Downtown & Channelside
Industrial, funky, artsy, rustic, eclectic are some of the words that describe Tampa's Downtown and Channelside District. High-rise condos and skyscrapers are found all along the channel. The TECO Historic Streetcar can be seen at several stops throughout the district carrying people from The Florida Aquarium, the St. Pete Times Forum, Channelside and beyond.
Channelside Bay Plaza: Entertainment, shopping, and more make Channelside Bay Plaza the perfect destination for a day or night out. People from all over the Tampa Bay area come here to experience the shops, restaurants, clubs and even the upscale bowling alley—making this an excellent choice for people of all interests.
The Florida Aquarium: Since it opened in 1995, The Florida Aquarium has brought Florida's natural environment to the downtown urban core. The Association of Zoos and Aquariums accredits its 250,000-square-foot facility, and many regard it as a wonderful place to "sea life". Aquarium visitors can follow a drop of water from a Florida spring all the way to the depths of the ocean, and along the way have close encounters with many of Florida's native aquatic species.
Port of Tampa: The traffic in and out of the Port of Tampa is an asset for the downtown community. It is one of the nation’s largest and most diversified ports, with fertilizer, gasoline and jet fuel, building materials, agricultural produce, and container goods among its many product lines. The port also has 1 million-square-feet of warehouse space and 8,500 feet of dock length and is just 25 miles from the open waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Additionally, Tampa is also a popular departure port for cruises. Three cruise lines serve the Western Caribbean with nearly 900,000 passengers annually.
Stageworks: For those looking for a little more drama in their lives, a local theater company, Stageworks, is moving into its new, permanent home in the Channel District’s Grand Central at Kennedy Condominiums in 2011. The space boasts an 8,000-square-foot, 99-seat theater and promises a high-quality, professional theater atmosphere with productions celebrating the human spirit.
The SS American Victory Mariners Memorial and Museum Ship: Visitors can tour this restored 1945 merchant marine vessel that served during World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam conflicts. By preserving and interpreting maritime culture, the Museum Ship gives visitors a clear understanding of how the crews on these ships operated day to day.