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Tour Tampa Bay, Florida

Travel Tips


Double Your Fun
Two Distinct Experiences in One Visit


Dolphin watching in Tampa Bay, Florida

Dolphin watching in Tampa Bay

TAMPA BAY TOUR: DAY 3

On your final day in the Tampa Bay area, even if you're a bit foot-sore from Busch Gardens, a tad sunburned from the Gulf Beaches and kind of chunky from all that fresh seafood, there's still time and room for Ybor City.

There is no better place in the Ybor City area to start your day than breakfast at the historic Don Vicente de Ybor Historic Inn & Restaurant. The hotel boasts rich wood paneling, chandeliers, wrought iron and history, and the dining room alone is enough to fill the eyes while satisfying the stomach. Ybor City is centrally located, just northeast of downtown Tampa off Interstate 4, at Exit #1.

In fact, Ybor City is one of three National Historic Landmark Districts — an ever-changing oasis of history amid a metropolitan community. This Latin Quarter was once called "the cigar capital of the world" at a time when 12,000 workers hand-rolled an estimated 700 million cigars a year.

The historic Columbia Restaurant in Tampa Bay's Ybor City
Columbia Restaurant

Italians, Cubans, Spaniards and Germans made their way to Ybor City's cigar factories and set down roots. Decades later, there are still bits of preserved architecture, ethnic restaurants and thriving nightclubs that continue the tradition. And in a few tourist places such as the Centro Ybor entertainment complex, visitors can still watch cigars being hand-rolled.

For a true taste of Tampa's Ybor City, try a freshly brewed café con leche — strong, black coffee and warm milk — and a warm pressed Cuban sandwich. It's an inexpensive meal, easily found in and around Ybor City, and it's a cuisine tradition generations old.

If you're looking for an even more traditional meal, try chicken and yellow rice, or black beans and rice, at the historic 103-year-old Columbia Restaurant.

If there's any time and energy left, there are $5 nighttime walking tours of Ybor City's authentic workers' homes and museum. A ghost walk and a pedicab tour of Ybor City are also often available throughout the year.

For more information, visit the Tampa Bay Convention and Visitors Bureau at www.visittampabay.com

MORE TAMPA BAY INFORMATION

* Dolphin photo by Florida's Beach; Ybor City and Columbia Restaurant photos by VisitTampaBay.com.

(Updated: 09/07/11 NW)


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