Eating healthier, exercising more, saving extra money, getting in touch with your inner spirit animal … these are all great resolutions for the new year.
Yet, we’d like to propose a seldom stated, however fantastic new year’s resolution to the 813 audience:
Get more local in 2016!
Yes, we know, it’s a great one! There’s a reason so many continue, each day, to move to our great state and settle in our beautiful city.
As a matter of fact, we’d like to share a variety of reasons why we think so many love Tampa; things “locals” and those who are looking for something a bit off the beaten bath often do for fun:
Enjoying Cuban Food
Tampa is as diverse a city as they come. In the late 19th century, immigrants from Cuba, Italy, Germany and other countries settled into Ybor city to work in the city's many cigar factories. Overtime, these immigrants and their families put roots deep into Tampa's cultural soil.
Throughout the 20th century, thousands more from places from all over the world settled in Tampa, leaving a cultural and culinary footprint like no other.
While a variety of cultures are celebrated in Tampa's diverse palette, the Cuban food in this city is like nowhere else in the county.
Where are some of the best, lesser-known places to sample such delicacies?
Arco Iris is hands down, one of the most authentic and flavorful Cuban restaurants in Tampa.
Offering a wide spectrum of Cuban and Caribbean delicacies all at an affordable price, there's no place like this! Be sure to try the Chicken Milanesa (breaded chicken with cheese and marinara sauce) or Ropa Vieja (shredded beef, stewed with vegetables; Arco Iris arguably has the best in Tampa).
As a side, order up some Yuca Frita (Fried Yuca) or sweet plantains. Be sure to ask for a Cafe con Leche to go!
This little gem off of Armenia, just south of Tampa Bay Boulevard has been an icon in Tampa's Cuban community for decades. Photos of celebrated patrons and politicians adorn the walls of this cozy restaurant.
West Tampa Sandwich Shop is so beloved by locals, that during his 2012 campaign, President Obama himself stopped by to visit! In return, the shop named a sandwich after him, "The Obama."
In addition to their quiet fame, the West Tampa Sandwich Shop makes an amazing, inexpensive Cuban Sandwich - one of the best in the city, if not the state; a must experience.
Hungry for breakfast? Order eggs, bacon, and a Cafe con Leche all for only $4!
La Ideal is a hidden Tampa favorite amongst locals and a great place to get delicious food.
It started out as a grocery store, but their Cuban sandwiches became so popular that they converted the store into a restaurant!
Of course, their Cuban sandwiches are a must, but they open early for their daily breakfast special: three eggs, bacon or ham with toast and coffee, all for $3.69!
Enjoying Incredible Coffee and Tea
What would a list of new things to do in the new year be without coffee and tea, something nearly every Tampa local enjoys? Where are some of the discreet, yet delicious coffee and tea joints in Tampa hidden? Check it out!
A speakeasy, also called a “Blind Tiger”, is an establishment that illegally sold alcoholic beverages during the Prohibition era in the United States. Honoring the heritage of such creative enterprises, The Blind Tiger Cafe was born.
With locations in the heart of Ybor City on 7th Avenue and in Seminole Heights, this unique shop offers delicious traditional coffee, tea, and pastry shop, which all conceal a curated speakeasy textile boutique.
Another Ybor-based favorite is The Bunker, a delightful cafe, complete with live music, open mics, and XM radio.
Indulge in their wide variety of coffee and beer, Italian cuisine and wonderful desserts.
A great place to sit, catch up with friends, or get some work done, The Bunker is the perfect hideaway from the hustle and bustle of the city.
Kaleisia grew as a sensational tea lounge/cafe for USF students and through word of mouth, has begun to become more popular outside of the USF area.
Offering delicious cafe fare and kaleidoscope of teas from all around the world, Kaleisia is a must visit in the new year. Try tea smoothie with boba and try not to fall in love too quickly!
Ambling through some of the Tampa area's most idyllic parks is a great way to get more local this year.
Hillsborough County parks offer some of the most gorgeous views of nature in the entire state via hiking trails, bike trails, or boardwalks. Want to check out some of Tampa's underrated parks this new year? Check out some of these!
With two access points, 4302 Morris Bridge Road (Thonotosassa) and 18205 Bruce B. Downs Blvd (New Tampa), Flatwoods is an ideal getaway from Tampa’s busy and developed landscape.
Take a family hike or bike ride through some of the Bay Area’s most beautiful terrain!
Replete with picnic benches, pavilions, bike racks, a canoe launch, winding walking trails, and ample parking for guests, Cypress Point is a perfect place to enjoy a day at the beach, watch planes approach landing overhead, or catch a breath-taking sunset reflected by the bay.
Named for Tampa-native Major League Baseball catcher/manager Al Lopez, Al Lopez Park features 126 acres filled with hiking trails, fishing areas, playgrounds, and wildlife.
Amenities include shelters, a pier, grills, and picnic areas.
Located just a stone's throw north of Raymond James Stadium, this historic and beautiful park features something for everyone!
Spending Time at Museums
Tampa's museums are some of the city's shining wonders. With such a dynamic culture, the city's museums celebrate the vast ethnicities and histories that make this city what it is.
This new year, why not check out some of these well-patroned, yet sometimes overlooked museums?
Here, "it's OK to kid around," suggests the Glazer Children's Museum.
Located in the heart of downtown and part of the Tampa Riverwalk, the Glazer Children's Museum is a place where children can play, learn and discover.
The museum is geared toward children from birth to 10 years old with interactive activities, games, and challenges that are designed to help them learn while having fun.
Take your young one to this incredible venue that is more like an adventure than a museum!
Can’t make it to the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C.? Why not visit one of its affiliates?
That’s right, the Tampa Bay History Center has the distinct honor of being one of the Smithsonian Institution’s affiliates.
The venue features three vast floors of permanent and temporary exhibition space focusing on 12,000 years of Florida history.
In addition to these exhibits, the museum includes the Witt Research Center, a map gallery, event hall, and the Columbia Cafe, a branch of the historic Columbia Restaurant.
One of the premier cultural venues in Tampa, the History Center features cutting-edge and interactive exhibits and allows visitors of all ages a unique educational experience.
Check out this comprehensive history of our beloved city this new year!
CASS, Contemporary Art Space & Studio, is one of Tampa’s most overlooked art galleries.
Located in South Tampa and focusing on modern, collectible art pieces from local, regional, national and international artists, CASS presents various exhibitions throughout the year and offers lectures and workshops from emerging and established artists.
Be sure to stop by and check out this lesser-known wonder this new year!
What do you think?
Have any "hidden" suggestions for 813area readers for new places to check out this new year? Let us know in the comments below!