5 Free Things to Do in Tampa

January 11, 2022

You don’t need a ton of money, or any money, to enjoy Tampa. As Florida’s third largest city, it has something for everyone – not just the gorgeous, white sand beaches of Florida’s Suncoast. Explore beyond the beach with some of our favorite, fun, free activities to do in Tampa.

Take an Instagram-Worthy Mural Tour

Over the years, the cities of Tampa and St. Petersburg have commissioned hundreds of murals. The Heights area is home to 58 Instagram-worthy murals alone! So, why not spend an afternoon, or a few, touring this amazing street art? The City of Tampa website groups murals by neighborhood to make it easier for visitors to plan their tours. And here’s a map of murals in St. Pete to help you plan this adventure. Subjects cover everything from local historical figures to tropical scenes to modern abstracts and everything in between. Our favorites include the iconic Tampa postcard, the Bird mural in Tampa Heights, the Stay Curious mural along the train tracks, and the Neon Peace Sign at Sparkman Wharf.

See Manatees at the Manatee Viewing Center

In 1986, Florida Electric’s Big Bend Power Station in Apollo Beach closed and something amazing happened. People started seeing large numbers of manatees in the station’s discharge canal. Since Florida manatees are a protected species, the discharge canal became a state and federally designated manatee sanctuary. Today, the power station is home to the Manatee Viewing Center. The Center includes an environmental education building, butterfly gardens, a tidal walk, and a 50-foot wildlife observation tower. It’s a great place to see manatees and learn how the community is working to ensure their protection.

Stroll through the Florida Botanical Gardens

The Florida Botanical Gardens in Largo is perfect for anyone who wants to experience a little bit of nature without having to travel too far. It’s just across the Bay in Largo and includes 100-acres of gardens, landscapes and native habitats. Popular visitor attractions are the Butterfly Garden, Tropical Fruit Garden, Native Plant Garden, and the Wetlands Walkway. The gardens are developed and maintained by Pinellas County Parks and Conservation Resources. Many of the scenic pathways through the gardens are also ADA compliant.

Wander Bayshore Boulevard

Don’t feel like venturing outside of the city? No problem! Walk, run or bike the Bayshore Boulevard Greenway, one of the longest, continuous sidewalks in the United States. It’s a beautiful 4.5-mile, 10-foot wide paved path with no intersections or breaks that runs along Tampa Bay. Along the route, you’ll see the Bay, historically registered homes in Old Hyde Park, and gorgeous palm trees. We recommend timing your trip during sunset so you can watch the sun melt into Tampa Bay.

 Attend Rock the Park

Rock the Park is downtown Tampa’s free monthly concert series hosted in Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park. It’s hosted on the first Thursday of every month and features a variety of musicians. Curtis Hixon Park has stadium-style seating so you’re sure to see the band. Pack a picnic or purchase food and drinks onsite. The bonus feature of this event? It’s streamed live on their Facebook page! So, you can “go out” without actually going out. 

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