12 Best Free Things to Do in Tampa

Free Things to Do in Tampa: Tampa is a city situated in the state on the Gulf Coast of Florida in the United States. The city is bordered by Tampa Bay on the north shore & Old Tampa Bay on the east shore. Tampa is a bustling city and is a part of the Tampa Bay Area and Hillsborough County.

Tampa covers various diverse landscapes, which include; bayfronts, coastal areas, and urban neighborhoods. The weather here is more of a humid subtropical climate with hot and humid summers and mild & dry winters. Tampa City has a diverse economy. Many factors including; healthcare, finance, technology, tourism, etc. contribute & play a major role in Tampa’s development.

Tampa has many sources of entertainment. There are different attractions such as; the Hillsborough River State Park, cultural sites, Busch Gardens, Tampa Bay History Center, Tampa Museum of Art, etc. The tourism sector has also increased here. Tampa has experienced more visitors in the past few years there are a lot of things that visitors can do here in Tampa & most of them are almost free.

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List of Free Things to Do in Tampa

Tampa is a city in Florida. It offers & hosts many events & entertainment sources throughout the year for the locals as well as for the visitors. Tampa City is comparatively cheaper. It also offers a lot of free activities & entertainment sources for the visitors and locals here. The list of free things to do in Tampa is mentioned below

1. Explore Tampa’s Parks

Free Things to Do in Tampa, Explore Tampa's Parks

Tampa is home to the several parks to admire the natural beauty and enjoy the scenic views while in Tampa. The park here offers free admission and also arranges various free activities for the visitors. The list of park offers for free admission is mentioned below-

  • Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park– the Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park is a popular downtown park. This park is situated near the Hillsborough River and hosts various events along with numerous amenities. The parks also have a playground and a splash pad as well.
  • Bayshore Boulevard Park is famous for its longest sidewalk in the whole United States which is perfect for walkers, joggers, and bikers. This park also offers recreational opportunities & stunning views of the Tampa Bay.
  • Al Lopez Park- Al Lopez Park is a beautiful park that covers around 132 acres of land. It has various walking trails, picnic areas, playgrounds, fishing lakes, and sports facilities.
  • Ballast Point Park- Ballast Point Park is a waterfront park which is located on Tampa Bay on a peninsula. This park offers various attractions such as a fishing pier, various playgrounds & picnic areas, etc.
  • Cypress Point Park– Cypress Point Park is another waterfront park that offers mesmerizing views of Tampa Bay. It is best known for picnics, and enjoying sunsets.

The above-mentioned parks allow free entry. There are numerous other parks as well which allow visitors for a free entry. It is advised to check the details such as schedule and timing before visiting the parks.

2. Visit Museums with Free Admission

 Free Things to Do in Tampa

Visitors can do a lot of things in Tampa. Most of them are absolutely free. The visitors can visit various museums which allow free entry i.e., free entry days on certain days or regular free admission to the visitors. The Tampa Bay History Center has a free day each month and some of the other museums offer free entries occasionally.

The policies can change from time to time. So it is advised to check the details before visiting. Below mentioned are some of the museums that allow free entries-

  • Tampa Museum of Art– This museum has a policy of “Pay-As-You-Will” which means the visitors can pay what they can afford as an entry fee. This offer is valid on certain days only especially during special exhibitions or events.
  • Henry B. Plant Museum- This museum is located at the University of Tampa. This museum usually charges an entry fee but might offer occasional free admission on special days or for special programs.
  • Tampa Bay History Center- During special events or on some specific days this museum occasionally offers free admission.

Remember, the free entry policy in a museum may change at any time. It is advisable to check the same details before visiting the museum.

3. Explore the Ybor City

Free Things to Do in Tampa

Ybor City is pronounced as the “EE-bore city”. It is a historic place founded by Vicente Martinez-Ybor in the 1880s which is situated just northeast of downtown Tampa, Florida. It is well known for its vibrant atmosphere, rich cultural heritage, and for its historic significance in the Tampa City. There are the below-mentioned free things to do in Ybor City is mentioned below-

  • Cultural and Historic things- Ybor City was known as the hub for major cigar manufacturing centers in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The visitors can explore various places to know more about the City’s history for free.
  • Architecture and Historic Buildings– There are a lot of buildings that have been preserved or restored. The visitors can explore these buildings and heritage to know more about them. The wrought-iron balconies, brick streets, and colorful buildings are a plus for the visitor’s experience.
  • Dining and Entertainment source– There are a lot of diners, restaurants & entertainment sources in the Ybor City. The diverse culinary scene, including Spanish, Cuban, Italian, and other cuisines is available along with the clubs, bars, and live music venues which are mostly free for the visitors.
  • Historic Sites and Museums– There are different historic sites and museums in the Ybor City that can be explored for free including the Ybor City Museum State Park by the visitors.
  • Events and Festivals– There are numerous events and festivals that are hosted in the Ybor City throughout the year which allow free entry to the visitors. These annual events include; the Guavaween Halloween festival, GaYBOR District Coalition’s Pride celebrations, and the Fiesta Day Parade.
  • Trolley Tours- Visitors can take a guided trolley or walking tour to learn more about the city’s history & architecture.
  • Ybor City Saturday Market– the Ybor City hosts a weekly market each Saturday where the market offers various free things such as; an arts and crafts exhibition and, food items exhibition. The entry to this market is free, and it’s a great way to enjoy the Tampa’s local culture.

4. Festivals and Events

 Free Things to Do in Tampa

Tampa City hosts several events & festivals annually for the purpose of entertainment and attraction to induce more tourism. Many of the events offer free admission to the visitors as well as to the locals. These events may occur on different dates in each year. Visitors are advised to know about the schedule before planning any vacation. The list of some famous events and festival celebrations is mentioned below-

  • Gasparilla Pirate Festival- the Gasparilla Pirate Festival is one of the most famous festivals celebrated every year in the last week of January or in the first week of February month in the city of Tampa, Florida. This is a free event which means visitors can visit here without any ticket.
  • Tampa Riverfest– the Tampa Riverfest is a multi-day event that is celebrated alongside the Tampa Riverwalk. It is a multi-day event that features various activities to be enjoyed for free such as; live music, family-friendly activities, and boat parades.
  • Fourth of July Celebrations- the Fourth of July is celebrated in each state and city in the US every year. Various locations in Tampa, such as the Tampa Riverwalk, Channelside Bay Plaza, or multiple parks including; Cotanchobee Fort Brooke Park, host and celebrate the Fourth of July event. The event includes concerts, fireworks displays, and family-friendly activities, which are often free for the visitors.
  • Summer of Rum Festival– This festival includes many activities for entertainment purposes such as live music and rum tastings which takes place in the downtown Tampa. The festival might require entry tickets sometimes but the activities are free.
  • Sunset Cinema at Pier 60- This cinema is located in nearby Clearwater, not directly in Tampa City. The Sunset Cinema at Pier 60 is a place where the visitors can enjoy free outdoor movie screenings on special days or on weekends.
  • Holiday Events– Various events such as Christmas tree lighting ceremonies, Winter Village at Curtis Hixon Park, and some of the festive markets are open & celebrated during the holiday season, which is usually free for the public.

The schedule and timings of the above-mentioned events & festivals might vary each year. The visitors should check the details before planning any vacation to Tampa City.

5. Tampa Riverwalk

Tampa Riverwalk

The Tampa Riverwalk is a pedestrian trail to the Hillsborough River in downtown Tampa Florida. This pathway is approximately 2.6 miles in length & it leads you to a beautiful and breathtaking view with various attractions, parks, restaurants, and cultural sites such as; Hillsborough River, downtown Tampa’s skyline, parks, and various landmarks, etc.

There are several parks and public spaces as well including Water Works Park Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park, the Tampa Riverwalk’s own public spaces, and the Cotanchobee Fort Brooke Park along with various art and sculpture exhibitions.

The riverwalk has various cafes, restaurants, bars, etc. for entertainment purposes which makes it a very popular spot the visitors to enjoy such things. You can also rent kayaks, water bikes, or paddleboards as well.

Things to keep in mind while visiting Tampa Riverwalk-

  • The Riverwalk is open throughout the whole year
  • It is free to access by all visitors,
  • You should wear comfortable clothing and walking shoes,
  • Visitors should schedule their visit for the evening to enjoy the sunset,
  • Visitors should take care of themselves that’s why they should bring their own water bottles and sunscreens,

6. Catch a Sunset

 Free Things to Do in Tampa

There are several sunset spots in Tampa, Florida, which are stunning to enjoy the sunset. The various spots and viewpoints allow visitors to watch the sun dipping below the horizon. Most of the places are free. Below-mentioned are some places where you can visit to enjoy the sunset. Visitors should consider going to these places-

  • Bayshore Boulevard is one of the popular spots to watch the sunset as well as for walking, jogging, or biking.
  • Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park which is situated in downtown Tampa offers a beautiful place to watch the sunset, for friends and families.
  • Picnic Island Park is situated near the Port of Tampa and has a beach area, with a fishing pier, and open spaces where the visitors can enjoy the sunset
  • Other places such as; Ballast Point Park, Davis Islands Seaplane Basin Park, Ben T. Davis Beach, Cypress Point Park, etc. also offer free entry to visitors.

Visitors are advised to check the local sunset timings before visiting any of these places

7. Beaches


There are few beaches available in Tampa, Florida which are freely accessible by the visitors. Some may have a minimal parking fee or limited amenities, but the entry for the beaches is absolutely free.

  • Ben T. Davis Beach– the Ben T. Davis Beach is located alongside the Courtney Campbell which features various amenities such as; restrooms, picnic areas, and a playground. It is a great place to visit with friends and family.
  • Cypress Point Park- the Cypress Point Park is not a beach but a park that offers various spots and viewpoints alongside the water where the visitors can enjoy the views of Tampa Bay.
  • Picnic Island Park- The Picnic Island Park also includes various beach areas, picnic spots, fishing piers, and some open spaces.
  • Davis Islands Seaplane Basin Park- the Davis Islands Seaplane Basin Park is also not a beach but a park that offers a waterfront area for picnicking, walking, and enjoying with friends and family.
  • Fred Howard Park- the Fred Howard Park is a white sandy beach that offers various amenities but it is a bit far from the city of Tampa.

8. Window Shopping at Hyde Park Village

 Hyde Park Village

Hyde Park Village is situated in the Hyde Park neighbourhood which is an upscale shopping and entertainment district in the city of Tampa in Florida. It is famous for its boutiques, five-star restaurants, cafes, and specialty shops. Visitors can visit here for window shopping and enjoying the ambiance.

The Hyde Park village area has a variety of high-end stores including well-known brands and some famous boutiques. Visitors can find home decor shops, fashion stores, specialty stores, beauty boutiques, and many more.

Most of the stores at Hyde Park Village have beautiful window displays to showcase their products & merchandise. It is enjoyable to look around and admire things here. The area also features a mix of local businesses and national retailers.

9. Tampa Bay Water Bike Company

The Tampa Bay Water Bike Company allows individuals or groups to rent water bikes, i.e., hydro bikes to explore the Tampa Riverwalk and Hillsborough River. The visitors can enjoy the views while pedaling and enjoying with their loved ones.

People can rent bikes individually or in the group to pedal along the Hillsborough River. It is more of an eco-friendly way to experience the nature. The riders can enjoy with their friends and family watching beautiful views & attractions. In addition, people can hire guides here who can provide interesting insights about the history, landmarks, and wildlife of the place.

The people of various ages & fitness levels can enjoy themselves by renting the bikes. Visitors are advised to check the related details in advance & make proper reservations, especially during peak timings, and schedule their visit accordingly.

10. Local Libraries and Community Centers

There are numerous local libraries and community centers in the city of Tampa, Florida. The local libraries and community centers offer various services, programs, and resources for the locals as well as for the visitors. Below-mentioned are some of the local libraries and community centers where the visitors can visit which are absolutely free.

Local Libraries

  • Tampa-Hillsborough County Public Library is the main library system in the city of Tampa. This library includes several books and study material which is related to the city’s history as well. The Tampa-Hillsborough County Public Library has various branches in the city, such as; John F. Germany Public Library which is located in downtown Tampa, and other branches including;
    • The Jan Kaminis Platt Regional Library,
    • Seminole Heights Branch Library, etc., and more.
  • University Libraries- the University of South Florida (USF) Libraries and the University of Tampa Library are also located in the city of Tampa. These libraries basically serve the students and teachers but are also accessible to the general public.

Community Centers

  • Cyrus Greene Park and Community Center located in the Jackson Heights neighborhood which offers various classes, programs, and events for the local community as well as for the visitors.
  • Ragan Park Community Center is located in the East Tampa and arranges a variety of activities which includes fitness classes, sports leagues, and other community events.
  • Port Tampa Community Center also offers various activities such as; dance classes, fitness programs, and recreational activities for all ages, and, after-school programs. And,
  • Copeland Park Community Center is situated in the North Tampa Area. This community center also arranges various programs, and events, along with various services for the visitors as well as for the residents.

11. Florida Botanical Gardens

The Florida Botanical Gardens is a very exquisite and a beautiful garden which is situated in Florida. The garden is not in Tampa but a bit farther. It is a 182 acre botanical garden located in the city of Largo and is considered one of the best places to visit in Tampa.

The gardens have a different collection of flowers and species of flowers. It includes; tropical plants, palms, flowering trees, herbs, etc. and many more. Visitors can visit here for free and can explore various themed gardens such as the Herb Garden, the Tropical Fruit Garden, and the Butterfly Garden as well.

Various workshops, events, and educational programs are also hosted by the Florida Botanical Gardens for both adults and children.

12. Tampa Fire-fighters Museum

Tampa Fire-fighters Museum

It is a place where the history and contributions of fire-fighters in Tampa City are honored. The Tampa Fire-fighters Museum is Located in downtown Tampa. The museum entry is free and it is easily accessible by the locals as well as by the outsiders.

The museum showcases different things including; equipment used in fire-fighting, the evolution of fire-fighting techniques, and the bravery of fire-fighters throughout the years. Tampa Fire-fighters Museum is a great place while visiting Tampa and it should be listed in your itinerary list.

Conclusion: Free Things to Do in Tampa

Tampa is a beautiful and vibrant city which is situated on Florida’s Gulf Coast, Florida, US. Tampa has a rich history and cultural diversity, with stunning waterfronts and beaches. Tampa is famous for Ybor City and for its cigar heritage. There are various famous museums, amusement parks, etc. which is an attractions for the visitors.

There are numerous free things to do in Tampa that a person can do during his stay in Tampa City and most of the things are absolutely free while most have a nominal fee or charge. During the last few years, Tampa City is more visited which increased the tourism industry. Tampa is cheap and affordable.

There are several activities and places where the visitors can visit and learn about the city while enjoying the place. Visitors must keep a few things in mind and should re-check the basic details before visiting or scheduling their vacation.

There are a lot of free things to do in Tampa like visiting beaches, and museums which do not charge any entry fees. Visitor can visit these places and enjoy their stay in Tampa City.

FAQs: Free Things to Do in Tampa

Q. Is Tampa cheap?

A. Yes, The City of Tampa is cheap and affordable. The cost of living is 1% lower than the state average and 0% less than the national average.

Q. What is the cheapest month to visit Tampa City?

A. The cheapest month to visit Tampa City is October.

Q. Why is Tampa City so popular?

A. Tampa City offers various award-winning cuisine, beautiful landscapes, pristine beaches, and major sports teams. The city is cheap in comparison to other cities in Florida State.

Q. Is Tampa a friendly city?

A. Yes, the city is quite friendly and safe. The people here in Tampa Bay are friendly and happy to welcome the visitors.

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