The Benefits of Downtown Tampa and the SunCon 2019!

By: Kelsy Long, Director of Marketing and Communications, Tampa Downtown Partnership

Surrounded by the sparkly blue water of the Hillsborough River, downtown Tampa is a vibrant and bustling metropolis with a charming and unique personality. Palm trees and skyscrapers pierce the fluffy white clouds that hang over this growing Southeastern city. While you are discovering hidden treasure at the PRSA 2019 Sunshine District Conference, be sure to take advantage of all Tampa’s downtown has to offer!

Foodies Paradise

Tampa may be known for birthing the Cuban sandwich, but boy, there is so much more to experience. But don’t take it from me. Food and Wine Magazine actually titled a December 2018 article, “You Should See What’s Happening in Downtown Tampa,” where the writer explores the phenomenon that is Sparkman Wharf. The outdoor food hall made entirely out of shipping containers is not only a foodie paradise, but an Instagrammer haven. Murals cover the shipping containers which house the venues pumping out picture-worthy dishes curated by prominent local chefs at a price-point suitable for a millennial on an influencer budget. Sparkman Wharf is a short ride on the TECO Line Streetcar. Oh, did I mention the Streetcar is FREE?! This service is a 2.7-mile streetcar line that runs along downtown Tampa, through the Channel District, and Ybor City. The system features historical replica streetcars of the original Tampa Streetcar Line.

Other venues to check out in Tampa’s downtown include:

  • Hall on Franklin – Ranked as a 10Best by USA Today. Cozy food hall with great interior design and food concepts from local chefs.
  • Armature Works – Ranked as a 10Best by USA Today. Get there by hailing a free ride on the Downtowner ride service, hopping on a scooter, or renting a Coast Bike.
  • Mise En Place - An intimate, well-appointed restaurant located across from the University of Tampa.
  • Oxford Exchange – Also for architect lovers, the historic building is a restaurant, bookstore, lifestyle gift store, coworking space, design studio and event venue. Also across from the University of Tampa.
  • Harpoon Harry’s – Located next to the Convention Center, this restaurant is for seafood lovers.
  • Ulele – Situated on the banks of the Hillsborough River and Armature Works, Ulele serves native-inspired food and spirits. Tip: stay for a sunset!
  • Malio’s – A downtown staple! Get their steak and take advantage of $7 happy hour martinis. Step outside to enjoy their newest concept, Remedy, which is perched just atop the Riverwalk.
  • Hattricks Tavern – For wing lovers, this is the mecca. And it’s just a short walk from the hotel.

Looking for the most Instagrammable spots in downtown Tampa? This article has you covered. Many are located in and around the top food destinations!

Arts & Culture

Downtown Tampa’s arts and culture venues offer free or reduced admission and special programs on the fourth Friday of each month—which is July 26. Begin your cultural experience during the Friday evening reception at the Unlock Tampa Bay Visitors Center where you will be able to sample local craft beer and enjoy snacks from local restaurants. Starting at 6:16 p.m., there will be an improv comedy group performing right outside in the Poe Plaza! Their brand of fast-paced, high-energy entertainment uses audience suggestions to create family-friendly shows that will keep you laughing and smiling! Be sure to pick up your Fourth Friday wristband at the Visitors Center to enjoy free admission to the Tampa Museum of Art, the Florida Museum of Photographic Art and many more venues. Your wristband is the key to specials and discounts at local restaurants and bars, too! Check it out at

Ask a Guide

While you are downtown, you may notice friendly faces in yellow fishing shirts with GUIDE written across the back. Tampa’s Downtown Guides are here to help you find your way, make a dining recommendation, or assist you with a dead car battery or flat tire. The Guides use iPads to help provide visitors with real-time information with access to maps and events calendars.

Do Not Miss

Are you a runner or just enjoy a nice stroll? Be sure to check out the Tampa Riverwalk. Named the Greatest Place in America by the American Planning Association, the Riverwalk’s 2.4 miles is the perfect place for exercise, book reading, a long conversation, or to people watch. There is always a nice breeze coming off the river during the day and it’s especially beautiful at night when it is lit up with pink, green, orange and blue hues. Get a sneak peek with this video.

Insider tip: ask your server or bartender for a Riverwalk Sip & Stroll cup to take your drink with you as you explore!

With so much to do in Tampa’s downtown, the trouble won’t be finding something to do, but deciding where to start! We hope you enjoy the 2019 PRSA Sunshine District Conference in Tampa’s downtown, hosted by PRSA Tampa Bay—where knowledge is treasure.

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