801 Old Water St., Tampa, FL 33602
Payment options: Credit cards accepted
More in this neighborhood: Downtown Tampa
The history of the Tampa Bay region comes alive within these walls. Located on the waterfront in Tampa's bustling Channelside District, the 60,000-square-foot Tampa Bay History Center's three floors contain interactive exhibits, theaters, a map gallery, research center, event hall and museum store.
Permanent exhibits include: Tocobaga and Calusa artifacts from the first native inhabitants; Cigar City, which chronicles Tampa's cigar industry and immigrant communities, and features one of the most extensive cigar memorabilia collections in the world; Cowmen & Crackers traces Florida's cattle ranching history, putting viewers in the middle of a cattle drive; A Place of Our Own offers kid-friendly and interactive history; and War Stories focuses on how the area has been affected by various wars dating back to the 1830s.
Have lunch in the stunning atrium at the Columbia Cafe -- this branch of Tampa's famed Spanish restaurant offering tapas, Cuban sandwiches and a limited number of entrees -- or at nearby restaurants.
Visitors can park at the Tampa Bay Times Forum East Lot (just north of the History Center) and the Channelside parking garage. The museum offers discounts for groups of 10 or more adults, and after-hours tours and events. It also has family-friendly before-hours tours. Active and retired service members with ID and their families receive a $2 discount.