On July 16, 2013Susan Barnes answered the question:With its consistently pleasant temperatures, full slate of festivals and events, and always-perfect beaches, Tampa is a great year-round destination. If you're traveling with your kids and doing so during school breaks, you likely will find larger crowds swarming area theme parks like Busch Gardens and taking over the beaches. But if you can get away during the school year, you'll be rewarded with shorter lines at the parks and less people laying out their towels on the sand.
Even though Tampa is a nice place to visit no matter the season, it does get hot during the summer — It's Florida, after all — not to mention sticky-humid. If you wilt in the heat, June, July and August may not be the optimum time to plan your visit to Tampa; try for the fall instead.
On July 16, 2013Susan Barnes answered the question:If you want to ransack the racks Tampa, you’re in luck — the city offers everything from large shopping malls to small boutique-lined streets. For world-class shopping, hit up the two-story International Plaza and Bay Street. Here you’ll find the big-name department stores, such as Nordstrom and Neiman Marcus; boutiques by Louis Vuitton, Kate Spade, Burberry, Betsey Johnson, Tory Burch, bebe and Henri Bendel; and jewelers Tiffany & Co. and Montblanc. At WestShore Plaza, Macy’s, Saks Fifth Avenue, Gap, Ann Taylor, Banana Republic, Loft and Chico’s are among the 120 stores available.
Those shopper who want to get out of the malls should try the tree-lined streets of Tampa’s historic Hyde Park neighborhood. Similar to a European village, Hyde Park mixes national, regional and local retailers in the open-air shopping spot; check out the wares at Anthropologie and Pottery Barn, or browse lacy underthings at The Pink Petticoat or the silk dresses and tote bags at Couture Living Boutique.
For outlet-mall steals, head south on I-75 for about 45 minutes until you come to Ellenton, just outside Bradenton. You’ll be in shopper heaven among the 130 outlet stores, including Banana Republic, J.Crew, Kate Spade New York and Michael Kors.