Carrollwood is one of the more sophisticated, classy neighborhoods in Tampa. The streets are safer and cleaner than some of Tampa’s other areas and opportunities for shopping and recreation abound. Shopaholics love the close proximity of the Westfield Citrus Park, which includes stores like Godiva, Teavana, Abercrombie & Fitch, Banana Republic and Eddie Bauer, as well as restaurants like Johnny Rockets, Sarku Japan and Red Robin. There are also plenty of reputable retailers in the area like Target, Sam’s Club and The Fresh Market. If shopping isn’t your thing, you can relax and enjoy an afternoon in a park or golf course. Carrollwood is surrounded by golf courses. Babe Zaharias Golf Course, for example, is a five-minute drive to the east. The Carrollwood Village and Tennis Club is right in the hub of the Greater Carrollwood area.
This classy, upscale area of Tampa is a magnet for hipsters. Small, independently owned coffee shops and cafes are sprinkled throughout the area, as are bookstores, fitness clubs and frozen yogurt shops. The shopping in this area is almost comparable to that of Carrollwood. The University Mall, so named for its closeness to the University of South Florida, is only a 10-15 minute drive away and includes major stores like Macy’s, Sears and JC Penney. The Shops at Wiregrass, also a 10-minute drive, includes large retailers like Barnes & Noble, Aeropostale, Hot Topic and Sunglass Hut.
This historic neighborhood has much to offer lovers of history, nightlife and Cuban cigars. The Ybor City Museum State Park, Centennial Park and Don Vicente de Ybor Historic Inn offer a glimpse of life from the 1800s and into the 21st century. If you fancy yourself a ghost hunter, the Don Vincente is said to be haunted. Cigar aficionados can learn about how Ybor became the cigar-making capital of the world and even purchase different flavors of cigars. If nightlife is more your speed, clubs like The Castle and Club Prana are extremely popular with locals. A smattering of restaurants also gives some local flavor and flair to Ybor, including The Columbia, El Puerto and Bernini.
Related: Historic Walking Tour Of Tampa
One of the great things about the Downtown area is that you can either park and walk everywhere or you can purchase a trolley ticket and “park and ride.” Much of the downtown area is made up of high-rise buildings and corporate headquarters, but there are still things to do if you’re visiting. The Florida Aquarium, for example, is the most popular aquarium in the Tampa Bay area, and features thousands of species of plants, fish, birds and mammals, including river otters, alligators and sharks. Locals consider the Channelside strip a prime spot for dining and entertainment, with its IMAX movie theater, Splitsville bowling alley and many shops and restaurants.
Brandon is popular as a residential area, but that doesn’t mean it has nothing to offer in terms of entertainment and leisure. Westfield Shoppingtown Brandon is made up of stores like Papaya Clothing, American Eagle Outfitters, R U Game, Sephora and Skechers, not to mention restaurants such as Bahama Breeze, Ryuu Japanese Steakhouse and The Brass Tap. Brandon is also popular for nightlife destinations like The Dallas Bull, The Green Iguana and Taiga Lounge.