50 Things You Should Know About Tampa

The obligatory water/skyline picture.

The belated response. Why? Because we’re not a damn Miami blog. That’s why.

50) Yes, we know it is confusing, but the St. Pete Times Forum is located in downtown Tampa. If you hear someone call it anything other than the Ice Palace, they’re not from here.

49) For the last time, this is TAMPA, not TAMPA BAY.

48) Ybor City is our way of:

  • A: Chasing off tourists that we don’t like.
  • B: Funneling all sketchy residents into one condensed area.


Don't go there.


47) For safer and more enjoyable nightlife, try Channelside District, the South Howard Avenue (SoHo) bars, or any assortment of the more laid back North Tampa pub scene.

46) If country music is more your thing, I’ll see you at the excessively large Dallas Bull, or the more quaint and authentic Round-Up.

45) The city splits into North Tampa and South Tampa at Kennedy Boulevard. Much like Florida, the further south you go, the further north you go.

44) John Lynch, Warren Sapp, Derrick Brooks and Mike Alstott could all still run for mayor and win.

43) I may or may not have gotten goosebumps writing those four names.



Mr. Mayor?


42) Nobody is actually from here, except me. Third-generation Tampa native and damn proud of it.

41) While driving to a Tampa Bay Rays game from North Tampa you will pass:

  • George M. Steinbrenner Field
  • Yankee banners on street lights
  • An assortment of giant signs reminding you of how many titles and pennants the Yankees have won.

40) If you at all frequent Starbucks or Carrabba’s, you will eventually see Derek Jeter. But if you’re lucky, you’ll see Minka Kelly.

39) Speaking of Jeter, at 30,875 square feet, he is currently having the largest home in Hillsborough County built on Davis Island. It comes complete with a giant wall scandal that’s pissing off fine neighbors everywhere.

Casa de Jeter

38) Jeter’s house may not have its own zip code, but Idlewild Baptist Church does.

37) Residents are technically supposed to be called “Tampans.” We avoid that title for obvious reasons.

36) Tampa has the highest population of UFC fighters in the nation. Everywhere you look there are people wearing crazy Affliction and TapouT T-shirts. Wait, those aren’t UFC fighters? My bad.

35) Miami has Little Havana, Tampa has little New England. You might know it as the University of Tampa.

34) The University of South Florida’s football program began play in 1997, proving that it was possible to have a team with even lower academic and behavioral standards than “The Big 3.”

33) Tampa has more strip clubs per capita than any city in America. The most famous of these is Mons Venus whose owner has run for public office.



A hefty slogan.


32) If you have ever been to Mardi Gras and thought “uh, this could use some pirates and boats,” then the annual Gasparilla Pirate Fest is for you.

Everybody's favorite holiday.

31) Where fans now park to go to Raymond James Stadium once stood Tampa Stadium. It was here that my persona was sculpted at an early age. For better or worse.



Pretty sure this is some kind of metaphor.


30) Yes, we wish they still wore creamsicle.

29) Don’t be alarmed when you go to a Tampa Bay Lightning game and fights are greeted louder than home team goals.

28) Our lives are miserable any time a Tampa team plays a team from the northeast.

27) Short list of people no longer welcome around town: Keyshawn Johnson, Tim Brown, Coco Crisp, Bill Parcells, Keyshawn Johnson.

26) Being educated and respectable decreases your chances with the women.

25) You want the Cuban food, trust me. For lunch, try the West Tampa “Boliche Row” restaurants by the stadium. These include Arco Iris and La Teresita. For dinner, take it up a notch and go to the historic Columbia Restaurant in Ybor City (but don’t wander around).

24) Teddy Roosevelt was a frequent customer at Columbia with his Rough Rider troops during the Spanish-American War. *Historically inaccurate.




23) Tampa: Beaches! Tiki Bars! Palm Trees!… No, that’s St. Pete.

22) On May 5, 1973, Led Zeppelin played in front 56,800 people at Tampa Stadium in what was at the time the largest audience to ever see a single artist performance. They came back again in 1977 but were greeted by a cloud of tear gas.

21) Tampa is known as the de-facto headquarters of pro wrestling. I know, this explains a lot. Pro wrestlers that call Tampa home include: Hulk Hogan, John Cena, Edge, Chris Jericho, The Big Show and Batista.

20) If you see John Cena at Best Buy, give him a chair shot to the back of the head. He loves it.

19) Cigars are a great, great thing.

18) If you have a fear of bridges, you’re S.O.L.



The first Sunshine Skyway.


17) If you see a sign that says “Tampa Historic District,” run like hell.

16) Every parent whose kid plays baseball thinks that their son will be the next Tino Martinez, Fred McGriff, Doc Gooden, Gary Sheffield, etc.

15) I’ll tell you an awesome secret that you can’t tell anyone else: [whisper voice] Gino’s Bar and Restaurant.



You can thank me later.


14) Bucs games are somehow more enjoyable when the team is awful.

13) Dale Mabry Highway will take you just about anywhere that you need to go.

12) If you ask someone where they’re from and they say Tampa. Ask what part of Tampa. If they say “Brandon,” take them to the top of the Sunshine Skyway and toss them off.

11) Alcohol is legal at the Gandy Beach. Sleeves and non-denim clothing are not.

10) Typical weekend

Saturday Morning

Saturday Afternoon

Saturday Night

9) If you’re out at Channelside, be sure to stop by the Channelside Towers, luxury condos that serve as the pseudo dorms for Rays players without families.

8 – The city was happy when the Bucs won the Super Bowl. It erupted the week before when the Bucs beat the Eagles to get there.

7) If you have a house on Bayshore Boulevard, you’re stupid rich.

6) The brewery that my Grandpa was a career employee at is no longer here, but Budweiser is still king.

5) Busch Gardens and Adventure Island are nothing more than a giant daycare for 12-15 year olds who are hated by their parents.

4) We have a pirate ship in our football stadium. What do you have?



We win.


3) The most successful pro sports franchise in Tampa history plays on a 50-yard piece of carpet and kicks footballs off of nets.

2) There aren’t too many rules on a Seminole Indian Reservation. Thus the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino was born.

1) Life doesn’t get much better than a summer afternoon at the 1-800-Ask-Gary Ford Amphitheatre.



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9 responses to “50 Things You Should Know About Tampa

  1. qbytheU

    I was at the 3 songs-and-a-riot Led Zep concert in ’77. After spending the night in a hotel in St. Pete only to find out that Tampa had banned the band forever, it was still worth every penny…$10 to be exact. We got back to the 305 in time to catch a midnight movie…The Song Remains the Same.

    • bholt11

      Great story. My dad was actually at the ’73 show and still offers flashbacks all the time.

      $10: Not a bad price to pay to see even three Zep songs live.

  2. Random thoughts…
    I’ve been in a 9,000 sq. foot house before. It felt like walking through a museum.

    I’m pretty sure one of my aunts is from Brandon. Needless to say, I never visit her.

    Is it true that they call Raymond James “The House That Warren Built”?

    Spent lots of time with two natives this week. Apparently Tampa was the one-time world’s capital for death metal. Go figure.

    Laughed out loud at 37. Strong work all around.

    • bholt11

      I probably should have used Bradenton instead of Brandon as Brandon is in Hillsborough County and almost everyone refers to all of the county as Tampa.

      Not sure if this counts, but I went to the Hearst Castle one time and walked away thinking “wow, I could make so much better use of all of that space.” How many formal scotch and cigar rooms does one really need?

      I learned the death metal thing from, of course, Wikipedia. I’ll assume this was during my early youth as I’m not sure I remember much of a thriving death metal scene. I mean if you don’t include the kids that screamed their lungs out at our high school “talent” shows.

      I’ve actually never heard it called “The House that Warren Built,” but I would be more than happy to give it that tag. Most stadium nicknames are sarcastic or negative as the Glazers basically pissed all over the city to have it built.

  3. Jim Shirk

    Teddy Roosevelt would have had a tough time going to the Columbia in 1898, because it didn’t open until 1905. Otherwise, the “1905 Salad” would be called the “1898 Salad.”

    • Anonymous

      Completely my bad, Jim. Thanks for pointing that out. I got my stories twisted. Roosevelt and the Rough Riders camped out in the area during the war but obviously did not eat at the restaurant as it was not yet opened.

      I believe he ate there during his presidency though, correct? I haven’t read the menu in a while but it seems like I remember there being some story about Teddy ordering the chicken and yellow rice in it.

    • bholt11

      Thanks for pointing that out, Kim. I got completely mixed up on my stories. Roosevelt and the Rough Riders camped out in the area of the Columbia during the war but obviously did not eat there as it had not yet opened.

      I do believe he ate there during his presidency, correct? I seem to remember some story about it being in the menu.

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