Tampa - weather? What to see?

Old Aug 18th, 2004, 08:25 PM
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Jeez, I take the day off and everyone else has stolen my advice! Aren't you a lucky one!

Just to put in my 2cents worth...

Busch Gardens is a lot of fun and you won't have the crowds this time of year. Be prepared to get wet on many rides, which is how you will stay cool.

Ybor is a happening place. And now there's a trolley you can ride into downtown to Channelside which is also very lively. Lots of restaurants at both.

The Dali is a wonderful museum that's not to be missed. Take the tour -- Dali's life can't be explained by mere looking, those docents have a lot to share.

If it's not raining or overcast, the view is fantastic at sunset at Armani's -- if I were you I'd have a drink and watch it set but go elsewhere to eat. Armani's is reserved and pretentious and you sound like you would prefer something livelier. Check it out and make your own decision -- Berns restaurant is a Tampa institition but I think you'd prefer it's sister nouveau restaurant, Side Berns. Or if you want to join the crowds, go to the upscale outdoor food court at International Plaza. Very young crowd of people and many restaurants. And Ybor also has many eating places.

I hope the weather holds up for you -- and for the bride and groom too.
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Old Aug 18th, 2004, 09:02 PM
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hawaiimoon, you didn't mention what time you're arriving tomorrow, but since you're staying Thurs. nite at the Hard Rock you'll be closer to Ybor and the Columbia rather than going down there on Sat. Like another poster mentioned, Ybor doesn't start rockin' until 11-12:00 p.m and I think every bar has a cover charge but you may just want to walk the "Avenue" which is closed to traffic after 9:00 (although this may have recently changed) and see all the teeny-boppers just hangin' out much to the merchants chagrin. There's even a club (Club Bling) just for kids-some as young as 8 yrs. old-where their parents drop them off and don't pick them up until 1-2:00 am!!! My kids (ages 24-30) prefer Channelside which isn't far from Ybor and the trolley will take you from somewhere near the Columbia over to Channelside. Another great restaurant in Ybor is Bernini's and Channelside has the Signature Room (the original is on the top of the John Hancock Bldg. in chicago), Grill 29, Tinitappas, Stump's Supper Club, Howl At The Moon, Splitsville. Busch Gardens is fun but like someone else mentioned rather pricey if you're not into rides--also, during the dog days of summer, activities involving a/c and water are more enjoyable. I think the best beach since your time is limited is Pass-A- Grille: beautiful , accessible and cute restaurants and stores close by should a thunderstorm come up which happens nearly every afternoon normally but we've been in extreme conditions lately so who knows what to expect. You're not far from the Don CeSar so you could go have a drink there and ride out a storm. You can't go wrong with Armani's; it and Bern's Steakhouse are consistant winners every year. Armani's has a spectacular view and nearly flawless food and service--make sure you're there in time for the sunset--hopefully we'll have one the night you're there. Armani's food is more contemporary and cosmopolitan than Bern's which is more traditional but the service is stellar and the food and wine is internationally famous. Another great restaurant and my current personal fave is Cafe Ponte (pronounced Pont) which was selected by Chris Sherman, the St. Pete Times food critic, as the best new rest. for 2003. Their phone # is: 727-538-5768. St. Petersburg definitely has the best art scene and in addition to the Dali is the Museum of Fine Arts and several smaller galleries along Central Avenue. While you're downtown, you can check out Baywalk, The Pier, and as you wend your way back to Tampa eat great Mexican food at the Red Mesa. I know, I know, so much food, so little time. Have a great time~the Tampa area can be fun.
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Old Aug 19th, 2004, 08:16 AM
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Wow - thank you all so much! You guys are great. We're getting in rather late this evening so we'll have to save Columbia for another night, but sounds like we'll certianly have to drive over to Ybor for the nightlife alone.

I really appreciate your assistance!!
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Old Aug 26th, 2004, 08:41 AM
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Hi everyone,

I just wanted to thank you all for your help and provide a little trip report! We started off at the Hard Rock which was suprisingly luxurious! The rooms are enormous, and the pool is absolutely lovely. They play rock music under the water. The crowd is a bit young (teens and bachelorette parties), but we didn't mind since we're only 25. We didn't use the casino at all but that didn't seem to be that great. The location isn't the best since it is no where near the water, but we were able to drive to the beaches in St. Pete in 25 min.!! (No traffic at all).

We went to Pass a Grille and ate at Hurricanes, both of which were great.

We spent that night at the Grand Hyatt, and the hotel pool by Oystercatchers was WONDERFUL. We spent hours there in the evening and a waitress brought us drinks. Lovely hotel. Our room was smaller than at the Hard Rock, and the people there were older, many of whom were presumably there on business. It was definitely more upscale and sophisticated than the Hard Rock, but I would say the latter would be more fun for the younger crowd.

Had dinner in Ybor City - I have to say I was a bit suprised by that area. Not quite as kitchy as Bourbon Street, but same kind of idea only it felt less safe in my opinion. We ate at Bernini's which was excellent.

Next day went to Clearwater to the touristy beach which was a bit too congested for us. Ate at a great restaurant though - Iguana Grill. Really nice people and cute decor along with good food.

Had dinner at Columbia that night which we really enjoyed - the dancers were great.

The next day we met up with our friends who have an apartment near the Sheraton in Clearwater - what a difference between this beach and the more touristy one in the same area - it was STUNNING. Clear, warm water and isolated beaches. It was really nice.

On our final day we went to Honeymoon beach and swam with the cute little stingrays (sounds weird, but they really were cute!). That beach was lovely as well.

We had a fabulous time overall and that is due mainly to the recommendations I received from all of you! Thanks a million!
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