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Tampa Bay area the next great American metropolis

By Larry Clifton     Apr 1, 2009 in Travel
Tampa Bay is America's next great metropolis. The New York Yankees train in Tampa, the Bucs are Super Bowl Champions, and the Lightning Bolts have owned the Stanley Cup. But those sports are just some of the "Rays" of Florida sunshine.
The Tampa Bay area is humming with activity and attractions that include so much more than Tampa. The most beautiful beaches aren’t even in Hillsborough County. Travelers to Tampa Town need to schedule time for a slow burn on gulf coast beaches; chilling under the stars at open-air concerts, heating up again with the nightlife, or attending a fist-pumping game at some of the newest and finest stadia in the country.
Fort DeSoto Beach in St. Petersburg and Honeymoon Island Beach near Dunedin are tops on the Examiner’s “Best Beaches” list but many more, like Caladesi Island and Clearwater Beach are just an hour from downtown Tampa.
There are beaches for every mood in the Tampa Bay area. See Clearwater Beach if you want the Spring Break ambiance with thousands of young people previewing what’s hot and what’s not in swim wear. If you want plenty of room to enjoy water sports like para sailing; deep sea fishing, water skiing; scuba diving; jet skiing, and water kiting, perhaps Fort DeSoto Park, Honeymoon Island or Anna Maria are better fits. The water temperatures are just a few miles north of tropical, so the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico are nearly always inviting.
From the moment you step off the plane at Tampa International Airport (TIA) you are moments away from just about anything fun that is imaginable. Ybor City is a few blocks east of downtown Tampa. This Latin community within the metropolis is home to a modern cultural extravaganza loaded with restaurants and trendy bars reflecting architectures reminiscent of the community’s Latin heritage. Many of Tampa’s oldest Latina restaurants are still located there alongside the newer nightclubs and emporiums. Ybor City offers colorful boutiques and exotic shops along 7th Avenue if shopping for unique items is your deal.
Anytime that you visit Tampa, professional sports events are in play. The Championship Tampa Bay Lightning hockey team plays in the St. Petersburg Forum in downtown Tampa and live concerts of nearly all genres take up the slack during off seasons. Raymond James Stadium, home of the Super Bowl Champion Buccaneers, is only a ten minute drive from TIA and Legions Field, summer camp for the New York Yankees, is across the street from Raymond James Stadium. Just across the bay in St. Petersburg is the Tampa Bay Rays who have competed in the World Series.
Tampa has many other notable attractions too numerous to mention, such as Busch Gardens; the University of South Florida; the University of Tampa; the Gasparilla Parade, and it’s only a bit more than a one-hour drive to Orlando and Walt Disney World. Tampa Bay is also home to the Florida State Fair and the Strawberry Festival and host to many world class events held in the Tampa Convention Center.
If you are looking for a quaint French Food restaurant, The Le Bordeaux at 1502 S. Howard is always excellent and features live jazz and other entertainment. If an eloquent steakhouse with a separate large desert room featuring many private booths is more to your taste, Berne's Steakhouse has been a popular Tampa tradition for many decades. Florida is a slice of American pie and Tampa Bay is the warm, tasty filling. Are you hungry for fun in the sun?
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