There is a number of places to eat downtown but very little shopping and the very little nightlife. so if you do not have a car I would suggest a 3 day bus pass which cost 11 dollars and is good for all the buses and the trolley which if your down town the best way to get there but only runs till 10pm (1030 when the lighting hockey team is paying in town)it run 2.7 miles from downtown over to Ybor and end up over at Chanel side that also has shopping and dining and the international mall is one of the nicest especially on a good day as part of the mail with the places to eat is outdoors
Taking a flight out of Tampa International Airport, or maybe even a cruise from downtown? Parking on site can be expensive, but you have a few options depending on how much you want to spend on parking and/or a taxi from an inexpensive, safe lot to the airport or cruise terminal.
Airport parking in the long-term lot costs $15 a day, and it's $20 a day in the short-term lot. If you are cruising it, there is a parking garage right across the street for $12 a day.
Parking in city lots goes as low as about $10 a day, but the lots are a bit farther from the cruise terminal and a few miles from the airport. I'd call the city parking authority to be sure you are allowed to park overnight and to verify the rates. http://www.tampagov.net/dept_parking/information_resources/parking_hourly_and_daily_rates.asp
If you don't mind taking a cab \, there are lots of inexpensive long-term parking options near the airport. They also offer 24 hour security, pay on line and other features for as low as $6 or $7 a day. Try http://www.parkrideflyusa.com/partner/iFly/iFly.php?&airportCode=TPA
Finally, if you are spending the night in Tampa before your departure, check for hotels that offer free parking. Many hotels will let you keep your car in their lot for one or two weeks if you pay for a room for a single night. This website has some options for hotels with free parking, and I'm sure there are other hotels: https://secure.stay123.com/index.php
You last and cheapest option might be to offer me about $5 a day, and you can leave the car in my driveway. I might even drive you to the airport or cruise terminal.
Streetcar runs 2.5 miles from Centro Ybor in Ybor City to Convention Center in Downtown Tampa. It's $5 for an all day pass which includes buses/trolleys and $2.50 discount if you're Youth (4-17) or Senior (65+), or have a Medicare card. Passes every 15 minutes except for certain days where it passes every 30.
Lee Roy Selmon was the first player ever selected by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers when the team was established in 1976. He was a six time Pro Bowler and named to the college football and NFL Halls of Fame. He was also the NFL's defensive player of the year in 1979, and his number has been retired by the Bucs. Since his retirement, he has remained in Tampa, working primarily as the University of Southern Florida's athletic director. His names has been enshrined in local fame with the restaurant called Lee Roy Selmon's as well as the Lee Roy Selmon Crosstown Expressway.
The Lee Roy Selmon Crosstown Expressway stretches 15 miles from South Tampa near the Gandy Bridge to Brandon, out in the northeast suburbs. Construction on this road began in 1974 along an existing railroad right of way, and the majority of the current road was completed by 1981. This toll highway ends at the intersection of Gandy and Dale Mabry in South Tampa, about a mile from the Gandy Bridge. There are talks of extending the toll road to the Gandy Bridge, but short-sighted and influential local businessmen seem to be more concerned about their profits than they are of the greater community good, so the project has stalled.
The Howard Frankland Bridge carries Interstate 275 over Old Tampa Bay. It is the newest and most-heavily traveled of the three bridges over this huge body of water. The original span of this bridge opened in 1959, and it carried two lanes in each direction. In 1990 the present southbound span opened, and the original bridge was closed for two years for refurbishment.
The original Gandy Bridge opened in 1924 as the first crossing over Old Tampa Bay, and the second crossing was the Courtney Campbell Causeway in 1927.
The Courtney Campbell Causeway is the northernmost of three bridges over Old Tampa Bay. The causeway itself was created by developer Ben T. Davis from 1927 until 1934, and it originally opened as a toll bridge. Like other toll bridges in the area, the federal government seized this piece of private property in 1944, supposedly to aid the war effort.
Today some 50,000 cars use the causeway each day. Many enjoy the beaches for swimming and the rocky stone rip rap for fishing.
The Gandy Bridge is the only direct connection between the bay area cities of Tampa and St. Pete. The original Gandy Bridge opened in 1924 as the longest toll bridge in the world, and it cut the driving distance between Tampa and St. Pete from 43 to 19 miles. It is interesting to note that the bridge stopped charging toll in 1944 when it was seized by the federal government during World War II. This bridge was removed in 1975, after three more spans had been built over the ensuing years.
In 1956 a second span was added to the original bridge, thereby allowing the 1924 span to carry eastbound traffic and the new bridge span to carry westbound traffic. In 1997, after the third and fourth spans were both constructed, this third span was decommissioned for automobile traffic. In 1999 this old span reopened as the Friendship Trail Bridge, though it was forced to close in 2008 when it was determined the structure could collapse at any time. Plans are in the works to reopen the Friendship Trail Bridge, but a solution seems years away.
The third span, and current eastbound bridge, was built in 1975, and the original Gandy bridge was destroyed shortly thereafter.
The fourth span of the Gandy Bridge was just finished in 1996. For the first year of its existence, it carried eastbound traffic while the 1975 bridge was retrofitted. In 1997 this new bridge began carrying westbound traffic.
The Clearwater Memorial Causeway Bridge crosses the Intracoastal Waterway, connecting Clearwater Beach to downtown Clearwater. This four-lane bridge with wide pedestrian trails was completed in 2005, replacing a drawbridge from the 1950s, which had been built over the original from the 1920s. Piers from the previous bridge are being used for a marina on the Clearwater side of the present bridge.
The bridge is over a half mile long and stands 74 feet over the Intracoastal Waterway. The previous span connected in Clearwater at Cleveland Street, but the city decided that Cleveland carried too much negative baggage, so the new bridge connects at Court Street in downtown.
At the Clearwater end of the bridge is the "Spirit of the American Doughboy" statue, a monument mass produced after WWI in recognition of the American soldiers of the war. Somewhere between 150 and 300 full-size statues were manufactured and installed in cities across the nations. Thousands more miniatures were used as lamps or table-top decorations.
St Petersburg - Clearwater International Airport (aka PIE) was constructed by the US Army in 1941 as a training base for pilots heading off to war. After the war, the airfield became a commercial airport called Pinellas International Airport (named after the county), and the main runway was extended north into the bay. Later, commercial jet traffic was consolidated to Tampa, meaning PIE was used mainly for charters, private planes, and the coast guard.
Today the airport is still home to Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater, considered the largest and busiest Coast Guard Air Station in the US. The largest commercial airlines at PIE are Allegiant Air and USA 3000, which serve a variety of northern cities, while a few smaller airlines serve regional destinations and come Canadian cities. United Parcel Service also has a large operation at the airport.
PIE has 13 gates that handle about 750,000 passengers each year. Parking is $13 a day, and rental cars are available. The airport has one restaurant and one gift shop/snack bar.
I’ve yet to take a train from Tampa but I have several friends/family who have taken the train or the auto train to Florida and enjoyed the experience. Trains in the US are pretty limited and the auto train does not stop in Tampa, but it does stop in this part of Florida.
Amtrak has two routes that go to Tampa
1) Silver Service
Phone 1-800-USA-RAIL (1-800-872-7245)
Tampa station is located at:
601 North Nebraska Ave
Tampa, FL 33602-3525
Note that while the train station here is lovely it’s not in the best part of town, I would not leave my car here overnight…
Discounts between 10 to 15% are available for AAA (10%), Students Advantage (for college student and high school seniors - $20 a year), ISIC (international student ID card 15% w/limitations), NARP, veteran’s advantage. Note many of these discounts require advance purchase.
Price to take the train to Miami - note prices may vary depending on advanced bookings, promotions etc.
Total cost to take a train to Miami is cheaper than driving…However, since the train leaves at noon that means wasting an entire day on the train
Leave Tampa 12:45 PM – 5 hours 20 minutes $35.00 for coach
Leave Miami 11:50 AM – 5 hours 15 minutes $35.00 for coach
**I've had a friend who once got a ticket for $25.00 each way, so it pays to book early and look for specials.**
Total cost to drive to Miami from Tampa
Work to Miami - 285 miles - 4.5 hours (cost at 23mpg @$4 gallon = $49 each way)
Cost $49 + tolls ($4?) + parking ($8? a day) + wear and tear on the car....
Note: In my experience the train in the US is quite a bit more expensive than flying long distances between major cities. i.e Tampa to Pittsburgh flying is less expensive.
The express boat actually leaves from Ft Myers Beach but is one of the best ways to get to Key West (most of the roads through the keys are one lane and traffic often backs up)
The shuttle takes just 3 1/2 hours and has AC Cabins, Satellite TVs and a full bar
Prices vary but are normally under $100 for a round trip - right now they are $83 RT when purchased in advance
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Historically Tampa was not the best city for cyclists. Things are improving but we still have a long way to go. Here are some resources for Bikers.
Map My Ride assists in finding rides and biking routes in the area
There are over 60 public bike racks downtown. Click the link below to see their locations as well as suggested biking routes
To rent bikes downtown, contact the Carrollwood Bike Shop
Tampa BayCycle is a new movement happening in Hillsborough and Pinellas communities to encourage commuters to bike to work, school or even play.
The Downtown YMCA offers a Commuter Membership of only $25/month. This allows for daily use of shower/locker facilities as well as secure bicycle parking at their entrance. 813.229.1305 or www.tampaymca.org
City of Tampa Greenways and Trails Program
For a map of trails and their amenities in the City of Tampa or to get involved in the Citizen's Advisory Committee, visit this link: http://www.tampagov.net/dept_parks_and_recreation/programs_and_services/tampa_trails/
Bicycle/Pedestrian Advisory Committee (BPAC)
Ask for a copy of the 2006 Hillsborough County Bicycle Map.
Tampa Bay Freewheelers (TBF)
TBF is an exciting touring club that promotes safe cycling through planned rides, bike repair clinics, Effective Cycling classes and involvement in county-wide efforts to promote safe cycling. www.tbfreewheelers.com
SouthWest Association of Mountainbike Pedalers (SWAMP)
SWAMP is a membership of mountain bike enthusiasts with all different levels of experience who want to share their love for off-road riding. They produce a bi-monthly newsletter of rides and special events. www.swampclub.org
For the most place Tampa is not a place where you can just flag down a Taxi. For the most part you will have to call for a pickup
Taxis can commonly be found in frequented spots such as the hotels, Greyhound Station and Channelside area.
There is a $22 per car flat rate between this zone and the airport. The In-Town Zone encompasses Downtown, Harbour Island, Davis Islands, Ybor City and Hyde Park. Click
Taxi rides within the “In-Town Short Ride Zone” are $3 each for two or more people.
For a list of local Taxi companies
With gas at $4 a gallon I starting thinking of the good old days when I'd walk to the campus quad and check the cork boards for ride share options for traveling around the state or across the country. I used this service dozens of times in the 1980s both as a driver and as a passenger and it was always a pleasant experience.
I haven't used this service in 20 years but I did a quick search and found quite a few options on-line.
Pickup Pal Ride Share
Ride Check - long distance carpools
Doesn't charge registered users to offer a ride or search for a ride. If a match is made, the company gets a $2 ticket fee and a 9.5 percent processing fee on the driver's asking price.
Around town http://www.erideshare.com/carpool.php?city=Tampa
Across Florida http://www.erideshare.com/travel.php?dstate=FL&ostate=FL&radiodate=All
Tampa bay Commuter - for rides to and from work in the Tampa Bay area
Most people who visit Tampa come by automobile or airplane. However, Tampa also is a major embarkation point for cruise ships which take pampered guests to the Caribbean, Central and South America and beyond. The Port of Tampa is the largest port in Florida
Karen and I sailed out of Tampa on Celebrity Cruise Lines to celebrate our 5th wedding anniversary in March, 2007. The photo of the Tampa skyline on the front of our Tampa page was taken from the top deck of our ship, the Zenith. From it you can see that the cruise terminal is in very close proximity to the downtown area. The first photo for this tip is looking back at the city as our ship sailed out into Tampa Bay.
Those who cruise into or out of Tampa would do well to allow a little extra time either before or after their cruise to explore a few of the many attractions Tampa has to offer. Some of these, such as the Florida Aquarium, are actually within walking distance of the dock.
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