From Busch Gardens to the famous Riverwalk, Tampa’s got a bit for everyone to enjoy. A load of attractions paired with Tampa’s great weather all year-round is what makes it such a popular tourist destination, and the fun doesn’t end there.
If you pick the right times to visit Tampa, you can also enjoy the festivities during one of their many celebrations.
To make choosing your travel dates easier, we’ve picked the top 5 festivals in Tampa that you absolutely should attend.
So let’s get to it!
Taking place along Tampa’s Riverwalk, the Riverfest is a free event that has something for the whole family to enjoy.
There’s music, games, hot air balloon rides, restaurants, and many more festivities to enjoy.
The Riverfest spans the entire Riverwalk area, and for this year, it’ll last two days. If you’re looking to experience some of the best Tampa has to offer, the Riverfest is a great way to do it, so don’t miss out!
If you said yes to any of the above, you’d probably love the Tampa Gasparilla Pirate Fest. The Pirate Fest is one of Tampa’s most unique celebrations; it’s truly an event you shouldn’t miss out on.
It starts with the Gasparilla pirate invasion, in which over 750 pirates invade the Tampa Bay from aboard the “Gasparilla,” which is the name of their ship.
If all of this sounds outlandish to you, that’s because it is!
The “invasion” is followed up by a pirate-themed parade and event; it goes through the city of Tampa until the event end, where the pirates return the key to the city and leave aboard the Gasparilla to return the next year.
Again, this event sounds crazy because it is, and it’s an absolute blast. It’s been called Tampa’s version of Mardi Gras, and that’s a rather accurate description, actually.
Overall, the Gasparilla Pirate Festival is one of the most unique parades/events out there, and whether you’re going alone, with friends, or with family, it’s a swashbuckling experience you won’t regret.
And it’s not the only one of the Gasparilla events that take place in Tampa, either.
Kicking off on the same day as the Pirate Festival is the Gasparilla Festival of the Arts.
Every year, downtown Tampa becomes one massive outdoor art museum. Masses of artists gather for the festival, contributing to over 1,000 art submissions to take in at once.
The festival has taken place since 1970 and attracts over 250,000 people every year. There’s every type of art you could think of, from ceramics to glasswork, to digital art, wood, and more, it’s an absolutely beautiful event, and a must-see if you’re a fan of the arts.
The next best part?
The Gasparilla Festival of the Arts is free to attend!
Lasting from noon to 11 pm is Tampa’s own Margarita Festival, a celebration of the — you guessed it — Margarita! (And also music!)
The Tampa Margarita Festival is Florida’s largest celebration of Margaritas and live music; it’s a fantastic way to spend your Memorial Day weekend.
There are margaritas, games, shopping, food, and music to provide tons of entertainment. Though keep in mind, you’ll have to be 21 years or older to attend the event, so you’ll have to keep the kids at home!
The last of the Gasparilla events is the Music Fest, which is a celebration of Tampa’s music scene. There are various local and national bands playing at the event, with over 40 acts announced so far.
The festival lasts over two full days and features both music, activities, and plenty of eateries to choose from. Unlike the Margarita Festival, though, the Gasparilla Music Festival is family-friendly too!
Whether you want to catch the pirate invasion, or you’re looking to enjoy a few drinks at the Margarita Fest, Tampa’s got a festival perfect for just about anyone.
It’s truly an amazing city and the perfect destination for a vacation; if you’re already planning on visiting, why not do it during one of Tampa’s fantastic festivals?