Tampa, Florida facts

Tampa, Florida
City
City of Tampa
Images from top, left to right: Skyline of Downtown Tampa, Amalie Arena, Ybor City, Henry B. Plant Museum, Raymond James Stadium, Busch Gardens Tampa Bay
Images from top, left to right: Skyline of Downtown Tampa, Amalie Arena, Ybor City, Henry B. Plant Museum, Raymond James Stadium, Busch Gardens Tampa Bay
Flag of Tampa, Florida
Flag
Official seal of Tampa, Florida
Seal
Nickname(s): Cigar City, The Big Guava
Location in Hillsborough County and the state of Florida
Location in Hillsborough County and the state of Florida
Country  United States
State  Florida
County Flag of Hillsborough County, Florida.png Hillsborough
Settled 1823
Incorporated (Village) January 18, 1849
Incorporated (Town) September 10, 1853 and
August 11, 1873
Incorporated (City) December 15, 1855 * and
July 15, 1887
Government
 • Type Mayor-council
 • Mayor Bob Buckhorn (D)
 • Legislative Tampa City Council
Area
 • City 170.6 sq mi (441.9 km2)
 • Land 112.1 sq mi (290.3 km2)
 • Water 58.5 sq mi (151.6 km2)  34.3%
 • Urban 802.3 sq mi (2,078 km2)
 • Metro 2,554 sq mi (6,610 km2)
Elevation 48 ft (14.6 m)
Population (2013)
 • City 369,075
 • Rank 53rd in the US
 • Density 2,969.6/sq mi (1,146.7/km2)
 • Urban 2.4 million (17th)
 • Metro 2,824,724
Demonym(s) Tampan, Tampanian
Time zone EST (UTC-5)
 • Summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
ZIP codes 33601–33626, 33629–33631, 33633–33635, 33637, 33647, 33650–33651, 33655, 33660–33664, 33672–33675, 33677, 33679–33682, 33684–33690, 33694, 33697
Area code(s) 813
FIPS code 12-71000
GNIS feature ID 0292005
Website www.tampagov.net
* Original city charter revoked by Florida Legislature on October 4, 1869

Tampa (/ˈtæmpə/) is a major city in, and the county seat of, Hillsborough County, Florida. It is located on the west coast of Florida on Tampa Bay, near the Gulf of Mexico, and is part of the Tampa Bay Metropolitan Area. The city had a population of 346,037 in 2011.

The current location of Tampa was once inhabited by indigenous peoples of the Safety Harbor culture (most notably the Tocobaga and the Pohoy, who lived along the shores of Tampa Bay). The area was explored by Spanish explorers in the 16th century, resulting in violent conflicts and the introduction of European diseases, which wiped out the original native cultures. Although Spain claimed Florida as part of New Spain, it did not found a colony in the Tampa area, and there were no permanent American or European settlements within today's city limits until after the United States acquired Florida from Spain in 1819.

In 1824, the United States Army established a frontier outpost called Fort Brooke at the mouth of the Hillsborough River, near the site of today's Tampa Convention Center. The first civilian residents were pioneers who settled near the fort for protection from the nearby Seminole population, and the small village was first incorporated as "Tampa" in 1849. The town grew slowly until the 1880s, when railroad links, the discovery of phosphate, and the arrival of the cigar industry jump-started its development, helping it to grow from a quiet village of less than 800 residents in 1880 to a bustling city of over 30,000 by the early 1900s.

Today, Tampa is part of the metropolitan area most commonly referred to as the "Tampa Bay Area". For U.S. Census purposes, Tampa is part of the Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, Florida Metropolitan Statistical Area. The four-county area is composed of roughly 2.9 million residents, making it the second largest metropolitan statistical area (MSA) in the state, and the fourth largest in the Southeastern United States, behind Miami, Washington, D.C. and Atlanta. The Greater Tampa Bay area has over 4 million residents and generally includes the Tampa and Sarasota metro areas. The Tampa Bay Partnership and U.S. Census data showed an average annual growth of 2.47 percent, or a gain of approximately 97,000 residents per year. Between 2000 and 2006, the Greater Tampa Bay Market experienced a combined growth rate of 14.8 percent, growing from 3.4 million to 3.9 million and hitting the 4 million population mark on April 1, 2007. A 2012 estimate shows the Tampa Bay area population to have 4,310,524 people and a 2017 projection of 4,536,854 people.

Tampa was ranked as the 5th best outdoor city by Forbes in 2008. Tampa also ranks as the fifth most popular American city, based on where people want to live, according to a 2009 Pew Research Center study. A 2004 survey by the NYU newspaper Washington Square News ranked Tampa as a top city for "twenty-somethings." Tampa is ranked as a "Gamma+" world city by Loughborough University, ranked alongside other world cities such as Phoenix, Charlotte, Rotterdam, and Santo Domingo.

History

Etymology

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. Map makers 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", community is a mix of Cuban, Italian, Spanish, and American influences, with Cuban influence being dominant.

European exploration

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.

TocobagaTerritory
Extent of Tocobaga culture

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 disease, 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.

U.S. control

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.

Fortbrooke
Fort Brooke circa 1840.

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.

Ft. Brooke Cannon
A surviving Ft. Brooke cannon on the University of Tampa campus.

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

Port Tampa Inn
Port Tampa Inn, with rail line in front of hotel, c. 1900

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.

Plant's railroad

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.

Yborcigarfactory
Ybor's 1st Cigar Factory c. 1900

Ybor's cigars

Lewis Hine, Cigarmakers, Tampa, Florida, 1909
Child labor at a cigar factory, 1909. Photo by Lewis Hine.
See also: History of Ybor City

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 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 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".

TampaFranklinStreetNorth
Franklin Street, looking north past the old Hillsborough County Courthouse, Tampa c. 1910s–1920s

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.

Bolita and organized crime

Beginning in the late 19th century, illegal bolita lotteries were very popular among the Tampa working classes, especially in Ybor City. In the early 1920s, this small-time operation was taken over by Charlie Wall, the rebellious son of a prominent Tampa family, and went big-time. Bolita was able to openly thrive only because of kick-backs and bribes to key local politicians and law enforcement officials, and many were on the take.

Profits from the bolita lotteries and Prohibition-era bootlegging led to the development of several organized crime factions in the city. Charlie Wall was the first major boss, but various power struggles culminated in consolidation of control by Sicilian mafioso Santo Trafficante, Sr., and his faction in the 1950s. After his death in 1954 from cancer, control passed to his son Santo Trafficante, Jr., who established alliances with families in New York City and extended his power throughout Florida and into Batista-era Cuba.

The era of rampant and open corruption ended in the 1950s, when the Estes Kefauver's traveling organized crime hearings came to town and were followed by the sensational misconduct trials of several local officials. Although many of the worst offenders in government and the mob were not charged, the trials helped to end the sense of lawlessness which had prevailed in Tampa for decades.

Downtowntampa1913
Panorama of Downtown Tampa taken in 1913.

Mid to late 20th century

Macdill-worldwarII
MacDill Air Force Base during World War II.

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 a 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 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.

Geography

TampaColor 20151103
Landsat 8 image of Tampa Bay Region

Topography

Tampafromplane
Tampa viewed from above.

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 fresh water. 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).

Climate

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.

Paddling on the Hillsborough River
Paddling on the Hillsborough River

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.

Summer

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.

Hurr Charley radar 2004 08 13 20 47 UTC
August 2004: Hurricane Charley was forecast to make landfall in Tampa but veered east.
Tropical systems

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.

Winter

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.

Climate data for Tampa, Florida (Tampa Int'l), 1981−2010 normals, extremes 1890−present
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 86
(30)
88
(31.1)
92
(33.3)
93
(33.9)
98
(36.7)
99
(37.2)
98
(36.7)
98
(36.7)
96
(35.6)
95
(35)
92
(33.3)
86
(30)
99
(37.2)
Average high °F (°C) 69.9
(21.06)
72.5
(22.5)
76.3
(24.61)
81.0
(27.22)
87.2
(30.67)
89.6
(32)
90.1
(32.28)
90.2
(32.33)
88.9
(31.61)
84.3
(29.06)
78.0
(25.56)
72.0
(22.22)
81.7
(27.61)
Daily mean °F (°C) 60.8
(16)
63.4
(17.44)
67.3
(19.61)
72.0
(22.22)
78.4
(25.78)
82.2
(27.89)
83.0
(28.33)
83.2
(28.44)
81.7
(27.61)
76.2
(24.56)
69.1
(20.61)
63.1
(17.28)
73.4
(23)
Average low °F (°C) 51.6
(10.89)
54.4
(12.44)
58.2
(14.56)
63.0
(17.22)
69.7
(20.94)
74.8
(23.78)
75.9
(24.39)
76.2
(24.56)
74.5
(23.61)
68.0
(20)
60.3
(15.72)
54.2
(12.33)
65.1
(18.39)
Record low °F (°C) 21
(-6.1)
22
(-5.6)
29
(-1.7)
38
(3.3)
49
(9.4)
53
(11.7)
63
(17.2)
66
(18.9)
54
(12.2)
40
(4.4)
23
(-5)
18
(-7.8)
18
(-7.8)
Rainfall inches (mm) 2.23
(56.6)
2.81
(71.4)
3.03
(77)
2.03
(51.6)
2.10
(53.3)
6.68
(169.7)
7.07
(179.6)
7.77
(197.4)
6.30
(160)
2.26
(57.4)
1.55
(39.4)
2.47
(62.7)
46.30
(1,176)
Humidity 74.9 73.0 71.8 69.0 69.8 74.4 76.6 78.4 77.6 74.2 75.0 75.0 74.1
Avg. rainy days (≥ 0.01 inch) 6.8 6.6 6.6 4.9 5.5 12.7 15.9 16.0 12.2 6.5 5.1 5.8 104.6
Sunshine hours 199.9 202.7 267.5 299.1 314.5 277.8 265.3 249.5 223.0 233.9 201.7 191.6 2,926.5
Source: NOAA (relative humidity and sun 1961−1990) Weather Channel

Cityscape

Tampa skyline panorama facing northwest.

Neighborhoods

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.

Architecture

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 in 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.

Landmarks

See also: List of tallest buildings in Tampa
Tampatheater
Tampa Theatre

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.

Centro Español de Tampa
El Centro Español de Tampa

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.

Demographics

Historical populations
Census Pop.
1850 974
1870 796
1880 720 −9.5%
1890 5,532 668.3%
1900 15,839 186.3%
1910 37,782 138.5%
1920 51,608 36.6%
1930 101,161 96.0%
1940 108,391 7.1%
1950 124,681 15.0%
1960 274,970 120.5%
1970 277,714 1.0%
1980 271,523 −2.2%
1990 280,015 3.1%
2000 303,447 8.4%
2010 335,709 10.6%
Est. 2015 369,075 21.6%
source:
Tampa demographics
2010 Census Tampa Hillsborough County Florida
Total population 335,709 1,229,226 18,801,310
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 or Caucasian (including White Hispanic) 62.9% 71.3% 75.0%
(Non-Hispanic White or Caucasian) 46.3% 53.7% 57.9%
Black or African-American 26.2% 16.7% 16.0%
Hispanic or Latino (of any race) 23.1% 24.9% 22.5%
Asian 3.4% 3.4% 2.4%
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%
Some Other Race 3.8% 5.0% 3.6%

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% 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 are 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.

There is a large gay population and a gay cultural center known as the GaYbor District.

Religion

Tampa Sacred Heart Church04
The Sacred Heart Church
Holy Trinity Presbyterian Church
Holy Trinity Presbyterian Church
Episcopal House of Prayer
Episcopal House of Prayer

Communities of faith have organized in Tampa from 1846, when a Methodist congregation established the city's first church, to 1939, when a 21-year-old Billy Graham began his career as a spiritual evangelist and preacher on downtown's Franklin Street, and through to today. Among Tampa's noteworthy religious structures are Sacred Heart Catholic Church, a 1905 downtown landmark noted for its soaring, Romanesque revival construction in granite and marble with German-crafted stained glass windows, the distinctive rock and mortar St. James Episcopal House of Prayer, listed with the U.S. historic registry, and the St. Paul AME church, which has seen the likes of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and President Bill Clinton speak from its pulpit. The later two have been designated by the city government as Local Landmark Structures.

Tampa's religious community includes a broad representation of Christian denominations, including those above, and Presbyterian, Lutheran, Christian Science, Church of God, United Church of Christ, Philippine Independent Church, Unitarian Universalist, Metropolitan Community Church, Seventh-day Adventist, Eastern Orthodox (Greek, Coptic, Syrian, and OCA), various Pentecostal movements, Anglicans, the Quakers, Jehovah's Witnesses, and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. There is also at least one congregation of Messianic Jews in Tampa. In addition there is a Korean Baptist church., as well as a Mennonite Church, several Haitian Churches, and a Vietnamese Baptist Church. Tampa also has several Jewish synagogues practicing Orthodox, Conservative, and Reform. In addition, there is a small Zoroastrian community present in Tampa.

Around the city are located a handful of mosques for followers of Islam, as well as a Tibetan-style Buddhist temple, a Thai Buddhist Wat, and local worship centers for the Sikh, Hindu and Bahá'í faiths. The Church of Scientology, based in nearby Clearwater, maintains a location for its members in Tampa.

Overall, Tampa is 50th out of the largest 51 metropolitan area in the percentage of the populace that attends religious services of any kind.

Arts and culture

Tbpac
Straz Center for the Performing Arts

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.

Tampachanneldistrict
The Channelside Entertainment Complex in Tampa's Channel District.

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, Cannibal Corpse, 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.

Museums

Tampa Museum of Art
Tampa Museum of Art
IMAX Exterior
Museum of Science and Industry

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.

Cuisine

Cuban sandwiches
Cuban Sandwiches ready to be pressed in a busy café in Ybor City, Tampa

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

YborCityTampaFL02
A street festival on Ybor City's famous 7th Avenue.

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.

Events

Gasparilla Pirate Fest 2003 - Pirate Flagship Invading Tampa
Gasparilla and pirate ship

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 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.

Welcome To Tampa
A sign celebrating sports successes in Tampa.

Sister cities

See also: List of sister cities in Florida

Tampa has formalized sister city agreements with the following cities:

Images


Tampa, Florida Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.