Last week I needed a little escape from New York City. I had just launched my Real Food Detox and met a few other looming deadlines. After weeks of focused work on-end combined with feeling down about the barre studio closing, my body and mind were in need of a getaway. David had meetings in Tampa, Fl. last week so I couldn’t resist going with him. I got some alone time during the day to workout and soak up Vitamin D and we explored Tampa together in the evenings. I never thought Tampa to be an exciting place to visit, but this time we decided to go local and together discovered these two historic neighborhoods to visit in Tampa.
I’ve been to Tampa more times than I can count. My grandmother used to live there, I spent one college Spring Break in the area with friends and my family has vacationed in Clearwater Beach right outside of Tampa for years. Every time I’ve visited, I’m reminded of Ybor City, a historic neighborhood northeast of downtown Tampa. Yet until this trip, I’d never been.
One evening after David finished with his meetings, we meandered to Ybor City, parked the car and strolled down the main drag, 7th Avenue. Right away we got a sense of the neighborhood’s rich culture and eclectic personality. Many of the local businesses are in converted cigar factories and warehouses and while it was quiet when we were there, we could tell it was an area that came alive on weekends – the street was lined mostly with bars and restaurants. We decided not to stick around there for dinner and stumbled on edison food + drink lab, a highly-rated gastropub near the University of Tampa, instead but we both agreed Ybor City was worth the visit.
A friend had recommended Hyde Park, another historic neighborhood, so the following evening we headed to South Tampa. We drove along well-manicured streets and took in the stunningly renovated homes. The drive culminated in a visit to the high-end shopping, dining and entertainment in Hyde Park Village. Based on my friend’s recommendation, we decided to try the fresh margaritas at bartaco, a casual but lively joint serving up tacos and other South American-inspired street food. We ended up forgoing our original plans and staying for dinner.
Though I miss teaching as many barre classes as I used to, I’m taking advantage of this extra time to recharge and take care of myself. This trip reminded me how important that is and also that sometimes it’s nice to forego a lot of planning and explore the local culture in a city. I’m glad we discovered these two historic neighborhoods to visit in Tampa.