The Tampa Bay FL area offers some of the best arts and cultural attractions in Florida, and we’ve listed 10 of the very best below. Whether you want to rock out, browse art galleries, learn about history, enjoy the opera, or explore the magic of photography at one of the country’s only art museums dedicated just to this subject, you’ll find it in the region. Go surreal with Salvador Dali or go deep into Florida’s rural roots: There’s no shortage of options. And whichever way you do decide to go, you’ll enjoy our handy cheat sheet to 10 of the best arts and cultural activities and spots in Tampa FL.
This Smithsonian affiliate boasts three floors chock-full of 12,000 years of Floridian history. It’s located along the Riverwalk, and it also features a waterfront Spanish restaurant. The venue’s cutting-edge exhibits mark it out as a cultural gem.
If you want to catch a Broadway show like “Hamilton,” then the world-class Straz Center for the Performing Arts is where you’ll go. This is also the place to get your opera fix, as it is one of the 10 best arts and cultural spots in Tampa FL for performing artists and more.
If you’re looking for a foreign or arthouse film, then the best place in town to enjoy film as art is the Tampa Theatre. Built in 1926, it’s a film buff’s perfect hangout. Take a tour of the theatre to get a sense of its majestic space.
FMoPA is not just beloved locally, but it’s one of the few musuems dedicated to the art of photography in the country. Decidedly modern yet historic, the museum collects, preserves and exhibits historic and contemporary shows.
This museum moved into its award-winning and jaw-dropping new home in 2010. The museum balances classical, modern and contemporary works, including one of the Southeast’s largest collections of Greek and Roman antiquities. It also is known for Leo Villareal’s Sky LED installation on its south façade.
The surreal wonder of Salvador Dali’s art can be enjoyed in the only museum in the United States focused solely on his work. Wander through the mod building, then take in a bite of Spanish cuisine at the café.
To really understand the Tampa arts scene, keep the fourth Friday of every month open. Galleries host special shows, and it’s fun to stroll along the Riverwalk, drinking in the art. With 18 venues, the monthly offerings are a good way to take in art in a casual setting.
Jeanette Hurt is the award-winning writer and author of eight culinary and
drink books, including The Cheeses of California: A Culinary Travel Guide, which received the 2010 Mark Twain Award for Best Travel Book, and The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Wine and Food Pairing. She's written for TheKitchn.com, Four Seasons Magazine, Wine Enthusiast, Entrepreneur.com, and dozens more publications.