Mar 19, 2022 - Things to Do

8 cool things to do in Tampa Bay this spring

A music festival crowd in front of a stage at sundown

Innings Festival in Tempe, Ariz., last month. The event comes to St. Petersburg for the first time this month. Photo: Roger Ho/Innings Fest

Whether you want to embrace the warmer temps with outdoor adventure or escape the humidity indoors, here's your guide to springtime in Tampa Bay.

1. Spring for brunch

Now's the time to don your best spring attire for a picture-perfect brunch. Here are a few of our favorite spots:

The Library, St. Petersburg

Wild Child, St Petersburg (Sunday brunch only)

Timpano, Hyde Park (recently reopened for brunch)

  • After a two-year hiatus, Timpano started its brunch service again last month. Try the parm to table macaroni experience. Skip the molten tiramisu French toast.

Florida Cracker Kitchen, Brooksville

  • That Okeechobee gumbo ... holy heavens.

Ella's American Folk Art Café, Seminole Heights

  • You can't go wrong with the bone-in Bloody Mary — if you can get a seat at this wildly popular restaurant on a Sunday.

First Watch, several locations

  • This local chain recently went public. First Watch is always crowded for good reason: interesting and healthy takes on breakfast, using fresh ingredients.

Trip's Diner, several locations

  • Just look at those chicken biscuits.
Chicken biscuits at Trip's Diner in Seminole Heights. Photo: Ben Montgomery/Axios
2. Get your festival on

Whatever music you're into, from rock to reggae, there's a festival for you this spring.

3. Grab a seat at a local game
A person standing in front of the field at Rays stadium puts their head down to show their hat that says "I (heart) opening day" with the Rays logo on it
An usher greets fans prior to the game between the Boston Red Sox and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in 2018. Photo: Mike Carlson/MLB via Getty Images

It was a close call, but the MLB lockout ended with enough time for a shortened spring training schedule.

Save the date: Opening day is April 7.

Here's a look at the local schedules:

Baltimore Orioles

Ed Smith Stadium, Sarasota

Detroit Tigers

Publix Field at Joker Marchant Stadium, Lakeland

New York Yankees

George M. Steinbrenner Field, Tampa

Philadelphia Phillies

Spectrum Field, Clearwater

Pittsburgh Pirates

LECOM Park, Bradenton

Tampa Bay Rays

Charlotte Sports Park, Port Charlotte

Toronto Blue Jays

TD Ballpark, Dunedin

Not into baseball? The Lightning have lots of home games in Tampa this spring.

4. Go on a staycation
An airstream trailer.
You could stay in this renovated 1959 Airstream in Gainesville. Photo courtesy of Airbnb

Check out these three unique Airbnb escapes — all under four hours driving distance from Tampa Bay.

5. Hike these nearby swamps ... seriously
Hikers walk along a boardwalk through the Green Swamp
Hikers on a boardwalk through the Green Swamp. Photo: Ben Montgomery/Axios

To our good fortune, a 560,000-acre world of wonder is right in our backyard.

  • The Green Swamp is the beating hydrological heart of the Tampa Bay area, the serene birthplace of four of our rivers, and it's free to anyone willing to wander. Here's Ben's advice on hiking the Florida Trail through the Green Swamp's Western Tract.

For an even wetter experience, strap on your gaiters and head south to the Big Cypress National Preserve visitor center on U.S. 41 between Naples and Miami, the southern terminus of the Florida National Scenic Trail.

  • Follow the orange blazes north through Big Cypress. A common destination for a three-day hike is the rest stop on I-75, roughly 30 swamp miles from the visitor center.
  • Or plan an overnight out-and-back to one of the primitive campsites along the trail. Permit required.

If those sound too ambitious, check out our list of the best hikes around Tampa Bay.

Hikers in the Big Cypress Swamp
Big Cypress. Photo: Ben Montgomery/Axios
6. Pick out a new plant baby
Plants from local nurseries.
Photo: Ben Montgomery/Axios

Ready to test your green thumb? Check out these local plant shops:

7. Flamin-go to the Sunken Gardens
A Sunken Gardens sign, flamingos wading in water and a scene of a lush green trail
Scenes from the Sunken Gardens. Photos: City of St. Petersburg

Spend the day surrounded by 50,000 (!!) tropical plants, a flock of flamingos and relaxing water features at this 100-year-old botanical garden.

  • Tickets are $15 for adults.
  • Details: The garden is open 10am-4:30pm Monday-Saturday and noon to 4pm Sunday. The address is 1825 Fourth St. N. in St. Petersburg.
8. Get peddlin'

Grab your bike for these rides around Tampa Bay.

Saturday, March 19

Hey Ybor City! Vision Zero Tampa will close 14th Street to car traffic from Columbus Drive to 21st Avenue for "Unlock the Block."

  • The event features bike and pedestrian-friendly activities and opportunities to meet local business owners. Noon to 4pm. Free.

Sunday, March 20

Tampa's Joe Haskins Bike Shop hosts a ride to remember the death a year ago of Haskins, a champion of the city's working-class bicycle riders.

  • Meet at Joe Haskins Bike Shop, 2310 N. Florida Ave., at 11am; ride starts at noon.

March 25

Join Dade City Mayor Camille Hernandez for a casual 2.5-mile ride on the Hardy Trail.

  • Meet at the Spoke Visitor Center, 37800 Church Ave., at 8:30am; ride starts at 9.
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