With our 2018 NORM Conference in Tampa, FL October 4-6, we wanted to learn more about our host town. We sat down with Ciarra Luster, Digital Engagement with Visit Tampa, so she could give us the inside scoop on how to act like a local in Tampa.
This will be a lot of folk’s first time in Tampa Bay. Can you tell us about some of the great attractions nearby?
The Marriott Waterside is the perfect starting off point to access some of Tampa’s best attractions. You’re just a quick walk from the Tampa Bay History Center, Florida Aquarium and the Tampa Museum of Art. A short drive can get you to Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo or Busch Gardens Tampa. You also won’t want to miss out on the streetcar just steps from the hotel, which will whisk you away to Tampa’s Historic District, Ybor City. Folks can also take the downtowner (free, street legal, golf cart style ride share) to the HB Plant Museum located within a 5 minute ride from the hotel.
Can you tell us about anything within walking distance people should check out while we stay in town?
The Marriott Waterside is conveniently located on Tampa’s Riverwalk – a 2.4-mile-long waterfront path that winds through Tampa’s downtown and connects museums, restaurants and parks. Attendees can enjoy a Segway tour by land or hit the water on a kayak, water bike, stand up paddle board or an electric boat — all located steps from the hotel.
What is something unique folks could do in TB in an afternoon?
Take a leisurely and informative river cruise on the Pirate Water Taxi – based just steps from your hotel! You’ll get a chance to explore downtown from the water with stops along the Riverwalk and on Harbour Island (We recommend hopping off at the Ulele stop to enjoy a drink and a game of cornhole on their gorgeous riverfront lawn). If you’d rather explore some local flavors, check out some of Tampa Bay’s numerous craft breweries, many of which are located a quick drive or trolley ride from downtown (Check out BayCrafted.com for more information).
Do you have any suggested links where people can go for more information?
VisitTampaBay.com is a wealth of visitor information! It’s a great resource for learning more about the area’s attractions and excellent dining options.
Let’s play a game of fill in the blank!
- If you’re looking for a good time at night in Tampa Bay, you should…
- Take the streetcar to Ybor City for access to nightclubs, bars, breweries, restaurants and cigar shops galore. If you’re in search of a top-notch cocktail, stop by Ciro’s Speakeasy on Bayshore Boulevard, but be sure to call ahead to get the password for the night.
- If you’ve never eaten in Tampa Bay, you have to try our…
- Fresh seafood! Our Gulf Coast location means a variety of fresh seafood all year-round. You also can’t leave Tampa without dining at the Columbia Restaurant, a 5th & 6th generation family operated Spanish restaurant located in Ybor City. Enjoy a Flamenco show with dinner and the 1905 salad is a must try!Bern’s Steakhouse is world renowned dining experience. Definitely take a tour of the wine cellar and indulge in dessert in their dessert room!
- If you brought your kids to Tampa Bay, they’d love…
- The brand new splash pad at Florida Aquarium! October is usually still bathing suit weather here. Glazer Children’s museum is just a short walk from the hotel and Lowry Park Zoo is absolutely worth the 10 minute drive.
- If you’re looking to relax in Tampa Bay, you should go to…
- Spa Evangeline located at the Epicurean Hotel in the SoHo district is the perfect spot to unwind. They offer a variety of spa services and are conveniently located adjacent to The Edge, a rooftop bar with excellent cocktails. If you want to stay a little closer to the hotel, enjoy the sunset at the Sail Pavilion, a 360-degree open air bar located on the Tampa Riverwalk next to the hotel.
- If you want to really experience Tampa Bay, you have to…
- Rent a Coast Bike and take in the entire Riverwalk and Bayshore Boulevard. Tampa offers such incredible waterfront views, and they’re easy to explore by bike.
- If you want to sound like a local say…
- ARRRGGGH! The locals will know what that means! (Learn more about Tampa’s pirate history https://www.visittampabay.com/tampa-events/gasparilla-season/ )
- If you want to eat like a local…
- Grab a Cuban sandwich, they were invented here more than 100 years ago. Pair that sandwich with deviled crab for a true Tampa treat.