UPCOMING THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW
WHAT'S NEW IN TAMPA BAY
With more than 2,500 new rooms added in the past three years, Tampa Bay has seen an incredible boom. The Tampa EDITION, the destination’s first five-star hotel, opened in October 2022 with luxury amenities and seven unique dining concepts under the guidance of MICHELIN-starred chef, John Fraser. Right next door is ROOST Tampa, downtown’s ﬁrst full-service, fully furnished lifestyle apartment hotel with 97 units and a massive 7th-floor amenity deck. This fall, the historic Floridan Palace Hotel, which opened in 1926, will transform into Hotel Flor as it joins the Tapestry Collection Hotels by Hilton, following a major $30 million renovation. On the ground floor, the Roaring Twenties come alive with The Dan, a modern take on old-school speakeasies with a menu inspired by Gulf Coast cuisine. Just outside of downtown in the historic Hyde Park district, the iconic foodie-focused Epicurean Hotel is undergoing an expansion that will add eight suites and a 4th-floor terrace space to the boutique South Tampa property. Coming this fall, Palihouse, a chic boutique hotel nestled right in the heart of Hyde Park, will open its doors. Palihouse will feature 36 charming accommodations and a European-style lobby bar that eagerly awaits the arrival of guests.
In 2023, three Tampa Bay restaurants received a coveted MICHELIN Star – Koya, Rocca, and Lilac. Since the destination earned inclusion in the first-ever MICHELIN Guide to Florida, 24 Tampa Bay restaurants joined the world’s oldest and most recognized restaurant rating system. Other notable restaurants include Psomi, a daytime Greek eatery which received Bib Gourmand recognition and the Best Young Chef award and Rooster & the Till, another Bib Gourmand recipient, situated in the foodie-friendly Seminole Heights neighborhood. More enticing dining options have opened within the Water Street district, like Boulon Brasserie, The Pearl, Small Giant, Predalina and now Ash will emerge as a full-service Italian-inspired concept led by Chef Ferrell Alvarez. As a growing foodie haven, downtown has also welcomed a slew of other new restaurant concepts in 2023. Next up? The Beacon, a rooftop lounge perched on the 27th floor of the JW Marriott Tampa Water Street that promises meticulously crafted cocktails and mouthwatering dishes.
Just a short drive from downtown, the $500 million Midtown Tampa is one of Tampa Bay’s latest developments. Midtown Tampa is home to a host of new restaurants like Colony Grill and the health-driven, True Food Kitchen. In the nearby Westshore business district, visionary restauranteur Jeff Gigante opened his new concept, Union New American in 2023. The two-floor dining experience features a contemporary menu of high-quality, globally inspired fare.
Did you know that Tampa Bay is home to one of the largest concentrations of craft breweries in the state of Florida? Craft beer and cocktail enthusiasts can sign up for the Bay Crafted Pass to check in at distilleries and local breweries like the new Florida Avenue Brewing taproom in Seminole Heights to redeem prizes. For wine lovers, check out Bouzy, a new champagne and cocktail bar, now open in Hyde Park Village, and Wine on Water, a new neighborhood wine shop with over 500 selections now open in the Water Street district.
The Tampa Riverwalk links Downtown Tampa’s top attractions, restaurants, parks, and more, along a 2.6-mile waterfront walkway bookended by two popular food halls. To the north, Heights Public Market at Armature Works houses over a dozen dining options such as two MICHELIN Recommended full-service restaurants, Steelbach and Oak & Ola. At the south end of the Riverwalk is Sparkman Wharf, a new-age waterfront hotspot with full-service indoor eateries like the MICHELIN-recognized Noble Rice to go along with a host of refurbished shipping containers that have been transformed into unique quick-service concepts like Lunch Lady and JoDog Craft Hot Dogs.
Visit seven unique attractions and explore the Tampa Riverwalk with one easy mobile ticket! The Tampa Riverwalk Attraction Pass is your ticket to landmark attractions like the Glazer Children’s Museum, which in 2023 welcomed Big John the Triceratops, the largest and most complete triceratops skeleton ever discovered, and the Tampa Museum of Art, which will double its exhibition space in 2024. Visitors can also enjoy endless adventure with ease with the new Accessible Tampa Riverwalk Attraction Pass, featuring experiences for people of all abilities.
Take in more than 40 beautiful murals and inspiring public art installations throughout Tampa Bay. Your Insta-worthy adventure begins with a visit to Phoebe, a colossal 21-foot flamingo proudly displayed at Tampa International Airport, earning global praise as the 2023 CODAawards Winner. As you venture out, discover new murals like Equality Diversity, a dazzling 4-D anamorphic mural located in downtown’s Water Street District by Dutch artist Leon Keer.
See more incredible pieces of public art throughout the destination like the new Tampa Looks Good on You mural by Chalk & Brush at International Plaza and Bay Street, or The Whale & The Parrot mural, a colorful celebration of sustainability by Italian artist, Alessandro Etsom, located in Water Street on the walls of the Asher building. The Tampa Convention Center hosts hundreds of thousands of attendees every year, but it’s also home to several public art pieces like the Circles of Unity LED installation and the SAIL AWAY – Night or Day mural, located at the Sail Plaza and Big Rays Fish Camp, which features a tropical oasis of colorful leaf patterns, swimming ﬁsh, and shining sun rays.
To learn more about the growing art scene in Tampa Bay, check out our new video series created in partnership with the Tampa Arts Alliance, spotlighting 5 local artists and their experiences.
In the spring of 2023, Busch Gardens® Tampa Bay opened Serengeti Flyer, a 105-foot swing ride that is the world’s tallest and fastest ride of its kind. Serengeti Flyer joins Iron Gwazi, the tallest, steepest, and fastest hybrid roller coaster in North America, and the 2022 Amusement Today Golden Ticket Award Winner, as the park’s newest thrill ride. At ZooTampa at Lowry Park, meet the stars of the hit National Geographic show Secrets of the Zoo, now streaming on Disney+ and National Geographic. ZooTampa is preparing a $125 million expansion that will add new attractions, a new South American realm, and expanded African and Asian areas.
The Florida Aquarium is embarking on a $40 million expansion that will bring California sea lions to the West Coast of Florida for the first time. Adrenaline junkies rejoice — The Motor Enclave offers a heart-pounding playground for motorheads. It features an 80-acre off-road course and a state-of-the-art performance circuit. Get ready for professional driving instruction, thrilling rides, and the chance to venture off-road on your own!
Tampa International Airport is your gateway to Tampa Bay! Consistently ranked among the top airports in the nation for passenger satisfaction, it was the #1 large airport in North America in 2022 by J.D. Power. With nonstop service from more than 85 destinations and new services from low-cost carriers like Avelo, and Breeze Airways, it is easier than ever to visit the heart of Florida’s Gulf Coast. In 2022, Virgin Atlantic launched nonstop flights between London Heathrow Airport and Tampa International Airport, becoming part of a growing list of new international routes. Among these is recently rebranded Discover Airlines, which offers five daily direct flights from Frankfurt to Tampa Bay. In the summer of 2024, Discover Airlines will offer daily service for passengers. In addition, Edelweiss Airlines now offers two daily services throughout the year. British Airways, which has historically linked Europe to Florida's West Coast currently runs daily routes from London Gatwick, which is part of this expansion. Frontier Airlines is set to introduce new direct services from Caribbean destinations, including Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic, Montego Bay in Jamaica, and two Puerto Rican destinations, Aguadilla, and San Juan.
Step into the past, sip on a café con leche, and see how Ybor City put Tampa Bay on the map by becoming the Cigar Capital of the World. Visit the newly renovated J.C. Newman Cigar Factory and Museum, America’s oldest family-owned cigar factory, and learn the art of cigar rolling with its new hand-rolling classes. Tampa Bay is home to one of the hottest teams in the MLB, the Tampa Bay Rays, and has been the New York Yankees Spring Training home since 1996.
Speaking of baseball, visit the new Tampa Baseball Museum, located in Ybor City in the childhood home of Al Lopez, to learn more about Tampa Bay’s close ties to America’s favorite pastime. Looking for new flavors in the historic Latin District? Check out the new Roast on 7th and the hidden Madame Fortune Taylor’s Speakeasy and HiFi Parlor – both in the same location. While Roast serves up simple deli sandwiches and classic comfort foods for breakfast and lunch, the speakeasy, named to honor a former slave who owned over 30 acres in what is now downtown Tampa, offers dishes with names like The Scrub that celebrate historic Black neighborhoods and figures in the Tampa Bay community.
Serving an estimated 1.2 million passengers over the course of the year, 2022 was the year to cruise out of Port Tampa Bay! Tampa Bay now homeports five vessels from four cruise lines, including Carnival, Royal Caribbean, and Norwegian, along with Celebrity Cruises’ Celebrity Constellation now offering 10 and 11-night voyages to the Eastern and Southern Caribbean. On the horizon, Port Tampa Bay is embarking on a $12.6 million expansion that will allow room for an additional large ship to enter and more travelers to adventure in and out of Tampa Bay.
Need a place to stay pre or post-cruise? The recently opened Hampton Inn + Home2Suites offers a variety of rooms to choose from just steps away from Port Tampa Bay!