Tampa Bay remains a special destination even among the most well-traveled tourists. After all, not many cities can be famous simply for being fun. Yet that is exactly what makes Tampa so distinct. I suppose when a city’s located along an unbelievably gorgeous coastline that has perfectly temperate weather year round, people are just gonna want to relax there. There are no less than three major sports teams residing in Tampa Bay and the city’s nightlife is second to none. Once you get a look at Tampa’s tremendous theme parks, diverse bars and clubs, and the historic Ybor City neighborhood, you’ll understand why so many people are taking a bite out of the Big Guava. Now, since Tampa is in Florida, and since Florida has a bit of a reputation of being exclusively for old people, it’s important you know that Tampa was once known as the death metal capital of the music world. Phew. Myth dispelled. Okay, let’s dive into discussing the trendiest nightlife in Tampa.
Hyde Park Cafe
If we’re talking nightlife, there’s nowhere in Tampa that operates more at night than Hyde Park Cafe. On an early day, Hyde Park Cafe is open at 7PM, and they don’t close till 3AM. Don’t be fooled by the late hours though – this is one classy establishment. Wearing baggy clothing or promotional materials will get you escorted out of HPC, so it’s best to just play it safe and put on your best clothes. Hyde Park Cafe is made up of three equally important parts: the outdoor cafe, the dance floor (aka The Kennedy), and Wally and Bernie’s bar/restaurant. For those who prefer a chill night out, the outdoor cafe is for you. There’s pleasant lighting and plenty of space to chat with friends. Those who are looking to party should hit Wally and Bernie’s first, fill up on grub and liquid courage, and then tear it up on the dance floor in The Kennedy.
Ybor City Neighborhood
Okay, nightclub lovers, we’re gonna take a quick detour, but I promise we’ll be back to talk about more hip dance spots. For now though, let’s examine some of the truly unique things to do in Tampa. Several activities unique to The Big Guava can be found in Ybor City. Many cities have historic neighborhoods, but of course Tampa has the most fun one. The Ybor City State Museum has exhibits on the city’s immigrant communities and the cigar industry. The neighborhood is host to a wealth of vintage boutiques, and the Centro Ybor mall is a fantastic place to get food or catch a movie. The charm of this spot is best appreciated at night, when everything is still open but a bit less crowded. If you have a particular fondness for Cuban and/or Latino food, visiting Ybor City is gonna have to be a priority.
All right you ravers and ragers, we’re back to discussing the club scene. And boy, this club might be the most impressive club in Florida, if not further. Club Prana offers a multilevel sensory experience. By “multilevel” I mean that the club literally has five floors, and each one has a different theme. The Lounge welcomes visitors with satin sheets and red carpets. Right away, you know you’re in one of the country’s premier night clubs. The Mezzanine offers exclusive bottle service and VIP areas for people who want a more personal space. The Sanctuary is perhaps the most elite spot in Tampa. Filled with velvet and plush suede, The Sanctuary is where the elite of The Big Guava come to rest on their laurels and have a drink. Oh, did I mention there’s also a shark tank with live feeding demonstrations? If you don’t want to pay for access to The Sanctuary, don’t sweat it. Instead, get a sweat going on Club Prana’s fourth floor, The Nightclub. Aptly named, this room has a glass dance floor with views of The Sanctuary, as well as several DJs and dancers performing their hearts out to keep you bumping all night long. At the very top of Club Prana is the chill Sky Bar, which features reggae music and sweeping views of Ybor City. No matter your mood, there’s a floor for you at Club Prana.
It’s sort of cheating to include Busch Gardens in an article on Tampa nightlife. Incredible as this attraction is, it operates largely in the daytime, so we’ll keep this short. Seriously though, this theme park is the single most popular attraction in Tampa, and it would be a tragedy if you missed a chance to visit it. Plus, the park is open until 10PM, so that counts as nightlife right? Busch Gardens is 335 acres of sheer fun. It’s a zoo and a theme park, at the same time. Enjoy.
The last thing you have to decide when visiting Tampa is who you’re going to bring with you. Hopefully that article will provide a little insider knowledge on the topic. Have fun gushing over The Big Guava everyone!