With travel costs on the rise, newcomers to Tampa will be relieved to know that there are a lot of free things to do and see. Year-round sunshine and warmer temperatures provide plenty of opportunities for free (or nearly free) outdoor activities, but there are also enticing indoor attractions to choose from.
An enjoyable date night with your partner does not have to be expensive. From monthly festivals, walking tours, public art installations, parks, and local attractions, there are always a variety of free activities in Tampa, Clearwater, St. Pete, and throughout the area.
Free Destinations in Tampa
Tight on budget? Worry no more because Tampa offers free destinations for you to explore. The following are some of the many beautiful destinations that are free:
- Tampa Firefighters Museum
The Tampa Firefighters Museum is next to Tampa Fire Rescue Station One in downtown Tampa. The beautifully restored 1911 structure served as the Fire Department Headquarters until 1974. The 18,000-square-foot facility is intended to preserve the fire department’s history and promote fire safety and prevention throughout the community as a tribute to all who served and have been serving the city of Tampa.
An early fire wagon, that is as bright and shiny as the day it was built, is among the exhibits and interactive educational displays, as well as a piece of metal saved from the attack on the World Trade Towers on 9/11.
- Tampa, Friday the Fourth
Head to the Tampa Riverwalk every fourth Friday of the month for an arts and culture crawl celebrating Tampa’s downtown! Get your lanyard at the Straz Center to access free admission to the Henry B. Plant Museum and other discounts and cultural exhibits that change monthly. If you’re looking to sip and stroll on a budget, some Riverwalk venues offer drink specials – or for a beautiful free thing to do, bring your own beverages and enjoy the sunset!
- Ballast Point Park and Pier
Ballast Point Park and Pier, named after the location where arriving ships would unload their ballast before entering Tampa’s harbor, is located in a quiet neighborhood of South Tampa. It has a fantastic splash park for children, a huge outdoor play area, trees and bushes, and picnic tables.
One of the park’s most impressive features is the sight of the downtown skyline and Davis Islands. If you want to go fishing, there is an extended pier that juts out into the Bay and a bait shop nearby. You can also stop by the Taste of Boston restaurant for a bite to eat. The food is delicious, and you can dine outside while enjoying the scenery. A boat dock and ramp are also available.
- Florida Botanical Gardens
This 100-acre garden in Largo features a butterfly garden, herb garden, children’s discovery garden, jazz garden, and rose garden, as well as native plants, palms, cacti, succulents, tropical fruits, and other flora.
It is free to visit, and there are numerous areas to explore, including some ADA-accessible trails. Some special areas highlight the natural landscape, such as the Wetlands Walkway boardwalk, which winds through Florida’s famously wet geography.
- Ybor City Visitor Centre
The Ybor City Visitor Center, located in the heart of Tampa’s historic district, is an excellent place to begin your exploration of this charming neighborhood. The Ybor City Chamber of Commerce operates the Visitor Center, which provides free maps and expert advice and suggestions on where to go and what to explore.
You can also pick up travel brochures and pamphlets from dozens of other Tampa Bay area attractions. Explore the museum and video presentation to learn more about the colorful history of what was once known as the “Cigar Capital of the World.” This is also a good place to buy authentic and local souvenirs.
- Farmer’s Market
Discover one of the best farmer’s markets in the country right here in St. Pete! The Al Lang Field parking lot in downtown St. Pete comes alive every Saturday morning with around 170 vendors during the Saturday Morning Market.
Aside from fresh produce and artisans selling one-of-a-kind items, there is live music and a variety of dining options. The Saturday Morning Market is open from early October to late May, and the Summer Market, located in Williams Park, is open from June to August.
- The Pinellas County Heritage Village
It’s difficult to imagine 19th-century Florida when you’re used to the state’s modern mix of Art Deco and mid-century architecture and age-of-the-auto strip malls. However, the Pinellas County Heritage Village, a living history museum that has preserved several historic structures, allows you to travel back in time.
The McMullen-Coachman Log Cabin, one of the thirty-three structures on the property, was built in 1852 and is the county’s oldest structure. However, it is now surrounded by a church, a railroad depot, historic homes, a general store, a school, and a visitor center where you can learn more about the county’s history. Traditional skills such as boiling sugar cane and weaving are demonstrated throughout the year.
- Jose Marti Park
Visit Cuba without leaving Ybor City by visiting Jose Marti Park. The Cuban government has owned this small park (only 0.14 acres) since 1956, so when you step inside, you’re going on a trip to Cuba! The park is named after José Marti, a poet, writer, literary figure, and national hero of Cuba. Combine a visit to this park with a visit to the Florida Cane Distillery, which is only a 5-minute walk away.
Something for Everyone
Nuevo en US welcomes those who are new to our community. We hope you enjoy learning about the area and finding places that you and your family can enjoy.
The nice thing about the Tampa Bay area, is that you can see and do a lot without spending a dime. The sun shines all year, and the mild temperatures mean plenty of free outdoor things to see and do. At the same time, there are numerous free places to visit where you can enjoy some enjoyable indoor activities.
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