As my days in Tampa dwindled to a close, I scrambled to do everything I never found time to do before. As a resident of the Tampa Bay area for six years, I had certainly had my fair share of Tampa adventures, but now time was running out. I remembered hearing whispers of a market at a temple. After finding a magnificent Chinese temple outside of Melbourne, Australia, I was excited to find this Buddhist temple in Tampa. My last Sunday in the Bay area, I finally made it to the Wat Thai Temple in Tampa.
Wat Thai Temple Sunday Food Market
On Sundays the temple features a popular food market (cash only) open from 8:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. My boyfriend and I came around noon for lunch. The market itself features a variety of food stands with everything from delicious Thai entrees to traditional desserts. We browsed all of the stands under the pavilion before making our choices. Continue reading “Thai Temple in Tampa”→
25! How fast 24 went by. My 24th year on this earth was 365 days filled with adventure and more traveling than ever before.
In the past year, I have ventured around Scotland; spent a day frozen in Philadelphia; lived in Australia; visited San Francisco and the neighboring vineyards; hiked Zion, Bryce Canyon, and the Grand Canyon; finally explored Tampa as a tourist, cheered in Nashville for a bachelorette party, and will spend my birthday weekend wandering around Chicago. Not to mention, I still have a move to Fort Lauderdale in October, a wedding to celebrate in Cancun in November; and Christmas carols to sing in the Virgin Islands in December.
It has been a nonstop whirlwind of adventures that will last until 2018 comes to an end.
Oh, The Places You’ll Go
In Scotland I spent 10 days exploring the country. I was able to see the cultural centers of Glasgow and Edinburgh as well as travel through the beautiful countryside with a Scotland native as my tour guide. I felt like I had fallen into Hogwarts at Glasgow University. I watched rivals England and Scotland face off in a rowdy bar. I walked the Royal Mile and climbed Carlton Hill in Edinburgh in the rain. I saw two castles and searched (without luck) for Nessie.
I spent a single-digit winter day in Philadelphia. My boyfriend and I froze as we waiting to see the Liberty Bell and wandered around Independence Hall. We had some killer food at Reading Terminal Market and numbly walked around the city center.
I fell in love with the land down under. I got to live half way across the globe in Melbourne, Australiaeven if it was just for two short months. I spent some time in Geelong with a long-lost cousin. I walked across the bridge and touched the Sydney Opera House. I saw kangaroos and famous surf beaches along the Great Ocean Road. I made friends from around the world. I got to live and fall in love with the Most Livable City in The Word, but I wasn’t done. Continue reading “A Year of Wandering in Review”→
Have you noticed how complacency can so easily creep in when you live somewhere? Your desire for exploration and adventure can wane dramatically as you become comfortable with where you live. While I sit and daydream about international adventure, I neglect to step outside and explore my own backyard that is the Tampa Bay area.
Last week my sister was visiting, so I got to see Tampa Bay as a tourist. It was amazing how many places I had wanted to go to but had never gotten around to until now.
Exploring the City of Tampa Bay
Of course if you are coming to Tampa, you will want to visit downtown. Unlike the cities of the Northeast, Tampa is spread out with lots of greenspaces and is easily walkable. Since it is the Sunshine State, take time to just get lost in the city. The arts area is the best place to explore. There are lots of iconic Tampa buildings (Straz Center, Children’s Museum, Sykes building, etc.) as well as my favorite greenspace, Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park. If you go on the weekend, there is a good chance that there will be some event going on in the park. You can also walk the streets and find lots of cafes, bars, and restaurants. Eddie & Sam’s N.Y. Pizza (they have gelato too!) is a Tampa favorite. Fair warning, it is closed on Mondays. We grabbed a smoothie at a cafe and continued walking.
If you come to Tampa, the Riverwalk is a must. You can choose to walk, run, bike, even take your dog along with you. The Riverwalk is a scenic path along the water from the Florida Aquarium in Channelside to Armature Works. You can walk the length of it or just pick a section. Stop by the Sail Pavilion for a drink by the water. Along the way, there are monuments, benches, swings, plaques, and more. Just keep walking and find out what is next. You can use Tampa’s bike share or hop a water taxi from one end to another. But that is just the beginning… Continue reading “Tampa Bay as a Tourist (From a Local)”→
St. Petersburg, Florida is a beautiful sister city to Tampa that is just across the bridge. It is where the Tampa locals go to escape on the weekends.
It has a walkable downtown area with lots places to explore. Spend a good bit of time strolling along the water or wandering the streets before grabbing a bite to eat at the many great restaurants, bars, and cafes. There is a wide selection to chose from. Just follow your gut on whatever looks yummy.
One of my favorite stops in downtown St. Pete is Locale Market. You will find lots of local Tampa Bay delicacies and treats. You can buy meats, wine, spices, and cheeses for future meals, or you can visit the restaurant upstairs. It has seating outside. You could also grab a hot meal from downstairs to go. Take it toward the water and eat outside if you so please. They also have an ice cream and bakery to satisfy your sweet tooth.
The Dali Museum is a popular stop in St. Pete. There is a discount for students so bring your student id if you have one. The Dali exhibit is surreal (pun intended). You can spend a great deal of time examining the details of all of his paintings. The other half of the museum features a rotating exhibit. You can check their website to see who is currently on display. Past exhibits include Picasso, Disney, and Clyde Butcher. There is a small garden in the back as well as a cafe and gift shop. Continue reading “St. Pete as a Tourist”→
If you are in the USF area, be sure to stop by Lettuce Lake Park. It is $2.00 per car to enter, and you could spend a good bit of your day there. There is a visitor’s center, walking paths, a boardwalk path, picnic areas with grills, and canoe/kayak rentals. You can wander around the trails. The boardwalk is a nice stroll with great views of the wildlife. There is also an observation tower to look out onto the Hillsborough River. We saw turtles, birds, squirrels, bugs, and alligators. Have you really visited Florida if you don’t see any alligators on your trip? Unfortunately, it had been raining in Tampa a lot so part of the boardwalk and the surrounding greenery were completely underwater. We had to cut our walk short. If you are feeling active and adventurous, consider taking a canoe or kayak out for a spin. You may be lucky enough to see an alligator sunning itself up close. Finally bring a lunch and enjoy a picnic in the park.
As a proud USF alumni, visiting campus was at the top of my list. While you may be rolling your eyes, if you are in the area, I would recommend it whether or not you are a bulls fan. The campus has lots of scenic areas including a botanical garden, ponds, water features, lots of well-groomed landscapes, and of course the beautiful Marshall Student Center with the running bulls statues in front. (It is customary to “ride the bull” at least once as a student.) It was summer so the campus was mostly deserted, but during the school year, you may stumble upon an event. If you are looking for a relaxing area to read a book or go for a nice walk, the University of South Florida campus is perfect. Continue reading “North Tampa (USF Area)”→