Ballpark: George M. Steinbrenner Field (formerly Legends Field)
Team: New York Yankees
Florida's third-largest city, Tampa, is host to a wide array of activities, from golfing, beautiful beaches (the city has more than three dozen), shopping and amusement parks to fine dining and a busy nightlife with no shortage of options. It’ll take you around five minutes by car to get to the stadium from the airport, so you can spend less time stuck in traffic, and more time enjoying all the things the city has to offer. Bonus: Situated just seven miles from downtown, Tampa International Airport is frequently cited in passenger surveys as one of the nation's most user-friendly.
Go The Distance
Visitors more often than not rent a car to tool about the sprawling city. But if you want to try to rely just on public transportation, Tampa hosts an inner-city bus system called HART with 28 routes, along with an "in-town" trolley system that connects many of the downtown neighborhoods.
Tampa also has a somewhat limited streetcar called the TECO Line Streetcar that goes from Centro Ybor in Ybor City to the convention center in downtown Tampa. Consider this more fun and touristy than useful, though it is a good option if you plan on checking out the shopping through Ybor City.
In Tampa you have options for quality lodging -- if you’re willing to pay that is. Stay at The Ritz-Carlton, Sarasota where every room has a bay, marina or skyline view. If golfing is more your cup of tea, stay at the Belleview Biltmore Resort, Beach Club, Golf Club and Spa and get playing privileges at the nearby golf club of the same name.
For a more wallet-friendly slumber option near the ballpark, you could stay at any of the budget hotels located near the airport. The Residence Inn Tampa Westshore/Airport is less than two miles away from the airport, as is the Howard Johnson Hotel - Tampa Airport/Stadium. The latter will cost you less than $100 for the night.
Because of the strong Cuban influence in Tampa (well, all of Florida really for that matter), if you have only one meal in Tampa, make it a Cuban sandwich: Decadent cuts of ham, pork, Genoa salami, cheese, mustard and pickle dress up two thick slices of Cuban bread, which are flattened and grilled briefly. Brocato's Sandwich Shop on East Columbus Drive and Columbia Restaurant on East 7th Avenue are known for their stand-out sammies.
Restaurants on the Gulf Coast, particularly north of Tampa Bay, generally have a more casual atmosphere than those downtown. Check out the Thirsty Marlin, which has some delicious grilled fish options on the menu. For a true taste of Tampa, check out La Teresita Restaurant, a local hangout that offers amazing food and cheap prices in a very casual atmosphere. La Teresita offers a sit-down service, but the most popular is the diner-style setup in the back. They also have a convenient take-out window if you’re in a hurry.
Out of Sight
For the adrenaline junkies, check out one of Busch Gardens' thrilling roller coasters and animal exhibits. If you’ve got kids in tow, check out some of the creatures at the Florida Aquarium, which hosts 10,000 aquatic plants and animals from all over the world.
Tampa is also a college town: It’s home to both the University of South Florida and the University of Tampa. It is no surprise then that there are quite a few quality bars nearby with a laid-back vibe, like New World Brewery on East 8th and The Rack that couples pool with sushi.
If you’re looking for nightlife, check out the Channelside area, and just northeast of downtown Tampa, Ybor City is a historic area where you can hit the shops during the day and the clubs at night. Go to Club Tantra or Pop Lounge and Theater if you want to get your dance on.
Derek Jeter loves Tampa so much, he’s building a 30,000-plus square foot home there. "I moved down here permanently to work out because it got a little cold in Michigan when I was in the minor leagues and I've been here ever since," Jeter told the Tampa Tribune. "This is where I call home. I enjoy Tampa, I enjoy my time here. I have a lot of times here, especially with my foundation moving down here." It’s rumored he’s stopped by the Hyde Park Café on a Tuesday night -- the club’s biggest night, so try to spot him there.
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