Visitors seeking world-class entertainment and a thriving arts scene should look no further than Florida’s Tampa Bay. A region known for its diversity and commitment to the arts, Tampa is home to theaters showcasing Broadway-style performances, art galleries, museums, and popular sports teams.
From laughing out loud at a comedy club to cheering on the Tampa Rays at the stadium, there’s a world of possibilities for quality entertainment in the area.
Tampa’s Theaters and Comedy Clubs Deserve a Standing Ovation
Nothing beats a night out at the theater and Tampa’s venues provide a distinct slate of performances, ranging from touring Broadway productions to niche plays.
Toe-tapping entertainment meets scenic views of the Hillsborough River at the Straz Center for the Performing Arts. A cherished institution in the Tampa area for more than 30 years, the center is known for its professional productions of popular musicals such as “Hamilton” and “Wicked.” If opera or ballet is more your style, Opera Tampa and Tampa City Ballet perform at the center regularly.
Nestled in Tampa’s bustling Channel District, Stageworks Theatre isn’t afraid to shake up the status quo by performing provocative plays that make you think such as “The Color Purple” and “The Smell of the Kill.” As Tampa’s longest-running professional theater company, this venue aims to serve as a community catalyst, eradicating intolerance through performance art and education.
Looking for a unique place to catch a film? Built in 1926, the Tampa Theatre is a nonprofit movie palace and beloved community landmark. The single auditorium boasts a full schedule of first-run and classic films, concerts, and special events that visitors can enjoy underneath a realistic-looking starry night sky.
Prepare to laugh out loud at the Improv Comedy Theater in Centro Ybor. Known for launching the careers of David Spade and Bette Midler, this comedy club has been serving up laughs in the Tampa area for more than 50 years. After the show, grab a quick bite at the on-site restaurant. The menu features a range of cuisine, from traditional American fare to Mexican.
Appreciate Art at the Local Museums
Tampa’s visual arts scene continues to thrive with many museums and galleries to be found throughout the city. At the Tampa Museum of Art, rotating exhibitions highlight ancient, modern, and contemporary art styles. From highlighting the artists of Old Tampa Bay to showcasing the beauty of Black history through black and white photography, the museum’s interactive exhibits celebrate the diverse perspectives in the art community.
Don’t miss out on the galleries and exhibitions at the USF Contemporary Art Museum. Serving the community since 1989, the museum is located next to the USF College of Arts. They offer special gallery tours and a variety of rotating exhibitions like “Jesse Murry: Rising” and “Necessary Angels: Jesse Murry & Lisa Yuskavage,” so make sure to check their schedule to confirm what will be on display when you visit.
If you love photography, The Florida Museum of Photographic Art (FMoPA) is a must-see attraction. An eye-catching building featuring floor-to-ceiling windows, the museum is almost a work of art itself in the heart of downtown Tampa. Exhibitions rotate throughout the year, with past exhibitions including “The Company We Keep,” an intimate portrait of humanity’s connection with animals, and the works of internationally renowned artists Suzanne Camp Crosby and Mariette Pathy Allen.
Jam to Live Music in Tampa
With a multitude of trendy venues to choose from, Tampa is a music lover’s paradise. If you’re looking to enjoy live music while you’re in town, you can choose from popular hot spots to laidback local hangouts.
Formerly located in the historic Ybor City entertainment district, The Orpheum is now in the up-and-coming North Tampa area. With over 20 years of shows in the books, some of today’s best-known and emerging artists from Gayle to Four Year Strong have graced The Orpheum’s stage. Not only that, but the venue also boasts other types of performances like professional wrestling, art shows, charity fundraisers, and more.
Don’t miss a night dancing to live music and special events at Crowbar Ybor. Known for hosting a variety of rock, hip hop, electronic, punk, and indie shows, the Crowbar Ybor is open to the public seven nights a week.
Seeking a more intimate venue? The Attic is perfect for date nights and private events. Featuring horseshoe booths and colorful artwork and guitars on the walls, this local spot is a favorite in the community if you’re seeking a concert with a touch of ambiance in Historic Ybor City.
Experience Annual Tampa Festivals
Tampa is renowned for hosting some of the nation’s top festivals. From music festivals to cultural celebrations, Tampa’s festival scene has something in store for every traveler. For film buffs, you’ll want to check out the Gasparilla International Film Festival in March or the Tampa International Gay and Lesbian Film Festival in October.
If you’re looking for a music festival, don’t miss the Tampa Bay Blues Festival in April. For 25 years, this highly anticipated event has been entertaining the Tampa area with a vibrant blend of blues and Americana music. Music lovers, head over to Hyde Park Village for the Annual Hyde Park Village Art Fair in October to browse life-sized sculptures, spectacular paintings, unique jewelry, ceramics, and so much more.
Cheer on Tampa’s Sports Teams
Calling all sports fans – Tampa Bay is home to three major sports teams: Tampa Bay Lightning, the Tampa Bay Rays, and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. With a passionate fanbase locally, you’ll find the energy to be contagious as you cheer from the stands at a game of hockey, baseball, or football.
As you can see, Tampa Bay knows how to entertain. Whether you’re being swept away by dazzling musical productions or touring eclectic art galleries, the choices throughout Florida’s Gulf Coast are unrivaled.