Welcome to Cvent's Meeting and Event Planning Guide to Tampa Bay, where the sunny, warm weather invites visitors to discover the many treasures in this gem of a city. Fly seamlessly into Tampa International Airport (TPA), which is ranked number two in the Nation and number five in the World for customer service, according to Travel + Leisure magazine. Tampa Bay is known as a walking destination – and for good reason. With a compact downtown area and the Riverwalk that connects many sites at the riverside, getting from place to place is a breeze. There are several easy ways to get around the area. Water taxis on the Hillsborough River, streetcars connecting downtown to the Historic Ybor City, and rentable bikes all make traveling the city convenient, fun, and affordable.
Tampa Bay stands apart from the rest for conferences and conventions with a 600,000-square-foot waterfront convention center, over 24,000 hotel rooms, 198 hotels, and more than 119 unique Tampa Bay event venues. Consider having Tampa Bay as the backdrop for your next event by charting a private cruise for up to 600 people at the Yacht Starship, which docks in front of the Channelside Bay Plaza. Once business is adjourned for the day, the Tampa Riverwalk is one of the newest and most convenient destinations for travelers. The 2.4-mile paved waterfront path serves as a hub for dining, shopping, the arts, and leisure activities. It links five major hotels, eighteen historical monuments, four major museums, and numerous attractions including The Florida Aquarium, Channelside Bay Plaza, Tampa Marriott Waterside Hotel & Marina, and the Tampa Convention Center.
Named one of the top 25 art destinations in the U.S. by AmericanStyle magazine, Tampa Bay is proud of its cultural heritage. Tampa Bay's public art collection is made up of more than 100 works of art, most of which are on display for Fourth Friday, a monthly night of arts, culture, and entertainment. Artwork is dispersed among buildings, parks, and streets, including Bayshore Boulevard, one of the most scenic roadways in Florida and also the longest continuous sidewalk in the world.
Tampa Bay is truly a culinary experience – Whether you delight in locally grown creative cooking or a world-famous Cuban sandwich, this is a place for food-lovers. Planners can take advantage of the authentic food scene the destination has to offer.
Historic Ybor City, part of the city of Tampa, is home to the Columbia Restaurant, the oldest restaurant in Florida and the largest Spanish restaurant in the world. It has remained in the same family since it opened in 1905. Today's operators represent the founding family's fourth and fifth generations. The Cuban-influenced menu and nightly Flamenco show make the Columbia Restaurant a must-visit any day. Seventh Avenue, which runs through the heart of Ybor City, is lined with restaurants offering a mix of flavors including American, Italian, Cuban, and Greek. Venture off of Seventh Avenue and you'll find even more dining options.
Near the University of Tampa, Oxford Exchange combines a restaurant, coﬀee and tea bar, shop, and bookstore in a unique environment. In Tampa Heights, Ulele offers meals inspired by Florida's native foods in a historic setting. Seminole Heights is becoming a center for adventurous eating. Ella's Americana Folk Art Café, lets you admire the owner's extensive collection of folk art while you eat. The Reﬁnery changes its menu every Thursday to feature new dishes. Rooster and the Till features an eclectic blend of tastes in an intimate space.