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Old January 3 2009, 05:20 AM   #1
scottydog
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Anyone familiar with Tampa-St.Pete, Florida?

I'll be traveling to Tampa-St. Petersburg next month and would welcome some suggestions about what to do, where to stay, etc.

Is Tampa a better place to get a hotel than St. Pete? Where is a good centralized part of the area to stay? What fun things are there to do? Is traffic horrible, are there any roads/bridges to avoid?

Thanks in advance for any help you can offer!!
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Old January 3 2009, 06:03 AM   #2
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Re: Anyone familiar with Tampa-St.Pete, Florida?

I lived most my childhood in Tampa Bay/St. Pete, don't know
alot about hotels and such, but definitely check out The Pier.

http://www.stpete-pier.com/

Awesome spot.
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Old January 3 2009, 06:08 AM   #3
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Re: Anyone familiar with Tampa-St.Pete, Florida?

scottydog wrote: View Post
Anyone familiar with Tampa-St.Pete, Florida?
FrontLine would be a guy to ask, as he lives in that area. I think Adm. Bonz does, as well.
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Old January 3 2009, 10:21 AM   #4
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Re: Anyone familiar with Tampa-St.Pete, Florida?

scottydog wrote: View Post
Is Tampa a better place to get a hotel than St. Pete?

Good Lord, NO! I don't mean to rip on Tampa, but it's a colorless sort of generic Florida city...rows of strip malls and car dealerships and housing developments. St. Pete has distinctiveness, culture, some really interesting hotels that have been around for a long time with great food, better museums...I could go on.

I have nothing against Tampa and have a house there. But for tourism, no contest.
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Old January 3 2009, 10:23 AM   #5
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Re: Anyone familiar with Tampa-St.Pete, Florida?

I drove through there in September but it was mostly to go see a Tampa Bay Rays game. The bay is pretty nice, as is the long bridge which kind of reminded me of a bridge back home.
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Old January 3 2009, 01:13 PM   #6
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Re: Anyone familiar with Tampa-St.Pete, Florida?

St. Pete is much better. Stay downtown (but not at the Hilton - it's a dump).

Check out the Dali museum - http://www.salvadordalimuseum.org/home.html
Lot's of places to eat all walking distance, two of my favorites are Ceviche's - http://www.ceviche.com/1828 and The Moon under Water - http://themoonunderwater.com/Page1.htm also Gratzzi has great italian - http://www.gratzzi.com/ourfood.html
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Old January 3 2009, 01:28 PM   #7
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Re: Anyone familiar with Tampa-St.Pete, Florida?

It has been 14 years since I've been in the area. My paternal grandparents used to live in Spring Hill, about an hour or so north. I think there is a Busch Gardens park in the area.
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Old January 3 2009, 11:03 PM   #8
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Re: Anyone familiar with Tampa-St.Pete, Florida?

Thanks, everyone, this is all very helpful. I'll keep checking back to this thread to see if there is any more advice any of you can give. In the mean time, based on all your advice, I think we'll stay in the St. Pete area, maybe at a B&B called the Laughing Lizard.

Thanks again
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Old January 4 2009, 03:31 AM   #9
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Re: Anyone familiar with Tampa-St.Pete, Florida?

Ok so why are you coming here? Business or pleasure? You need to stay on the same side of the bay that the business is in. The economic engine of the region is in Tampa, not across the bay. Oh as for the debate as to which is better...screw St. Pete . sure they got the beaches and the dali museum, but thats about it. Tampa has everything else. St. Pete, rather than appreciating what they are and what they have, is always in a competition to be better than Tampa, but never quite makes it. And its sad cause St. Pete is very much old touristy Florida. Its got some cool quirks about it and I enjoy visiting. Now for the definitive visitors guide, if Mimic can dig up that PM I sent her from last year, and if she can post it here (she has my permission) it should help you out quite a bit.

As for the best centralized location, a hotel in the Westshore business district would be the best place to stay. It aint gonna be cheap, but it will be centralized. From there you can pick up the interstate or the Veterans express way and get to anywhere in Tampa or St. Pete / Pinellas county. As for traffic, it can suck, but no where near as bad as places like Houston. But the nightmares usually exist during during rush hour and it becomes bearable. While you are down here in January or February, you might want to catch a Tampa Bay Lightning Hockey game. The fishing isnt the greatest this time of year, but get a good guide who will keep you in shore and you can still do pretty well. In Tampa you check out the Florida Aquarium and the SS American Victory (a restored WWII victory ship), or visit Ybor city and take a historic tour that will tell you about the Italians and Cubans that made Tampa the cigar capital of the world. Learn about how the 1st Cuban revolution was started and managed out of Ybor City by Jose Marti. Visit the University of Tampa (The former Tampa bay Hotel) and check out the awesome architecture and learn how Teddy Roosevelt and the rough riders encamped and then departed from Tampa for the Spanish American war. Oh and if you are coming down in February, hold on to your had and partake in our celebration of a mythical pirate who invaded the city...The Gasparilla Festiva. Its a drunk fest and a blast. The night parade is and the day parade is a must see. Why not hit Busch Gardens for some fantastic rides and a great zoological park. Also check out Lowry Park Zoo. We have awesome Cuban food. Check out La Teresita for lunch at the corner of Himes and Columbus Aves and get a cuban sandwich. Then make sure you stop at the Columbia Restuarnt in Ybor city for dinner one night and try the Paella. Its great. The nightlife abounds. Best bets in Tampa for a tourist will be Ybor city and Channel side.

Over in St. Pete, there is the dali museum, the beaches, the pier, El Caps (best damned burgers in the bay).
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Last edited by FrontLine; January 4 2009 at 03:44 AM.
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Old January 4 2009, 03:54 AM   #10
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Re: Anyone familiar with Tampa-St.Pete, Florida?

When I visited Tampa, I stayed at the tampa intercontinental hotel, by the airport. http://www.intercontampa.com/

It was nice, but the restaurant (Shula's steakhouse) is pricey for the food.

I liked Tampa a lot, and will be going back.

I never got a chance to see St. Pete, but would like to in the future.
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Old January 4 2009, 05:51 AM   #11
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Re: Anyone familiar with Tampa-St.Pete, Florida?

I admit I would like to see a Rays game or two. Wish it didn't have to be at the Trop, though. I'd prefer some place like this.
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Old January 4 2009, 06:33 AM   #12
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Re: Anyone familiar with Tampa-St.Pete, Florida?

^Isn't Tampa also playing host to some minor little football game on Feb 1?
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Old January 4 2009, 08:00 AM   #13
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Re: Anyone familiar with Tampa-St.Pete, Florida?

Captain Ice wrote: View Post
^Isn't Tampa also playing host to some minor little football game on Feb 1?
I never watch the Super Bowl.
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Old January 4 2009, 08:30 PM   #14
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Re: Anyone familiar with Tampa-St.Pete, Florida?

Bern's. 'nuff said.
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Old January 4 2009, 11:41 PM   #15
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Re: Anyone familiar with Tampa-St.Pete, Florida?

We'll be there on Feb 6 and 7th, so we'll miss that little football game. And thanks, FrontLine, for your excellent suggestions!
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