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This post is a great summary of my Tampa, Florida trip details including, hotel accommodation, flight, car rental, weather, and things to do.
One night I was face timing my lovely sisters when we came to an impromptu decision to book a flight ticket to go To Tampa, Florida. In summary, we were looking for an affordable, warmer location where none of us had been to. As a matter of fact, we decided to go to Tampa because Chicago had those cheap air tickets around spring break time.
Therefore, here is my full personal review and the trip details.
1. Price & Dates
We booked a cheap $75 round-trip ticket to Tampa a couple of months in advance. (Thursday, March 18th – Sunday, March 21st.)
2. Weather in Tampa Florida
The weather was honestly a little chilly, windy, cloudy, and a little gloomy that weekend. Generally, it ranged from the upper 60s to the lower 70s. In addition, we needed a jacket everywhere we went. As a matter of fact, that’s why we rocked denim all weekend.
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3. Hotel Accommodation Downtown Tampa
We stayed at Home2 Suites by Hilton Tampa Downtown Channel District. (4 Star according to google)
We also booked through Expedia and the process was super easy. You have the option to not charge your card until check-in. Nevertheless, we had a free cancellation until March 17 at 11:59 PM. (the day before check-in).
- Price: $365 total for 3 nights (Studio, 1 Queen Bed, Non-Smoking, 2 Guests)
- Parking: $15 per day (enough parking)
I absolutely loved staying at the hotel. Not to mention that the staff was really nice. In addition, my top perks were the pool area, free breakfast, and the Studio-style rooms meant for longer stays.
They have a beautiful pool with an amazing city view. The pool area also has multiple bbq grills and a colorful lounge fire pit area. On the contrary, the only downside is that they didn’t have a jacuzzi. (It would have been nice for the chilly nights)
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We all know that traveling can be pretty pricey, who doesn’t love free breakfast? This hotel provides a continental breakfast (coffee, juices, baked goods, yogurt, etc) as well as simple hot meal choices(potatoes, sausage, sandwich, etc). In addition, they have a nice Starbucks within the hotel.
-Studio Style Rooms
Lastly, all their rooms are studio-style. Meaning they literally have a kitchen. Therefore, these rooms have a microwave, full-size fridge, a kitchen sink, cutlery, plate ware, drinkware, and a dishwasher (yes, literally a dishwasher). For that hotel price, please SIGN ME UP. These kitchen appliances simply saved us a lot of restaurant costs.
4. Car Rental
Oh my! Do not even remind me of our car rental situation. Literally crying. WHO TOLD US TO TRAVEL ON SPRING BREAK WITHOUT PLANNING AHEAD? WHO?
Believe it or not, we spent most of our time looking for a car rental.
When we arrived at the airport on Thursday evening, all cars were unavailable. This is because it was spring break and everyone wanted a car. As a matter of fact, the only vehicle left was a 12 seater van, to which we said no to. WE SHOULD HAVE TAKEN IT.
–Where can you find a rental car?
They have over 10 car rental companies at the Tampa International Airport. You’ll also have to take a 3-minute shuttle to where the companies are located.
- TRAVEL LESSON 101: If you’re traveling to a city, where all activities are spread out, book a rental car way in advance. Ubers get to be really expensive.
5. Trip Activities – Things To Do In Tampa
Here are all the activities we had time to do during that weekend in Tampa Florida.
Friday (March 20th)
At around noon, we took a 10 minute uber to explore armature works. The vibes were just beautiful. There were a ton of young people, young families, and a few older people. In addition, everyone in the area seemed happy and relaxed. They were either basking in the sun or having intimate conversations in outdoor restaurants.
I got the vibes that this is a place where you can go chill with girlfriends, kids, or bae.
Also, they have a ton of different nice vibey restaurants surrounded by beautiful palm trees and have a refreshing view of the Hillsborough River. You can watch people jet skiing and in their boats.
Lastly, I think we could have rented scooters and rode them along the river. I saw people with it. It was just too windy and we had short dresses, so we chose not to do it.
This is one of the many restaurants at Armature works.
Maaamiiii, this rooftop restaurant is just pure vibes. The setup was really tropical with plants, a chic outdoor lounge area, and definitely picture-worthy.
We had tropical curated cocktails and ate a late lunch.
I also did not see kids in this restaurant. Therefore, I think it’s a setup more so for, ‘let me catch a drink with my friends, girlfriends, or bae.’
- Steelbach -Southern-inspired kitchen and chophouse
- Oak & Ola -Local independent EuroAmerican restaurant
- Stone’s Throw -Modern fast-casual pavilion
- BAR AW -Beer, Cocktails, and Provisions
- BnB -Butcher and Barbeque
- Graze 1910 -Refined American fare, serving breakfast all-day
- AVA -Authentic Wood Fired Pizza
- Bake’n Babes -Instagrammable Sweet Treats
- Kipos -Fresh Mediterranean Fare
- Astro Ice Cream Co. -Ice Cream
- Zukku Sushi -Sushi, Burritos, and Bowls
- Empamamas -Not So Basic Empanadas, Tacos, & Street Eats
- Hemingway’s Cuban Cuisine -Hemminways offers traditional Cuban Cuisine
- Dharma Fine Vittles -Plant-Based Fine Vittles
And many others. I also wish we had the time to try some of these restaurants, ice-cream and sweets shops.
After a nice lunch and cocktail hour, we took an uber back to the hotel to enjoy some pool and lounge time.
The pool area also had people lounging and listening to music from their personal Bluetooth speakers.
Pool Time Must haves:
- A drink (cocktail)
- A Bluetooth speaker
- Pool towels (provided)
After getting in the pool for a minute, I sat by the fire pit to enjoy the city view and sunset.
Things to do at the hotel:
- Lounge by the fire pit or under the umbrellas
- Workout at the gym
- Do a photoshoot
Saturday (March 20th)
Disappointing morning experience…
We had a 1-day car reservation for Saturday with the Easirent car rental company. The pickup time was 11 am. When we got there, they didn’t have any cars for us, and they were giving cars out on a first come first serve basis. In addition, there was a list of names before us and for sure we waited for more than 1 and a half hours to get a car.
*Note: On the contrary, the Easirnet Car Rental at this location has a free 5-minute shuttle to and from the Tampa International Airport. (Very convenient)
We had a jet ski reservation for 2 pm – 3 pm in St. Petersburg, Florida. We didn’t get there till almost 2.30 pm. Therefore, we thought that our experience was going to be cut short because we were late.
However, this was the best experience EVER. At Jet ski adventures, we found two girls who were the sweetest. They were not only accomodating but also gave us our full hour experience. ($70/hour)
In addition, they gave us quick safety instructions and took pictures of us, before we headed out to deep the waters.
Grace and I shared a jet ski because it was my first time, and I was too scared to be on my own. But, you can definitely book separate ones, you don’t need the experience to drive it.
All in all, I can simply tell you is that JET SKIING IS SOO MUCH FUN and is the BEST EXPERIENCE EVER!!!!
- Pass a jet ski licensing exam (It costs only $3. Only 25 questions. it also took us less than an hour while at Starbucks having morning coffee chit-chatting.)
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After we got done with jet skiing, we went on a fancy dinner cruise for my early birthday celebration. The cruise was from 8 pm – 10 pm. Check-in was at 7.30 pm. (Mask required)
In addition, I think we paid $67 each for an inclusive 3-course dinner (bread & salad, entrée, dessert) and drinks/ cocktails. (They give you a menu for options)
The food and service were amazing!!! I was honestly too full to dance haha!
Y’all the top deck was where the music was Poppin. They had a Dj blasting some hip hop and people were on the dance floor breaking some back. Nevertheless, the night skyline view from the top deck was just beautiful.
I got the vibes that a lot of people here were on a date or celebrating something. Like group birthdays, anniversaries, etc. People were really dressed up.
All in all, I had a really amazing 25th birthday y’all, shoutout to my sister Grace for making it all happen.
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Despite some setbacks and March chilly weather, I had a really fun time in Tampa Florida. In my opinion, Tampa is a mid-sized and beautiful city. In addition, the downtown area felt safe and walkable. It also seemed somewhat diverse and with a lot of younger people. (College town?)
Nevertheless, it seemed to have a ton of great restaurants, pubs, coffee shops, and water activities. I didn’t get to see the suburbs, but I felt that I could live there and be happy.
Unlike Miami (party city), Tampa is a lot more chill and family oriented for travel.
SHOUTOUT TO MARISSA
This girl is just more than a friend I just met on the gram. TO BE HONEST, this trip would not have happened if she didn’t go out of her way to give us a detailed trip guide.
I remember Grace and I were overwhelmed and on the verge of calling it quits for this trip. This is because we are not great planners. All we kept thinking was, ‘we should have booked Miami” haha!
But y’all Marissa came to the rescue lol! Not only did she give us hotel suggestions, but also took her time to write a very detailed list of what we could do. LIKE REALLY REALLY DETAILED.
She basically showed us the true charm of Tampa Florida.
Thank you, thank you, girlfriend. Keep being kind.
Do You Want a List of More Activities To Do in Tampa?
There is a lot more that I wish I could have done from Marissa’s list, like the tiki boat tour. Due to the crowded spring break vacays, most activities were fully booked. (Literally crying) But, with Marissa’s permission, I am going to give you this unedited detailed list too, so you don’t miss out.
First things first:
1. Follow Marissa on Instagram
In conclusion, I hope you have enjoyed reading the detailed review of my trip to Tampa, Florida. All in all, I hope this post helps plan your vacation to visit the sunny city.
Once again, keep looking chic & classy just like a million bucks as you take time for a vacation.
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