Travel Guide Tampa Unique Temple

Thai Temple in Tampa

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”

Travel to Tampa Bay Area

Tampa Bay as a Tourist (From a Local)

Local Laziness Problems

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

Downtown Tampa

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.

The Riverwalk

Walking the Tampa Riverwalk
Photo by Jaimie Bailey

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

St. Pete as a Tourist

St. Pete

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.

 

Downtown

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.

Locale Market

St Pete Downtown Locale Market
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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.

 Dali Museum

St Pete Florida DaliThe 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”

University of South Florida Tampa

North Tampa (USF Area)

Lettuce Lake Park

Lettuce Lake Tampa, Florida Alligator
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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.

 

USF Campus

Riding the Bulls Usf
My boyfriend “riding the bulls”

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)”

Emergency room anxiety

Emergency Room Roller Coaster

On Wednesday, my worst fears were realized… well not entirely.  I found myself escorting someone to the emergency room. For those of you that are not aware, anxiety and hospitals are not a good mix. I do my best to avoid anything medical. Just driving to the hospital, I could feel my heartbeat quicken and my mind beginning to wander.

Immediately, I told the nurses that “I don’t do hospitals.” How horrible I felt to be a source of anxiety rather than comfort for my boyfriend who was rocking in pain from a dislocated shoulder.  My boyfriend is nice enough to try and calm me down, but my spirit crumbles at the thought of him having to be there for me once again.

Anxiety Anticipation

The anticipation is the worst. It’s like sitting in a rollercoaster cart as it slowly creeps up that first hill. As the nurses buzzed around the emergency area, I found myself shaking my leg uncontrollably and specifically turning my head away from any sounds. My mind convinces me that the tray cart rolling down the hallway is actually a person being rolled in on a stretcher as a trail of blood falls behind them. Continue reading “Emergency Room Roller Coaster”