We're Calling It: Tampa Is the Newest Bachelorette Party "It" Destination

Here's what to see and do in this Florida city on the rise.
bachelorette party on a pontoon boat and the rooftop pool at Tampa EDITION
Images: Bach Boats and the pool at Tampa EDITION
Kate Traverson
by
Kate Traverson
Kate Traverson
Kate Traverson
Deputy Editor, Branded Content
  • Kate writes and edits branded content for The Knot Worldwide, including articles across The Knot and The Bump.
  • Before focusing on weddings and babies, Kate worked in the fashion industry and as a regional magazine editor.
  • Kate has a degree in journalism and lives in New York.
Updated Jan 12, 2024

This article was made possible by VISIT FLORIDA, but created independently at our editors' discretion.

The Sunshine State has a new bachelorette party hot spot on the horizon. With a recent renaissance in its downtown, Tampa has reinvented itself as a major dining and nightlife destination. That means it's also a must-visit for any group looking to avoid the crowds, but still have a good time out on the town. (Bonus points for the year-round warm weather and access to the Gulf Coast.) To help you get planning the ultimate bachelorette bash, we've rounded up our favorite picks for where to stay, eat and play in Tampa.

Why Tampa?

The past few years have seen an explosion of growth. With several development projects underway since 2018, the Gulf Coast city has revitalized its urban center, drawing in more trendy (and photogenic) spots to eat and drink than you can possibly experience in one weekend. Plus, if a beachy vibe is what you're after, Tampa Bay is surrounded by waterfront communities, and in downtown Tampa, you can enjoy various water activities such as boating, Pirate Water taxi, Tiki Boats, eboats, paddleboarding and more. Additionally, St. Petersburg's beaches are just a 20-minute drive away, making it easily accessible for a quick beach getaway.

These are some top neighborhoods to know:

Water Street: Surrounding Amalie Arena and along the Hillsborough River, this is the fastest-expanding area of the city, with new hotels, residences, restaurants and shopping popping up left, right and center.

Ybor City: The heart of Tampa's nightlife scene flanks either side of 7th Avenue in the middle of this historic neighborhood where former cigar factories have become bars, clubs and restaurants.

The Heights District: Located at the end of the Tampa Riverwalk, this neighborhood is known for its new mixed-use community spaces that combine food, drinks, shopping—even coworking—with plenty of green space and waterfront views.

Where to Stay

Pools at Tampa EDITION, Hyatt House Tampa Downtown, Hotel Haya and The Godfrey
Images (clockwise from top left): Tampa EDITION, Hyatt House Tampa Downtown, Hotel Haya and The Godfrey

The Godfrey: An affordable option for groups on a budget, this waterfront hotel is best known for the weekend pool parties at WTR, their on-site pool-meets-club experience that lasts until sunset. There's also another (more subdued) heated pool, boat and paddleboat rentals and a bike share available.

Hotel Haya: To stay in the heart of Tampa's nightlife district, choose this boutique hotel with hip design inspired by the neighborhood's colorful Cuban roots. A cute courtyard pool, suites with wrap-around balconies and a calendar full of fun events like fitness and dance classes make this the place to be in Ybor City.

Hyatt House Tampa Downtown: If you want the feel of an apartment with the amenities of a hotel, Hyatt House is a solid choice. Their suites include a full kitchen or kitchenette and living area so you have plenty of room to hang out together. And the central location downtown gives easy access to everything the city has to offer.

Tampa EDITION: As Tampa's Water Street neighborhood experiences exponential growth, the EDITION recently entered the scene as the latest five-star hotel. This luxury property boasts killer modern design, a spa, three restaurants, four bars and an ultra-trendy nightclub to boot. Did we mention there's a rooftop pool with flower-covered cabanas?

You can also check Airbnb, Vrbo or Trip Advisor for a home rental big enough to host your whole group.

Where to Eat

Oxford Exchange Champagne Bar, Luv Child and Flor Fina
Images: (clockwise from top left) Oxford Exchange Champagne Bar, Luv Child and Flor Fina

Brunch/Lunch:

Flor Fina: Located in the stylish Hotel Haya in Ybor City, Flor Fina is a Latin- and Mediterranean-inspired hot spot for brunch or lunch. Try their bilingual burger with beef and chorizo or the eggs Havana style with smoked sofrito, while you soak up the mid-century lounge atmosphere.

Luv Child: Featuring fresh and bright dishes with a Cuban flair, Luv Child gets its style inspiration from the '70s and '80s (along with the tunes) to serve up a breakfast bar, cocktail lounge and house party on the patio all day long. Order the remixed Cubano sandwich, some fresh ceviche or even make-your-own tacos for a tasty brunch or lunch.

Oxford Exchange: Part curated shop, part chic spot for breakfast and lunch, this gorgeously decorated historic space will have you wishing your living room looked this cool. Order some apple crumble pancakes or chorizo breakfast tacos with cumin aioli, and you and your crew will be hatching a scheme to move in permanently.

Sparkman Wharf: If the group can't come to an agreement on where to eat, Sparkman Wharf is the perfect compromise. This riverside park in the Water Street neighborhood serves as an outdoor food hall with 10 different restaurants housed in repurposed shipping containers. It's a great spot to soak up some sun, play a few lawn games and choose from a huge selection of food and drinks.

Ulele, Boulon Brasserie, Armature Works, food at Haiku and Azure
Images (clockwise from top left): Ulele, Boulon Brasserie, Armature Works, food at Haiku and Azure

Dinner:

Armature Works: On the site of a restored trolley barn, Armature Works combines a local food hall, boutique shopping stalls, two fine-dining restaurants and several bars into one waterfront destination. Voted as one of the top places to eat and play in Tampa, there's plenty to see and do (not to mention, eat) at this modern, mixed-use space.

Azure: On the rooftop of the Tampa EDITION, this Mediterranean restaurant feels like a trip to the Greek isles. Book an outdoor balcony for your group so you can soak up the views as well as the breezy ambiance with a lychee martini in hand. Don't miss the whipped feta with sourdough pita.

Boulon Brasserie: This new addition to the quickly expanding Water Street neighborhood is a French bistro with Art Deco flair. The elegant design and classic brasserie menu (including French favorites like steak frites and escargot) will have you feeling like you're in Paris, albeit with much warmer weather.

Haiku: An Asian fusion concept serving up dishes in the style of a Japanese Izakaya (read: casual, fun small plates and drinks), Haiku is a chic downtown favorite. With decor worthy of the 'Gram and an atmosphere that's ready to party, it's a good spot to kick off any night on the town.

Ulele: With a prime location on the Tampa Riverwalk, Ulele boasts a beautiful outdoor atmosphere alongside Water Works Park. Inspired by the Native American history of the area, the restaurant focuses on fresh produce, seafood and other ingredients from Florida. There's also a brewery onsite, named for the Ulele Spring that flows nearby. You can't go wrong with local fish like grouper or mahi-mahi or one of their many vegetarian options, like grilled stuffed portabellos.

Where to Go Out

Arts Club, M.Bird and Punch Room
Images: (clockwise from top left) Arts Club, M.Bird and Punch Room

Jekyll: This extremely hidden speakeasy, tucked away behind an unassuming bagel shop, is as much of an experience as it is a bar. Reservations are required, a password is given and you're escorted to a dark and moody space where drink descriptions are more like short stories. A must-do for literature lovers.

M.Bird at Armature Works: Set atop the Armature Works food hall and market on the Tampa Riverwalk, this rooftop bar overlooks the city skyline and the Hillsborough River. Their tropical curated cocktails include everything from their signature rooftop sangrias to the daiquiri-inspired Jamaican Wormwood.

Punch Room and Arts Club at Tampa EDITION: With a mixologist's menu dedicated to the flavors of the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico, the Punch Room pays tribute to the history of punch. A curated punch cart full of regionally inspired recipes is on display, as well as a carefully crafted cocktail menu. Afterward, stroll across the hall to check out Arts Club, another eye-meltingly aesthetic space with ever-changing entertainment, from DJs to live performances. The stage is set in a red velvet room with a disco ball-covered ceiling. Enough said.

Ybor City: The historic home to Tampa's original cigar factories, Ybor City is now a nightlife hot spot lined with bars and clubs (and stray chickens that are allowed to roam around the neighborhood). Barhop and check out favorites like Copper Shaker, Tangra, Showbar, The Ritz, Crowbar and Coyote Ugly (yes, like the movie).

What to Do

Tampa Riverwalk, Bach Boats and The Candle Pour
Images: (clockwise) Tampa Riverwalk, Bach Boats and The Candle Pour

Design your own candle at The Candle Pour at Oxford Exchange: Choose from their selection of over 100 fragrances to craft a custom-scented candle. Experts will guide you through this boutique experience to help you find your one-of-a-kind signature fragrance. Once your candle is poured, you'll need to wait two hours before taking it home, so use the opportunity to explore Oxford Exchange's bookstore, eclectic shop and, most importantly, their aesthetic champagne bar. Sip on a champagne cocktail that's almost too pretty to drink, or grab lunch or brunch while you wait for your creation to be complete.

Strut your stuff in heels at a dance class: All skill levels are welcome at the Heels Dance Class at Hotel Haya. In an hour and 15 minutes, you'll learn the perfect sultry walk as well as a sexy dance routine. The atmosphere is welcoming and fun, with plenty of encouragement and positivity. Tickets are $20 each and include a glass of bubbles afterward.

Take a stroll on the Tampa Riverwalk: Enjoy the sights along this 2.6-mile walking trail beside the Hillsborough River that can take you from the Water Street neighborhood to the Heights District. With bars, restaurants and local markets located at each end, the Riverwalk is a gorgeous way to burn off a few cocktails between destinations.

Taste (or make) chocolate at Peterbrooke Chocolatier: This family-owned chocolate shop specializes in chocolate treats handmade in small batches. For a group activity, you can either schedule a chocolate and champagne tasting experience or a make-your-own-chocolate-bar class. Either one is a delicious choice for any chocoholic.

Tour the Gulf with Bach Boats: Take your party out on the water in a 10-person, double-decker pontoon boat (if your group is larger, you can even use two boats and set sail together). Their expert captains allow you to customize your four- to six-hour cruise with whatever you're into; be it spotting some dolphins, island hopping or pulling up to a waterfront eatery or bar. Anchor at one of the secluded state park islands off the coast of Clearwater, and you and your crew can experience your own private beach party.

How to Get There and Get Around

Tampa International Airport (TPA) is well connected to most major US cities, and only about five miles from downtown. For local transportation, rideshares like Uber and Lyft are plentiful. There's also a historic street car that travels from Downtown Tampa, through Water Street and up to Ybor City, with 11 stops along the way.

Up Next
  • Boat bachelorette party
    12 Bachelorette Boat Party Ideas to Rock the Bash