Cities that score highly in the Place category (Tampa is #9) are easy to love.
It means their natural and built environment are both in synch: Tampa has low crime (#3 in the country among large U.S. cities), pleasant Weather in its 361 days of sunshine per year (#19), and sprawling, diverse Parks and Outdoor Attractions (#13), including, of course, nearby beaches like de Soto Park and Clearwater Beach. Chief among the parklands is the Tampa Riverwalk, a 2.6-mile continuous waterfront corridor along the banks of the Hillsborough River and the Garrison Channel.
It’s bookended by the Florida Aquarium and the popular Ulele restaurant; in between, there’s the Tampa History Center, the Florida Museum of Photographic Arts, the convention center, and other stops of interest that contribute to Tampa’s #14 ranking in Attractions.
In early 2018, another park was added to the mosaic of green spaces along the RiverWalk: The Julian B. Lane Riverfront Park’s 23 acres invite visitors to get onto the water, rather than simply admiring it, via row boats, canoes, kayaks and paddleboards. The shoreline provides plenty of waterfront entertainment spaces for landlubbers.
All this activity works up a thirst, which will give you an opportunity to experience Tampa’s beer scene, often rated as one of the best and most underrated in the country. Standard-setters include Cigar City Brewing and Coppertail Brewing; highly ranked breweries nearby include Dunedin Brewery and Darwin Brewing Company, according to the beer nerds at Paste magazine. If you’ve had enough waterfront, the neighborhood of Ybor City, a historic cigar-making center, would be a good spot to raise a glass or two. Tampa lands at #29 for Nightlife and #24 for Restaurants.