A city renowned for its vibrant culture and history, stunning waterfront, and exciting attractions, Tampa, Florida, also offers a range of free activities for any budget-conscious traveler, or those who simply want to avoid attractions that will cost money. From wandering through scenic parks to enjoying the city’s publicly-available arts and culture, Tampa has a plethora of opportunities that won’t cost you a dime.
Here are a few of the best free things to do in Tampa for an unforgettable, budget-friendly experience.
Stroll along the Tampa Riverwalk
One of the absolute best things to do in Tampa, regardless of price, is to stroll along the Tampa Riverwalk, a 2.6-mile pathway that abuts the Hillsborough River. Known for stunning waterfront views, scenic parkland, and access to famed Tampa attractions like the Museum of Art and Glazer Children’s Museum, walking the Tampa Riverwalk is a must-do. You can take in the beautiful city skyline, watch boats cruise by, and simply relax.
Wander around Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park
A public park that occupies eight acres of downtown Tampa, along the Hillsborough River, the Riverwalk-adjacent Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park is an exciting public gathering place and the perfect place to spend a chill afternoon. The park is made up of gently sloping lawns and terraces, as well as fountains, playgrounds, an amphitheater, sculptures, and a garden; it is often home to events like concerts, yoga classes, food festivals and more.
Admire the collection at the Tampa Museum of Art
Though admission to the Tampa Museum of Art usually costs $20 for adults, there are various opportunities throughout the week and month to enjoy the exhibits for free. Every Thursday from 4:00 pm to 8:00 pm, the museum hosts Art on the House, a period where admissions prices become pay-as-you-will. Bank of America cardholders can also get free admission on the first weekend of every month. During these two times, the museum’s impressive collection of contemporary and classical art is open to many for free.
Marvel at the Florida Botanical Gardens
Located in the neighboring town of Largo, the 182-acre Florida Botanical Gardens showcase the natural beauty of the state’s flora. Home to a range of different gardens, from the formal Wedding Garden to the interactive Butterfly Garden and bucolic Cottage Garden, this destination provides near-endless opportunities for exploration. This tranquil gem is perfect — and free — for all ages.
Get lost in the Ybor City Historic District
Once the cigar-production capital of the world and a place with rich cultural heritage, the Ybor City Historic District offers a wealth of information and activity. This historic neighborhood is one of the oldest in Tampa, known for its architecture, vibrant nightlife, and hand-rolled cigars; it provides a unique perspective on the Cuban heritage of the city, and it costs nothing to visit.
Tampa is a city that caters to all budgets, and these five free activities are some of the best things that Tampa has to offer, budget or not.