About Tampa

Tampa is the main city in Hillsborough County, Florida. While there are slightly over 300,000 people within the city limits, the entire county has a population close to 1.2 million.

Tampa General HospitalTampa General Hospital is located on Davis Islands, just south of downtown Tampa. The hospital serves a 12-county region with a population in excess of 4 million in West Central Florida. TGH is the primary teaching hospital for the University of South Florida (USF) College of Medicine. USF and TGH are committed to developing advances in medicine through both clinical practice and research.

Construction of the hospital began in the 1930’s, not long after the man-made Island was dredged from the surrounding waters. It has grown in phases since then and has more than doubled in size and services offered in the last twenty years.

Things to do in Tampa

An Old City Of Tampa PostcardThere are lots of things to do in Tampa. If your primary reason for being here is for treatment or as a companion or relative of someone undergoing various stages of the lung transplant process, touring the city may not be an important objective for you. However, there are things to see and do very close to the hospital that don’t take a lot of time.

We have listed a number of excellent nearby restaurants for you to try during your stay. You may click here to view them. You are urged to call ahead, ask questions, study menus…just to be certain your dining experience will meet your expectations. Our organization has published this list of eateries for your convenience and while it has been ascertained that they are reputable it does not endorse any of them. Click here to view information about selected area restaurants.

Not far from the hospital is downtown Tampa. There’s not much reason for going there unless you need to go to the courthouse, a bank, a daytime restaurant or someone’s office. There aren’t many retail stores. Almost everything in the center of the city is shut down by 6 p.m. except for offices where people are working late and cleaning crews are busy. The main public library is downtown and offers a quiet place to read. If you find there’s a show at the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center scheduled during the time you are here, you aren’t far from it. View their schedule of shows by Clicking Here.

If you leave Davis Islands and go right onto Bayshore Blvd. you will end up driving eastward over the Platt Street Bridge. Platt Street then goes under the Tampa Convention Center and on to the Florida AquariumChannelside Business District. There you will find a maze of restaurants, shops, a movie theatre, etc…. enough to entertain you for as long as you like. You can stay a half hour or spend the day. It’s up to you. Click here for a complete Channelside guide.

In the same area is the Florida Aquarium, opened in the nineties to great fanfare. You can learn much more about it by Clicking Here. Young people love it but older folks find the place fascinating as well. If you have a few hours and want this kind of distraction during your stay in Tampa, the aquarium will help you forget the world for a while.

Bayshore Boulevard

Bayshore Boulevard In The Early Morning

Bayshore Boulevard has the longest contiguous sidewalk in the word, according to the Guinness World Book of Records. It’s 4.2 miles long, from the Platt Street Bridge to the north to its south end at Ballast Point. It’s a restful drive, during off-peek hours. Lots of friendly locals use its sidewalk for exercise every-day but seldom do enthusiasts walk or run its entire length.

A great part of the walk or drive is looking at the variety of both modern and historic homes that face the water. The span of roadway was once a popular beach with streetcars running along the edge to go south to Port Tampa and then back north to downtown. It was built as a project of the Works Progress Administration (WPA) during the Great Depression of the 1930’s to give people work and give Tampa a high quality waterfront residential area decorated with ornate balustrades.

Historic Hyde Park

Historic Hyde Park

Historic Hyde Park is also just a few minutes from Tampa General Hospital. There’s a quaint, European-style shopping village with shops, restaurants, etc. The Shopping Village is a relaxing place to walk and the adjacent neighborhood, one of the very first to be constructed in the early days of Tampa, is a keen place to observe the preserved architecture from yesteryear.

For a complete list of the stores, restaurants and a gym, Click Here. There’s a map with directions to get there plus a detailed thumbprint of the area for your convenience. There’s also a City recreation center and large park on the south side of the Hyde Park Village. If you have children with you, they’ll appreciate being taken there.

Less than a mile west of Hyde Park is the Howard Avenue business district. There are dozens of great restaurants and coffee shops. Many are featured on our list of restaurants. There’s also a great gym, Xtreme Total Health and Fitness, where you can work out for seven days free. If you’re used to having a rigorous daily work out, this may be your place. Learn more about it by Clicking Here.

University of Tampa

University of TampaOne of the most architectural ornate buildings in the City is the University of Tampa, across the Hillsborough River from downtown Tampa. Built by railroad magnate Henry B. Plant in the late 1800’s as a hotel, the main structure now serves as a combination of administrative offices, classrooms, meeting facilities, the Henry B. Plant Museum and much more. The building is famous for its towering minarets.

The Museum is open daily. It contains various exhibits and information about the building, the university and Tampa’s early days. Get more museum information by Clicking Here.

In the early 1900’s, the building was converted from a hotel into the main campus building for the University. Originally costing approximately $3 million to build, it would cost hundreds of times that today and would be very difficult to replicate.

The University has seen a boom in both construction and enrollment in the last ten years. Four huge new dormitories have been constructed. The former MacKay Auditorium, which was Tampa’s performance centerpiece until the early 1970’s, has been converted to the College of Business building.

Enrollment at the University has doubled to nearly 5,000 students in just ten years. It wouldn’t take very long to explore the historic grounds with an educational walk through the main building, around the campus and to visit the museum if you like. The adjoining Plant Park, to the immediate west of the main University of Tampa building, is great for picnics, strolls and relaxation.

Tampa’s Latin Quarter, Ybor City

Tampa's Latin Quarter, Ybor CityIf you go as far as Channelside to visit the shops and Aquarium, you can easily and inexpensively catch the streetcar to historic Ybor City. This area was developed more than a hundred years ago to support Tampa’s thriving cigar industry. Until an ambitious Urban Renewal program razed hundreds of small, wooden houses surrounding the Seventh Avenue business district, the Ybor district was a vigorous commercial center.

In recent years it has been enlivened by a boom in construction of Centro Ybor, a multimillion dollar restaurant, retail and entertainment complex, as well as with the revitalization of many buildings along the main thoroughfare, Seventh Avenue. Ybor has become a major area entertainment district for young people, especially on weekends, so it’s inadvisable to visit the area Friday and Saturday nights unless you desire a lot of activity and an air of excitement in the surrounding streets.

There’s much, much more to do…

There’s a whole lot more to see and do in the Tampa area. If you find the time, visit Busch Gardens, the University of South Florida, St. Petersburg, the Gulf Beaches, Clearwater and if you really get adventurous you can spend the day at Orlando’s Walt Disney World… just go early and be prepared for crowds. If they’re in season, you may even want to attend a Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Tampa Bay Devil Rays or a Tampa Bay Lightning game.

We know your stay in Tampa is primarily for medically related purposes so we haven’t gone into too much detail. But if you want to know more about any aspect of Greater Tampa or the Tampa Bay area, send us your questions via our contact page and we’ll be happy to get right back with you. Be sure to leave a phone number if you’d like us to call you.

If there are other ways we might be able to facilitate your Tampa stay, just let us know.