The centerpiece of the breezy Tampa Bay area, Tampa is West Central Florida’s largest city and most-visited urban destination. With its size and popularity, though, comes the difficulty of choosing where to stay in Tampa.
For travelers, the best areas to stay in Tampa fall in & around its vibrant city center. Downtown Tampa is home to many of the best hotels in Tampa. You’ll also find a wide variety of accommodations & lodgings in other central neighborhoods like Hyde Park, Ybor City, and North Tampa.
Not sure where to start your Tampa accommodation search? Discover the biggest city on Florida’s Gulf Coast with this complete guide to the best places to stay in Tampa, FL.
Best places to stay in Tampa, FL
With its world-class museums, fun-filled theme parks, superb beaches, and entertainment options, Tampa, Florida, offers plenty to travelers. And depending on how you want to fill your days, Tampa’s top neighborhoods & areas await to help you kick off the perfect itinerary.
For first-time travelers, Downtown Tampa is the best place to stay in Tampa. As the city’s economic hub, the city center is home to many of the top Tampa hotels. It’s vibrant and alive with restaurants, pubs, and plenty of nightlife & entertainment options. Many of the best things to do in Tampa also lie in Downtown Tampa, including the famous Florida Aquarium.
Close by, Ybor City is the city’s historic center. It pulsates with Latin-inspired music and dance. In Ybor City, you’ll perk up your tastebuds and enjoy some of the tastiest Cuban cuisine you’ll find anywhere outside of Havana.
Also nearby, Hyde Park is a shopper’s paradise while North Tampa is a superb choice for family fun. For the finest views in the city and a fun resort holiday, nothing beats staying by the harborfront.
The best areas to stay in Tampa are:
✓ Best area to stay in Tampa for first-time visitors
If you’re a first-time visitor, Downtown Tampa is the best place to stay in the city. The city center is home to many of Tampa’s top points of interest. The neighborhood also borders the historic areas of Ybor City and Hyde Park. Public transport, including the city’s iconic streetcar and regular bus service, will get you to almost any part of the city.
Downtown Tampa is the main business district. Highrise buildings dominate the cityscape, but the center also hides some surprisingly superb tourist attractions.
In Downtown Tampa, you’ll find several arts & science museums along with plenty of restaurants and entertainment venues. It’s home to Amalie Aren and the Tampa Convention Center. Film buffs will also stumble upon the Tampa Theatre, the oldest movie theatre in the United States.
Save time to walk along Franklin Street. Surging through the center of town, the pedestrian-only street houses the Glazer Children’s Museum. Nearby, you’ll also be able to slide onto the lovely Tampa Riverwalk.
On your riverside stroll, pencil in a visit to the Florida Aquarium. It’s one of the country’s coolest aquariums, hosting more than 20,000 aquatic creatures.
End your day enjoying music, craft beer, and fine food along the waterfront at Sparkman Wharf in the Channel District. Or take in an evening performance at the new 8-acre Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park.
Although Downtown Tampa offers the city’s top selection of hotels, accommodation prices reflect its popularity. Expect to pay more for the privilege of staying in this convenient and vibrant neighborhood.
Recommended hotels in Downtown Tampa
The brand-new Hyatt House Downtown offers modern comfortable accommodations in a convenient location. The on-site restaurant features both inside and outdoor seating areas. Enjoy Latin-inspired cuisine or sip a cocktail and watch the sunset. Work out in the heated pool and gym before you grab a complimentary breakfast and head off for the day.
A brisk walk from the Tampa Museum of Art, the Aloft Tampa Downtown offers impressive riverside views from balconied rooms. Guests love the proximity to the River Walk and the wide range of eateries in the area. The hotel also has a 24-hour snack bar, an on-site cocktail bar, and an outdoor pool.
Within walking distance of the Amalie Arena and Tampa Bay History Center, the JW Marriott Water Street boasts large modern rooms complete with marble bathrooms. Enjoy the views while sipping cocktails poolside on the rooftop. Start your day in the well-equipped gym. Grab a continental breakfast to get you on your way.
✓ Best district to stay in Tampa for historical sightseeing & excellent food
The historic neighborhood of Ybor City started life at the beginning of the 20th century when it was the hub of Florida’s cigar manufacturing industry. To this day, Cuban heritage is obvious throughout Tampa’s Latin corner.
A popular entertainment district, Ybor City is known for its nightlife. Many of the best things to do in Ybor City are clustered around Seventh Avenue, a celebration of bars, festivals, and parades. On Seventh Avenue, restaurants serving excellent Cuban cuisine share space with arcades and dance clubs.
Be sure to include a visit to the Columbia Restaurant in your itinerary. Opened as a corner café 115 years ago, the restaurant has won multiple awards for its delicious traditional Cuban fare. (Including its famous Cuban sandwiches.)
Ybor City also hosts Florida’s oldest and largest cigar factory, J.C. Newman Cigar Company. The factory still operates using the same equipment as it did hundred years ago. Book a tour: You won’t regret it.
Elsewhere in the neighborhood, you’ll also find a comedy theatre and several excellent museums, including, of course, the Cigar Museum.
Recommended hotels in Ybor City
Step out of the Hampton Inn and Suites straight onto the tram and travel free of charge to your downtown destination. The recently renovated hotel sports a modern fitness center, fully equipped business center, and sparkling outdoor pool. The property’s large rooms are all equipped with both a microwave and refrigerator. Breakfast is on the house.
Recently opened, the Cuban-inspired Hotel Haya is housed in lovely historic buildings. Sash windows and pretty balconies overlook the action as it happens on the famed 7th Avenue. Exposed brick walls and a lovely courtyard pool add to the ambiance of one of the best hotels in Tampa. Local beers are on-tap and the menu is global when you choose to eat at one of the three on-site restaurants.
Just a block away from all the shopping and entertainment that you could wish for, the Hilton Garden Inn combines comfort with style. The large modern bedrooms come standard with refrigerators and microwaves. On-site facilities at the property include a restaurant, a fully equipped gym, an outdoor pool, and a hot tub. Enjoy a delicious buffet breakfast before you start the day.
Hyde Park & South Tampa
✓ Best neighborhood to stay in Tampa for shopping
Nicknamed SoHo, Hyde Park & South Tampa is a shoppers’ paradise, boasting some of the best shopping malls in Tampa. Here, upmarket shops, restaurants, and coffee shops attract visitors throughout the day.
Shopaholics should beeline for Hyde Park Village. The leafy outdoor mall is high on style, featuring upscale brands along with a host of tasty restaurants and trendy bars.
Pay a visit to Tampa’s Big Cat Rescue. It’s the biggest cat rescue park in the world. At the park, dazzle at leopards, tigers, lions, and panthers. Make sure to book ahead of time.
Looking for a history lesson? Drop in at the Henry B. Plant Museum. The museum sits on the grounds of the University of Tampa. Built in 1888 as a hotel, the museum still shows off much of its original antique furniture.
While staying in South Tampa, squeeze in a walk along Bayshore Boulevard, the world’s longest uninterrupted sidewalk. It’s 4.5 miles long and lined with pubs and restaurants as well as a gourmet food market.
Recommended hotels in Hyde Park & South Tampa
A modern hotel with large well-equipped rooms, this chain hotel is a great accommodation option for couples and families alike. All the rooms have microwaves and refrigerators. The facilities include a sparkling outdoor pool and gym. Enjoy a complimentary breakfast before setting out on your adventure.
Suites at this top mid-range hotel include a fully equipped kitchen. There are laundry facilities on-site so this is the ideal choice if you plan on staying for a while. Enjoy an early morning dip in the outdoor heated pool or a few circuits in the gym. Help yourself to a hot complimentary breakfast before you head out for the day.
The 4-star Epicurean Hotel has every luxury you could think of and more. Two on-site restaurants serve fine food from around the globe and the rooftop bar serves cocktails with a view. Many of the large, comfortable rooms also have shaded balconies with a lovely view of the tropical gardens. A full gym and outdoor swimming pool round out the offering.
✓ Best neighborhood in Tampa for families
Primarily a residential area, North Tampa is home to the University of South Florida. The neighborhood boasts several family-friendly attractions, making it one of the best areas in Tampa for families. The district is home to the Busch Gardens Tampa Bay, an African-themed amusement park; and the exciting Adventure Island Waterpark.
The Busch Gardens theme park is home to more than 12,000 animals mixed with crazy roller coaster rides. Next door, Adventure Island is equally thrilling. Kids will love cooling down at this popular water park with plenty of enormous slides, pools, and riptides.
Looking for something a little less frenetic? Head over to the 240-acre Lettuce Lake Park. Full of outdoor activities, the park offers plenty of shaded picnic areas, jogging paths, boardwalks, and bicycle routes.
North Tampa is also home to the Museum of Science and Industry and the Lowry Park Zoo. A short day trip will take you to the fabulous soft white sands and sparkling blue waters of the exquisite beaches of St. Petersburg and Clearwater. Here, you can choose from a variety of water sports or just chill out in the sunshine. End the day with cocktails at one of the beach bars.
Recommended hotels in North Tampa
When you stay at the Hampton Inn near Busch Gardens, you’ll enjoy discounted tickets to both the theme park and Adventure Island. One of the best Tampa hotels, the Hampton offers a shuttle service with a complimentary hot breakfast. Amenities include an outdoor pool, a business center, a 24-hour front desk, and a gym.
Located 25 km from Tampa Airport, the West Wing Hotel provides modern accommodations in Tampa that include a microwave and refrigerator. There’s an on-site restaurant & bar. Room service is also available if you’d prefer to eat in the peace of your room. Relax in the sunshine on the terrace, or in the garden.
The Home2 Suites by Hilton offers a home away from home. The modern rooms are large and spacious. They’re fully equipped with a microwave, refrigerator, and dishwasher. The hotel also offers laundry facilities and barbecue pits. An outdoor pool, fitness center, and shop round off the menu of featured amenities. Parking at the property is free.
Tampa Bay Harbor
✓ Top area in Tampa for beaches & sea views
A beach lover’s paradise, Tampa Bay Harbor is one of the prettiest harbors in Florida. The locale is one of the city’s best places to stay if you enjoy sipping cocktails at rooftop beach bars and terraces. The views in the area are simply spectacular.
Looking for a tempting meal or an afternoon of shopping? International Plaza and Bay Street is not to be missed. Located close to Tampa Airport, it has dozens of restaurants serving culinary delights from across the globe.
Take a trip across the bay to Clearwater Beach. Its soft white sand and warm, shallow waters have ensured its place as one of the most popular beaches on the Gulf Coast, and indeed, the world. Beach lovers from across the globe congregate here to enjoy water sports, walk along the palm-shaded promenade and take in its many festivals. (If you want to stay in Clearwater Beach, there’s also a great selection of oceanfront hotels here.)
Tampa Bay Harbor is also one of the easier access points for Tampa International Airport. If you’ve only got a quick layover, a late-night arrival, or an early departure, it’s a great option.
Recommended hotels in Tampa Bay Harbor
Whether traveling on business or with the family, Sailport Waterfront Suites have you covered. Single business rooms and one or two-roomed suites are up for grabs. Located at Rocky Point Island, the views from the resort are magnificent. Relax on your own private balcony or sip cocktails around the pool as the sun sets over the sea.
Through the full-wall glass, the CURRENT Hotel Autograph Collection makes the most of its splendid bay views. This 4-star hotel has two on-site restaurants offering guests a range of delicious meals each day. The rooftop bar provides stunning views and handcrafted cocktails. There’s also an affinity pool and a well-equipped gym.
Indulge yourself with a luxury stay at the Grand Hyatt. The hotel makes the best of its spectacular views with floor-to-ceiling windows and a rooftop patio with glassed-in sides. Three on-site restaurants, an enormous outdoor pool, a hot tub, and a health center round off the amenities. The large, modern suites and rooms are equipped with a refrigerator and coffee maker.