EXPANDING YOUR REGIONAL PERSPECTIVE

July 2, 2021


City on the Bay Part 2: Taking in the Nightlife

In this second installment of our guide on urban living in Downtown Tampa, we explore some night time activities for the city’s residents.

Whether you’re a sports fan or not, getting tickets to a Tampa Bay Lightning game at Amalie Arena is sure to be an electrifying experience. As one of the NHL’s top teams, and winners of the 19-20 Stanley Cup, the Bolts are a delight to watch on the ice. Amalie itself also hosts basketball games, currently finding itself the temporary home of the Toronto Raptors, concerts, and other events. There’s something here to do nearly every night of the week, and it’s always a spectacle.

If the theatre calls to you more than rinkside seating, the Straz Center for the Performing Arts is an excellent option. They stage performances by local players, and also travelling productions of big name musical or theatrical numbers. Music concerts are hosted here as well, and everything from small indie bands to full orchestras perform on this venerable stage. The more cinematically inclined may find themselves drawn instead to the Tampa Theatre. This historic theatre has remained largely unchanged since its construction in 1926, and has a regular schedule of new and classic films on display. In addition, the beautiful historical building plays host to small theatre events, live concerts, guest speakers, and all manner of events. It’s a slice of old world luxury in the heart of a rapidly modernizing city, and a perfect place to escape for an evening out.

For those of us more inclined to a dance floor thumping with bass and a delicious cocktail with more ingredients that you can remember, downtown Tampa has plenty of options for you here as well. Situated just northeast of downtown proper is Ybor City, and while the historic district offers a glimpse into the history of this city, the heart of this area is packed with nightclubs, bars, and small venues for local bands. The flashing lights and pulsing beats continue into the wee hours of the morning, and there are enough options here to satisfy even the most capricious bar hoppers. If you prefer your drinks in a slightly more sedate setting, Sparksman’s Wharf in Channelside might be your speed. Centered around a Beirgarten and a large lawn that looks out on the bay, you can enjoy a variety of beverages from the several vendors. Or sample the various offerings from food stands around the area. It also butts up to Channelside proper, and is only a short walk away from a bowling alley, and several sit down restaurants.

The food stands of Sparksman’s Wharf are a microcosm of Tampa’s larger food scene. Local restaurateurs have poured their hearts into creating a thriving culinary culture in the Tampa Bay area. Whether it’s a quick slice of pizza from Eddie and Sam’s N.Y. Pizza to the hallowed halls of Bern’s Steakhouse not far away, there exists a plethora of options as long as one is willing to look for them. In downtown proper, one can find a humble taco shop located right across the street from a high class Italian eatery and expect a delicious meal from either one. It’s less about finding a place that has what you want, and more a task of picking the best option for the evening.

Now there’s plenty of things to do during the day and at night in Tampa, but some of these activities may be more in the realm of adult fun. In the next part of this series, we’ll explore some options that are fun for the whole family to enjoy together.

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