The Tampa Bay region is most well known for its’ beautiful Gulf Coast beaches, world class theme parks, 3 major pro sports teams, and hot, humid weather which includes plenty of intense thunderstorms (daily storms are common during the summer season!). Although Tampa often gets passed over in favor of theme park capital of the world Orlando, the diverse range of activities & close proximity to top rated beaches actually make Tampa a pretty nice vacation destination in and of itself as the area. After visiting Tampa just once, you will find that the area offers a never ending supply of activities & attractions, in addition its’ world famous beaches and theme parks.
The Tampa Bay region is loaded with endless recreational trails, gorgeous nature preserves, top knotch cultural attractions & museums, fantastic local restaurants & breweries, amazing coffee shops, diverse waterfront activities, and so much more. Here are 19 fun facts (you may not have know) about the Tampa Bay area!
1. Tampa is home to the world’s longest continuous sidewalk
Bayshore Blvd in downtown Tampa, at 4.5 miles long, earns the title of “the world’s longest continuous sidewalk.” This gorgeous recreational path, which is used by cyclists, joggers, and walkers alike, is lined with palm trees and features never ending views of the bay. Beautiful views of the Tampa skyline, unending palm trees, and historic mansions lining the street give your eyes even more to look at. To add to the excitement, dolphin and manatee sightings are a common occurrence (early morning is your best bet)! Bayshore Blvd. is a picturesque place for any type of workout, and if you want to challenge yourself even further, you can test out your strength & agility on the fitness stations located along the course. It’s a must do for any fitness enthusiast!
2. Tampa’s temperature has never exceeded 99 degrees
Despite the area’s widely recognized heat and humidity and seemingly endless days of oppressive heat, the temperature has actually never reached 100 degrees! The record is actually 99 degrees, although that is not to say that the temp feels well over 100 with the heat index on an almost constant basis during the brutal summer season. On the other hand, the record high in nearby St. Pete Beach reached 102 degrees back in 1997.
3. Tampa is home to Florida’s oldest restaurant (as well as the world’s largest Spanish restaurant)
The amazing Columbia restaurant (Ybor City location) is Florida’s oldest restaurant & the world’s largest Spanish restaurant. The Ybor City location in Tampa opened in 1905, and 110 years later 4th and 5th generation members of the the Hernandez/Gonzmart still own the restaurant. On an interesting side note, Columbia was Florida’s first air conditioned restaurant! Despite opening several other locations, the Ybor City is the place to visit as this location features a lively nightly Flamenco dance show (every day except Sunday). The restaurant is widely regarded as offering some of the best Spanish and Cuban cuisine in the country. After trying it out on several occasions, I can attest that this is true! You cannot leave without trying the Cuban Black Beans!
4. Ybor City is one of the most haunted places in the world
Ybor City, a historic downtown Tampa neighborhood founded in the late 1800’s by cigar manufacturers and known for its’ cigar factories, is known as the “cigar capital of the world,” and thus, has been given the nickname of “Cigar City.” It is recognized as a National Historic Landmark District, and is home to the highly regarded Columbia Restaurant. Asides from its’ cigar making past, the area has a long history of strange paranormal happenings and is considered to be one of the most haunted towns in America.
Tampa was once referred to as the “damnedest town this side of Hell.’ Not surprisingly, the area offers a number of ghost tours, including one that is frequently rated amongst the best in the country. Ybor’s Cuban Club was voted “One of the Top 10 Most Haunted Places in the U.S.” by the Travel Channel. A tour is must anytime of the year, and of course, even more fun around Halloween!