Tampa, Florida facts for kids
Quick facts for kids
|City of Tampa|
Cigar City, The Big Guava,
Location in Hillsborough County and the state of Florida
|Incorporated (Village)||January 18, 1849|
|Incorporated (Town)||September 10, 1853 and
August 11, 1873
|Incorporated (City)||December 15, 1855 * and
July 15, 1887
|• Type||Strong Mayor–Council|
|• City||175.83 sq mi (455.40 km2)|
|• Land||114.02 sq mi (295.30 km2)|
|• Water||61.82 sq mi (160.10 km2) 35.3%|
|• Urban||802.3 sq mi (2,078 km2)|
|• Metro||2,554 sq mi (6,610 km2)|
|Elevation||48 ft (14.6 m)|
|• Rank||52nd in the US|
|• Density||3,376.36/sq mi (1,303.62/km2)|
|• Urban||2.4 million (17th)|
|Demonym(s)||Tampan, Tampanian, Tampeño|
|Time zone||UTC−5 (EST)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC−4 (EDT)|
33601–33626, 33629–33631, 33633–33635, 33637, 33646, 33647, 33650, 33655, 33660–33664, 33672–33675, 33677, 33679–33682, 33684–33689, 33694
|Area code(s)||813, 656|
|GNIS feature ID||0292005|
|Primary Airport||Tampa International Airport|
|Major State Routes|
|Public Transit||Hillsborough Area Regional Transit, TECO Line Streetcar, Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority|
|* Original city charter revoked by Florida Legislature on October 4, 1869|
Tampa is a major city on the Gulf Coast of the U.S. state of Florida. The city's borders include the north shore of Tampa Bay and the east shore of Old Tampa Bay. Tampa is the largest city in the Tampa Bay area and the seat of Hillsborough County. With a population of 384,959 according to the 2020 census, Tampa is the third-most populated city in Florida after Jacksonville and Miami and is the 52nd most populated city in the United States.
Tampa functioned as a military center during the 19th century with the establishment of Fort Brooke. The cigar industry was also brought to the city by Vincente Martinez Ybor, after whom Ybor City is named. Tampa was formally reincorporated as a city in 1887, following the Civil War. Today, Tampa's economy is driven by tourism, health care, finance, insurance, technology, construction, and the maritime industry. The bay's port is the largest in the state, responsible for over $15 billion in economic impact.
The city is part of the Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, Florida Metropolitan Statistical Area which is a four-county area composed of roughly 3.1 million residents, making it the second-largest metropolitan statistical area (MSA) in the state and the fourth largest in the Southeastern United States, behind Washington, D.C., Miami, and Atlanta. The Greater Tampa Bay area has over 4 million residents and generally includes the Tampa and Sarasota metro areas. As of 2018, Tampa's annual growth rate is 1.63%.
- Arts and culture
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The word "Tampa" may mean "sticks of fire" in the language of the Calusa, a Native American tribe that once lived south of today's Tampa Bay. This might be a reference to the many lightning strikes that the area receives during the summer months. Other historians claim the name means "the place to gather sticks". Toponymist George R. Stewart writes that the name was the result of a miscommunication between the Spanish and the Indians, the Indian word being "itimpi", meaning simply "near it". The name first appears in the "Memoir" of Hernando de Escalante Fontaneda (1575), who had spent 17 years as a Calusa captive. He calls it "Tanpa" and describes it as an important Calusa town. While "Tanpa" may be the basis for the modern name "Tampa", archaeologist Jerald Milanich places the Calusa village of Tanpa at the mouth of Charlotte Harbor, the original "Bay of Tanpa". A later Spanish expedition did not notice Charlotte Harbor while sailing north along the west coast of Florida and assumed that the current Tampa Bay was the bay they sought. The name was accidentally transferred north. Mapmakers were using the term Bay or Bahia Tampa as early as 1695.
People from Tampa are known as "Tampans" or "Tampanians". Local authorities consulted by Michael Kruse of the Tampa Bay Times suggest that "Tampan" was historically more common, while "Tampanian" became popular when the former term came to be seen as a potential insult. Latin Americans from Tampa are known as "tampeños", or "tampeñas" for females. These terms of Spanish origin emerged after 1900 for the immigrant communities in West Tampa and Ybor City. The tampeño, or "Tampa Latin", the community is a mix of Cuban, Italian, Spanish, and American influences, with Cuban influence being dominant.
Not much is known about the cultures who called the Tampa Bay area home before European contact. When Spanish explorers arrived in the 1520s, they found Tocobaga villages around the northern half of Tampa Bay and Calusa villages along the southern portion of the bay.
Expeditions led by Pánfilo de Narváez and Hernando de Soto landed near Tampa, but neither conquistador stayed long. The native inhabitants repulsed any Spanish attempt to establish a permanent settlement or convert them to Catholicism. The newcomers brought with them infectious diseases, resulting in a total collapse of the native cultures of Florida. The Tampa area was depopulated and ignored for more than 200 years.
In the mid-18th century, events in American colonies drove the Seminole Indians into northern Florida. During this period, the Tampa area had only a handful of residents: Cuban and Native American fishermen. They lived in a small village at the mouth of Spanishtown Creek on Tampa Bay, in today's Hyde Park neighborhood along Bayshore Boulevard.
After purchasing Florida from Spain in 1821, the United States built forts and trading posts in the new territory. Fort Brooke was established in January 1824 at the mouth of the Hillsborough River on Tampa Bay, in Downtown Tampa. Tampa was initially an isolated frontier outpost. The sparse civilian population practically abandoned the area during the Second Seminole War from 1835 to 1842, after which the Seminoles were forced out and many settlers returned.
Florida became the 27th state in 1845. On January 18, 1849, Tampa was officially incorporated as the "Village of Tampa". Tampa was home to 185 civilians, or 974 total residents including military personnel, in 1850. Tampa was reincorporated as a town on December 15, 1855.
Civil War and Reconstruction
During the Civil War, Florida seceded along with most of the southern states to form the Confederate States of America, and Fort Brooke was manned by Confederate troops. Martial law was declared in Tampa in January 1862, and Tampa's city government ceased to operate for the duration of the war.
In 1861, the Union Navy set up a blockade around many southern ports to cut off the Confederacy, and several ships were stationed near the mouth of Tampa Bay. The Battle of Fort Brooke on October 16 and the Battle of Ballast Point on October 18, 1863, damaged the Confederates, with Union troops destroying Confederate blockade runners. The Civil War ended in April 1865 with a Confederate defeat.
In May 1865, federal troops arrived in Tampa to occupy the fort and the town as part of Reconstruction. They remained until August 1869.
Tampa was a fishing village with very few people and little industry, and limited prospects for development. Tampa's chronic yellow fever epidemics, borne by mosquitoes from the swampland, were widespread during the late 1860s and 1870s, and many residents left.
In 1869, residents voted to abolish the city of Tampa government. The population of "Tampa Town" was below 800 by 1870 and had fallen further by 1880. Fort Brooke was decommissioned in 1883, and except for two cannons displayed on the University of Tampa campus, all traces of the fort are gone.
1880s economic prosperity
In the mid-1880s, Tampa's fortunes took several sudden turns for the better. First, phosphate was discovered in the Bone Valley region southeast of Tampa in 1883. The mineral, vital for the production of fertilizers and other products, was soon being shipped out from the Port of Tampa in great volume. Tampa is still a major phosphate exporter.
The discovery of phosphate, the arrival of Plant's railroad, and the founding of Ybor City and West Tampa—all in the mid-1880s—were crucial to Tampa's development. The once-struggling village of Tampa became a bustling boomtown almost overnight and had grown into one of the largest cities in Florida by 1900.
Henry B. Plant's narrow-gauge South Florida Railroad reached Tampa and its port in late 1883, finally connecting the small town to the nation's railroad system after years of efforts by local leaders. Previously, Tampa's overland transportation links had consisted of sandy roads stretching across the Florida countryside. Plant's railroad made it much easier to get goods in and out of the Tampa Bay area. Phosphate and commercial fishing exports could be sent north by rail and many new products were brought into the Tampa market, along with the first tourists.
The new railroad link enabled another important industry to come to Tampa. In 1885, the Tampa Board of Trade enticed Vicente Martinez Ybor to move his cigar manufacturing operations to Tampa from Key West. Proximity to Cuba made importation of "clear Havana tobacco" easy by sea, and Plant's railroad made a shipment of finished cigars to the rest of the US market easy by land.
Since Tampa was still a small town at the time (population less than 5000), Ybor built hundreds of small houses around his factory to accommodate the immediate influx of mainly Cuban and Spanish cigar workers. Ybor City's factories rolled their first cigars in 1886, and many different cigar manufacturers moved their operations to town in the ensuing years. Many Italian and a few eastern European Jewish immigrants arrived starting in the late 1880s, opening businesses and shops that catered to cigar workers. By 1900, over 10,000 immigrants had moved to the neighborhood. Several thousand more Cuban immigrants built West Tampa, another cigar-centric suburb founded a few years later by Hugh MacFarlane. Between them, two "Latin" communities combined to exponentially expand Tampa's population, economic base, and tax revenues, as Tampa became the "Cigar Capital of the World".
Early 20th century
During the first few decades of the 20th century, the cigar-making industry was the backbone of Tampa's economy. The factories in Ybor City and West Tampa made an enormous number of cigars—in the peak year of 1929, over 500,000,000 cigars were hand rolled in the city.
In 1904, a local civic association of local businessmen dubbed themselves Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla (named after local mythical pirate Jose Gaspar), and staged an "invasion" of the city followed by a parade. With a few exceptions, the Gasparilla Pirate Festival has been held every year since.
Mid to late 20th century
Tampa grew considerably as a result of World War II. Prior to the United States' involvement in the conflict, construction began on MacDill Field, the predecessor of present-day MacDill Air Force Base. MacDill Field served as the main base for Army Air Corps and later Army Air Forces operations just before and during World War II, with multiple auxiliary airfields around the Tampa Bay area and surrounding counties. At the end of the war, MacDill remained as an active military installation while the auxiliary fields reverted to civilian control. Two of these auxiliary fields would later become the present-day Tampa International Airport and St. Petersburg-Clearwater International Airport. With the establishment of an independent U.S. Air Force in 1947, MacDill Field became MacDill AFB.
During the 1950s and 1960s Tampa saw record-setting population growth that has not been seen since. This amazing growth spurred major expansion of the city's highways and bridges bringing thousands into the city and creating endless possibilities for Tampa business owners who welcomed tourists and new citizens alike into their neighborhoods. It was during this time period in the city's history that two of the most popular tourist attractions in the area were developed – Busch Gardens and Lowry Park. Many of the well-known institutions that play an important role in the economic development of the city were established during this time period.
The University of South Florida was established in North Tampa in 1956 and opened for students in September 1960. The school spurred the construction of several residential and commercial development in the previously agriculture-dominated area around the new campus. Overall, Tampa continued to expand away from the city center during the 1960s as new hospitals, schools, churches, and subdivisions all began appearing to accommodate the growth. Many business offices began moving away from the traditional downtown office building into more convenient neighborhood office plazas.
In 1970, the Census Bureau reported the city's population as 80.0% white and 19.7% black.
Four attempts have been made to consolidate the municipal government of the city of Tampa with the county government of Hillsborough County (1967, 1970, 1971, and 1972), all of which failed at the ballot box; the greatest loss was also the most recent attempt in 1972, with the final tally being 33,160 (31%) in favor and 73,568 (69%) against the proposed charter.
The biggest recent growth in the city was the development of New Tampa, which started in 1988 when the city annexed a mostly rural area of 24 square miles (62 km2) between I-275 and I-75.
East Tampa, historically a mostly black community, was the scene of several race riots during and for some time after the period of racial segregation, mainly due to problems between residents and the Tampa Police Department.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 170.6 square miles (442 km2) including 112.1 square miles (290 km2) of land and 58.5 square miles (151.5 km2) (34.31%) of water. The highest point in the city is only 48 feet (15 m). Tampa is bordered by two bodies of water, Old Tampa Bay and Hillsborough Bay, both of which flow together to form Tampa Bay, which in turn flows into the Gulf of Mexico. The Hillsborough River flows out into Hillsborough Bay, passing directly in front of Downtown Tampa and supplying Tampa's main source of freshwater. Palm River is a smaller river flowing from just east of the city into McKay Bay, which is a smaller inlet, sited at the northeast end of Hillsborough Bay Tampa's geography is marked by the Interbay Peninsula which divides Hillsborough Bay (the eastern) from Old Tampa Bay (the western).
Tampa's climate displays characteristics of a tropical climate, but is situated on the southern fringe of the humid subtropical climate (Köppen Cfa) zone. Tampa's climate generally features hot summer days with frequent thunderstorms in the summer (rain is less frequent in the fall and winter), and a threat of a light winter freeze from November 15 through March 5 caused by occasional cold fronts from the north. Average highs range from 70 to 90 °F (21 to 32 °C) year round, and lows 52 to 76 °F (11 to 24 °C). Tampa's official recorded high has never hit 100 °F (37.8 °C) – the all-time record high temperature is 99 °F (37 °C), recorded on June 5, 1985.
Because of Tampa Bay, Tampa is split between two USDA climate zones. According to the 2012 USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map, Tampa is listed as USDA zone 9b north of Kennedy Boulevard away from the bay and 10a south of Kennedy Boulevard and along the bay, Zone 10a is about the northern limit of where coconut palms and royal palms can be grown, although some specimens do grow in northern Tampa. Southern Tampa has much more tropical foliage than the northern parts of the city.
Temperatures are warm to hot from around mid-May through mid-October, which roughly coincides with the rainy season. Summertime weather is very consistent from June through September, with daytime highs near 90 °F (32 °C), lows in the mid-70s °F (23–24 °C), and high humidity.
Afternoon thunderstorms, usually generated by the interaction of the Gulf and Atlantic sea breezes, are such a regular occurrence during the summer that the Tampa Bay area is recognized as the "Lightning Capital of North America". Every year, Florida averages 10 deaths and 30 injuries from lightning strikes, with several of these usually occurring in or around Tampa. Because of the frequent summer thunderstorms, Tampa has a pronounced wet season, receiving an average of 26.1 inches (663 mm) of rain from June to September but only about 18.6 inches (472 mm) during the remaining eight months of the year. The historical averages during the late summer, especially September, are augmented by passing tropical systems, which can easily dump many inches of rain in one day. Tropical Storm Debby in 2012 dropped 8.57 inches (218 mm) of rain at Tampa International Airport on June 24, 2012 and amounts up to 10.36 inches (263 mm) was reported by a CoCoRaHS observer in NW Tampa. Outside of the summer rainy season, most of the area's precipitation is delivered by the occasional passage of a weather front.
The regular summertime afternoon thundershowers occasionally intensify into a severe thunderstorm, bringing heavy downpours, frequent lightning, strong straight-line winds, and sometimes hail.
Though it is affected by tropical storms every few years and threatened by tropical systems almost annually, Tampa has not taken a direct hit from a hurricane since 1921. That seemed about to change in 2004, when Hurricane Charley was forecast to make landfall near downtown Tampa, with potentially devastating effects for the entire region. The danger prompted the largest evacuation order for Pinellas County history and the largest evacuation request in Florida since Hurricane Floyd five years before. But Charley never reached Tampa Bay. After paralleling Florida's southwest coastline, the storm swerved to the east and slammed into Punta Gorda instead.
In the winter, average temperatures range from the low to mid 70s °F (21–24 °C) during the day to the low to mid 50s °F (10–13 °C) at night. However, sustained colder air pushes into the area on several occasions every winter, dropping the highs and lows to 15 °F (8 °C) or more below the seasonal averages for several days at a time. The temperature can fall below freezing an average of 2 to 3 times per year, though this does not occur every season.
Since the Tampa area is home to a diverse range of freeze-sensitive agriculture and aquaculture, hard freezes, although very infrequent, are a major concern. Since Tampa has some characteristics of a tropical climate, hard freezes (defined as below 28 °F (−2.2 °C)) happen rarely (every 5 to 20 years depending on location). The last officially recorded freeze at Tampa International Airport took place on the morning of January 13, 2011, when the temperature dropped to 31 °F (−1 °C).
The lowest temperature ever recorded in Tampa was 18 °F (−8 °C) on December 13, 1962. The last measurable snow in Tampa fell on January 19, 1977, with a total accumulation of 0.2 inches (0.5 cm). Three major freezes occurred in the 1980s: in January 1982, January 1985, and December 1989. The losses suffered by farmers forced many to sell off their citrus groves, which helped fuel a boom in subdivision development in the 1990s and 2000s.
In January 2010, a prolonged cold snap was the longest stretch of cold weather in the history of Tampa. Temperatures did not get above 49 °F (9.4 °C) for 5 days and there were freezes every night in northern Tampa for a week straight, causing significant damage to tropical foliage.
The city is divided into many neighborhoods, many of which were towns and unincorporated communities annexed by the growing city. Generally, the city is divided into the following areas: Downtown Tampa, New Tampa, West Tampa, East Tampa, North Tampa, and South Tampa. Well-known neighborhoods include Ybor City, Forest Hills, Ballast Point, Sulphur Springs, Seminole Heights, Tampa Heights, Palma Ceia, Hyde Park, Davis Islands, Tampa Palms, College Hill, and non-residential areas of Gary and the Westshore Business District.
Tampa displays a wide variety of architectural designs and styles. Most of Tampa's high rises demonstrate Post-modern architecture. The design for the renovated Tampa Museum of Art, displays Post-modern architecture, while the city hall and the Tampa Theatre belong to Art Deco architecture. The Tampa mayor Pam Iorio made the redevelopment of Tampa's downtown, especially residential development, a priority. Several residential and mixed-development high-rises have been constructed. Another of Mayor Iorio's initiatives was the Tampa Riverwalk, a mixed-use path along the Hillsborough River downtown and Channelside (Channelside was recently approved to undergo major renovations by Tampa Bay Lightning owner Jeff Vinik along with other investors). Several museums are part of the plan, including new homes for the Tampa Bay History Center, the Tampa Children's Museum, and the Tampa Museum of Art. Mayor Bob Buckhorn has continued these developments.
Tampa is the site of several skyscrapers. Overall, there are 18 completed buildings that rise over 250 feet (76 m) high. The city also has 69 high-rises, second only to Miami in the state of Florida. The tallest building in the city is 100 North Tampa, formerly the AmSouth Building, which rises 42 floors and 579 feet (176 m) in Downtown Tampa. The structure was completed in 1992, and is the tallest building in Florida outside of Miami and Jacksonville.
Bank of America Plaza (1986)
SunTrust Financial Centre (1992)
The Element (2009)
The Sunshine Skyway Bridge (1987)
The Sulphur Springs Water Tower, a landmark in Sulphur Springs section of the city, dates back to the late 1920s. This boom period for Florida also saw the construction of an ornate movie palace, the Tampa Theatre, a Mediterranean revival on Davis Islands, and Bayshore Boulevard, which borders Hillsborough Bay from downtown Tampa to areas in South Tampa. The road has a 6-mile (10 km) continuous sidewalk on the eastern end, the longest in the world.
The Ybor City District is home to several buildings on the National Register of Historic Places and has been declared a National Historic Landmark. Notable structures include El Centro Español de Tampa, Centro Asturiano de Tampa and other social clubs built in the early 1900s.
Babe Zaharias Golf Course in the Forest Hills area of Tampa has been designated a Historical Landmark by the National Register of Historic Places. It was bought in 1949 by the famous 'Babe', who had a residence nearby, and closed upon her death. In 1974, the city of Tampa opened the golf course to the public. The Story of Tampa, a public painting by Lynn Ash, is a 4-by-8-foot (1.2 m × 2.4 m) oil on masonite mural that weaves together many of the notable aspects of Tampa's unique character and identity. It was commissioned in 2003 by the city's Public Art Program and can be found in the lobby of the Tampa Municipal Office Building. Park Tower (originally the First Financial Bank of Florida) is the first substantial skyscraper in downtown Tampa. Completed in 1973, it was the tallest skyscraper in Tampa until the completion of One Tampa City Center in 1981. The Rivergate building, a cylindrical building known as the "Beer Can building", was featured in the movie "The Punisher".
Spanning the southern part of Tampa Bay is the massive steel span Sunshine Skyway Bridge.
Tampa is home to the Bro Bowl, one of the last remaining skateparks built during skateboarding's "Golden Era" in the 1970s. It opened in 1979 and was constructed by Tampa Parks and Recreation. It was the first public skatepark to be constructed in Florida and the third on the East Coast.
|2010 Census||Tampa||Hillsborough County||Florida|
|Population, percent change, 2000 to 2010||+10.6%||+23.1%||+17.6%|
|Population density||2,960.2/sq mi||1,204.9/sq mi||350.6/sq mi|
|White (including White Hispanic)||62.9%||71.3%||75.0%|
|Black or African-American||26.2%||16.7%||16.0%|
|Hispanic or Latino (of any race)||23.1%||24.9%||22.5%|
|Native American or Native Alaskan||0.4%||0.4%||0.4%|
|Pacific Islander or Native Hawaiian||0.1%||0.1%||0.1%|
|Two or more races (Multiracial)||3.2%||3.1%||2.5%|
As of 2000, the largest European ancestries in the city were German (9.2%), Irish (8.4%), English (7.7%), Italian (5.6%), and French (2.4%).
As of 2010, there were 157,130 households, out of which 13.5% were vacant. In 2000, 27.6% of households had children under the age of 18 living with them, 36.4% were married couples living together, 16.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 42.9% were non-families. 33.7% of all households were made up of individuals, and 10.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.36 and the average family size was 3.07.
In 2000, the city's population was spread out, with 24.6% under the age of 18, 10.0% from 18 to 24, 32.3% from 25 to 44, 20.5% from 45 to 64, and 12.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 34.7 years old. For every 100 females, there were 95.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 92.1 males.
In 2006, the median income for a household in the city was $39,602, and the median income for a family was $45,823. Males had a median income of $40,461 versus $29,868 for females. The per capita income for the city was $26,522. 20.1% of the population and 16.4% of families were below the poverty line. 31.0% of those under the age of 18 and 13.6% of those 65 and older were living below the poverty level.
As of 2000, those who spoke only English at home accounted for 77.4% of all residents, while 22.6% spoke other languages in their homes. The most significant was Spanish speakers who made up 17.8% of the population, while French came up as the third most spoken language, which made up 0.6%, and Italian was at fourth, with 0.6% of the population.
Arts and culture
Arts and entertainment
Tampa is home to a variety of stage and performing arts venues and theaters, including the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts, Tampa Theatre, Gorilla Theatre, and the MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre next to the Florida State Fairgrounds.
Performing arts companies and organizations which call Tampa home include the Florida Orchestra, Opera Tampa, Jobsite Theater, the Master Chorale of Tampa Bay, Stageworks Theatre, Spanish Lyric Theater, Tampa Bay Opera, and the Tampa Bay Symphony.
Current popular nightlife districts include Channelside, Ybor City, SoHo, International Plaza and Bay Street, and Seminole Hard Rock. Downtown Tampa also contains some nightlife, and there are more clubs/bars to be found in other areas of the city. Tampa is rated sixth on Maxim magazine's list of top party cities.
The area has become a "de facto" headquarters of professional wrestling, with many pros living in the area. WWE's developmental territory, Florida Championship Wrestling, is also based in Tampa.
Tampa is home to several death metal bands, an extreme form of heavy metal music that evolved from thrash metal. Many of the genre's pioneers and foremost figures are based in and around the city. Chief among these are Deicide, Six Feet Under, Obituary, Death and Morbid Angel. The Tampa scene grew with the birth of Morrisound Recording, which established itself as an international recording destination for metal bands.
The underground rock band, the Baskervils, got their start in Tampa. They played the Tampa Bay area between 1994 and 1997 and then moved to New York City. Underground hip-hop group Equilibrium is based out of Tampa, as well as the Christian metalcore band, Underoath.
In 2009, the new Frank Wildhorn musical Wonderland: Alice's New Musical Adventure hosted its world premiere at the Straz Center.
The Tampa area is home to a number of museums that cover a wide array of subjects and studies. These include the Museum of Science & Industry (MOSI), which has several floors of science-related exhibits plus the only domed IMAX theater in Florida and a planetarium; the Tampa Museum of Art; the USF Contemporary Art Museum; the Tampa Bay History Center; the Tampa Firefighters Museum; the Henry B. Plant Museum; and Ybor City Museum State Park. Permanently docked in downtown's Channel District is the SS American Victory, a former World War II Victory Ship which is now used as a museum ship.
Tampa has a diverse culinary scene from small cafes and bakeries to bistros and farm-to-table restaurants. The food of Tampa has a history of Cuban, Spanish, Floribbean and Italian cuisines. There are also many Colombian cuisine, Puerto Rican cuisine, Vietnamese cuisine and Barbecue restaurants. Seafood is also very popular in Tampa, and Greek cuisine is prominent in the area, including around Tarpon Springs. Food trucks in Tampa, Florida are popular and the area holds the record for the world's largest food truck rally. In addition to Ybor, the areas of Seminole Heights and South Tampa are known for their restaurants.
Tampa is the birthplace of the Florida version of the deviled crab and the Cuban sandwich, which has been officially designated as the "signature sandwich of the city of Tampa" by the city council. A Tampa Cuban sandwich is distinct from other regional versions, as Genoa salami is layered in with the other ingredients. likely due to the influence of Italian immigrants living next to Cubans and Spaniards in Ybor City.
Tampa is also where several restaurant chains were founded or headquartered, including Outback Steakhouse, Melting Pot, Front Burner Brands, Carrabba's, Fleming's Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar, Bonefish Grill, Columbia Restaurant, Checkers and Rally's, Taco Bus, and PDQ.
Tourism and recreation
The city of Tampa operates over 165 parks and beaches covering 2,286 acres (9.25 km2) within city limits; 42 more in surrounding suburbs covering 70,000 acres (280 km2), are maintained by Hillsborough County. These areas include the Hillsborough River State Park, just northeast of the city. Tampa is also home to a number of attractions and theme parks, including Busch Gardens Tampa Bay, Adventure Island, Lowry Park Zoo, and Florida Aquarium.
Lowry Park Zoo features over 2,000 animals, interactive exhibits, rides, educational shows and more. The zoo serves as an economic, cultural, environmental, and educational anchor in Tampa.
Big Cat Rescue is one of the largest accredited sanctuaries in the world dedicated entirely to abused and abandoned big cats. It is home to about 80 lions, tigers, bobcats, cougars, and other species, most of whom have been abandoned, abused, orphaned, saved from being turned into fur coats, or retired from performing acts. They have a variety of different tours available.
Busch Gardens Tampa Bay is a 335-acre (1.36 km2) Africa-themed park located near the University of South Florida. It features many thrilling roller coasters, for which it is known, including Sheikra, Montu, Gwazi, and Kumba. Visitors can also view and interact with a number of African wildlife. Adventure Island is a 30-acre (12 ha) water park adjacent to Busch Gardens.
The Florida Aquarium is a 250,000 sq ft (23,000 m2) aquarium located in the Channel District. It hosts over 20,000 species of aquatic plants and animals. It is known for its unique glass architecture. Adjacent to the Aquarium is the SS American Victory, a World War II Victory ship preserved as a museum ship.
The Tampa Bay History Center is a museum located in the Channel District. It boasts over 60,000 sq ft (5,600 m2) of exhibits through 12,000 years. Theaters, map gallery, research center and museum store.
Well-known shopping areas include International Plaza and Bay Street, WestShore Plaza, SoHo district, and Hyde Park Village. Palma Ceia is also home to a shopping district, called Palma Ceia Design District. Previously, Tampa had also been home to the Floriland Mall (now an office park), Tampa Bay Center (demolished and replaced with the new Tampa Bay Buccaneers training facility, known as "One Buc Place"), and East Lake Square Mall (now an office park).
The Tampa Port Authority currently operates three cruise ship terminals in Tampa's Channel District. The Port of Tampa is the year-round home port for Carnival Cruise Lines' MS Carnival Inspiration and MS Carnival Legend. In 2010 Tampa will also be a seasonal port for Holland America Line's MS Ryndam, as well as Royal Caribbean International's MS Grandeur of the Seas and MS Radiance of the Seas. A fourth company, Norwegian Cruise Line, has announced plans to sail out of Tampa for the first time. The 2,240 passenger MS Norwegian Star will be Tampa's largest cruise ship when it debuts a seasonal schedule in 2011. Cruise itineraries from Tampa include stops in the Eastern and Western Caribbean islands, Honduras, Belize, and Mexico.
Perhaps the most well-known and anticipated events are those from Tampa's annual celebration of "Gasparilla", particularly the Gasparilla Pirate Festival, a mock pirate invasion held since 1904 in late January or early February. Often referred to as Tampa's "Mardi Gras", the invasion flotilla led by the pirate ship, Jose Gasparilla, and subsequent parade draw over 400,000 attendees, contributing tens of millions of dollars to the city's economy. Beyond the initial invasion, numerous Gasparilla festivities take place each year between January and March, including the Gasparilla Children's Parade, the more adult-oriented Sant'Yago Knight Parade, the Gasparilla Distance Classic, Gasparilla Festival of the Arts, and the Gasparilla International Film Festival, among other pirate-themed events.
Other notable events include the Outback Bowl, which is held on New Year's Day at Raymond James Stadium. Each February, The Florida State Fair brings crowds from across the state, while "Fiesta Day" celebrates Tampa's Cuban, Spanish, German, Italian, English, Irish, Jewish, and African-Cuban immigrant heritage. The India International Film Festival (IIFF) of Tampa Bay also takes place in February. In April the MacDill Air Fest entertains as one of the largest military air shows in the U.S. Guavaween, a nighttime street celebration infuses Halloween with the Latin flavor of Ybor City. Downtown Tampa hosts the largest anime convention in Florida, Metrocon, a three-day event held in either June or July at the Tampa Convention Center. Ybor also hosts "GaYbor Days", an annual street party in the GLBT-friendly GaYbor district. The Tampa International Gay and Lesbian Film Festival, held annually since 1989, is the city's largest film festival event, and one of the largest independent gay film festivals in the country.
Tampa hosted the 2012 Republican National Convention and the 15th International Indian Film Academy Awards in April 2014.
- See also: List of sister cities in Florida
Tampa has formalized sister city agreements with the following cities:
Finance, retail, healthcare, insurance, shipping by air and sea, national defense, professional sports, tourism, and real estate all play vital roles in the area's economy. Hillsborough County alone has an estimated 740,000 employees, a figure which is projected to increase to 922,000 by 2015.
Since the year 2000, Tampa has seen a notable upsurge in high-market demand from consumers, signaling more wealth concentrated in the area. In 2021, the US Department of Labor awarded a two-year grant of nearly US$3 million to a program called "Connecting Talent to Careers" led by the Advanced Robotics for Manufacturing Institute and Tooling U-SME to deliver a rapid re-employment program to address a shortage of skilled labor in manufacturing in the region exposed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Corporations and nonprofits
Several large corporations, such as banks and telecommunications companies, maintain regional offices in Tampa. The largest credit union in Florida, Suncoast Credit Union, is headquartered in Tampa.
Several Fortune 1000 companies are headquartered in the metropolitan area, including Bloomin' Brands, WellCare, Jabil, TECO Energy, and Raymond James Financial. Other companies headquartered in Tampa include Greenway Health, College Hunks Hauling Junk, Arturo Fuente, J.C. Newman Cigar Company, Masonite International, Sykes Enterprises, Cott Corporation, The Melting Pot, Checkers and Rally's and The Mosaic Company
|BayCare Health System||19,600||Healthcare|
|Publix Super Market||13,800||Retail|
|HCA West Florida||13,150||Healthcare|
|Tampa General Hospital||6,600||Healthcare|
|JPMorgan Chase & Co.||5,000||Finance|
|Moffitt Cancer Center||4,300||Healthcare|
The main server farm for Wikipedia and other Wikimedia Foundation projects is in Tampa.
Downtown Tampa is undergoing significant development and redevelopment in line with a general national trend toward urban residential development. In April 2007, the Tampa Downtown Partnership noted development proceeding on 20 residential, hotel, and mixed-use projects. Many of the new downtown developments were nearing completion in the midst of a housing market slump, which caused numerous projects to be delayed or revamped, and some of the 20 projects on TDP lists have not broken ground and are being refinanced. Nonetheless, several developments were completed, making downtown into a 24-hour neighborhood instead of a 9 to 5 business district. As of 2010, Tampa residents faced a decline in rent of 2%. Nationally rent had decreased by 4%. The Tampa Business Journal found Tampa to be the number two city for real estate investment in 2014.
Port Tampa Bay
Port Tampa Bay is now the seventh-largest in the nation and Florida's largest tonnage port, handling nearly half of all seaborne commerce that passes through the state. Tampa ranks second in the state behind Miami in terms of cruise ship travel. Besides smaller regional cruise ships such as Yacht Starship and SunCruz Casino, Tampa also serves as a port of call for three cruise lines: Holland America's MS Ryndam, Royal Caribbean's Grandeur of the Seas and Radiance of the Seas, and Carnival's Inspiration and Legend.
MacDill Air Force Base
MacDill Air Force Base remains a major employer as the parent installation for over 15,000 active uniformed military, Department of Defense (DoD) civil service and DoD contractor personnel in the Tampa Bay area. A significant majority of the civil service and contractor personnel are, in fact, themselves retired career military personnel. In addition to the 6th Air Mobility Wing, which is the "host wing" for the base, MacDill is also home to Headquarters, United States Central Command (USCENTCOM), Headquarters, United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM), the 927th Air Refueling Wing, Headquarters, United States Marine Forces Central Command (USMARCENT), Headquarters, United States Special Operations Command Central (USSOCCENT), and numerous other military activities of the active and reserve components of the armed forces.
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers||National Football League (NFL)||Raymond James Stadium||1976||2 (XXXVII, LV)|
|Tampa Bay Lightning||National Hockey League (NHL)||Amalie Arena||1992||3 (2004, 2020, 2021)|
|Tampa Bay Rays||Major League Baseball (MLB)||Tropicana Field (St. Petersburg)||1998||0|
|Tampa Bay Rowdies||United Soccer League (USL)||Al Lang Stadium (St. Petersburg)||1975 (original club), 2010 (current club)||3 (1975, 2012, 2020*)|
|Tampa Bay Titans||The Basketball League (TBL)||Pasco–Hernando State College||2019||0|
|Tampa Bay Vipers||XFL||Raymond James Stadium||2020||0|
*Co-champions, championship game canceled due to COVID-19 pandemic.
Tampa is currently represented by teams in three major professional sports leagues: the National Football League, the National Hockey League, and Major League Baseball. The NFL's Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the NHL's Tampa Bay Lightning call Tampa home, while the Tampa Bay Rays of the MLB play across the bay in St. Petersburg. As indicated by their names, these teams, plus several other sports teams, represent the entire Tampa metropolitan area. Tampa Bay's current professional teams have won eight combined championships in their respective leagues.
The Tampa Bay area has long been a site for Major League Baseball spring training facilities and minor league baseball teams. The New York Yankees conduct spring training in Tampa, and their Low-A affiliate Tampa Tarpons plays there in the summer.
Between September 2020 and July 2021 all three of Tampa Bay's major teams, as well as the Tampa Bay Rowdies, qualified for their sport's championship series. The Lightning beat the Dallas Stars in the 2020 Stanley Cup Finals, the Rays lost to the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 2020 World Series, the Rowdies and Phoenix Rising FC were named co-league champions after the USL Championship game was canceled due to COVID-19, the Buccaneers beat the Kansas City Chiefs in the Super Bowl, and the Lightning beat the Montreal Canadiens in the 2021 Stanley Cup Finals. This dynasty earned the area the nickname "Champa Bay".
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers began in 1976 as an expansion team of the NFL. They struggled at first, losing their first 26 games in a row to set a league record for futility. After a brief taste of success in the late 1970s, the Bucs again returned to their losing ways, and at one point lost at least 10 games for 12 seasons in a row. The hiring of Tony Dungy in 1996 started an improving trend that eventually led to the team's victory in Super Bowl XXXVII in 2003 under coach Jon Gruden. They won their second championship in Super Bowl LV with quarterback Tom Brady and became the first NFL team to ever win a Super Bowl at their home stadium.
Originally the Pittsburgh Gladiators and a charter member of the Arena Football League (AFL), the Tampa Bay Storm relocated from Pittsburgh in 1991 and won ArenaBowl V that year. They later won 4 more ArenaBowls (VII, IX, X, and XVII, and also appeared in ArenaBowl I, III, XII, XXIII and XXX), and their five championships were the most in league history. The AFL suffered through several years of decreasing revenue in the 2010s, leading to fewer active franchises. There were only five teams during the 2017 season, after which the Storm's ownership group suspended operations.
Tampa was also home to the Tampa Bay Bandits of the United States Football League. The Bandits made the playoffs twice in their three seasons under head coach Steve Spurrier and drew league-leading crowds to Tampa Stadium, but the team folded along with the rest of the USFL after the 1985 season. They played at Tampa Stadium, which hosted the 1984 USFL Championship Game.
The Tampa Bay Vipers play in the second edition of the XFL. Their inaugural season was cut short after five weeks due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Tampa Bay Tornadoes was founded in 2020 and describe themselves as the successors to the defunct Tampa Bay Storm. They play in the American Arena League.
The Tampa Bay area has long been home to nationally competitive amateur baseball and has hosted spring training and minor league teams for over a century. Tampa became the first city in Florida to host a major league team for spring training in 1913 when the Chicago Cubs trained at Plant Field. The Tampa Smokers was the city's first minor league team, beginning play as charter members of the new Florida State League in 1919.
After decades of trying to lure an existing Major League Baseball franchise, the Tampa Bay area finally gained a team in 1998, when the expansion Tampa Bay Devil Rays began to play at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg. After a decade of futility on the field, the Devil Rays shortened their nickname to simply Rays in 2008 and promptly won the 2008 American League Pennant, finishing runner up in World Series. They also won American League East titles in 2008 and 2010 under manager Joe Maddon before slipping back in the standings.
In 2007, the Rays began the process of searching for a stadium site closer to the center of the area's population, possibly in Tampa. However, over a decade later, the rivalry between Tampa and St. Petersburg and the challenges of financing a new ballpark have kept the Rays playing at Tropicana Field.
In 2020, the Rays won the AL East for the first time in a decade with the best record in the American League. Due to the COVID-19 shortened season, 16 teams made the playoffs, so the Rays had to play a best of 3 series against the division rival Toronto Blue Jays in the first round of the Rays postseason, where they swept the visitors in two games at Tropicana Field. then play a divisional series against the New York Yankees, which they won in 5 games at a neutral site in San Diego. The Rays then faced the Astros, who had defeated them in the divisional round the previous year. Tampa Bay went out to a quick 3–0 series lead, but Houston came back to tie the series 3–3. The Rays avoided the reverse sweep in Game 7 and won their second American League Pennant, then lost the World Series in 6 games to the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Several Major League baseball teams conduct Spring Training in the area, and most also operate minor league teams in the Low-A Southeast. The major league New York Yankees and the affiliated minor league Tampa Tarpons use George M. Steinbrenner Field across Dale Mabry Highway from Raymond James Stadium.
Across the bay in Pinellas County, the Philadelphia Phillies affiliate Clearwater Threshers and Toronto Blue Jays affiliate Dunedin Blue Jays also play in the Low-A Southeast. Other nearby Low-A Southeast teams include the Pittsburgh Pirates affiliate Bradenton Marauders and the Detroit Tigers affiliate Lakeland Flying Tigers. The Phillies, Blue Jays, Pirates, and Tigers all play their Spring Training games at their minor league teams' ballparks.
The Tarpons have won five league titles, the Flying Tigers have won four, the Threshers have won two, and the Blue Jays and Marauders have each won one.
The area was formerly home to many teams in the former Florida State League that no longer exist, most notably the Tampa Smokers, St. Petersburg Saints, and the original Tampa Tarpons.
The NHL's Tampa Bay Lightning was established in 1992, and play their home games at Amalie Arena in downtown Tampa. In 2004, the team won their first Stanley Cup by defeating the Calgary Flames in 7 games. The Lightning lost the Eastern Conference Final in 2011 in 7 games against the eventual champion Boston Bruins. The Bolts were Eastern Conference champions in 2015, losing to the Chicago Blackhawks in the Finals. They returned to the Eastern Conference Final in 2016 but lost in 7 games to the eventual champion Pittsburgh Penguins. They returned again to the Eastern Conference Final in 2018 but lost in 7 games to the eventual champion Washington Capitals. The Lightning won their second Stanley Cup in 2020, defeating the Dallas Stars in 6 games. They would later win their third Stanley Cup the following year in 2021 after defeating the Montreal Canadiens in 5 games. Tampa hosted the skills contests and 2018 NHL All-Star Game weekend on January 27–28, 2018.
The Tampa Bay Rowdies compete in the United Soccer League Championship after spending their first 6 seasons in the North American Soccer League. The team began to play at Tampa's George M. Steinbrenner Field in 2010, then moved to St. Petersburg's Al Lang Field in 2011. The Rowdies won their first league championship in Soccer Bowl 2012. The Rowdies made the USL Championship Final for the first time in 2020, though it was canceled due to COVID-19. The Rowdies and the other finalist, Phoenix Rising FC, were named co-champions by the league.
Previously, Tampa had hosted two top-level soccer teams. The Tampa Bay Rowdies of the original North American Soccer League was the area's first major sports franchise, beginning play in 1975 at Tampa Stadium. The Rowdies were an immediate success, drawing good crowds and winning Soccer Bowl '75 in their first season to bring Tampa its first professional sports championship. Though the NASL ceased operations in 1984, the Rowdies continued to compete in various soccer leagues until finally folding in 1993.
The success of the Rowdies prompted Major League Soccer (MLS) to award Tampa a charter member of the new league in 1996. The Tampa Bay Mutiny were the first MLS Supporters' Shield winner and had much early success beginning in 1996. However, the club folded in 2001 when local ownership could not be secured mainly due to a financially poor lease agreement for Raymond James Stadium. The city has no current representation in MLS, however, the Rowdies are seeking to join the league.
The Tampa Bay Titans play in The Basketball League (TBL). Their home games are played at Pasco–Hernando State College.
The St. Pete Tide and the Tampa Gunners play in the Florida Basketball Association (FBA). The Tide's home games are played at St. Petersburg Catholic High School, and the Gunners are a travel team.
Amalie Arena was used as the home of the NBA's Toronto Raptors for the 2020–2021 season because of the Canadian government regulations due to the COVID-19 pandemic in Canada. It was the first time an NBA team played home games in Tampa, though some exhibition preseason games had been played in Tampa between the Orlando Magic and Miami Heat prior to this.
University of South Florida
- See also: South Florida Bulls
The University of South Florida is the only NCAA Division I sports program in Tampa. USF began playing intercollegiate sports in 1965. The Bulls established a men's basketball team in 1971 and a football team in 1997 and sponsor 17 teams in total. The Bulls joined the Big East in 2005, and the football team rose to as high as #2 in the BCS rankings in 2007. They are now part of the American Athletic Conference. USF has won six NCAA National Championships: softball in 1983 and 1984, women's swimming in 1985, and sailing in 2009, 2016, and 2017.
University of Tampa
- See also: Tampa Spartans
The University of Tampa Spartans compete in 20 sports at the NCAA Division II level in the Sunshine State Conference (SSC). They have won a total of 19 Division II National Championships, including eight in baseball.
Hillsborough Community College
The Hillsborough Community College Hawks are an NJCAA Division I junior college team and a member of the Florida College System Activities Association they compete in the Suncoast Conference and the Southern Conference in Region VIII of The National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA).
Major events hosted in the Tampa Bay Area
- Further information: Sports in the Tampa Bay area#Major championship events hosted in Tampa Bay
- Super Bowls XVIII and XXV (Tampa Stadium)
- Super Bowls XXXV, XLIII, and LV (Raymond James Stadium)
- 1984 USFL Championship Game (Tampa Stadium)
- 2008 World Series games 1 and 2 (Tropicana Field)
- 2004 Stanley Cup Finals games 1, 2, 5, and 7 (Amalie Arena)
- 2015 Stanley Cup Finals games 1, 2 and 5 (Amalie Arena)
- 2021 Stanley Cup Finals games 1, 2, and 5 (Amalie Arena)
- Soccer Bowl 2012 Leg 2 (Al Lang Stadium)
- ArenaBowl IX (Tropicana Field)
- ArenaBowl XII and XVII (Amalie Arena)
- 2017 College Football Playoff National Championship Game (Raymond James Stadium)
- 1999 NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Final Four (Tropicana Field)
- 2008, 2015, and 2019 NCAA Division I Women's Basketball Final Four (Amalie Arena)
- 1978, 1979, and 1980 NCAA Division I Men's Soccer Championship Game (Tampa Stadium)
- 1990 and 1991 NCAA Division I Men's Soccer Championship Game (USF Soccer Stadium)
- 2012 and 2016 NCAA Division I Men's Hockey Frozen Four (Amalie Arena)
- 2009 NCAA Division I Women's Volleyball Final Four (Amalie Arena)
- 2015 NCAA Division I Men's Golf Championship and 2015 NCAA Division I Women's Golf Championship (The Concession Golf Club)
- 2021 USL Championship Final (Al Lang Stadium)
Future events planned to be held in the Tampa Bay area
- 2023 NCAA Division I Men's Ice Hockey Frozen Four (Amalie Arena)
- 2023 NCAA Division I Women's Volleyball Final Four (Amalie Arena)
- 2025 NCAA Division I Women's Basketball Final Four (Amalie Arena)
- See also: List of schools in Hillsborough County, Florida
Primary and secondary schools
Public primary and secondary education is operated by Hillsborough County Public Schools, officially known as the School District of Hillsborough County (SDHC). It is the eighth-largest school district in the United States, with around 189,469 enrolled students. SDHC runs 208 schools, 133 being elementary, 42 middle, 27 high schools, two K–8s, and four career centers. There are 73 additional schools in the district that are charter, ESE, alternative, etc. Twelve out of 27 high schools in the SDHC are included in Newsweek's list of America's Best High Schools.
Tampa's library system is operated by the Tampa-Hillsborough County Public Library System. THPLS operates 25 libraries throughout Tampa and Hillsborough County, including the John F. Germany Public Library in Downtown Tampa. The Tampa library system first started in the early 20th century, with the West Tampa Library, which was made possible with funds donated by Andrew Carnegie. Tampa's libraries are also a part of a larger library network, The Hillsborough County Public Library Cooperative, which includes the libraries of the neighboring municipalities of Temple Terrace and Plant City.
There are a number of institutions of higher education in Tampa.
The city is home to the main campus of the University of South Florida (USF), a member of the State University System of Florida founded in 1956. USF is classified among "R1: Doctoral Universities – Very high research activity" and is one of only three universities in Florida designated as a Preeminent State Research University. As of 2021, USF has the seventh-highest undergraduate enrollment in the U.S. with over 51,000 students.
The University of Tampa (UT) is a private, four-year liberal arts institution. It was founded in 1931, and in 1933, it moved into the former Tampa Bay Hotel across the Hillsborough River from downtown Tampa. "UT" has undergone several expansions in recent years and had an enrollment of over 9000 students in 2018.
Hillsborough Community College is a two-year community college in the Florida College System with campuses in Tampa and Hillsborough County. Southern Technical College is a private two-year college that operates a campus in Tampa. Hillsborough Technical Education Centers (HiTEC) is the postsecondary extension of the local areas Public Schools district. The schools provide a variety of technical training certification courses as well as job placement skills.
The Stetson University College of Law is in Gulfport and has a second campus, the Tampa Law Center, in downtown Tampa. The Law Center houses the Tampa branch of Florida's Second District Court of Appeal.
Other colleges and universities in the wider Tampa Bay Area include Jersey College, Eckerd College, Florida College, and St. Petersburg College in St. Petersburg.
Three motor vehicle bridges cross Tampa Bay to Pinellas County from Tampa city limits: the Howard Frankland Bridge (I-275), the Courtney Campbell Causeway (SR 60), and the Gandy Bridge (U.S. 92). The old Gandy Bridge was completely replaced by new spans during the 1990s, but a span of the old bridge was saved and converted into a pedestrian and biking bridge renamed The Friendship Trail. It was the longest overwater recreation trail in the world. However, the bridge was closed in 2008 due to structural problems.
Tampa has several freeways which serve the city. There are two tolled freeways bringing traffic in and out of Tampa. The Lee Roy Selmon Expressway (SR 618), runs from suburban Brandon at its eastern terminus, through Downtown Tampa, to the neighborhoods in South Tampa (near MacDill Air Force Base) at its western terminus. The Veterans Expressway (SR 589), meanwhile connects Tampa International Airport and the bay bridges to the northwestern suburbs of Carrollwood, Northdale, Westchase, Citrus Park, Cheval, and Lutz, before continuing north as the Suncoast Parkway into Pasco and Hernando counties.
Three of the city's freeways carry the interstate highway designation. Interstate 4 and Interstate 275 cut across the city and intersect near downtown. Interstate 75 runs along the east side of town for much of its route through Hillsborough County until veering to the west to bisect New Tampa.
Along with the city's freeways, major surface roads serve as the main arteries of the city. These roads are Hillsborough Avenue (U.S. 92 and U.S. 41), Dale Mabry Highway (U.S. 92), Nebraska Avenue (U.S. 41/SR 45), Florida Avenue (U.S. 41 Business), Bruce B. Downs Boulevard, Fowler Avenue, Busch Boulevard, Kennedy Boulevard (SR 60), Adamo Drive, and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard.
Tampa is served by three airports (one in Tampa, two in the metro area) that provide significant scheduled passenger air service:
- Tampa International Airport (IATA: TPA) is Tampa's main airport and the primary location for commercial passenger airline service in the Tampa Bay area. It is also a consistent favorite in surveys of the industry and the traveling public. The readers of Condé Nast Traveler have frequently placed Tampa International in their list of Best Airports, ranking it #1 in 2003, and #2 in 2008 A survey by Zagat in 2007 ranked Tampa International first among U.S. airports in overall quality. In 2008, it was the 26th-busiest airport in North America.
- St. Petersburg-Clearwater International Airport (IATA: PIE) lies just across the bay from Tampa International Airport in neighboring Pinellas County. The airport has become a popular destination for discount carriers, with over 90% of its flights being on low-cost carriers Allegiant Air. A joint civil-military aviation facility, it is also home to Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater, the largest air station in the U.S. Coast Guard.
- Sarasota–Bradenton International Airport (IATA: SRQ) is in nearby Sarasota. Sarasota airport has more flights to Delta's Atlanta hub than any other city but also serves several other large U.S. cities.
Tampa's intercity passenger rail service is based at Tampa Union Station, a historic facility, adjacent to downtown between the Channel District and Ybor City. The station is served by Amtrak's Silver Star, which calls on Tampa twice daily: southbound to Miami and northbound for New York City. Union Station also serves as the transfer hub for Amtrak Thruway Motorcoach service, offering bus connections to several cities in southwest Florida and to Orlando.
Uceta Rail Yard on Tampa's east side services CSX as a storage and intermodal freight transport facility. Freight and container cargo operations at the city's seaports also depend upon dockside rail facilities.
The Port of Tampa is the largest port in Florida in throughput tonnage, making it one of the busiest commercial ports in North America. Petroleum and phosphate are the lead commodities, accounting for two-thirds of the 37 million tons of total bulk and general cargo handled by the port in 2009. The port is also home to Foreign Trade Zone #79, which assists companies in Tampa Bay and along the I-4 Corridor in importing, exporting, manufacturing, and distribution activities as part of the United States foreign trade zone program.
Weekly containerized cargo service is available in the Port of Tampa. Cargo service is offered by Ports America, Zim American Integrated Shipping Company, and MSC which has recently partnered with Zim. 3,000 to 4,250 TEU containerships regularly call the Port of Tampa.
The bay bottom is very sandy, with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers constantly dredging the ship channels to keep them navigable to large cargo ships.
Public mass transit in Tampa is operated by the Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority (HART), and includes public bus as well as a streetcar line. The HART bus system's main hub is the Marion Transit Center in Downtown Tampa, serving nearly 30 local and express routes. HART also operates a rapid-transit bus system called MetroRapid that runs between Downtown and the University of South Florida.
The TECO Line Streetcar provides electric streetcar service along eleven stations on a 2.7-mile (4.3 km) route, connecting Ybor City, the Channel District, the Tampa Convention Center, and downtown Tampa. The TECO Line fleet features varnished wood interiors reminiscent of late 19th and mid-20th century streetcars.
Limited transportation by privately operated "Neighborhood Electric Vehicles" (NEV) is available, primarily in Downtown Tampa and Ybor City. Water taxis are available on a charter basis for tours along the downtown waterfront and the Hillsborough River.
Tampa and its surrounding suburbs are hosts to over 20 hospitals, four trauma centers, and multiple Cancer treatment centers. Tampa is also home to many health research institutions. The major hospitals in Tampa include Tampa General Hospital, St. Joseph's Children's & Women's Hospital, James A. Haley Veterans Hospital, H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute, and the Pepin Heart Institute at Advent Health Hospital. Shriners Hospitals for Children is based in Tampa. USF's Byrd Alzheimer's Institute is both a prominent research facility and Alzheimer's patient care center in Tampa. Along with human health care, there are hundreds of animal medical centers including the Humane Society of America.
Water in the area is managed by the Southwest Florida Water Management District. The water is mainly supplied by the Hillsborough River, which in turn arises from the Green Swamp, but several other rivers and desalination plants in the area contribute to the supply. Power is mainly generated by TECO Energy.
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