Tampa is home to Bayshore Boulevard – at over 7 kilometres long, it’s the world’s longest continuous sidewalk!”
Ever wondered what the secret is to having the most enjoyable trip possible? Welcome to my “Be Invisible” series – your ultimate guide for how to not look like a tourist on your next adventure and guaranteed to boost your entire travel experience.
Bursting with helpful tips and tricks, I’ve asked locals from particular cities around the world to share their insider knowledge on the best ways travellers can become “invisible” when visiting their city and enjoy it like a local. If you’re ready to challenge travel stereotypes, overcome language barriers and embrace what I like to call invisible tourism, you’ve come to the right place!
This local’s guide for how to NOT look like a tourist in Tampa was written by Jamie from Crashed Culture. I am yet to visit this sunny Florida city, so I am very excited to share her top 9 tips for how to best blend in with Tampanians so you can make the most of your time and experience the city like a local, written by a local!
Here’s How to NOT Look Like a Tourist in Tampa, Florida
Tampa is special in a lot of ways, one of them being that it’s a fairly well-populated city, but it’s not nearly as big and touristy as Orlando, which is just an hour away. So, while looking like a tourist in Orlando is almost expected, it’s a little weird here, so one should always try their best to fit in.
Wear flip flops
If you didn’t already know, flip flops are pretty couture in Florida as a whole. Going to the beach? Flip flops. Getting groceries? Flip flops. Concert? Flip flops. Is it 50 degrees out? Flips flops. Flips flops are the shoes for every occasion, so don’t be afraid to let your toes roam free! If you’re wandering around the Downtown or hipster districts, you can dress them up a bit, but your $2 rubber shoes will work just fine otherwise!
Eat a Cuban
Tampa has a really great Cuban population. If you head to Ybor, you can learn all about the city’s Cuban history, smoke a cigar, and get some salsa dancing in. But, whether you’re in Ybor or in some other Tampa area, Cuban sandwiches are where it’s at. And they’re really good, too! There’s a million and a half authentic Cuban restaurants where you can get one cheap, or you can go to some of the fancier local restaurants for more luxurious Cuban experience.
Stroll Bayshore Boulevard
Want to talk about money? Visit Bayshore and you can take a nice walk down the street of all the fanciest homes in town. Bayshore is also right on the water, so you get a beautiful view of the area. This is a popular place for locals to get in a jog or a bike ride, so you’ll see plenty of workouts, kids, and dogs. There are even a few workout stations along the way in case you want to burn a few extra calories!
Visit the Tampa sign
If you don’t have a picture in front of the Tampa sign, did you really go to Tampa? Probably not. Downtown Tampa is home to a beautiful mural of the city’s name, where most of us have stopped, looked at the wall, and thought “huh, it says Tampa on it!”. It’s a cute little piece of Tampanian charm that really shouldn’t be missed since you’re probably already downtown.
Catch a Lightning game
In addition to our football, Tampa locals love our hockey. While hockey generally doesn’t have the fan base that football does, any Tampa hockey fan you ask will tell you about the Lightning. So, if you’re in town and can catch a game, do it. If you can’t, be sure to grab yourself a jersey and wear their name on your back.
Coming back to Downtown Tampa, one should always experience Riverwalk. It’s been recently expanded to cover almost 2 miles of water, lights, and people watching. For your convenience, you can find a few bike rentals if you want some wind in your hair. Like Bayshore, Riverwalk is a great place to take in some atmosphere and stretch your legs.
Wear a USF or Bucs shirt
Tampa is really proud of two things in particular: our university and our football team. Many of us attend or have attended USF, so paraphernalia from the school is not unusual. The same goes for the Bucs – lots of people love their football, and it’s kind of a big deal here.
We’ve got a great big stadium right in the middle of a busy street, and billboards advertise their games regularly. That being said, don a shirt celebrating the team and you’ll be in good company.
Go to Busch Gardens
This one is self-explanatory, and also not as touristy as one might think. Busch Gardens is popular with the locals, but it’s not as big of a deal as Disney, so it doesn’t attract nearly as much attention as the Orlando attraction. Plus, tourists who visit Disney might very well not have a car to take the trip over to Tampa.
Locals very commonly have annual passes to the park, so expect them to be there. It is worth noting that you won’t see Busch Gardens shirts or hats like you see from Disney, so don’t get too hyped! Busch Gardens for Tampa locals is just a fun place to spend an afternoon.
Go to Publix
Last but absolutely not least, out-of-towners need to visit our regional grocery store, Publix, even if to only try a Pub sub. We honestly don’t have much gastronomical culture outside of what was brought to us from other countries, but we can claim fame to our subs, and you’d be surprised how excited we can get about them. They’re available made to order from any Publix location, to be found all over the place around Tampa Bay, you can’t miss it.
Jamie is a 20-something living in Tampa, Florida obsessed with language, culture, and all things travel. She spends her time honing her language learning skills and inspiring others to do the same, especially with her Spanish accountability Facebook group. You can also follow her on Instagram.
Ready to be invisible in Tampa?
Now you’ve discovered the best secrets for how to avoid looking like a tourist in Tampa, perhaps you’re ready to make the trip! Why not find out more about the city or compare hotel prices here?
Do you have any extra tips to add to this list? Let me know in the comments below!
I hope you enjoyed this instalment of my Be Invisible series! If you found this helpful, please share it or follow me on Facebook, Pinterest or Instagram for more!
Until next time,
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