5 Entertaining No-Fail Excursions in Downtown Tampa

I’m an alumnus of The University of Tampa, so I spent many formative years hanging in and around downtown Tampa. I have lots of memories of hanging by the Hillsborough River, seeing movies at The Tampa Theatre, and going down to the clubs at the Channelside district. Now that I’m a mom, I still go downtown frequently with my son there for various excursions that are at times entertaining and educational. There’s much to do for every type of person or family. Make sure to check out these 5 excursions for a fun, no-fail entertaining day in downtown Tampa.

Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park

Curtis Hixon has a sprawling park with a dog park, a playground, and a splash pad. With lots of events held there year-round, it hosts a million visitors every year. What makes Curtis Hixon a great excursion is its proximity to amazing restaurants like Big Rays Fish Camp, entertainment like The Tampa Museum of Art, and the Riverwalk. Make sure you check out the amazing view of The University of Tampa across the Hillsborough River.

Glazer Children’s Museum

The Children’s Museum is an entertaining excursion for the family right in Curtis Hixon Park. The Glazer Museum is a hands-on learning experience for children with everything from a play theater, to a farm, and special event exhibitions. There is always something new to keep your child entertained. And its close proximity to Curtis Hixon means that when your kid is done in the museum, there are free activities within walking distance.

Tampa Riverwalk

The great thing about an excursion to downtown Tampa’s Riverwalk is that it doesn’t matter the size of your budget. You can spend the entire day there and keep the kids entertained. The nearly two and a half-mile walkway along the Hillsborough River connects several great locations. That includes Armature WorksWaterworks Park, Curtis Hixon Park, and even a monument trail that honors the founders of Hillsborough County. You can rent scooters or catch a Pirate Water Taxi. So you can create your own personalized no-fail excursion in downtown Tampa every time you visit.

Sparkman Wharf

View at Sparkman Wharf
View at Sparkman Wharf

Formerly Channelside, Sparkman Wharf has been reimagined into a waterfront entertainment venue and a great spot for amazing food. Looking for an awesome excursion for a Mom’s Night out? They have 24 beers on tap at Fermented Reality Biergarten. Family night out? Check out the free Drive-In movie series. Date night? Play bowling then eat dinner and have drinks at Splitsville. Afterward, jump on the TECO Streetcar system and pop over to Riverwalk, or ride it all the way down to Ybor City for free.

The Florida Aquarium

The Florida Aquarium
The Florida Aquarium

My son loves the aquarium. We get passes every year. They have an open atrium that replicates the Florida wetlands, lots of beautiful sea life, and a splash pad. I love that there is also a bar located right by the splash pad so Mommy can get a drink and then watch my kid play. The 4D theatre is an often overlooked experience. And as always he wants to get right on the streetcar just to get a ride around the city.


Downtown Tampa is a great place for family excursions. What are your favorite activities downtown?

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