Florida Travel Blog - Destinations in Florida

Florida Travel Blog 

Travel destinations, beaches and attractions and things to do in Florida. Documented by RESIDENTS of Florida.

Historic Ybor City in Tampa Florida

Where is Ybor City Located in Tampa Florida?

Very simply, Ybor City in Tampa is a historic neighborhood just a few blocks from downtown Tampa, Florida.

The easiest directions to Ybor City are to take Channelside Drive directly to Ybor City. Channelside Drive is off Franklin Street on the east side of the Tampa Convention Center. Just about every main street leading into Tampa has directions to the Convention Center. Following those directions may be the easiest for visitors to easily get to Ybor City.

Ybor City Map

Ybor City Map
Ybor City is a dozen blocks of fun, food and history. Click on the map for interactive information.

The Ybor City map at left is a snippet of a larger interactive map of the area. You can navigate here or click on the map for attractions around Ybor City. As you can see the business districts centered around a dozen or so small blocks of the neighborhood.

What is Ybor City in Tampa Florida?

Historic Ybor City (pronounced ee-bor) is a neighborhood created when Vicente Martinez-Ybor and other cigar makers founded cigar-making factories in the area in the 1880s. Most of the residents of early Ybor City were immigrants from Cuba, the Bahamas and other nations.

Some of the cigar makers came from Key West when production became big in Tampa. Cigar making flourished until the late 1930s when automation took over.

Today Ybor City is a collection of historic buildings converted into shops, restaurants, bars, and tourist based endeavors. The area is well known as a place to eat, shop and find nightlife when in Tampa.

Ybor City in Tampa Trolley stop at Ybor Centro
The Ybor Centro complex is in the middle of Ybor City. The streetcar stops nearby.

What major Florida attractions are around Ybor City?

While Ybor City is an attraction in itself without other amenities, there are some other major elements of Tampa Bay just blocks away. Other prominent attractions around Ybor City include;

  • The Port of Tampa handles thousands of passengers as they head for destinations around the Caribbean.
  • As noted below, the Florida Aquarium is one of the best in the state and is just a few blocks away.
  • The Tampa Convention Center is a mile or so away. Conventions are a source of visitors to Ybor City.
  • Amalie Arena is along Channelside Drive a mile away from Ybor City. Amalie is the home of the Tampa Bay Lightning professional hockey team and the location of many high-profile concerts.
  • Tampa Riverwalk is a 2-mile walkway along the Hillsborough River is near Amalie Arena.

Is Ybor City Safe?

From our experience and the crime statistics for these are our recommendations to stay safe in Ybor City.

  • Stay on 7th Avenue in the high-traffic commercial areas.
  • Try to plan your activities before dark.
  • Stay in groups and try not to wander off the main streets.

 

Most of the crimes in Ybor City are property crimes, but violence can be a problem in many large cities.

Ybor City in Tampa Streets
The streets of Ybor City are filled with historic buildings, restaurants, bars and quaint shops.

Things to do in Ybor City during the day?

Ybor City can be a fun day trip while in Tampa. Some of the things to do in Ybor City include

  1. Ybor City in Tampa is a great place for foodies. Restaurants line 7th Avenue. Where to eat in Ybor City includes;
  • Carmines – perhaps the best overall experience. Many New Orleans-style dishes and original creations.
  • Bernini of Ybor – exceptional Italian fare at reasonable prices. Their thin-crust pizza is a great choice.
  • Gaspar’s Grotto – good bar experience inside and out on the deck. See the largest Tip Bell in the world. Generous drinks.
  • The Columbia Restaurant – they bill themselves as the oldest restaurant in Florida since 1904. If you like Spanish-style food, Columbia will fit your taste buds.
  1. The Electric Trolley – also known as a “streetcar”, an old-style bus with an electric connection on top will take you to Ybor City from many downtown Tampa locations. The trolley runs in front of the major hotels along Water Street and Channelside Drive and then on to Centro Ybor in the middle of Ybor City. Then it returns as the conductor goes from the front to the back. Unique ride and fun for the family.
  2. Visit the Ybor City Museum – this is a great way to learn about the vibrant history of Ybor City and the life of the cigar makers that founded the city.
  3. Take a self-guided historic building tour along 7th Avenue. Pay particular attention to both the interior and exterior of the buildings along your journey.
  4. Eat a Cuban sandwich – take the time to eat an authentic Cuban sandwich at one of the many restaurants along 7th Avenue that serve them. This sandwich was developed here by workers in the cigar factories. They could easily put the sandwich in their pockets for a brief lunch break.
  5. The Florida Aquarium – while technically not in Ybor City, this is the best aquarium in Florida and it is just a couple blocks away from Ybor City. It is along the Trolley Route and opens daily at 9:30 AM. You can easily spend a half day learning about the waters and aquatic creatures of Florida. They also have a splashpad the kids will love.

Ybor City is part of Florida’s history. A visit to this area is a must for anyone wanting to learn more about old Florida.

Ybor City in Tampa Florida Aquarium
The Florida Aquarium near Ybor City is a fun family attraction. Valet Parking in front of the facility saves a lot of walking!

What is Ybor City known for?

As you can see, Ybor City has a unique history of success from the late 1800s until the 1930s. The demand for hand-rolled cigars dropped and the community went into an economic downhill slide.

things you need when flying

By the late 1990s, people began to realize the value of the historic buildings and revitalization started. Today Ybor City stands as a community that rebuilt itself and created value from what immigrants started years ago.

Ybor City is now known as a must-visit attraction when visiting the Tampa Bay area. The cluster of entertainment, food, clubs and artistic resources make this a fun place to be.

As more businesses move to Tampa and recruit for job openings, Ybor City is known as an asset for new hires coming into the Bay area.

Ybor City in Tampa – Forever Linked

It is a complicated relationship between Tampa and Ybor City. Tampa was a struggling little town in central Florida in the late 1800s. Then Vicente Martinez-Ybor and the malcontent cigar factories in Key West all moved to Tampa. Many immigrants followed.

For the next 50 years, Tampa grew into one of the largest cities in the state. Much of the growth came from the Ybor City area and neighborhood businesses.

After the demise of the cigar business, Ybor city fell into much disrepair and faltering economic conditions. In the last 20 years, Ybor City has been revitalized and brought back to the all-important status from 100 years ago.

Ybor City has become part of the dramatic growth of the downtown commercial area and a factor in the vision of Tampa’s future.

Ybor City in Tampa is the heart of Tampa’s history and the star in the city’s economic success. in Tampa

Advertisements
Cruise Critic See the world for less Start saving your ideas
Florida Travel Blog
Join our Mailing list!

Get all our latest posts and our monthly Florida Travel Newsletter with the latest posts and Florida Travel News.