There’s never a shortage of options for date nights. However, there are some gold mines available in Tampa Bay that allow memorable dates night that don’t cost a thing! 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 the quintessential free dates in Tampa.
We cannot talk about free and wonderful things to do without mentioning Tampa Bay’s absolute gem, the Tampa Riverwalk. This is nearly three miles of space downtown on the water that links to Tampa’s most popular destinations. Of course, there are obvious destinations such as the Tampa Museum of Art and Curtis Hixon Park, but there are also some secret wonderful 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.” I have a hard time describing the true awe-inspiring experience of viewing a live concert right along the Tampa Riverwalk.
3. Pinellas County Heritage Village
I’ve also been intrigued and captivated by the Tampa Bay’s historic vibe that still lingers. Pinellas County’s Heritage Village has so much to look into. It is rich in history and mystique. It is 21 acres of historical fixtures – from art, to railroads, all the way back to the 19th century. This is an interesting place full of surprises.
4. St. Pete Planetarium and Observatory Show
The 7pm Friday night shows, are always something to remember. What better to do on a date than look out into the romantic and captivating universe, and think about the future. This is located at St. Petersburg College and known throughout the region for it’s innovative educational opportunities.
Most of us seek out the Bay area for its beaches, but those beaches, Clearwater, Apollo, Bahia and others are typically packed with tourists. It is often difficult to find parking or even space, without heavy intrusion. I found a wonderful spot off Gandy, where some people fish, and the views are amazing, near the Westshore area. This spot is a park known as Lt Colonel Palonis Jr. Park, named after a famed Marine Corp Officer. The sites are plentiful, private enough for quite conversation and reading, with wonderful birds and wildlife including, pelicans and horseshoe crab. This is my favorite spot to sneak off to, when traffic is too heavy and the main beaches are filled with too many tourists. Location: 5151 W Gandy Blvd, 33611
The Tampa Bay area is one of the few areas, where I am able to attend a festival every week and this is one of the most lively, but largely unknown 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. Of course you can view the sunset, but there is also sunset cinema and movies on the beach! Many artists, craft experts and chefs frequent the area with art and products to try. It’s wonderful, lively, eclectic and momentous.
This is one of the most interesting places to visit, or hangout in the Tampa area. This 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. I always feel the amazing history whenever I visit.
This wonderful museum is one of the most ignored throughout the Bay area, but has great art work and the building itself is beautifully designed. When I discovered that this museum has a free art walk every second Saturday, I couldn’t help but attend. You’ll be pleasantly surprised with the quality and culture throughout the Tampa area, and what better place to enjoy time with someone wonderful, than among beautiful art.
9. Centennial Park
Enjoying the sites, art and monuments at Centennial Park in Ybor is one of the most interesting things to do. 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, which means in the heart of Tampa. 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 there 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.
Julian B. Lane 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!