Ybor City, Florida

Ybor City, Florida photo by Monica Goslin

Ybor City  – historic neighborhood of Tampa, Florida

Ybor City was founded in the late 1800’s by cigar manufacturers and was dominated by cigar factories for 50 years. Ybor City is a National Historic Landmark District. The name of the city comes from Vicente Martinez Ybor, a Spanish-born cigar manufacturer, originally located in Cuba and then Key West before he settled in Tampa. The cigar industry boomed in the 20th century, bringing many immigrants mostly from Cuba, Spain, and Italy. The city of Ybor declined after the Depression and World War II and only started to recover in the early 1980’s and now thrives on tourism, restaurants, and nightlife.

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How to get to Ybor City from Downtown Tampa – take the tram!

You can take the tram (one way ticket is $2.50) from downtown Tampa to Ybor City, walk down 7th Avenue, have lunch at the famous Colombia Restaurant and then head back to Tampa on the tram.

The tram in Tampa began running in October of 2002 and is 2.7 miles long with a total of 11 stops. Tampa’s first trams, or electric streetcars, were used in 1892 and were at their height of popularity in the 1920’s. The tramlines were shut down in 1946 until the new heritage line was started in 2002. The trams in Tampa are managed by the Tampa Historic Streetcar Inc. and owned by the City of Tampa.

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Colombia Restaurant in Ybor City – where to eat in Ybor City/Tampa

The Colombia Restaurant in Ybor City is an important historic landmark as the restaurant opened in 1905! Not only are there 4th and 5th generation family members of the Hernandez Gonzmart family working in the Colombia Restaurant today, but also it is said to be the oldest restaurant in Florida and the world’s largest Spanish restaurant!

Located on the main streets, 7th Avenue, you can’t miss it. The Colombia Restaurant in Ybor City is 2117 East 7th Avenue and is open every day!

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To see more photos of downtown Tampa, Florida including Ybor City and the Spanish tiles of the famous Colombia Restaurant in Ybor City, click here for travel stock photography of Tampa, Florida.

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Visiting Downtown Tampa

Downtown Tampa, FL by Monica Goslin

What to do and see in downtown Tampa, Florida

Visiting downtown Tampa you will find a rather impressive, although quiet, city center with stunning skyscrapers and a very pleasant waterfront park. Downtown Tampa is very walk-able and the central area you want to see starts at the waterfront park.

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Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park is an 8-acre sustainable park with features like reclaimed water for irrigation. The park accommodates a range of programs and performances, and includes a dog park, a river walk, and two interactive fountains.

Bordering the park is the Tampa Museum of Art and the Glazer Children’s Museum. Both museums are stunning architecturally and I highly recommend eating lunch or just enjoying coffee and gelato at the SoNo Café at the Tampa Museum of Art, where you can sit outside and enjoy the view while eating fabulous food and drinking great coffee. Click here for a link to the SoNo Cafe at the Tampa Museum of Art to find out more.

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From the park you just have to walk a few blocks to see the skyscrapers up close and see some interesting artwork, like the “Solstice” sculpture by Charles O. Perry in the courtyard of the Bank of America, which looks like a gigantic slinky! Plus you will notice the Rivergate Tower, which is the cylindrical building at the other end of the waterfront park. The Rivergate Tower is the sixth tallest building in Tampa, designed by Harry Wolf and is one of the tallest limestone structures in the world (probably a useful fact to know for jeopardy)!

You can easily reach the Henry B. Plant Museum from downtown Tampa by walking over the West Kennedy Blvd Bridge; find out about the Henry B Plant Museum in the previous post!

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To see more photos of downtown Tampa, Florida click here for travel stock photography of Tampa, FL.