Mar 15, 2024 - News

What to do in Brandon

Lego statue at The Lego Store in Brandon

Photo: Yacob Reyes/Axios

I drove from my home in Carrollwood one recent afternoon to visit Brandon as part of our occasional series on Tampa Bay's lesser-known communities.

The big picture: Like much of unincorporated Hillsborough County, the enclave of 114,000 residents is a hub of suburban sprawl teeming with chain stores and franchised eateries.

Yes, but: With a bit of effort, you can find local gems — or, at the very least, a chain store you can't find elsewhere in the region, like Bass Pro Shops.

  • Pro tip: You don't want to make this drive only to wind up at a Barnes and Noble or an Abercrombie and Fitch. So, plan ahead, invite a friend and prepare to empty your gas tank.

Zoom in: Brandon isn't a city, so I began my visit with a trip to the mall. The place is a step up from Citrus Park Mall and rivals the liveliness of Tampa's International Plaza.

  • It's also home to the only Lego Store in Tampa Bay. If there's one takeaway from visiting the store, it's this: Legos are an expensive hobby, and it's not all for kids.
  • Sets go for about $10 to $1,000 — with a 10,000-piece Eiffel Tower and a 1,164-piece "The Office" set.
  • Though options are limited, you can also make your own Lego mini figures: I made the Axios Tampa Bay team.

Next, I went to Bin and Board for lunch. It's a local charcuterie spot with an eclectic menu. I started with a platter of Fourmage cheese, duck prosciutto and bresaola ($16).

  • I have a reputation to uphold, so I pounded a Celsius in the parking lot. But you can pair your charcuterie board with wine for an additional charge.
  • A bread basket comes with each board. I also put in an order for the petite smoked salmon bites ($12). I had enough food to fill me up without feeling like I had rocks in my belly.

Then, I ended my visit with a trip to the Stuffed Cookie, a local bakery that could give Crumbl Cookies a run for its money.

  • I am a creature of habit, so I bought a Biscoff cookie. 10/10.
The Stuffed Cookie.
The Stuffed Cookie. Photo: Yacob Reyes/Axios

Here's a roundup of some more fun spots in Brandon:

What to do

🏌️ Get a virtual hole-in-one at Top Golf.

🐟 Check out the aquarium at Bass Pro Shops.

🏃 Break out at Game Over Escape Rooms: Brandon.

🪓 Improve your aim at Bury The Hatchet Axe Throwing.

🛼 Grip the handrails at Astro Skate of Brandon.

What to eat and drink

🍺 Raise a pint at the Stein & Vine.

🍕 Grab a slice at Babe's Pizza.

🍜 Slurp noodles at Bolay.

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