Exploring Tampa Bay
What to experience in “the Big Guava”
If the more than 100 speakers, 58 hours of professional development, 250 exhibitors, Government Pavilion Stage, lightning talks, and dedicated networking opportunities aren’t enough for you at GEOINT 2018—or if you’re just looking for some after-hours entertainment—the local Tampa area offers many exciting attractions.
Walk, jog, bike, or segway along the scenic Tampa Riverwalk for a taste of all downtown has to offer. The 2.4-mile path officially begins at South Plaza in the Channelside district. Here, companies offer kayak and water bike rentals as well as boat tours. Close by is The Florida Aquarium with its famous stingray petting tank. The Riverwalk follows the Hillsborough River north, eventually hitting Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park—a hotspot for exercisers, dog-walkers, bird-watchers, and the occasional fire-juggler.
Tampa’s historic Latin Quarter is a must-visit. Under the direction of Vicente Martinez-Ybor more than 150 years ago, the neighborhood blossomed into a major manufacturing center for quality cigars, and is now the only National Historic Landmark District on Florida’s west coast. Enjoy Cuban, Spanish, Italian, Greek, and French cuisine, as well as eclectic retail stores, ghost tours, nightlife, and live music up and down vibrant 7th Avenue.
For an upscale culinary experience, make a reservation at Bern’s Steakhouse on S. Howard Avenue. In addition to perfectly aged steaks, the restaurant boasts one of the largest wine collections in the world and an internationally famous dessert room. Jackson’s Bistro offers elegant dining on the water a short walk from the Convention Center. For casual fare, check out one of the many Ciccio Group-owned restaurants on S. Howard Ave. Fresh Kitchen, Ciccio Water, and Green Lemon are popular and affordable with a splash of local flavor.
The Hyde Park neighborhood is a charming village overflowing with name-brand retailers and local boutiques connected by smooth brick walkways. Inventive restaurants abound as well, such as Cinebistro (which merges the classic dinner-and-a-movie concept) and On Swann. Minutes south of downtown, Channelside Bay Plaza offers a collection of waterfront shopping and entertainment, with shops that sell coffee, art, wine, cigars, and more.
Art & Museums
About a mile from the Tampa Convention Center is the Tampa Museum of Art, the region’s largest museum dedicated to contemporary fine art and new media. Channelside is home to the American Victory Ship Mariners Museum. And docked behind the aquarium, the S.S. American Victory, deployed during WWII, is one of four operational merchant vessels in the U.S. To learn about the city’s exploration by European adventurers, visit the Tampa Bay History Center to tour its featured exhibit, “Treasure Seekers: Conquistadors, Pirates & Shipwrecks.”
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