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
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 at 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, build 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: 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
Cost: $25 ages 18 and up, $20 for military and veterans
Ybor isn't the only part of Tampa Bay with scary stories to tell. Explore some of Safety Harbor's most haunted places while using paranormal equipment and listening to spooky ghost stories. Tour routes vary, so feel free to go more than once.
Dates: Select days and times October 16-31, 2021
Cost: $15 non-members, free for members
Ever wonder why Tampa Theatre is known as one of the city's most haunted buildings? Find the answers you seek during this seasonal backstage tour focused on the ghosts of Tampa's most historic movie palace. Extend your evening with the Late-Night, Lights-Off Paranormal Investigation Experience add-on (available October 23 & 24). This option invites you to become a paranormal investigator for the night as you review previously collected evidence of ghostly happenings at the theatre. This experience is available for an additional $25 for non-members and $20 for members.
Dates: Thurs-Sun, 7:30pm
Cost: $20 ages 13 and up, $15 ages 4-12
On this walking tour in St. Pete, costumed tour guides lead the way to haunted locales by candlelight. You'll listen to spooky ghost stories, get the scoop on local haunted houses, and more.
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. Stops included 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: $25 (drinks and food not included)
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: October 9, 16, 23, and November 6, 2021 (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. Your tour will be led by a knowledgable Tampa historian or author.
Dates: October 15 and November 4, 2021 at 6pm
Enjoy a walking tour with mobster history and stops for drinks along the way. Stops visited included King Corona Cigars and Cafe and Rock Brothers. Drinks are not included in the tour price but may be discounted at some stops. This is a slightly longer tour experience than the regular walking tour.
Feature image credit: The Official Ybor City Ghost Tour