With upscale shopping, great art and a fabulous streetcar system, there’s plenty to explore in Tampa. If you prefer beaches to culture, head out to Caladesi State Park and enjoy miles of picture perfect white sandy seas that look straight out of a postcard. Make sure you payhomage to the past at the Tampa Theatre and the Ybor City neighborhood.
Day One: 9 a.m.
A Streetcar Named TECO
Day One: 9 a.m.
A Streetcar Named TECO
The Tampa Streetcar runs passengers from Downtown Tampa to the Tampa Convention Center, Channelside, and all the way down to Ybor City.
Keir Magoulas | Visit Tampa Bay
Take a journey back to the past aboard the TECO Line Streetcar System. While Tampa’s streetcar system may now be more tourist attraction rather than the integral transportation system of days gone by, it’s a great way to explore some of the city. Hop aboard for an easy way to get to some of the city’s major tourist destinations including the Tampa Bay Times Forum, the Channelside District, the Florida Aquarium and Ybor City.
The streetcar system is accessible.
Disabled travelers qualify for a 50-percent discount on single rides and on the one-day unlimited fare card.
Top Tip: Make sure you have change on you. Exact change is required for ticket vending machines.
Hop over to neighboring St. Petersburg to take in the incredible creations of glass artist Dale Chihuly at the Chihuly Collection. The collection is housed in a building designed specifically to show off these incredible glass sculptures to their fullest. The gallery includes pieces designed especially for the collection – including a 20-foot sculpture that marks the entrance to the building. There are also plenty of stunning sculptures seen in various locations around the world.
The Chihuly Collection building is fully accessible, including the restrooms. Wheelchairs are available upon request.
Top Tip: Save on admission to the Chihuly Collection, and four other Tampa attractions with a CityPass card.
Sometimes, you just need a break from being a tourist. Take advantage of Florida’s great shopping with a visit to one of the many malls in town. For upscale shopping, check out the International Plaza and Bay Street, an indoor, two-story shopping center with an adjacent outdoor lifestyle center. The mall is located close to Tampa International Airport and features 200 specialty stores and 24 eateries, including 16 sit-down restaurants.
Complimentary wheelchairs (motorized available) are available from the Concierge Desk located in the Grand Court on the Lower Level on a first-come, first-served basis (refundable deposit required). The most convenient parking for the Concierge Desk is near Nordstrom.
Top Tip: If you are traveling with kids, don’t miss the mall’s “Busch Gardens Play Area.”
Give It a Wurl
Give It a Wurl
Signage in front of the historic Tampa Theatre in downtown Tampa.
Visit Tampa Bay
Once you’ve had enough retail therapy, relive the past with a visit to the Tampa Theatre. We guarantee this is one of the most elaborate “movie palaces” you will ever see. Built in 1926, this Tampa City Landmark has been on the National Register of Historic Places since 1978. The building has a “night sky” ceiling glittering with twinkling stars and a Mediterranean courtyard theme that will transport you far from Florida. There’s also the theater’s Mighty Wurlitzer Theatre Organ, which is played before almost every film screening, adding even more magic to a night at the movies.
The main floor is barrier free with locations for wheelchair seating to the right and left orchestra seating sections. There are accessible restrooms at the rear of the auditorium on the east side of the theater.
Assistive listening devices are available for all movies.
To find out more about the theater’s accessibility, contact the Box Office at 813-274-8982.
Top Tip: Metered spaces in the vicinity of Tampa Theatre (north of Kennedy Blvd.) are free after 6:00 p.m. Monday-Friday and all day on Saturday and Sunday. Before 6pm Monday-Friday, metered spaces have a two-hour time limit (four hours for cars with a disabled placard.
Day Two: 9:00 a.m.
Day Two: 9:00 a.m.
Caladesi Island State Park
Florida has no shortage of beaches, but not all beaches are equally accessible. Head over to Caladesi Island State Park, about a 50-minute drive from Tampa and a 15-minute ferry ride over St. Joseph Sound (keep your eye out for dolphins). It’s worth the schlep! Caladesi is one of the few completely natural islands along Florida’s Gulf Coast and has three miles of beautiful white beaches that are only accessible by boat.
There are three beach wheelchairs are available for free to rent for the day upon request. Contact the Ranger Station at 727-469-5918 to find out more.
The beach has accessible restrooms.
The Caladesi Connection Ferry is accessible. Boat crew will provide assistance to anyone who needs it. Visitors can also access the park by docking in the marina, which has three ADA reserved slips and the entirety of “D” floating dock has an accessible ramp to the shore, says Park Ranger Diana Daniels.
Clearwater Marine Aquarium is not your average aquarium. Rather than providing entertainment (although there is plenty of that on offer), its mission is to rescue marine life, including dolphins, sea turtles, and river otters, and to administer care to maximize the chance to return sick or injured animals to their natural habitats. The aquarium offers a range of educational presentations throughout the day, giving guests the chance to learn a little more about the animals they are seeing. Guests can also take part in hands-on Animal Care Experiences to learn how the aquarium keeps its animals healthy.
CMA is wheelchair accessible, with a small elevator to the second level. The Sea Life Safari and Dolphin Adventure Tour cannot be boarded with wheelchairs. Wheelchairs are available to rent on a first-come, first-served basis.
Scripts of the regular presentations are available at the Guest Services desk and ticket windows.
An ASL interpreter can be arranged with at least two week's notice. Email or call guest services at 727-441-1790.
Top Tip: Arrive before 11:00 a.m. or after 3:00 p.m. to avoid the busiest times of the day.
Tampa Bay History Center
Explore some of the Tampa Bay area’s history at the Tampa Bay History Center, a Smithsonian Institution Affiliate. The center includes three floors of permanent and temporary exhibition space focusing on 12,000 years of history. As well as plenty of history, there is a museum store, the Witt Research Center, a map gallery and the Columbia Café, a branch of the historic Columbia Restaurant. Visiting with little ones? Don’t worry about them being bored. The museum has plenty of interactive activities, from riding with cattle ranchers, playing with trains or dressing up like a pioneer.
The History Center’s galleries are wheelchair accessible. A limited number of wheelchairs are available on a first-come, first served basis at Visitor Services. Contact Visitor Services at (813) 228-0097 with any questions about accessibility or parking.
Top Tip: The museum is located on the TECO Streetcar Line, between the Tampa Tribune Station and the HSBC Station.
The main plaza in the center of Ybor City, properly named "Centro Ybor." A movie theatre, comedy club, brewery, and many shops and restaurants surround the plaza.
You can’t come to Tampa and not spend at least a little time in Ybor City, the historic neighborhood founded in the 1880s and populated by immigrants, mainly from Cuba, Spain, and Italy, and famed for the production of its cigar factories. For dinner and a night of fun, head over to Centro YBOR, a revamped food and entertainment center housed in the former home of the Centro Español social club. With almost a dozen eateries, a movie house and improv comedy club, we guarantee you’ll find something to suit you.
Centro YBOR is wheelchair accessible. There is valet parking. The center encourages guests to contact its security personnel if they encounter any situation that inhibits their access.
All public restrooms are wheelchair-accessible. Companion restrooms are located throughout the airport.
Service animal relief areas are situated in the grassy areas across the vehicle drives of the arrival (baggage claim) and departure (ticketing) areas of the Main Terminal. There are also relief areas situated after the security screening checkpoints.
The short- and long-term parking garages can accommodate vehicles up to 7 feet, 10 inches. For taller vehicles, or those equipped with specialized equipment, call the parking office at 813-870-8791 for parking instructions.
The Economy Parking Garage offers covered parking for vehicles up to 8 feet high and uncovered lot parking for vehicles up to 13 feet high.
Wheelchair-accessible shuttle buses are available from the Economy Parking Garage to the Main Terminal.
The airport offers free parking for all individuals with disabled veterans tags on their vehicles.
All HART buses and vans are wheelchair accessible.
Where to Stay
Where to Stay
DoubleTree Suites by Hilton Hotel Tampa Bay
Base yourself at the three-star DoubleTree Suites by Hilton Hotel Tampa Bay. At the DoubleTree Suites by Hilton Hotel Tampa Bay, you can pretty much sit “on the dock of the bay.” The hotel’s waterfront location is close to beaches, shopping, dining and the best of Tampa’s entertainment. Enjoy freshly baked chocolate chip cookies on arrival, complimentary Wi-Fi and a heated outdoor pool. Suites offer separate living rooms and wet bar areas.
Mobility accessible suites have a minimum 40” clearance on all doorways and between furnishings. Bedrooms have a lowered bed, lowered sink, lowered shelf storage and lowered door peephole. Bathrooms have a roll-in shower or accessible tub.
Hearing-accessible features include closed captioning on televisions or closed captioning decoders and TTY for guest use.
The business center, exercise facility, swimming pool, and restaurants are all accessible.
Accessible parking for cars and vans is available in the self-parking area. Accessible transportation is available with advance notice.