8 cool things to do in Tampa Bay this spring

Whether you want to take advantage of warmer temperatures with an outdoor adventure or escape the humidity indoors, here’s your guide to spring in Tampa Bay.

1. Spring for brunch

It’s time to put on your most beautiful spring outfit for a perfect brunch. Here are some of our favorite places:

The library, Saint PETERSBOURG

wild child, St. Petersburg (Sunday brunch only)

Timpano, Hyde Park (recently reopened for brunch)

  • After a two-year hiatus, Timpano resumed its brunch service last month. Try the parm to table macaroni experience. Forget the melted tiramisu French toast.

Florida Cracker Kitchen, Brooksville

  • That Okeechobee gumbo… holy heaven.

Ella’s American Folk Art Cafe, Seminole Heights

  • You can not be wrong with the bone-in Bloody Mary – if you can sit in this very popular restaurant on a Sunday.

First watchmultiple locations

  • This local channel recently went public. First Watch is always crowded for a good reason: an interesting and healthy breakfast made with fresh ingredients.

Trip dinner, multiple locations

  • Look at these chicken cookies.
Chicken cookies at Trip’s Diner in Seminole Heights. Photo: Ben Montgomery/Axios
2. Launch your festival

whatever the music you like, from rock to reggae, there’s a festival for you this spring.

3. Take a seat at a local game
A person standing in front of the Rays Stadium pitch lowers their head to show their hat which says "I (heart) opening day" with the Rays logo on it
An usher waves to fans before the game between the Boston Red Sox and Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in 2018. Photo: Mike Carlson/MLB via Getty Images

It was a close call, but the MLB lockout ended with enough time for a shortened spring training schedule.

Save this date: Opening day is April 7.

Here is an overview of local hours:

Baltimore Orioles

Ed Smith Stadium, Sarasota

Detroit Tigers

Publix Field at Joker Marchant Stadium, Lakeland

New York Yankees

George M. Steinbrenner Field, Tampa

Philadelphia Phillies

Spectrum Field, Clearwater

Pittsburgh Pirates

LECOM Park, Bradenton

Tampa Bay Stingrays

Charlotte Sports Park, Port Charlotte

Toronto Blue Jays

TD Baseball Stadium, Dunedin

Not into baseball? The Lightning have plenty of home games in Tampa this spring.

4. Go on vacation
An Airstream trailer.
You could stay at this remodeled 1959 Airstream in Gainesville. Photo courtesy of Airbnb

Check out these three unique Airbnb getaways, all within a four-hour drive of Tampa Bay.

5. Hike these nearby swamps…seriously
Hikers walk along a boardwalk through the green marsh
Hikers on a boardwalk through the Green Swamp. Photo: Ben Montgomery/Axios

To our happiness, a 560,000 acre wonderland is right in our backyard.

  • The Green Swamp is the beating hydrological heart of the Tampa Bay area, the serene birthplace of four of our rivers, and it’s free for anyone to stroll. Here are Ben’s tips on hiking the Florida Trail through the Western Tract from Green Swamp.

For an even wetter experience, don your gaiters and head south to the Big Cypress National Preserve Visitor Center on US 41 between Naples and Miami, the southern terminus of the Florida National Scenic Trail.

  • Follow the orange blazes north through Big Cypress. A common destination for a three-day hike is the rest area on I-75, about 30 marsh miles from the visitor center.
  • Or plan a night round trip at one of the primitive campsites along the trail. Permit required.

If that sounds too ambitious, check out our list of the best hikes around Tampa Bay.

Hikers in the Big Cypress Swamp
Big Cypress. Photo: Ben Montgomery/Axios
6. Choose a new vegetable baby
Plants from local nurseries.
Photo: Ben Montgomery/Axios

Ready to test your green thumb? Check out these local plant stores:

7. Flamin-go at the Sunken Gardens
A Sunken Gardens sign, flamingos wading through the water and a scene of a leafy path
Scenes from the Sunken Gardens. Photos: City of Saint Petersburg

Spend the day surrounded by 50,000 (!!) tropical plants, a flock of flamingos and relaxing water features in this century-old botanical garden.

  • The tickets are $15 for adults.
  • Details: The garden is open from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday to Saturday and 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday. The address is 1825 Fourth St. N. in St. Petersburg.
8. Go peddling

Take your bike for those jaunts around Tampa Bay.

Saturday March 19

Hi Ybor City! Vision Zero Tampa will close 14th Street to vehicular traffic from Columbus Drive to 21st Avenue to “Unlock the Block.”

  • The event offers activities suitable for cyclists and pedestrians and opportunities to meet local business owners. Noon to 4 p.m. Free.

Sunday March 20

Tampa’s Joe Haskins Bike Shop is hosting a ride to remember the death a year ago of Haskins, a champion of the city’s working-class cyclists.

  • Meet at Joe Haskins Bike Shop, 2310 N. Florida Ave., at 11 a.m.; departure at noon.

March 25

Join Dade City Mayor Camille Hernandez for a casual 2.5 mile ride on the Hardy Trail.

  • Meet at the Spoke Visitor Center, 37800 Church Ave., at 8:30 a.m.; the trip starts at 9am.

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