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In the heart of Florida's Gulf Coast, the city of Tampa is a destination that seems devoted to fun and leisure. With long sandy beaches, waterways and adrenaline-inducing theme parks, there's plenty to do. It's an eclectic place, where modern skyscrapers are built not far from 120-year-old homes and historic sites like Centro Asturiano. Wander alongside the calm bay and unwind in neighbourhoods with lively bars infused with Cuban culture.
Many hostels in Tampa offer travellers something a little quirky, like a hostel that has a musical theme with instruments (including a piano) ready for jam sessions on the outdoor deck. You'll find handy extras such as air con and free Wi-Fi, as well as free breakfast and a BYOB bar. For something extra special, look out for a Tampa hostel with its own hot tub.
Each of Tampa's neighbourhoods offers something different. The historic districts of Hyde Park and SoHo have lively bars and chic boutiques, while the restored 1900s buildings of Downtown sit alongside urban parks and the Tampa Riverwalk. Seminole Heights features locally owned shops and cool cafés, and is also the epicentre of the city's craft beer scene. For an eclectic choice of night life, head to the old Latin quarter, Ybor City, where clubs play everything from rock and jazz to techno and hip-hop.
Relaxing, playing, learning and dining are just some of the things to do in Tampa. Gain insight into the city's culture in the Tampa Bay History Center, see innovative installations at the Tampa Museum of Art or watch Broadway-worthy shows at the Straz Center for the Performing Arts. The warm weather makes canoeing along the Hillsborough River (through the 16,000-acre wilderness park) a pleasant activity, and you might spot dolphins in the water as you near the bay. Get drenched while racing down the rapids at a water park or float across the bay's calm waters on a stand-up paddleboard.
Tampa International Airport is a 25-minute bus ride from Downtown. There's also a major bus station where Greyhound services run to and from nearby cities including Miami, Orlando and Sarasota. From Orlando, you can also arrive via train into Tampa Union Station. The city centre has frequent trams and buses covering routes to all the top sights, as well as old-fashioned street cars around Downtown and to Ybor City.