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Steinbrenner Field Tampa

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Feb 12th, 2014, 08:45 PM
  #1
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Steinbrenner Field Tampa

Hi all: Wondering if you could help out on recommendations for hotel and area activities for a father and daughter (12) traveling to see Yankees spring training at Steinbrenner Field in late March. Interested in activities and restaurants locals might prefer over tourist stuff. Thank you very much, in advance.
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Feb 13th, 2014, 08:58 AM
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Hi, Steve! Because I live in Tampa, I;m not very familiar at all with area hotels. I can tell you that the hotels closest to Steinbrenner Field will be clustered around our two big shopping malls, Westshore Plaza and International Plaza. These aren't charming areas, of course, but they will be convenient for getting to and from the field and onto highways.

A more attractive option is the Westin on Harbour Island. It's close to downtown, and on the water (the channel and the bay, not the ocean), ut not convenient to the Field. The new Epicurean is a luxury option in a walkable neighborhood in South Tampa--it has a foodie theme, which may or may not interest you--but not near the Field. Maybe a 30 minute drive from either of these, without traffic? More during rush hour.

What sort of activities do you and your daughter enjoy? There are art museums, Busch Gardens, the Lowry Park Zoo, and of course the beaches--kayaking, walking trails. I could tell you loads of places to eat, too--any preferences or dislikes there?
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Feb 13th, 2014, 10:35 AM
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NewbE: Wow! You are a goldmine of information. Thank you! We would prefer the more attractive options which is exactly what I was hoping for by posting. We are definite foodies, preferring local "finds." It doesn't have to be fine dining (although it could be - just awesome food). Fresh, local ingredients and places that one might never hear about through first-pass Google searches are what we are all about. Beaches, kayaking and street life (non-tourist) are always the best. Would love to hear what you love and think might keep a 12 year old Yankee fan's attention. Any and all ideas are very much appreciated. Signed, Sitting-in-2-feet-of-snow-dreaming-of-Gulf-Coast-beaches
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Feb 13th, 2014, 02:54 PM
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There are some nice hotels on the Courtney Campbell Causeway, too, big chains but on the water. A lot depends on how much time you'll actually spend at the Field--one game? two?--versus the rest of your stay.

My favorite restaurant in Tampa is The Refinery: http://thetamparefinery.com. It is not in a scenic part of town, but the chef is really talented and the food is great. Sit upstairs on the deck! (They do a mean Sunday brunch as well.) Also in Seminole Heights is The Rooster & the Till, another great chef-owned gem: http://www.roosterandthetill.com. (The zoo is just down the road from these two.)

I also love Cappy's Pizza--best in town, IMO. The South Tampa location would work best for you: http://www.cappyspizzaonline.com

Across the street from Cappy's on Bay to Bay is Pinky's, which is awesome for breakfast and lunch: http://pinkysdiner.com

Finer dining options include the nationally famous Bern's steak house, Elevage at the Epicurean Hotel, and Sidebern's, all under the same chef and all great. Boca is a good farm-to-table option in South Tampa. And Edison is very creative and very good, if a tad pricy for what it is: http://edison-tampa.com. The chef at Edison is well known in Tampa for many years.

Tampa is known for its Cuban sandwiches, but, sadly, as a vegetarian, I can't recommend one! Arco Iris is an old school Cuban restaurant that still has a following.

As for street life, go to Ybor City: it's the historically Cuban and Italian neighborhood, settled by people who came to work at the port and in the cigar factories. (It gets rowdy and a bit dicey on weekends after 10pm or so, but you won't be out that late anyway.) Go in the daylight to see the architecture, and keep an eye out for the feral chickens and roosters. Have lunch at The Laughing Cat or Acropolis, or have crepes at La Creperia.

For beaches, check out Fort DeSoto and Honeymoon Island; you can rent kayaks at both. At Clearwater Beach, have lunch at Frenchy's with your toes in the sand (You might consider staying at the beach, although you'd have a longish drive into Tampa...) Search here for threads about visiting the beaches of the area. I;m no expert, but maybe I can answer questions for you.

Oh yeah, check out the manatee viewing center: http://www.tampaelectric.com/company/mvc/ Easiest way to see our famous local critter, although you might see them if you kayak, too.

If museums are of interest, you can go to the Tampa Museum of Art and spend some time in the adjacent Curtis Hixson Park in downtown Tampa, on the river with great views of the University of Tampa; or the Dali Museum, the Museum of Fine art, and/or the Chihuly Glass museum in St. Pete, which has a fine downtown on the water with lots of restaurants and a killer gelato place. (Just about everybody loves the Chihuly...)

OK, maybe this is too much, and it's definitely disorganized, but I hope it helps!
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Feb 13th, 2014, 02:56 PM
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Ooh, one more favorite restaurant, The Crab Shack: http://www.crabshack.com. It's a divey place just on the other side of the Gandy Bridge from Tampa, and definitely a place locals go.
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Feb 13th, 2014, 05:56 PM
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Thank you so much, NewbE, for sharing all the information and ideas about the area. I went from feeling excited to see spring training to feeling excited about spending time in Tampa area. We thought of driving to Marco Island and Naples, but now, thanks to you, expect to spend a good chunk of our time in Tampa. The restaurants look fun, interesting and worth trying. Options to explore the area also look great. We will work on finding a hotel, preferably within easy reach of things to do, as opposed to a great view of the water. We just need some good weather and all will be good on our trip. You really went out of your way to help and it is appreciated!
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Feb 14th, 2014, 08:31 AM
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You're very welcome, Steve! I hope another regular poster here sees your thread, she knows a lot about hotels in the area...
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