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What to Do in Tampa Guide the family on a safari through Busch Gardens Tampa Bay (3000 E. Busch Blvd.). You'll be transported to the countries and landscapes of Africa the moment you walk through the arches of this extraordinary 335-acre animal preserve and theme park.

Immerse yourself in the Cuban culture of Ybor City : Learn about this district's historic cigar industry at Ybor Chamber Visitor Information Center (1600 E. 8th Ave.); take a walking tour offered by the Ybor City Museum State Park (1818 E. 9th Ave.); sample traditional café con leche at Carmine's (1802 E. 7th Ave.); and watch sensuous flamenco dancers while dining at the historic Columbia Restaurant (2117 E. 7th Ave). For things to do this weekend, live la vida loca (the crazy life) among thousands of club-hoppers along Seventh Avenue.

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Don your beach attire and take a trip to the Gulf Coast beaches on the Pinellas Peninsula. These are some of the best sandy shores in the nation when it comes to climate, water, sand and safety.

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Get acquainted with the man who turned Tampa into a winter resort at the Henry B. Plant Museum (401 W. Kennedy Blvd.) which occupies a wing of the railroad magnate's luxury 1891 hotel. The preserved Victorian-era building, with its sprawling veranda, ornate gingerbread trim and signature silver minarets, is part of the University of Tampa . During the annual Victorian Christmas Stroll, the halls are decked in 19th-century Christmas finery.

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Talk to the animals at ZooTampa at Lowry Park (1101 W. Sligh Ave.). Practice your bird calls in the zoo's free-flight aviaries, trumpet like the African elephants in the Ituri Forest and roar along with the white Bengal tigers in the Asian Gardens. See African creatures close up on the Safari Ride's train as it weaves around behind many of the zoo's animal enclosures. You can also feed giraffes, lorikeets and white rhinos, ride a camel or a llama, pet a stingray and gaze at Australian animals like kookaburras, koalas, wallabies and emus.

Take in the views at the Tampa Museum of Art (120 W. Gasparilla Plaza) on the waterfront of the Hillsborough River. The building itself is quite modern, wrapped in aluminum panels with LED lights peeking out of its perforations, while the view across the river features the University of Tampa's minarets. Inside, the view includes a wide range of styles such as Greek and Roman art dating as far back as 2300 B.C., contemporary photorealist oil paintings, photography from the 19th to 21st centuries and cutting-edge works by artists like Cindy Sherman.

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Indulge in some unique cuisine at ū-lë-lē (1810 N. Highland Ave.), one of Tampa's best local restaurants in its booming dining scene. Its blend of locally sourced foods and Native American dishes has the place packed every night, while its location on the Hillsborough River and The Riverwalk allows for marvelous views, especially at sunset. Adventurous diners will want to try Florida native chili, which includes alligator, wild boar and venison, or oysters on the half shell, harvested from local waters.

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Looking for fun things to do with friends this weekend? Attend a rock concert or an ice hockey game at Amalie Arena (401 Channelside Dr.). The arena is home base for the NHL's Tampa Bay Lightning and the AFL's Tampa Bay Storm and has recently hosted WWE wrestling events. Musical artists, including Ed Sheeran and Rush, also play at the arena. Simulated lightning bolts made by Tesla coils at the Lightning games make ice hockey even more exciting.

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Take a drive on the Sunshine Skyway, a 15-mile causeway spanning the mouth of Tampa Bay between the mainland north of Bradenton and the Pinellas Peninsula.

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Tampa, FL

Top AAA Diamond Hotels

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Epicurean Hotel, Autograph Collection

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Renaissance Tampa International Plaza Hotel

4200 Jim Walter Blvd. Tampa, FL 33607

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Hilton Tampa Downtown

211 N Tampa St. Tampa, FL 33602

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Sheraton Tampa Riverwalk

200 N Ashley Dr. Tampa, FL 33602

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Travel Information

City Population

352,957

Elevation

27 ft.

Sales Tax

Sales tax is 8.5 percent in Hillsborough and 7 percent in Pasco County. An accommodations tax is 6 percent in Hillsborough County and 4 percent in Pasco County.

Emergency

911

Police (non-emergency)

(813) 231-6130; Sheriff (813) 247-8200

Fire (non-emergency)

(813) 274-7011

Hospitals

AdventHealth Carrollwood, (813) 932-2222; AdventHealth Tampa, (813) 971-6000; Memorial Hospital of Tampa, (813) 873-6400; Tampa General, (813) 844-7000.

Visitor Information

201 N. Franklin St., Suite 102 Tampa, FL 33602. Phone:(813)226-2752 or (800)448-2672

Air Travel

Commercial domestic and international flights entering Tampa land at Tampa International Airport (TPA). Several commercial airlines and private planes use St. Petersburg-Clearwater International Airport (PIE). Private and corporate planes have access to Albert Whitted Airport (SPG) in St. Petersburg and Peter O. Knight Airport (TPF) in Tampa.

Rental Cars

Hertz, which offers discounts to AAA members, is at the car rental center at Tampa International Airport, (813) 874-3232; St. Petersburg-Clearwater International Airport, (727) 532-4801; and at St. Pete Beach, (727) 360-1631; or phone (800) 654-3080.

Rail Service

Tampa's Amtrak station is at 601 N. Nebraska Ave. in downtown Tampa, behind historic Union Station. Daily service is offered; phone (813) 221-7600 or (800) 872-7245. Bus service to Union Station is available via HART routes 9, 12 and 400; phone (813) 254-4278.

Buses

Greyhound Lines Inc. is at 610 E. Polk St. in Tampa; phone (813) 229-2174.

Taxis

Major companies include United Cab Co., (813) 777-7777, and Yellow Cab Co., (813) 253-0121.

Public Transportation

HART serves Tampa and its immediate suburbs, including shopping malls and area attractions. Service also includes the TECO Line Streetcar System, which makes 11 stops along a 2.7-mile track between downtown Tampa and Ybor City. For HART bus and streetcar fares and schedules, phone (813) 254-4278.

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