National Geographic Traveller (UK)

Florida’s rising star

With new direct flights from London and a host of recent openings, this city is one of the Sunshine State’s hottest destinatio­ns. Words: David Whitley



Tracing the Hillsborou­gh River, Tampa’s Riverwalk reels off many of the city’s greatest hits. A series of cultural venues fight for attention along its 2.6-mile strip, including the Tampa Museum of Art, which celebrated its 100th birthday in 2020. Momentum continued in 2021 as it announced a £56m renovation and expansion that, when completed in 2024, will add a fourstorey structure to the waterfront. In the meantime, visitors can enjoy a host of new exhibition­s, including a collection of vintage photograph­s of Italy’s cultural draws and a 15-year survey of artist Pepe Mar’s work. thetampari­ tampamuseu­


Tampa Bay is a destinatio­n with a strong Cuban heritage, and nowhere is this more evident than in Ybor City. This neighbourh­ood is where the former town became a city in 1887, as a large influx of Latin American migrants arrived to work in its cigar factories. Learn more about this history at JC Newman: establishe­d in 1895 as the US’s first family-owned cigar company, it has unveiled a new three-floor museum inside El Reloj — the last of Tampa’s 150 original cigar factories. Highlights include a new on-site school, where visitors can learn to hand-roll cigars under the guidance of a master cigarmaker.


Florida was included in the Michelin Guide for the first time in 2022, and Tampa made its presence felt in the Bib Gourmand section, aimed at less formal restaurant­s with distinctiv­e cooking. Entrants include Seminole Heights farm-to-table specialist Rooster and the Till, and nearby Ichicoro Ramen, which pairs hearty dishes with a serious sake collection. It’s not the only news: in Ybor City, Sicilian favourite Casa Santo Stefano has a new rooftop bar, while at the new Water Street Tampa developmen­t, Noble Rice revels in an eight-course omakase menu. roosterand­ casasantos­ noblericec­


Architect Ian Schrager’s signature bright, white minimalism brings distinct style to the new Tampa Edition, the city’s first fivestar hotel. Located in the new Water Street Tampa neighbourh­ood, it’s deliberate­ly pitched as a place to hang out, with seven different on-site food and drink venues. It joins several new dual-branded properties in Tampa — same company, same building, shared facilities, different vibes. The Hyatt Place/Hyatt House is a classic case in point: pick Place for Latin-inspired design, while the more spacious and subdued House is a good option for longer stays. editionhot­

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Below: Centro Ybor complex; the Tampa Riverwalk
Tampa downtown Below: Centro Ybor complex; the Tampa Riverwalk

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