From North America’s highest hybrid rollercoaster to international sports spectacles to awesome new waterfront dining experiences, Tampa Bay has endless options for great discoveries. It was a challenge, but we’ve managed to whittle the list to our top 20 for 2020.
No. 1:IronGwazi at BuschGardens -- the highest, steepest, fastest hybrid coaster in North America? Yes, please. No. 2:WrestleMania 36 at Raymond James Stadium & a whole week of WWE thrills in the hometown of stars Dave Bautista, Titus O’Neil, John Cena, and Jinder Mahal. No. 3: Hockey fans win as Swoop Airlines swoops into Tampa Bay from Winnipeg, Manitoba. No. 4: Boutique Hotel Haya opens in historic Ybor City this spring, adding a beautiful new venue that incorporates two of the neighborhood’s oldest buildings – along with bird’s eye views of Seventh Avenue from its classic iron balconies. No. 5: New flights from Nashville, Richmond, Seattle & San Juan let thousands of travelers every month experience first-hand why we love Tampa International Airport so much.
No. 6:MSC, Celebrity & Holland America Line cruises set sail from Port Tampa Bay starting with the 2020 fall season, joining legacy cruise lines Carnival, Royal Caribbean, and Norwegian. No. 7: NCAA March Madness kicks off with Men’s Rounds 1 & 2 hosted by the University of South Florida at Amalie Arena, setting up the Sweet 16 and the road to the Final Four. No. 8: The amazing animal experts of ZooTampa star in 6 episodes of the latest season of Nat Geo Wild’s “Secrets of the Zoo” series, rescuing manatees while preserving and conserving other species from across the world. No. 9:Stone’s Throw at the north end of the Tampa Riverwalk lets you enjoy a cocktail while watching boats and paddleboards – any maybe even a dolphin -- pass by on the Hillsborough River.
No. 10:Sparkman Wharf combines food hall-style dining with waterfront views. Come for the incredible selection at the biergarten, stay for bowling at Splitsville. No. 11: For Tampa Bay’s newest cocktail spots, look up: rooftop bars M. Bird at Armature Works and Rox at the Current Hotel give guests a bird’s eye view. Next up – way up on the 26th floor of the new JW Marriott Tampa Water Street, the highest rooftop bar in downtown. No. 12: Reach for the moon – the moon jellies at The Florida Aquarium’s new touch-tank exhibit featuring these gentle creatures. Two fingers, please. No. 13: The new Tampa Bay Vipers XFL football team kicks off the league’s inaugural season, giving sports fans one mor reason to make the pilgrimage to Tampa Bay in 2020. No. 14: The International Cuban Sandwich Festival brings chefs from across the world to offer their interpretation of the classic sandwich developed in Tampa Bay. No. 15: A reinvented Sail Plaza comes with expanded seating, a stage for live music & local favorite Big Ray’s Fish Camp – all with great people-watching as you bask in the winter sun along the Tampa Riverwalk. No. 16:Florida’s oldest restaurant, the Columbia, celebrates its 115th anniversary, making it one of the oldest restaurants in the entire US. Stop in for authentic Cuban & Spanish dishes and authentic flamenco 6 nights a week. No. 17: Take Tampa Bay’s cocktail culture home with you when you buy a copy of “Tampa With A Twist,” our DIY guide to the finest mixology in Florida. No. 18: 500 luxurious new rooms to choose from, awesome food, amazing shows, and Elvis’ gold piano are waiting for you at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino. No. 19: World-famous Cigar City Brewing and the Tampa Bay Lightning join forces on a new taproom on January 7, making pre-gaming that much better in downtown. No. 20: 50 years of the Gasparilla Festival of the Arts, the juried festival that brings hundreds of artists in dozens of media to Tampa Bay in March. And for on the horizon for 2021 … No. 21:Super Bowl LV conquers Tampa Bay in February 2021!