If you want nightlife, then Tampa’s historic Centro Ybor is the place to be.
The Buccaneers team aren’t the only great thing about Tampa Bay. From dawn until dusk, this south central Florida city has the best to offer from great food, shopping sights and nightlife.
Since Mami always said that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, the first stop is La Pelota Bakery and Cafe, located on West Waters Ave. Here hungry patrons can find the best in authentic Cuban and Spanish breakfast for cheap. After a steamy cafecito, you’ll be ready to go.
One of the biggest attractions that T-Town is known for is Busch Gardens Amusement Park. Highlights include the Montu and the Kumba roller coasters. The park’s newest attraction is a 4-D movie experience caleed ”R.L. Stine’s Haunted Lighthouse.”During the summer the park is open for a ”Summer Nights” series where you can enjoy the park at night complete with shows, live music and attractions.
If coasters aren’t your thing, there are plenty of others things to do in Tampa. If you’re up to driving over the bridge, you will find the St. Pete Pier located on some of Florida’s most beautiful stretch of beaches. The center has five stories of shopping, food and fun for people of all ages. If you want to fish, you can rent poles and fish right off the Pier.Or see fish up close and personal at the Pier Aquarium, which houses Caribbean coral reef and fish right out of the bay. You can even go aboard the Dolphin Queen to see dolphin playin in the bay. Depending on what day you go, you can catch the Pier’s series called the Sunset Dance that features live bands at dusk.
St. Petersburg is the home of the Salvador Dali Museum. The museum features exhibits like The Essential Dali and fruits and flowers showcasing some of Dali’s best work from the 193os. The museum even has a children’s series called ”Breafast with Dali,” a tour and breakfast specifically for kids between ages fives and 10. The museum features artwork from 1917 through 1970 and has a gift shop for shirts, posters and other items.
Heading back across the bridge will take you to some of the best food and shopping. The International Plaza Mall, built in 2001, has one of the largest selections of specialty stores in florida. It also has hot spots for locals like Blue Martini’s and the Cheesecake Factory. Other places to eat include Taino’s Cafe, a cafeteria-style cafe specializing in comida puerto riquena, and AlGusto Tortilla and Salsa on Kennedy, which features a salsa bar homemade salsas ranging in intensity from fiery-hot to mild.
However, the best place to go for authentic Latin cuisine is La Teresita on Columbus Drive. Any true Tampa resident will tell you that this is THE place for the best Cuban food around. The restaurant features a lunch counter and dining room called Capdevila’s at La Teresita. The waiters wear black bow ties and heap on generous potions with a smile.
The lunch specials are the best I’ve seen. I recommend the arroz con pollo, platanos maduros, frijoles negros, and a tender palomilla steak.
If you want nightlife, then Tampa’s historic Centro Ybor is the place to be. The city is home of the annual halloween festival, Gauvaween, and Mardi Gras-inspired Gasparilla celebration.
The town pays tribute to cigar man Don Martinez Ybor who made this city one of the cigar capitals of the world. The center even has a museum that pays tribute to the tabaqueros, the name for the Cuban, Italian and Spanish folks who hand rolled cigars here.
On Fridays and Saturdays, the roads are closed off, and the night comes alive with 40,000 people.
You can find rock, blues, reggae, latin, punk, salsa, jazz, even Tejabo in Ybor. If you want more upscale nightlife, you may want to hit up Chanelside, where the yachts dock and the dress code is stricter. But if you really want to dance, nothing beats Club Fuel’s reggaeton nights and La Cueva for Miami-style salsa and merengue.
Ashley Cisneros is a co-founder of Chatter Buzz Media, an Orlando Internet marketing firm that helps companies and organizations engage with their target markets through inbound marketing via the Internet. Chatter Buzz Media, which won the Social Madness competition for the Orlando small business market, is a full-service digital marketing firm specializing in website design, search engine optimization (SEO), social media marketing and content creation. Prior to founding Chatter Buzz, Ashley worked as a newspaper reporter, magazine editor, technical writer, marketing manager, public relations practitioner and freelance journalist. To see Ashley’s content writing, visit www.ashleycisneros.com. You can also reach Ashley on her Google profile.