibbeh and flat, sour-tasting bread called injera that accompanies each and every dish. Adventuresome people and the young at heart will love Ethiopian food just because it’s so fun. You get to ditch the silverware and dive in with your fingers and a piece of injera. You can even take some of Sheba home with you and browse the shop for jewelry, coffee and Ethiopian spice mixtures.

Whiskey Joe’s
7720 W. Courtney Campbell Causeway
Tampa, FL 33607
(813) 281-0770
www.whiskeyjoestampa.com

Florida is famous for its seafood and nowhere else can you get fresh seafood like you can in Tampa Bay. Whiskey Joe’s is the perfect place to relax and enjoy Florida’s seafood selection. There is a barefoot bar where you can literally kick off your shoes, a drive-up boat dock, a full bar and even live entertainment and cornhole boards. The seafood dishes include comfort food favorites like fish and chips as well as more sophisticated dishes like blackened grouper.

Related: Best Weekend Getaways In The Tampa Bay Area

Where to Visit

The Tampa Bay area has numerous attractions that include everything from art, science and history museums to night clubs and concert halls. You can ride the roller coasters at Busch Gardens during the day and take in a jazz concert at night. For some great experiences you just won’t find anywhere else, check out the Salvador Dali Museum or the Sunken Gardens.

Salvador Dali Museum
1 Dali Blvd.
St. Petersburg, FL 33701
(727) 823-3767
www.thedali.org

The Salvador Dali Museum holds the largest collection of original Dali artwork in the United States. Even if you have only a passing interest in art, the museum is still something to behold — the architecture alone is simply stunning. To get the most out of the museum, be sure to read the wall plaques to find out about Dali’s hidden secrets in his paintings.

Sunken Gardens
1825 4th St. N.
St. Petersburg, FL 33704
(727) 551-3102
www.stpete.org/sunken

The Sunken Gardens are an incredible natural wonder. This 100-year-old living museum is home to some of the oldest tropical plants in the region and contains over 50,000 tropical plants and flowers. You can take a fitness class such as yoga, hoop dancing or Hot Hula Fitness, or simply take a leisurely stroll through the gardens to enjoy this earthly Garden of Eden.

Related: Best Day Trips For Under $100 In The Tampa Bay Area

Amanda Mole has been writing since she was old enough to hold a pencil and cooking since she was tall enough to reach the stove. She believes that food provides more than just vital nutrients: it is an irreplaceable part of countless cultural and social activities. As a Tampa Bay resident for the past 21 years, she is well acquainted with the incredibly diverse range of restaurants, bars, and food festivals that the area has to offer. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.
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