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Column: Motivation for being a tourist in your own town

Yeah, confession: I’ve never been to the Tampa Museum of Art. Where haven’t you been?

JAMES BORCHUCK | Times

Yeah, confession: I’ve never been to the Tampa Museum of Art. Where haven’t you been?

News flash: We have lots of tourists from up north in town.

Yeah, so that's not anything new. But this week's special impetus is Amalie Arena hosting the NCAA Frozen Four (the college hockey championships, if you aren't in the know). So this week's cover story provides a guide to the best beaches, music, arts and eats Tampa Bay has to offer.

If you're a local, it's for you, too.

Maybe you've been here your whole life and done absolutely everything — been to every beach, art museum and local music hangout. Kudos to you, superhuman. But maybe you're like me, reading that story and realizing you've been in Tampa Bay for four years without going to the Tampa Museum of Art, Edison: Food+Drink Lab or a Wilson Van concert.

It's hard sometimes to be a tourist where you live year round, to get far enough from your daily and weekly routines and haunts to see the sights the way out-of-towners here on a whirlwind vacay do.

But you totally should experience these Tampa Bay things, right? You know you should. Here are some ideas for motivation.

Make a bucket list

Even if you aren't going away any time soon, giving yourself a list to check is always a good kick in the pants to get started. Maybe you read through the pages of this issue and jot down all the things you haven't done. Maybe you want to eat at all of food critic Laura Reiley's Top 50 restaurants (find them at tbtim.es/top50restaurants). Maybe you just frequently read or hear about some local spot that piques your curiosity. However your list comes about, write or type it down and brag about it when you finish.

Recruit actual tourists

Your brother in Louisville. Your grandma in Boston. Your college roommate in San Diego. You know people who don't live here. We know you do. Bring 'em on down and you have the perfect excuse to see all of the cool things you haven't yet, plus a nonlocal to lend perspective.

Jump on the deals

This is the advantage you have over those vacationers: You can go anytime. It's a financial bonus at attractions like Busch Gardens and Lowry Park Zoo that offer calendar-year admission for the same price as daily ($99 at Busch Gardens, $29.95 at the zoo) but also at cultural institutions. At the Tampa Museum of Art, admission is free on Fridays from 4-8 p.m.; the Museum of Fine Arts, St. Petersburg, is $5 after 5 p.m. Thursdays. And several local music venues have nights with free shows you can take advantage of, too (see Thursdays with Uncle John's Band at Skipper's, or more free tribute band shows at Jannus Live).

It's all right here waiting for you.

Column: Motivation for being a tourist in your own town 04/05/16 [Last modified: Tuesday, April 5, 2016 11:41am]
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