Downtown Tampa Real Estate Tips

WOW! If there were only one word to describe Downtown Tampa now, I think I’d just have to say, WOW!. When Dan and I moved back to Tampa 26 years ago, the thought of going Downtown for anything other than a show at the Straz was pretty much unheard of. Fast forward to 2008 when we moved to Davis Islands. At that time we experienced personally what I’d describe as Downtown’s first reawakenings. Interesting, adventurous things were beginning to happen then: Rock the Park, City Bike Tampa, The Urban Restaurant Tour. Dan and I had a great time engaging in all these new urban adventures. 

Fast forward again, this time to 2019. Downtown Tampa has experienced an amazing reinvention. These are the Top 9 reasons I Dig Downtown Tampa:

1.The Riverwalk – Clearly the jewel in the crown of Tampa’s Downtown is the Riverwalk. Now extending from Sparkman Wharf all the way to Armature Works, this gorgeous walk takes you past Amalie Arena, the Tampa Bay History Center, numerous hotels, my favorite the Sail Pavillion, parks aplenty including a dog park, art installations and a fabulous assortment of restaurants and bars. Thirsty? Grab a beverage in the official Riverwalk cup at any of the watering hotels along the way, wander along the Riverwalk and refill as needed at any of the Riverwalk establishments. Evening walks are particularly delightful as you gaze at the University of Tampa in the sunset skyline, or the gorgeous lighted bridges. 

2. The Parks – Need some green space? Downtown Tampa has an amazing assortment of parks of all types and sizes, 12 to be exact. Consider Perry Harvey Sr. Park for skateboarding, Water Works Park for its fabulous bandshell and splash pad, Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park for its dog park, splash pad, events, and fountains. The newest addition to Tampa’s downtown parks is Julian B Lane Park on the west side of the Hillsborough River. This amazing waterfront park has just undergone a $35 million renovation with state of the art resources for rowing, tennis courts, an amazing lawn, splash pad, and event space.


3. The Events – Seriously, as summer turns to fall, the programming downtown amps up and continues through the end of spring. From mainstream to just a little edgy, here’s a smattering of what you can expect: Rock the Park the first Thursday of every month, Riverfest, The Mayor’s River of Green celebrating St. Patrick’s Day, Gasparilla Music Fest, Gasparilla Festival of the Arts, History Bike Tampa rides, the Winter Village complete with an outdoor skating rink (yes, you heard that right), and organized social events by the Downtown Crawlers to name just a few. 


4. The Museums – Let’s face it, sometimes you just have to get out of the sun. Our downtown museums give you a wide variety of options. The Tampa Bay History Center’s new Pirates exhibit is not to be missed! The Florida Museum of Photographic Arts, located in The Cube, exhibits historic and contemporary photos by local and internationally recognized artists. The Florida Aquarium has an amazing aviary, and an exhibit of the entire gamut of Florida ecosystems as well as aquarium exhibits. Become a kid again at the Glazer Children’s Museum, or enjoy the Tampa Museum of Art. Lesser-known museums include the Tampa Firefighters Museum and the American Victory Ship Mariner’s Museum. For an entire list of Downtown museums click here.


5. Performing Arts and Theater – The Straz Center, also along the Riverwalk, has not one but six event venues from large to intimate to accommodate the Center’s diverse performing arts calendar. I personally prefer the smaller events at the Jaeb Theater and Shimberg Playhouse. The Straz is where you’ll come for Broadway, music including Opera Tampa, The Florida Orchestra, and Jobsite Theatre. The Straz Center is also home to the Patel Conservatory, offering more than 100 classes in performing arts. To learn more click here. No mention of Tampa’s Downtown is complete without mention of  The Tampa Theatre. This glorious 1920’s theatre is a nod to days gone by. One of the few remaining in the “atmospheric” style, it now offers first run and classic movies as well as interesting events throughout the year. Where else can you watch a movie inside a Mediterranean courtyard under a sparkling night sky- but yet in air conditioning? And did you know it’s haunted?


6. Sports – So maybe 2019 was a bit of a disappointment for our Tampa Bay Lightning, but hold on to your hat as I’m sure that 2020 will provide entertainment and thrills galore. Our beloved Bolts call Amalie Arena in Tampa’s Downtown home, and quite the home it is. When not hosting our Bolts, Amalie Arena has a varied calendar from music to Monster Jams. What more could you want? 


7. Getting Around – With this much going on, how do you get from place to place? Hop a scooter, grab a Coast bike, summon the free Downtowner, or jump on the also free Teco Line Streetcar. And don’t forget the Pirate Water Taxi! Just remember, scooters are not allowed on the Riverwalk. 

8. Restaurants and Bars – Ahhh. It’s always about the food, right? Do you want Asian? Irish pub? Amazing steak? Check, check and check! The Tampa Downtown Partnership reported 145 dining options in its 2018/2019 Year in Review. That’s a bunch to choose from! Some of my favorites–Anise Global Gastrobar for the stinky bunz and craft cocktails (look for Justin at the bar), the Columbia Cafe at the Tampa Bay History Center for delightful local Spanish food and waterfront ambience, Bamboozle for the fresh rolls, Fermented Reality Biergarten at Sparkman Wharf for a cold one, Hotel Bar for a nice quiet place for a great craft cocktail and elevated bar food, Ulele for just great food and waterfront. I’m looking forward to spending some time atRemedy along the Riverwalk this fall. And these are just a few of the 145!


9. Live/Work/Play – Downtown Tampa’s Special Services District encompasses 1,085 acres. The Tampa Downtown Partnership reports 16 places of worship, 12 parks, 10 museums/galleries, 15 hotels, 3 dog parks. There are 7,546 residencies in the area, a 219% increase over 2008 and still growing. As of the 2018/2019 report by the Partnership, 1664 residential units were under construction, 522,000 square feet of office space was also under construction, as well as 1,077 proposed hotel rooms. Tampa’s Downtown is indeed happening! For the full study conducted by the Tampa Downtown Partnership click here.

If you’re interested in buying real estate in downtown Tampa, you are not alone! There are several reasons that a home in downtown Tampa. Schedule your call with me today for showings!