I’m doing my travel posts a little out of order, but please bear with me. I have so much to share from my nearly month long trip – and Anna took some amazing pics!
I’ve been to Tampa before, however mostly because the flights are cheaper than to many of the other Florida destinations. However, last time we were there, Tom and I didn’t spend much time in Tampa itself, so this visit was a chance to change that.
I was seriously impressed by Tampa. I’ll admit it wasn’t on my list of places to return to on my travels, but it now definitely is. They are doing some major regeneration to the city, focusing on great places to eat, hangout, exercise, work and explore. Here are some of our faves from the 48 hours we spent in Tampa….
Where to Eat
Tampa has some seriously cool places to eat, with a lot of regeneration and investment into new eateries, restaurants and bars.
Edison food and drink lab – This trendy restaurant isn’t necessarily a ‘health food spot’ however it was delicious. Gastronomical delights such as tempura cauliflower, honey glazed grouper (a local favourite, apparently) and southern chicken and waffles. Oh, and the cocktails are pretty delicious too.
Armature Works – Looking for a quick lunch, a coffee break, glass of wine with friends or just somewhere to enjoy a fresh juice with free wifi to catch up on work, this is the place. Set on the water, this mixed use building used to be the streetcar warehouse, but has been regenerated into a co-working space with a mix of restaurants, shops and bars.
Hall on Franklin – This space reminded me a lot of communal eating spots in Sydney and Atlanta. It houses a collection of restaurants under one roof with a giant menu. The best bit is that they’re all served by the same waiters so that you don’t have to wait in line. We ate poke bowls from XX which were delicious, followed by an equally delicious brownie cookie bar. I highly recommend a visit if you’re in Tampa.
Fresh Kitchen – this one is a fave of our trip to Florida, with incredibly friendly staff and delicious salad bowls. Perfect for a quick lunch or light evening meal, or to bring on a road trip. We felt like we fit right in here, in both the cafe and the neighbourhood (I kept saying to Anna…’I could live here!’). The cafe is gluten and refined sugar free, all their meat is organic and they have plenty of vegan options.
Oxford Exchange – This is like a dream shop, coffee house, bar, sunglass shop and restaurant all under one roof. I could have spent hours and hundreds of dollars here. And the chocolate chip pancakes were bloody amazing! I shared them and the delicious avocado toast with Cierra, the Visit Tampa Bay PR
Where to Workout
Tampa is a city surrounded by water, with the river running through town and beautiful beaches out at Clearwater and St Pete. If there’s ever a chance to be on the water, or near it, then I’m all over it.
SUP – I love Stand up paddle boarding and so was pleased to give it a go despite windy conditions. We hopped on the SUPs at Armature Works with Urban Kai SUP and paddled up and down the river, enjoying the sunshine and trying not to fall off as the Pirate Water Taxis passed, creating waves. Urban Kai organise regular SUP yoga and fitness classes, however I wasn’t keen on falling in, so we opted for a traditional paddle and focused on improving our technique.
Tampa Bay Water Bikes – if you haven’t tried a water bike before, I highly recommend it. We had so much fun paddling around in the water, looking out for dolphins – we did manage to spot one just before getting on the bikes. You don’t get wet on the bikes, so you can bring your cameras, coffees etc out on the water with you. It’s a fun workout or jolly up and down the water.
There were free workout classes hosted on the banks of the river next to our hotel, the Aloft Tampa, multiple evenings a week, plus weekday mornings, for Zumba and bootcamp. Classpass also exists in the city (they do a 2 week free trial if you’re visiting the area) with some of the awesome studios below on the list;
Where to Run
The last time I was in Tampa, I ran along Bayshore, a beautiful waterside residential location (and with the perfectly located Fresh Kitchen to end your run!) Tampa has been massively developed recently, creating new parks, running routes and pedestrianised areas. In particular, the River Walk, runs 2.6 miles from Water Works Park to Cotanchobee.
Luckily, there are plenty of water fountains dotted along the River Walk and through the local parks. And coffee stops if you need a pick-me-up mid run, or just somewhere to cool down for a minute, that Florida humidity got me everytime!
I was thrilled to be invited on a running tour of Tampa with Lauren from Go Running Tours one morning, who led me on a 7 mile loop of Tampa. Stopping at areas of interest, passing plenty of awesome graffiti and street art, not to mention culturally important points in the city. It was a great way to learn about the city and get some miles in. Plus, no-one knows the city like a local, so I was able to snag some coffee shop recommendations as well as other running routes and must-dos.
They usually offer a 7K running tour (we ended up doing 7 miles), but you can organise runs of different lengths or to see areas of particular interest. Apparently, they also do brewery running tours which sound amazing!
When I travel somewhere new, I’m always intrigued by the popular local races (and what I should be coming back for!)
Gasparilla – this sounds right up my street, a Pirate themed race weekend, including a 5K, 8K, 15K and half marathon. I spoke to a couple of runners who said they usually signed up for the challenges, and loved the post race parties. There’s a massive parade. Cuban food and plenty of drinks!
Best Damn Race – My friend Corey lives just over the water from Tampa, said this was one of the best races with the biggest medal – and best stocked Mimosa stations – which I am totally down for.
How do you plan to be active when you travel? Do you choose healthier cities to visit?
Thank you with your patience with me on the blog – I have so much I want to share but have been crippled with anxiety related to writers block recently. Huge love xx
I was invited to Tampa as a guest of Visit Tampa Bay and Visit Florida.