Hidden Gems and Unusual Places to Explore When Visiting Tampa



Famous for the Tampa Bay hockey team, world-class theme parks, and humid weather, Tampa can be a fun place to spend a weekend in.

But, what if you’re interested in fun events that aren’t so touristy, you can check out some solo-friendly or family-focused spots in bizarre places.

8 Things You Have to See While Visiting Tampa

Tampa is a vibrant city with a rich history with a lot of unique and interesting places to explore. Here are a few hidden gems and unusual places to consider visiting when you’re in the area.

1. The Manatee Viewing Center

One of Tampa’s best-kept secrets is The Manatee Viewing Center, which gives patron’s an up-close view of these beautiful sea cows.

Manatee underwater in Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge, Florida, United States

If you want to avoid tourists, go to the Big Bend Power Station near Apollo Beach, as manatees love to hang out in its cool but hot waters.

2. Bicycle Paths in Dunedin

If you ever planned to move to Tampa, you’ll probably like hanging out in Dunedin, where all the great bike tours are.

Bicycle Paths in Dunedin, Tampa Florida

Fans of old trains will love the mid-century locomotives that are loosely placed around the city. Many of these used to run through Dunedin but now function as art.

3. Curry Leaves Indian Cuisine

While Tampa Bay isn’t known for Indian Cuisine, we have to give a shout-out to Curry Leaves.

It’s easily one of the best Indian restaurants in the US, with the tastiest tandoori chicken you’ll ever have. This great restaurant also caters to vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free diets.

4. Hong Kong Willie’s Junk Art

Maybe Hong Kong Willie’s Junk Art has little to do with China or Hong Kong, but it’s still an incredible sight to see.

Located at 12212 Morris Bridge, Hong Kong Willie’s is a place where junk gathers.

This hidden gem is filled with unique art and sculptures you can take home.

Tampa Historical Street Car, Florida

5. The Largo Central Railroad

The Largo Central Railroad is the 4th largest in Tampa Bay, but it isn’t a popular spot.

This is probably because it’s only open to the public on the first weekend of the month.

If you’re around the Tampa Bay area when it’s open, we recommend taking a train trip to Largo Central Park.

6. Throwback to Cypress Garden

The Cypress Garden sea shows (which you’ll see in movies like Sea Hunt and Flipper) aren’t available anymore.

Instead, you’ll see Legoland, but all’s not lost. If you’re in Tampa on the third Saturday of the month, you can see skiers show for free by Lake Silver.

Top Tip: Bring lawn chairs!

7. The World’s Largest Bowling Pin

Did you know that Tampa Bay is home to the biggest bowling pin in the world?

Bowling Tampa Bay

While it isn’t visible from the street, you can see it if you look out of the courtyard of the Channelside Bay Plaza.

The bowling pin sits on top of Splitsville, a super classy bowling alley you can play at.

8. Hop Aboard the Tampa Brew Bus

While not exactly a hidden gem, the Brew Bus is still considered a “blink, or you’ll miss it” event that you have to plan in advance.

If you’re a fan of beer, you can hop aboard the Tampa Brew Bus and stop at dozens of craft breweries along the way.

Lots of fun to be had at every stop!

Tampa Riverwalk, Bicycle Way, Florida, USA

Final Thoughts

Have these hidden gems in Tampa surprised you?

Will you now add all these great and unusual places in Tampa to your must-see places for a quick weekend break with the family?

Photo of author

Andrzej Ejmont

Andrzej believes life to be a never ending adventure. Originally from Poland, he is a devoted husband and father. Dedicated and enthusiastic to chase all his dreams. Storytelling to entice other families to travel.