Tampa Journals

Weekend Getaway to Tampa, FL

A May 2004 trip to Tampa by Laura Rabbit

Grand Hyatt Tampa Bay Photo, Tampa, Florida More Photos
Quote: With a desire to escape Chicago for a warmer climate, cheap airline tickets sent me to Tampa, Florida, for a surprisingly enjoyable long weekend.

Weekend Getaway to Tampa, FL

Overview

Quote:
Quick Tips: Remember: there is no real "beach" in Tampa, just rocky edges. That said, you don't have to travel far to find a beach. For example, Clearwater is nearby (20 miles) and can be easily reached by car. I found quite a bit of nightlife--many packed bars--in Tampa. Although Ybor City is full of opportunities for bar-hopping, most of the clientele seem to be in college/early 20s. Keep that in mind if you aren't into strobe lights and dancing.Best Way To Get Around: I took taxi cabs and did minimal walking to get around Tampa. If you plan to be fairly active during your trip, I'd suggest renting a car. Parking is not a difficult issue, and traveling from the airport to the beac...Read More

Grand Hyatt Tampa Bay

Best Of IgoUgo

Hotel

Grand Hyatt Tampa Bay Photo, Tampa, Florida
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Despite normally being beyond my budget, the Grand Hyatt was offering a weekend special during my stay that I could not pass up. I was able to reserve a room for three nights, one night being free. Otherwise, this hotel--probably the most luxurious in Tampa--runs about $200 or more per night. I've stayed at many resort hotels in various parts of the world, and I would not call this Hyatt a luxury resort. However, it is a well-maintained and wonderfully decorated high-end hotel. The room decor is something like Tommy Bahama-meets-Jimmy Buffet, with unique printed bedspreads and drapes with palm-tree designs. I am always thrilled to stay in a room that is not decked out in the traditiona...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on January 14, 2005

Grand Hyatt Tampa Bay
2900 BAYPORT DRIVE
Tampa, Florida 33607
813-874-1234

Columbia Restaurant

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Restaurant

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This is a spot not to be missed. Much like you would not travel to Paris without seeing the Eiffel Tower, a trip to Tampa without dinner at the Columbia Restaurant would be foolish. Everyone who has visited Tampa or lives in Tampa knows about the Columbia Restaurant. This unique Spanish-style building has been around since 1905. Although it has expanded, the large, dark-wood bar has been the same for nearly 100 years. Each room in this restaurant is different and has its own beautiful characteristics. The main dining room has a small stage where flamenco dancers take over two times per night, every day of the week (except Sundays). There is an additional charge to see a show (seatings are at app...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on January 11, 2005

Columbia Restaurant
2117 E 7th Avenue
Tampa, Florida 33605
(813) 248-4961

Todai Restaurant

Restaurant | "Todai"

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Todai Restaurant is a national chain Japanese restaurant/all-you-can-eat buffet. I had my first visit while in Tampa and was really impressed. I eat a lot of sushi and found the quality of the fish to be outstanding. They offer everything from soups (miso and udon) to stir-fried dishes and maki rolls to nigiri. They even have a dessert/fruit spread, as well as a crepe station. The lunch buffet was around $12.99 and was worth every penny. Even if you are unfamiliar with Japanese cuisine, Todai would be an excellent opportunity to give it a try. Otherwise, there are just as many non-fish-related dishes to eat. I look forward to hitting up other Todai locations in the future. Lunch ...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on January 14, 2005

Todai Restaurant
2223 N West Shore Blvd
Tampa, Florida 33607
(813) 872-8725

Quote:
Without plans to board a cruise ship or visit a Florida theme park, I filled my time in Tampa with eating, drinking, shopping, and simply lounging around. With their Hawaiian-printed T-shirts and worn-in shorts, the locals are very laid-back and easy to talk to at any number of bars and restaurants across the city. They are certainly eager to help you plan your time and suggest activities you may enjoy. The Green Iguana Bar has several locations in Tampa, two of which we visited on our trip. They serve your normal mixed drinks and beer with little attitude in a casual environment. Slightly nicer, the Bahama Breeze is another restaurant/bar that has a lovely outdoor seating area with live music m...Read More