It’s the time of year when ghosts and ghouls are everywhere you look. October isn’t the only month to experience some seriously spooky stuff around the Tampa Bay area, though. The spirits of old Tampa are here year-round and have been for decades, especially in haunted places like Ybor City. Ghost hunters and psychics are often found diving deep into some of Tampa’s most notorious hot spots, hoping to connect with the past. Want to be part of the action? These ghost tours in Tampa Bay are your ticket to a spooky date night.
Tampa’s Most Haunted Places
- Casa Ybor
- The Cuban Club
- Tampa Theatre
- University of Tampa’s Plant Hall
- Florida Brewing Company (now home to Swope Rodante Law Firm)
Ybor City’s rich history includes historical events like the largest fire in Tampa’s history in 1914, which consumed 17 city blocks and tragically took many lives along the way. And with buildings dating back to the late 1800s and early 1900s, it’s no wonder numerous hauntings and apparitions have been reported throughout town.
The Don Vincente Hotel, built in 1895, is supposedly one of the most haunted buildings in the entire country. It is known today as Casa Ybor, but was once a hotel, meeting house and hospital. Plenty of ghostly happenings have been reported, and an episode of Travel Channel’s The Dead Files was filmed on site.
Another hotspot for hauntings is The Cuban Club, built in 1917, where several ghosts are rumored to eternally roam.
Tampa Theatre, University of Tampa’s Plant Hall (formerly the old Tampa Bay Hotel), and the original Florida Brewing Company (now home to Swope Rodante Law Firm) are also notorious for paranormal activity.
Ghost Tours and Haunted Experiences
Tampa’s haunted history has captured the attention of national TV shows including Discovery Channel’s “Ghost Hunters” and Travel Channel’s “The Dead Files.” Now, local paranormal enthusiasts have the chance to encounter these spirits as well. Here are a few local ghost tours where you can get a glimpse of the supernatural side of Tampa.
Dates: October 6 and 7, 2022 from 6pm-12am
Cost: $15 per person (mature audiences over the age of 16. Minors must be accompanied by an adult over the age of 21)
In the 100 years since the Bilheimer Capitol Theatre was built, ghostly legends and first-hand reports of strange happenings abound. Your guide will lead you within its walls to experience the theater as only the haunted have. Alcoholic beverages, including specialty cocktails, are available before the tour to prepare you for the spooky tour and after to help ward off any lingering spirits.
Tours begin every half hour. Tickets include the choice of one beer, wine, soda or spooky specialty cocktail. Attendees should arrive thirty minutes before show time and visit the ticket office to pick up drink tickets. Advance tickets are available at The Raymond James Central Ticket Office at Ruth Eckerd Hall or online.
Dates: Nightly at 8pm
Cost: $25 ages 13 and up, $10 ages 8-12 (not recommended for young children)
This entertaining, informative, and scary walk through Ybor City’s past gives visitors the chance to discover the ghost stories and legends of one of the most haunted towns in the U.S. Voted one of the top 10 ghost tours by USA Today, the tour features guides who are experts in Ybor’s history and are fascinated by the paranormal. This is the only tour in Ybor that offers access inside the infamous Cuban Club.
Dates: Thurs & Fri, 7pm
Ybor isn’t the only part of Tampa Bay with scary stories to tell. Explore some of the area’s most haunted places while using paranormal equipment and listening to spooky ghost stories. Take a Safety Harbor walking history tour starting at Gigglewaters, explore the Arcadia Opera House, or go on the World’s Largest Ghost Hunt at the Clearwater Historical Society Museum. Tour routes vary, so feel free to go more than once.
Dates: Select days and times October 16-31, 2022
Cost: $15 non-members, free for members
Ever wonder why Tampa Theatre is known as one of the city’s most haunted buildings? Who was the man in seat 308? Why did Robert Lanier tear his final ticket? Find the answers you seek during this 90-minute seasonal backstage tour focused on the ghosts of Tampa’s most historic movie palace.
Dates: Thurs-Sun, 7:30pm
Cost: $20 ages 13 and up, $15 ages 4-12
On these walking tours in Tampa and St. Pete, costumed tour guides lead the way to haunted locales by candlelight. You’ll listen to true ghost stories, learn about wandering spirits, supernatural oddities, discover local haunted houses, and more.
Dates: Nightly at 8pm
Cost: $25 ages 18 and up, $18 children ages 7-17, $13 children under 6
Take a haunted tour through the history of the Lightning City. The guides of Tampa Terrors will take you on an adventure through 8-12 locations in Downtown Tampa. Though Tampa Terrors brings you face to face with the inexplicable, this tour is suited for all ages.
Haunted Pub Crawls
Dates: Thurs-Sun at 7:30pm
Cost $25 (drinks not included)
Need liquid courage to brave ghostly apparitions? This 21+ haunted pub tour combines adult beverages with Ybor’s most famous haunted stories. Follow in the footsteps of deceased rum runners while stopping at some of the city’s haunted bars and buildings with plenty of time for spirits of the liquid variety. Drinks are not included in the ticket price and must be purchased separately.
Dates: Fri-Sat 8pm-10pm
Cost: Starting at $40
Another spooky pub crawl, this one-house tour includes visits to a secret haunted pub/restaurant and a speakeasy tavern. You’ll also learn about Tampa’s haunted history and have the chance to purchase adult beverages and food. You can also upgrade your experience to include a VIP tour, where you’ll have an extended time to visit spots that were investigated on some of the most well-known ghost hunting shows. Haunted dinners, family-friendly tours, and weekly paranormal lockdowns are also available.
Ybor City Mafia Tours
Ybor was once a notorious hangout for gangsters. This fall, you can experience a one-of-a-kind walking tour of Tampa’s most storied neighborhood with Tampa Mafia Tours.
Dates: September 17, 24, October 1, 8, 22, November 5 (day and evening times available)
The walking tour includes stops at old gambling palaces, street corners and alleys, and restaurants that were part of Tampa’s mobster history. Learn about bolita, the rumored tunnels of Ybor, and the Era of Blood. Your tour will be led by a knowledgeable Tampa historian or author.
Dates: October 6, 2022 at 6pm
Enjoy a walking tour with mobster history and stops for drinks along the way. The tour begins at King Corona Cigars and Cafe and stops midway at Rock Brothers Brewing. Drinks are not included in the tour price but may be discounted at some stops, including a 20% discount on drinks at Rock Brothers. This is a slightly longer tour experience than the regular walking tour.
Feature image credit: The Official Ybor City Ghost Tour