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Tampa is a rollercoaster city, but it goes beyond that

Tampa is a rollercoaster city, but it goes beyond that

You also miss out on one of the most historic cities in the United States: Tampa was once the cigar capital of the world in the 1890s and has 950 historic buildings in the historic district alone, Ybor City.

Meanwhile, downtown is respectable, made up of 30-plus-story modern buildings that dot the skyline and prove that Tampa is eclectic.

In fact, the city is every now and then mentioned in forums as a competitor to Miami: North Americans and tourists raise the question of whether it is better to visit one or the other and live in one or the other. There are indeed similarities between them: both Miami and Tampa are located on the coast, and have Cuban influences in their historic neighborhoods, gleaming buildings, life around the water and famous restaurants – Tampa has become a gastronomic destination and is home to three Michelin-starred restaurants.

Does it look like Miami? No wonder the two cities are compared Photo: Visit Tampa Bay

Despite being the third largest city in Florida, Tampa is all about relaxing away from the hustle and bustle. Unlike Miami, the Tampa Beach area – St. Pete and Clearwater – is located 45 minutes from downtown, but has the advantage of being on the edge of the Gulf of Mexico, which means blue-green water year-round.

One side of Tampa that's trendy and cheerful is Sparkman Wharf, an area on the edge of the Tampa Canal and adjacent to the famous Florida Aquarium, which consists of food trucks, bars, craft breweries and live music. A five-minute walk is a leisurely excursion – a two-hour cruise around Tampa Bay.

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