WESTSHORE / AIRPORT
This lively zone caters to both Tampa International Airport travelers and fun-seeking locals from the historic neighborhoods nearby, with a cluster of hotels, restaurants and easy one-stop shopping via two massive malls located barely a mile apart.
Peruse designer brands at International Plaza and Bay Street, an indoor mall and openair village with 200 specialty shops and lots of places to eat-- BRIO Tuscan Grille, The Pub and The Capital Grille. NY Yankees Spring Training games are played at the nearby George M. Steinbrenner Field; its outfield has the same dimensions as Yankee Stadium. The area's craft beer culture has prompted the opening of a few dozen microbreweries that are the focus of Brew Bus Tampa Bay, a fleet of party buses that ply craft beer aficionados with microbrews. A highlight, Cigar City Brewing Co., is considered by many to be the area's most distinguished. Its tap list includes small-batch tastes such as Jai Alai IPA and Maduro Brown Ale.
WestShore Plaza also has abundant dining options and is anchored by Macy's and H&M. Dining with views of Tampa Bay can be had at many waterfront restaurants. Whiskey Joe's fosters a laid-back vibe and a boat-accessible stretch of sand. Oystercatchers is renowned for its fresh seafood dishes and spectacular panoramas. AQUA serves steak and seafood amid modern decor and water-themed light installations. The seafood specialties at Chart House are as pretty as the bay and cityscape views.
Cooper's Hawk Winery & Restaurant presents posh yet informal feasting with dishes created to pair with its line of wines, though you can skip the meal and head straight for the Napa-style tasting room, no reservation required. International Plaza's Bay Street gets cranking after dark with the white-collared and well-heeled imbibing at Blue Martini as late as 3am, while the more casual drinkers spill from The Pub and Bar Louie. The upscale seafood restaurant Ocean Prime draws an afterdark crowd to its swanky dining room and lounge.