There’s never a shortage of options when it comes to date night ideas in Tampa., including memorable dates that don’t cost a dime! What I’ve found over the last few years is that this is one of the best areas to enjoy without breaking the bank. Here are my top 10 discoveries for quintessential free dates in Tampa.
For more free dates in Tampa check out our guide to 50 Free Things to do in Tampa Bay!
1. The Tampa Riverwalk
We cannot talk about free and wonderful things to do without mentioning Tampa Bay’s absolute gem, the Tampa Riverwalk. Located waterfront in downtown Tampa, this nearly 3-mile paved trail links Tampa’s most popular destinations. Of course, there are obvious favorites such as the Tampa Museum of Art and Curtis Hixon Park, but there are also secret spots that would be perfect for a date. There are also sections of the Bay along the Riverwalk where manatees frequent, and the signage shows those locations.
2. Free Concerts At Curtis Hixon Park
Directly connected to Tampa’s Riverwalk, Curtis Hixon Park offers eight acres of open field for free concerts! From jazz, blues and country, to hip hop and rock, music is major in Tampa. So much so that free concerts are offered nearly every week at Curtis Hixon Park with offerings from both world renowned bands and local “celebrities.” Viewing a live concert right along the Tampa Riverwalk is a truly awe-inspiring experience.
Note: Rock the Park Tampa is currently hosting monthly virtual concerts to tide you over until in-person concerts resume.
3. Pinellas County Heritage Village
I’m intrigued and captivated by Tampa Bay’s historic vibe that still lingers. Pinellas County’s Heritage Village is the ideal place to connect with that history and learn more. Rich in history and mystique, it offers 21 acres of historical fixtures from art and historic homes to railroads, all dating back to the 19th century. Nature lovers will enjoy strolling the native plant trail and sensory garden.
The Heritage Village is open, but the historic buildings and main museum visitor complex are currently closed. Historic home tours are temporarily unavailable.
4. St. Pete Planetarium and Observatory Show
What better to do on a date than look out into the romantic and captivating universe, and think about the future? St. Petersburg College is known throughout the region for it’s innovative educational opportunities. But you can also visit to stargaze together during the Planetarium’s Friday night shows. Stick around after the 45-minute show to peer at the night sky through a telescope on the rooftop observation deck.
FYI: The Planetarium is currently closed; stay tuned for news on upcoming shows when the campus reopens.
5. Lt Colonel Palonis Jr. Park
Most of us seek out the Bay area for its beaches, but those beaches are typically packed with tourists. I found a wonderful spot off of Gandy near the Westshore area that’s popular for fishing and boasts some amazing views. This spot is a park known as Lt Colonel Palonis Jr. Park, named after a famed Marine Corp Officer. Pack a picnic and enjoy quiet conversation while soaking up the view. You may also spot birds and wildlife including pelicans and horseshoe crabs. This is my favorite spot to sneak off to when traffic is too heavy and the main beaches are filled with too many tourists.
Find this park at 5151 W Gandy Blvd.
6. Sunsets At Pier 60
The Tampa Bay area is one of the few areas where you’re able to attend a festival nearly every week and Sunset at Pier 60 is one of the most lively of those festivals. More interesting is the fact that this isn’t a weekly festival. It is a daily festival that has been running since 1995! The festival is at Clearwater Beach and centers itself around the sunset hours and time frame. Many artists, craft experts and chefs frequent the area with art and products to try. It’s wonderful, lively, eclectic and momentous.
In addition to the multi-hour celebration, check the calendar for free outdoor movies select nights. Movies are typically screened on Friday nights around sunset.
7. Ybor City Parks
Jose Marti Park is one of the most interesting places to visitt in the Tampa area. The park is literally an escape to another country right in the middle of Ybor. Jose Marti was a famed Cuban poet and artist, who did much of his planning and fundraising in Ybor. The very land and soil was actually brought in from Cuba, so technically it is Cuban land. Even if you can’t visit Cuba, Tampa has literally brought Cuba to you!
Just a 10-minute walk away you’ll find art and monuments at Centennial Park. The park itself is filled with character, has an art and crafts shop full of awesome things and is right across from one of the small Ybor City history museums. I love the fact that it is right in the heart of Ybor. It is also a special site internationally as it recognizes the city’s diversity. The Spaniards, Cubans and Italians that made the Ybor food and art scene so interesting are celebrated in a statue known as “Tribute to Immigrants.” I’ve always found the statue, standing right in front of the United States flag, an invigorating and inspiring view.
8. Free Walking Tours
You don’t have to pay to join a tour to explore the city; many self-guided walking tours are available online and in person for free. Marvel at local buildings on an architecture tour through Downtown, Ybor City and Hyde Park. Or, join one of the Tampa Downtown Partnership’s free walking tours ($5 donation suggested if you can) October-May on select Fridays at noon. Or, enjoy the free Postcard Tour, an audio tour that will take you around the grounds of the historic Tampa Bay Hotel.
9. Morean Arts Center
When it comes to free dates in Tampa Bay, the Morean Arts Center is one of the most underrated activities in the Bay area. The museum building is beautifully designed and houses a fantastic collection of art. Admission to the galleries is always free. An admission fee does apply if you’re interested in viewing the Chihuly collection.
10. Julian B. Lane Riverfront Park
Julian B. Lane Riverfront Park is one of the newest parks in Tampa. With a wide open field, tennis courts, playgrounds, floating docks and more, there are a plethora of ways to enjoy the park. Take a walk, have a picnic, play some tennis, take your littles to the playground – just get out and enjoy a sunny Florida day!