Tampa Bay Pokémon Go guide: How to get started, stay safe and find more Pokémon

Ponyta, a horse Pokemon, appears on William Lucero's cell phone over a live image of his son, nine-month-old William Lucero, center, and his wife Kimberly Lucero while searching for Pokemon on Monday. DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD   |   Times
Ponyta, a horse Pokemon, appears on William Lucero's cell phone over a live image of his son, nine-month-old William Lucero, center, and his wife Kimberly Lucero while searching for Pokemon on Monday. DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Times
Published July 21 2016
Updated July 21 2016

What goes better with a craft beer than slinging a Poké Ball and snagging a Charmander?

This Saturday, it's not only time to get your drink on, but time to get your Pokémon Go on with hundreds of other fanatics in a St. Petersburg's "PokéCrawl" hosted by Hot 101.5. It's hard to say how many people will show up for the day-to-night event, but more than 1,400 players said they were attending on the event's Facebook page.

The crawl is split up into four designated zones. From 3 p.m. to 4:30 p.m., players will be in Zone One, which is between First Avenue N and Second Avenue S and along First and Fourth Streets S. Zone Two, from 4:45 p.m. to 6:15 p.m., is along Second Street N between Fifth Avenue N and Second Avenue N, as well as onto the North Yacht Basin. Zone Three, from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., is along Eight and Fifth Street N between First Avenue North and Second Avenue S. Zone Four, from 8:15 and 9:30, runs from Martin Luther King, Jr. Street S and 18th Street N, between First Avenue N and First Avenue S.

The festivities kick off at 2 p.m. at Jannus Live, the outdoor music venue. The event is 21-plus, so leave the littlest Pokémon masters at home. Interested in the fun, but new to the game? You can sign up for free after downloading the game in the Apple or Android app store after reading this Pokémon guide.


When Pokéballs are flying, there's a Snorlax right in front of you and you're about to go up a level, it's easy to be a distracted Pokémon master.

Anything to get ahead in the game is alluring, even if it may not seem so safe to someone who doesn't have his or her Pokédex on the brain. (I'm sure you've felt the temptation to pull your phone out while stuck in traffic — if not while your car is moving.)

Pokémon Go has taken over; the game has more active users than Twitter. With that many people playing, there's bound to be some missteps. As pop culture expert Robert Thompson from the Syracuse University put it:

"There's other things going on in the real world that can be dangerous. When you've got that many people playing something that requires concentration in a world that already requires concentration, there will be accidents."

But it's easy to be a smart player and not let your inner Team Rocket shine. With that in mind, here's a list of some safety and etiquette tips for while you're playing the game.

1. Remember where you're playing.

That Pokégym may actually be a church. Pokéspots are often historical landmarks. Some places have embraced their status in game play, some are less than thrilled and are requesting to be removed. Myrtle Hill Cemetery in Tampa, for example, may be overflowing with Pokéspots but employees have started to ask players to leave their grounds. That's a request players should honor.

The Arlington National Cemetery and Holocaust Museum in D.C. had to do the same. The game automatically targets landmarks, which can be a great way to learn about your city. But be mindful and respectful if you come across a memorial, and don't get combative if someone asks you not to play there.

Also if you're on a date or talking with friends who aren't game-obsessed, maybe put your phone away.

2. Play with a friend.

Remember the buddy system used on elementary school field trips? It's for adults, too. Although it's probably safest to avoid playing late at night, if you're going to do it, don't go alone. There isn't only safety in numbers, it's more fun to play game with others. With a report of muggers using the game to lure people to an secluded area only to rob them in Missouri, why make yourself a target?

3. Speaking of targets...

This is probably general life advice more than it's Pokémon Go advice — but anyone too focused on his or her phone becomes an easy target for criminals. A group of college kids were robbed at gunpoint playing at night at the University of Maryland. If you're walking through a crowd while focused on following those three little footprints to your next catch, it's going to be a lot easier for someone to swipe your wallet without you noticing.

4. Don't fall off an ocean bluff or get hit by a car.

That might sound absolutely ridiculous, but it has happened. There's reports two people fell off an ocean bluff while playing as well as a teen who got hit by car because she was focused on the game while crossing the street. Check yourself before you wreck yourself. Don't be a walking accident waiting to happen. Look up. Be aware of your surroundings. And, please, don't Pokémon Go and drive — just like you shouldn't text and drive. It's not worth the risk.

5. Don't get ripped off.

Don't get so caught up in catching 'em all that you don't realize someone is trying to rip you off. I saw a Craigslist ad (since removed) that said someone would log in to your account and level you up while you're at work. Even if she was true to her word, why cheat? And it's more likely that person is trying to hack into your Gmail, which many people use to play the game. There's also an email going around made to look like it's coming from Niantic, Inc., the software company that made Pokémon Go. It's a scam — the email says the game's servers are so slammed users need to start paying $12.99 per month. They try to get you to log in and are likely after your money and your Apple ID and password.

— Sara DiNatale, Times Staff Writer


It would be nearly impossible to track down all of the hundreds of spots in Tampa Bay, but this interactive map includes many of the most popular landmarks, libraries, museums and restaurants that have been designated PokéStops (blue stars) and gyms (yellow weight lifter icons). We've also highlighted some of the best places to catch local Pokémon in the wild (purple walker icons). You can view a larger version of the map here. — Christopher Spata, Times Staff Writer


Confused over what the youth are talking about with their PokéStops, Lures and XP? Want to understand before starting the game? Wonder no more:

Eggs: Just like in the original games, eggs will hatch Pokémon if you walk (or travel slowly, most likely under 20 mph). Just make sure to put it in an Incubator before getting to work on the 2, 5 or 10 km distances.

Evolution: A Pokémon will evolve into a stronger form when you use candy. Not all Pokémon have evolutions.

Candy: Contrary to reality, candy makes a creature stronger. It also evolves Pokémon, but you'll need a lot of it for that. By far, hatching eggs will give you the most Candy. Transferring extra Pokémon to the Professor and catching wild Pokémon will give you some, as well.

CP, XP and HP: Combat power (CP) is a Pokémon's strength, giving it power in battle. A trainer's experience points (XP) level them up, enabling them to catch stronger Pokémon. Hit points (HP) show a Pokémon's health. If the HP hits zero in battle, it's out.

Gyms: So far, this is the only way to battle other trainers. There are plenty of gyms — from churches to parks to, sadly, the Florida Holocaust Museum — to take over for your honor and your team. Many victories are short-lived in populated areas, so if you claim a gym, relish it. You'll also receive daily stardust and PokéCoins for defending the Gym.

Incense: This will attract wild Pokémon to your area, just for you. It works better if you move around. But, honestly, it can often be useless unless you're looking for basics (all the Rattatas!).

Lure Module: Oh, the blessed lure. This will attract wild Pokémon to a PokéStop for all. Many parks and some businesses will have these loaded up, so go out there and profit.

Lucky Egg: This will double the XP you earn for a period of time.

Poké Balls: How else would you catch a Pokémon? When you hit higher levels, you can collect the stronger great balls (level 12), ultra balls (level 20) and master balls.

PokéCoins: You can earn these from defending a gym. Or use your actual money, if you're into that. The coins allow you to buy items in the shop.

Pokédex: A classic. It shows all the Pokémon you've caught or seen.

PokéStops: Once you get close , tap on the stop and then swipe the disc to get items. These stops are more than just for items and XP, though. You can learn about the spot with its short bio. Sometimes, it's cool. Promise. For example, in St. Pete's EDGE District, there are tons of baseball plaques. Many downtown St. Pete artworks also are stops.

Potions, Revives: Potions restore HP, and revives are for fainted Pokémon. Get these from PokéStops or the shop. Great, Super, Hyper and Max Potions are unlocked at levels 5, 10, 12 and 25. Revives and Max Revives are unlocked at levels 5 and 30.

Razz Berry: This very clever name for a fruit will make a wild Pokémon easier to catch if you feed it.

Stardust: This will power up Pokémon. Earn it by catching Pokémon, hatching eggs and defending a gym.

Teams: Once you hit Level 5 as a trainer, you'll choose between Instinct (yellow), Mystic (blue) and Valor (red). Instinct is following your gut in training and battle, with the mascot Zapdos; Mystic focuses on knowledge and evolution, with the mascot Articuno; and Valor focuses on bonding and training to build strength, with the mascot Moltres. Almost immediately, people formed superiority complexes over teams. If you're not Mystic, you're trash.

Trainer: If you don't know this means you as the player, you are beyond my help.

— Ashley Dye, tbt*

Times staff writers Chelsea Tatham and Megan Reeves contributed to this report. Contact Sara DiNatale at [email protected] or (727) 893-8862. Follow @sara_dinatale.