Best Places to Stay in Tampa [3 BEST areas]

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A hip and underrated city, Tampa is well-located, has legendary nightlife, an impressive food scene, and some of the best beaches in the USA!

But Tampa is quite big, and some neighborhoods can be a little rough around the edges…

But don’t worry – that’s why we created this guide to the safest and coolest neighborhoods in Tampa!

With the help of this article, you’ll be able to easily pick a neighborhood that suits your needs (and your budget).

Let’s jump into it…

Quick Tips – Best Places to Stay in Tampa

At A Glance: Where To Stay In TAMPA

Best Places to Stay in Tampa

Looking for a specific place to stay? These are our highest recommendations for places to stay in Tampa.

WHERE TO STAY IN TAMPA
htjltbl-table__image BEST AirBnBBEST AirBnBRiverfront Escape w/included kayaks near dwntwn
  • Air conditioning
  • Garden or backyard
  • Free parking on premises
Book on Air BnB →
htjltbl-table__image BEST Budget HotelBEST Budget Hotel Hampton Inn Tampa Downtown Channel District
  • 1 swimming pool
  • Parking
  • Pets allowed
Book on Booking.com →
htjltbl-table__image BEST Mid-RangeBEST Mid-RangeEpicurean Hotel, Autograph Collection
  • Bar
  • Non-smoking rooms
  • swimming pool
Book on Booking.com →

Best Airbnb in Tampa – Riverfront Escape w/included kayaks near dwntwn

Riverfront Escape w/included kayaks near dwntwn

Riverfront Escape w/included kayaks near dwntwn is the best Airbnb in Tampa

Set right on the Hillsborough River is one of the most beautiful Airbnb’s in the area – Riverfront escape. The property is secluded, but well-located near restaurants and shops if you feel like venturing out. Be sure to relax by the fireplace and see if you can spot any manatees!

 

Best Budget Hotel in Tampa – Hampton Inn Tampa Downtown Channel District

Hampton Inn Tampa Downtown Channel District

Hampton Inn Tampa Downtown Channel District is the best budget hotel in Tampa

Offering a ton of value, we love the Hampton Inn Tampa Downtown for all types of travelers. Check-in anytime with the 24-hour reception, and enjoy a big, cozy room with comfy pillows. Guests love the fitness center, but our favorite part has to be the rooftop pool! Be sure to grab the free continental breakfast served every morning.

 

Best Hotel in Tampa – Epicurean Hotel, Autograph Collection

Epicurean Hotel, Autograph Collection

Epicurean Hotel, Autograph Collection is the best hotel in Tampa

Beautifully designed and well-located, this modern boutique hotel is simply stunning. The rooms are cozy, the beds are heavenly, and the staff are some of the best in Tampa. Be sure to make an appointment at the spa, and try and book a room with a balcony. Breakfast is excellent.

 

Tampa Travel Guide

Tampa

Tampa

One of Florida’s largest cities, Tampa is a sprawling metropolis containing dozens of neighborhoods.

Tourists love visiting Tampa for a number of reasons…

Families love Tampa for the beautiful beaches and theme parks – like the epic Busch Gardens!

Ybor is one of the rowdiest streets in all of the USA (especially during the insanity of Gasparilla) and is also a great neighborhood for culture (and cigars!).

Out of all the Tampa neighborhoods, the downtown areas of Tampa are typically considered the best for tourists. They are centrally located, and if you have a car, you can get anywhere else in the city with relative ease.

Although the ‘Tampa Bay’ area has tons of beaches, we think the best ones are in Clearwater.

Tampa’s Top 3 Neighborhoods:

Curated by our travel experts, these are the 3 best neighborhoods in Tampa. Each area caters to a different interest/type of traveler – so be sure to book in an area that suits your needs.

Neighborhood #1 - Downtown Tampa

(Where to stay in Tampa for your first time)

Downtown Tampa

Downtown Tampa is our pick for where to stay in Tampa for your first time

The downtown area of Tampa is very nice – large buildings, hip restaurants, and some great activities, but we recommend this neighborhood mostly for its convenient location.

Centrally located, if you are driving there is plenty of parking, and you can use this area as a base to launch into the other neighborhoods of Tampa.

But there are still awesome things to do in downtown Tampa, here are a few of our favorites…

  • Visit the Florida Aquarium – boasting over 20,000 types of marine life, if you are visiting Tampa, this is basically a MUST DO.
  • Catch a show at the Tampa Theater –  Another iconic building, this beautiful theater has been playing movies, live music, and theatrical performances since 1926!

Best Airbnb in Downtown Tampa – ★Smart + Luxury★ |♛King Bed♛| 55″ TV+Wifi+Pool+Gym

★Smart + Luxury★ |♛King Bed♛| 55" TV+Wifi+Pool+Gym

★Smart + Luxury★ |♛King Bed♛| 55″ TV+Wifi+Pool+Gym is the best Airbnb in Downtown Tampa

Guests love the beautiful decoration and cozy feel of this downtown apartment. The living area and kitchen are clean and spacious – big enough for a whole family, and it’s close enough to walk to the Florida Aquarium. Grab a workout in the gym, or just chill and enjoy the free Netflix/Hulu/Apple TV.

 

Best Budget Hotel in Downtown Tampa – Hampton Inn Tampa Downtown Channel District

Hampton Inn Tampa Downtown Channel District

Hampton Inn Tampa Downtown Channel District is the best budget hotel in Downtown Tampa

The prices for the Hampton Inn Downtown are quite low given all of the value! Guests love the free buffet breakfast, the rooftop pool, and the big comfortable beds. This is a popular area for cyclists, so if you want to join the fun, be sure to ask the staff about the bike-rental program.

 

Best Luxury Hotel in Downtown Tampa – The Westin Tampa Waterside

The Westin Tampa Waterside

The Westin Tampa Waterside

Located next to the Tampa Convention Center, this waterfront hotel is one of Tampa’s most beautiful accommodation options. Boasting a modern, yet artsy design, guests love that their rooms are equipped with coffee makers, work stations, and large flatscreen TVs. Be sure to enjoy a meal at the on-site restaurant.

 

Neighborhood #2 - North Tampa

(Where to stay in Tampa for families)

North Tampa

North Tampa is our pick for where to stay in Tampa for families

While downtown is also a great area for families, many families will opt to stay to North Tampa instead.

The biggest reason? The close proximity to Tampa’s best theme parks!

North Tampa is home to Busch Gardens, Adventure Island, ZooTampa and many more parks. So if you are looking to take your family for a ride on a rollercoaster or two – North Tampa might be the spot for you.

Here are our favorite things to do in North Tampa…

  • Busch Gardens!  – The best place for adrenaline in the Southwest USA, this African-themed park boasts some of the fastest rollercoasters in Florida including Kumba, Montu, SheiKra, and Cheetah Hunt.
  • Soak in Adventure Island – If the Florida sun is a bit too much for you, there is no better way to cool down then at the legendary amusement water park.
  • Explore the Museum of Science and Industry – Underrated, but a great experience, MOSI is one of Tampa’s best museums

Best Airbnb in North Tampa – Artsy Safari Home

 

Boasting an almost-perfect score, this North Tampa is beautiful, clean, and the perfect launching pad for enjoying North Tampa. Just a few minute drive to Busch Gardens, guests love the private courtyard, and the host provides a free ‘beach package’ that includes towels, blanket, cooler, and everything else you need for a day exploring Tampa’s best beaches.

 

Best Budget Hotel in North Tampa – Holiday Inn Hotel & Suites Tampa North

Holiday Inn Hotel & Suites Tampa North

Holiday Inn Hotel & Suites Tampa North is the best budget hotel in North Tampa

Most budget hotels in this part of Tampa are poorly reviewed – but not Holiday Inn Hotel! Only a 5-minute drive to Busch Gardens, save some extra money with free wifi, free parking, on-site laundry, free shuttle service, and most importantly – free breakfast!

 

Best Hotel in North Tampa – Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites Tampa-USF-Busch Gardens

Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites Tampa-USF-Busch Gardens

Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites Tampa-USF-Busch Gardens is the best hotel in North Tampa

Boasting a great location and some of the nicest staff in Tampa, Holiday Inn Express has a 24-hour gym and a 24-hour business center. Suites are big and bright and feature cozy beds and pillows. The hotel also offers free transfer service to Busch Gardens, as well as a free delicious breakfast.

 

Neighborhood #3 - Ybor City

(Where to stay in Tampa for nightlife)

Ybor City

Ybor City is our pick for where to stay in Tampa for nightlife

Tampa is renowned for its nightlife, and the heart of that reputation is Ybor City!

While it is not without its character, Ybor is a charming and historical area, that has a very artsy and hip feel to it.

Historically, Ybor was Tampa’s ‘Latin Quarter‘, which is why it is still home to some of the best cigar shops in all the USA.

Here are a few of the coolest things to do in Ybor…

  • Get your party on! Ybor is known for its banging clubs and cheap drinks. If you are looking to have a night on the town, you won’t be disappointed – some bars are open all night!
  • Eat at the Columbia Cafe – one of Florida’s most iconic buildings, this historic restaurant has been open since 1905 and serves some delicious food and some amazing views.
  • Catch a live show – Ybor is also renowned for its live music – both cover bands and originals. Check out Crowbar or The Attic.

Best Airbnb in Ybor City – Fully Renovated Historic Ybor Bungalow

Fully Renovated Historic Ybor Bungalow

Fully Renovated Historic Ybor Bungalow is the best Airbnb in Ybor City

Recently renovated, this Airbnb features beautiful wood floors, a modern kitchen, and beautiful and bright rooms. The house has laundry facilities and all of the kitchen equipment you could ever need. Guests love the cleanliness, and easy walking-location to downtown Ybor.

 

Best Budget Hotel near Ybor City – Holiday Inn Express & Suites – Tampa East – Ybor City

Holiday Inn Express & Suites - Tampa East - Ybor City

Holiday Inn Express & Suites – Tampa East – Ybor City

Just East of Ybor city, the Holiday Inn Express & Suites is just a short Uber ride from the nightlife of Ybor. Boasting cozy rooms, we love how cozy the beds and pillows are. But be careful! Don’t sleep in too late, you’ll miss the chance to grab your free breakfast in the morning.

 

Best Luxury Hotel near Ybor City – Le Méridien Tampa

Le Méridien Tampa

Le Méridien Tampa is the best luxury hotel near Ybor City

Technically located in downtown Tampa, this beautiful hotel is less than a 10-minute drive to Ybor. Fancy, yet modern and minimal, the decor in this hotel is beautiful and really sets the tone for a cosmopolitan night on the town! Be sure to check out the on-site restaurant and bar.

 

Final thoughts

Well, there you have it!

So concludes our insider guide to the best neighborhoods in Tampa.

Which neighborhood are you interested in staying in? Let us know in the comments below!

 

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About the Author Aaron Hovanesian

Born in Los Angeles, Aaron Hovanesian is one of the original staff writers for Hotel Jules. Having backpacked the world as a young man, Aaron now prefers to travel the world in luxury, proudly staying in the world's most amazing hotels and properties.When Aaron is not traveling he lives in Western Colorado he can be found brewing his own beer (probably an IPA) or spending time with his two amazing golden retrievers.