If you’re a new Tampa-area resident or are thinking of becoming one, we at ICI Homes are here to offer four informal rites of residentship!
It’s tongue-in-cheek, of course, but all four suggestions are alternately fun, scenic and tasty, plus they’ll will give you a true sense of place and history.
From north to south:
Vist Ybor City
One of Tampa’s most historic neighborhoods, Ybor City dates to 1886, when its namesake, Spanish entrepreneur Vicente Martinez-Ybor, moved his cigar factory north from Key West. Tampa’s Latin Quarter has provided a rich cultural, entertainment and business experience ever since.
You’ll find old brick buildings, vernacular architecture and streetcars. Museums abound and cigar emporiums still exist. Buy your own, freshly rolled.
In recent decades, Ybor City has regenerated as a neighborhood. Historic buildings have been repurposed for residences and offices. Many of Tampa’s top nightclubs and restaurants are located in Ybor City, which has a distinct, bustling charm by daylight, yet glows and parties with nighttime crowds in its narrow streets.
Since you’re here…
Eat at the Columbia Restaurant
This is Florida’s oldest restaurant, now run by the fourth and fifth generations of the Gonzmart family that founded it in 1905.
There are six other Columbia locations throughout Florida, but the Ybor City original is a must-stop. It seats 110 diners, boasts 15 dining rooms and offers authentic Flamenco dancing six nights a week. Sprawling over an entire city block, the Columbia grew from a tiny corner market, survived Ybor City’s mid-20th-century urban decline and today thrives as an anchor of the revitalized Tampa neighborhood.
Tips: visit the Columbia’s original bar and ogle the thickly carved bar countertops. A “1905 salad” and black bean soup always are classics.
Cruise Bayshore Boulevard
This major north-south artery begins just south of downtown Tampa and skirts the western edge of Hillsborough Bay. It also serves as the eastern edge of another historic Tampa neighborhood, Hyde Park. Some of the city’s most gorgeous homes — from the late 1880s and early 1900s — front its asphalt expanse.
Bayshore Boulevard’s 10-foot-wide sidewalk, next to its decorative concrete balustrade, forms the backdrop of a daily parade of walkers, runners, bicyclists and amblers. Marketed as the “World’s Longest Sidewalk” — 4.5 miles, this attraction incorporates Bayshore Boulevard Linear Park. There’s also a 3.5-mile bike path along that stretch.
Once you’re done cruising Bayshore, hang a right on Gandy Boulevard. Head west across the Gandy Bridge toward neighboring St. Petersburg. Once there, you can…
Check out the Don CeSar
The shell-pink hotel directly on St. Pete Beach, is another local icon. It began life in 1928.
Once a Roaring 20s hot spot, it’s now the centerpiece of a modern resort, but its history and enduring beauty make a field trip to “the Don” another check-list item if you’re a new Tampa Bay-area resident.
During World War II, the U.S. Army bought “the Don” and used it as a hospital, then as a Veterans Administration property. It was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1974. It’s starred in movies, television shows and MTV videos.
Walk its historic grounds and enjoy a sunset over the Gulf of Mexico and from its pool deck, or its white sand beach.
Ready to live your Tampa lifestyle? Talk to ICI Homes here.