If you're anything like me, you love a good freebie! Whether you're a college student, on a budget, or just looking for a new adventure here in the Tampa Bay area, we have a list of the best hidden gems in town that won't cost you a dime!
Everyone knows of St. Pete Beach and Ybor City, but what about the best spots for free yoga and movies in the park? Or museums with free admission so that you can broaden your knowledge of Tampa's history and culture? We're here to tell you about all of the lesser known places and events that need to be on your Tampa bucket list!
There's something for every kind of person, every mood, and every type of weather. If you're looking for a new spot to soak up some rays, want to learn about Tampa's history, or trying to entertain on a rainy day, there are free activities for all occasions!
Bayshore Boulevard Linear Park
Where:312 Bayshore Boulevard
Did you know that Tampa is home to the nation's longest sidewalk? Venture out to Bayshore Boulevard for one of the most breathtaking views of Tampa's skyline. It is also home to the Gasparilla ship, a floating landmark celebrating Tampa's rich history. Go for a run, walk, or bike ride, but pay attention to the water because there's a good chance that you'll see a pod of dolphins!
Tampa Firefighters Museum
Where: 720 E Zack St
Want a unique Instagram pic? Head over to the Tampa Firefighters Museum, a tribute to the firefighters who are heroically served Tampa Bay. But the museum is more than a neat spot to take a photo with an old fire engine, it also presents educational material on fire safety that is beneficial for everyone to learn! If you go on a weekend, you may have the privilege of seeing a wedding reception or bridal photoshoot since the museum is one of Tampa's hottest spots for tying the knot. Don't forget to stop by the gift shop on your way out to pick up your Tampa Fire Department swag!
Wine Down Waterfront Yoga
Where: 707 Harbour Post Drive
Love yoga? Love wine? Love free yoga and free wine? We sure do! Every Wednesday on Harbour Island, Cafe Dufrain hosts waterfront yoga with complimentary wine provided after the relaxing workout. You can find your center while overlooking some of Tampa's landmarks, such as Amalie Arena. For an extra freebie, each attendee receives a 3-day pass to Harbour Island Athletic Club, one of the premiere exercise and tennis facilities in the city!
Manatee Viewing Center
Where: 6990 Dickman Rd, Apollo Beach
What is more iconic to Tampa than the manatees that migrate to our waters every year? These "sea cows" are incredible creatures, not to mention adorable! The Manatee Viewing Center at Tampa Electric is free and open to the public. Thousands of people come to the Tampa Bay area every year just to see these incredible marine animals, so why not grab a front row seat? The Manatee Viewing Center is the best spot to catch a glimpse of the city's manatee population, and you don't want to miss them before they begin migrating again!
Tampa Bay Beach Bums
Where: 5260 42nd Street S, St. Petersburg
In the mood for volleyball? Tampa Bay Beach Bums is the premier beach volleyball club in town. The best part? They routinely offer free pick up games at venues all over Tampa and St. Petersburg! Playing with Beach Bums is a great way to meet new people, dig your toes in the sand, and show off your competitive side. Keep an eye on their website for a list of upcoming pickup games, as well as tournaments and other volleyball happenings. Not in the mood to play? Spectators are always welcome to cheer on the teams!
Yuengling Brewing Company
Where: 11111 N 30th St
Want to learn about Tampa's beer scene? Venture over to Yuengling Brewing Company for a behind-the-scenes education of how this favorite beverage is made. Tour times run Wednesday through Saturday at 10:30 a.m. and 1:00 a.m.. After each tour, all attendees over age 21 are offered samples of beer made right there in the brewery. Who doesn't love free beer?!
Courtney Campbell Causeway
Where: W Courtney Campbell Causeway
Water, palm trees, sunsets. What is more quintessentially Florida? The Courtney Campbell Causeway is a 9.5-mile span across Old Tampa Bay that includes bike trails, white sand beaches, and a scenic highway perfect for a Saturday afternoon drive. Stop to take in the sight of boats on the water, enjoy a colorful sunset, or pack a picnic for a waterfront lunch.
Where: 2722 S MacDill Ave
Are you an art buff? Then you must make time to visit CASS Contemporary, a select art gallery in South Tampa. The gallery specializes in collectible pieces, but you don't have to be an art collector to enjoy the exhibitions and shows put on here. With both indoor and outdoor installations, this is a fantastic place to get a taste of the local creative scene.
Where: 900 Martinique Ave
Want a taste of island life without leaving the city? Then venture over to Davis Islands where you can watch the cruise ships leave port, soak up the sun on the shoreline, and play a game of pick-up soccer while the small planes take off from the Peter O. Knight Airport next to Seaplane Basin Park. Don't forget to make time to explore the East Davis Island neighborhood with some of Tampa's largest homes and celebrity homeowners (think Derek Jeter!)
Wat Thai Temple
Where: 5306 Palm River Rd
The Wat Thai Temple needs to be on your Insta bucket list! With ornate statues and a stunning architecture, the history and culture offered here are truly gems in the Tampa area. With picnic tables throughout the grounds, it's a great spot to camp out for an afternoon with a book and packed lunch. On Sundays, the temple hosts a market complete with authentic Thai dishes and dance performances.
Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park
Where: 600 N Ashley Drive
The heart of downtown Tampa, Curtis Hixon park is a jack of all trades space. It has been the host of many free events ranging from evening yoga to food vendors to music performances (Fun Fact: Usher once put on a free show in Curtis Hixon park!) Go during the day to enjoy the dog park with your furry friends, or take a romantic stroll at night to enjoy the colorful water displays. If you want to immerse yourself in Tampa's social scene, this is where you need to be!
Where: 198 Bayshore Drive NE, St. Petersburg
If you're on the St. Pete's side of the bridge, don't worry because we've got your movies in the park covered with showings at Straub Park. A popular locale for live performances, pick up frisbee games, and waterfront jogging, this public venue is picture perfect with sailboats in the marina and all of the amenities of downtown St. Pete within walking distance. And the fun in Straub Park doesn't stop when summer is over — during the holidays, you don't want to miss the light displays in the park!
J.C. Newman Cigar Company
Where: 2701 N 16th St
If you want to learn about Tampa's rich history, then you have to visit the J.C. Newman Cigar Company, the home of one of the nation's oldest cigar factories. Located in Ybor City, the factory emanates the Cuban influence that defines so much of Tampa's culture. Walk through the factory, learn how cigars are made, and make the most of this free experience.
Where: Downtown Tampa (Multiple Venues)
This monthly event, aptly named for its occurrence on the fourth Friday of every month, is an excellent way to get to know the best of what Tampa has to offer. With free admission to museums, local artisans and food vendors, and Happy Hour gatherings, Fourth Friday is a highlight of the freebies available in the area. Put on a cute dress, grab some friends, and explore what makes Tampa such a great city!
Where: 10 Tampa Riverwalk
The Tampa Riverwalk connects some of the most iconic establishments in town. Along the Riverwalk you can find The Straz Center for the Performing Arts, The Glazer Children's Museum, The Florida Aquarium, and a host of locally owned restaurants. Take a relaxing walk down the Riverwalk to see the sun go down over the water, be an audience to a crew regatta, or join the group of morning joggers who can always be found on the trail. For an added experience, see if you can locate all of the marble and bronze statues depicting notable figures in Tampa's history that comprise the Historical Monument Trail along the Riverwalk.
Florida Botanical Gardens
Where: 12520 Ulmerton Rd
Is there anything better than a sunny day spent surrounded by beautiful scenery? The Florida Botanical Gardens is a free attraction that showcases the array of flora native to Tampa. Take a walk through the flower gardens, sit by the water for a meditation, or plan a scavenger hunt to find interesting species of plants and wildlife. Whether you go alone for some solitude, make it an intimate outing with your SO, or take in the gardens with a group of friends, you don't want to miss the wonders you can see here!