Tampa Staycation Guide: Pt III

Now this is how you vacation in your own backyard


Looking for a weekend getaway? Sometimes the best escape is right in your home city. The weeks can get busy and sometimes you forget all there is to do and see in the city you live in! Catch a Lightning game, visit the NEW Tampa Indie Flea, shop at the Premium Outlets, experience cinema history at The Tampa Theatre and delight in our burgeoning culinary scene.  

 

With several boutique hotels downtown, you can now see your city through lavish, luxurious eyes. 

 

 

Where to stay:

Le Meridien Tampa

Location: 601 North Florida Avenue


What They Offer:

  • Cribs – If You Have a Baby

  • WiFi ($$)

  • Mini Fridges

  • Room Service (6am12am)

  • Pet Friendly

  • Outdoor Pool

  • Outdoor Patio

  • Fitness Center

  • FREE Valet

  • On-site Restaurant + Bar


Average Rates: $169+


Le Meridien Tampa opened almost two years ago and incorporates a bit of it’s french history. The lobby is quaint and very quiet. If you accidentally stumbled into the front door — you might not know you were in a hotel. It’s very clean and minimalistic. The concierge desk is off to the side and the first thing you see when you walk in is a hallway with a large den sitting area to the right.

They offer free valet — which is a blessing when you are trying to park your car downtown on a Saturday night. It’s surrounded by stunning architecture. The hotel is just a few short blocks from Curtis Hixon Park and other downtown gems.

Fine Dining:

Bizou Brasserie (Restaurant Hotel)

This French bistro and bar has been said to have outstanding French cuisine, a variety of fresh seafood, dry aged, hand cut beef, and homemade pastries. That’s So Tampa team recommends the Crab Deviled Eggs, Bizou Burger — ½ lb burger with goat and brie cheese, or the Grilled Rack of Lamb.  Bizou Brasserie was voted Open Table’s “Dinner’s Choice Award” for 2015. They are open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, from 6am — 10pm.

Longitude Bar (Restaurant Bar)

Nothing ends an evening like a nightcap and strolling on up to your room just a few feet away. The bar offers six sparkling beverages, cocktails, beer, wine, soda and classic charcuterie items. They are open from 5pm-11pm.


Causal Eats:

Eddie & Sam’s New York Pizza

*Photo via Michael Weekes on Flickr

This place is always thriving with business, but that’s how we know it’s good. It’s just a few blocks from the Le Meridien and located right downtown next to a book store and a park — where they have a Farmer’s Market every Thursday from 3pm – 7pm. It’s a great neighborhood. They have over 20 different kinds of pizza daily, as well as salads and wings. It definitely resembles a pizza joint straight out of NYC. I personally recommend the Bianca Pizza but honestly, you can’t go wrong there. Eddie & Sam’s NY Pizza, 203 East Twiggs Street.

 

What To Do:

Right around the corner from Le Meridien is the historic (and internationally lauded) Tampa Theatre. The Theatre originally opened in 1926. Nearly a century later, this theatre offers a rare mix of arthouse films, indie favorites, cult classics and commercial hits. 

*Photo via Tampa Theatre

Currently, Tampa Theatre is screening holiday classics! Click here for a full schedule of films. They also host the always popular “DudeFest,” celebrating The Big Lebowski. The Theatre also showcases rising and established artists. Damien Rice just played to a capacity crowd inside the theatre. Visit their website for a full list of events and film showtimes. Tampa Theatre is located at 711 North Franklin Street. 

If you’re in need of a live music fix we highly recommend you take a little trip to Skipper’s Smokehouse. This establishment features some of the best ribs you’ve ever had and provides a platform for rising talents in Tampa to have their art heard. Visit their website for a full show lineup! Skipper’s Smokehouse, 910 Skipper road. 

*Photo via Nerice Lochansky on FB

You can’t go wrong with the businesses at the Channelside Bay Plaza. The aquarium features the always popular (and growing) Florida Aquarium. It’s a local gem that we seldom get to fully take advantage of. Visit their website to learn about their newest attractions. 

Our personal favourite is Splitsville. The luxury lanes and dinner lounge area make it playground for adults. They offer a killer happy hour Thursday-Sunday, from 4-7pm. The venue also serves as the perfect spot for birthday/bachelor/bachelorette parties, a fun night out, and a great way to spice up date night. You can make reservations now on their website

 

Get more Staycation inspiration with our previous installments: Part I and Part II

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Written by Dex Fabian

Dex Fabian

Dex Fabian is the co-founder of I Love the Burg and That's So Tampa. A graphic designer by trade, Dex has been witness to Tampa Bay's explosion to become one of the hottest regions in the nation. In 2009, he helped develop the brand for I Love the Burg and in 2014 developed the branding for That's So Tampa and has been a regular contributor to both ever since.