The best free things to do in Tampa, Florida are not what you expect. While history, nature and marine life are in splendid supply, museums, trails and outdoor fun also await you. Ditto for some amazing drinks (especially if you like beer) and gorgeous beaches. If you’re looking for fun that won’t cost you a dime, then fear not. The following list – featuring a wealth of activities for every interest and age group – provides a helpful rundown of 10 of the best free things to do in Tampa, FL today.
This stellar attraction winds itself 2.5 miles through the downtown waterfront, taking you past some of the city’s biggest attractions, including the Tampa Museum of Art and the Florida Aquarium. The Riverwalk also boasts sculptures, and there are plenty of places to stop and get a bite to eat or a beverage.
In season — i.e., winter — the gentle manatees head from the ocean to the warm water discharged from the power plant. Once thought to be mermaids, you can get to see these beautiful creatures up close. There’s a butterfly garden, trail and environmental education building, too.
Sunsets on the Gulf of Mexico are stellar no matter which stretch of sand you decide to go to, but every night, Clearwater Beach comes alive. The action is centered at Pier 60, which seemingly reaches right into the Gulf of Mexico. It’s where performers, vendors and musicians take the stage.
This National Historic Landmark District is named for cigar baron Vincente Martinez Ybor, and its visitor’s center is a small museum that will introduce you to the city’s Latin quarter, with amazing restaurants, shops and galleries. Get a free map and advice on where to start your exploration.
Free tours run daily here at America’s oldest brewery. Though Yuengling started in Pennsylvania (where it is still made) it’s also made at this modern brewery in Tampa. Samples come after the free tour.
It’s free to walk on sidewalks everywhere, but the Bayshore Boulevard is a really special sidewalk. As the longest, continuous sidewalk in the country it will take you through the city to enjoy the gorgeous scenery.
Every fourth Friday the galleries and museums along Tampa’s Riverwalk open their doors and stay open later. Museums like the Henry B. Plant Museumoffer free admission some months, while other galleries serve free refreshments.
The 10 best free things do in Tampa, Florida aren’t hard to find — you just have to follow the links below:
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.