Saturday, September 18, 2010

I could become an urbanite... Maybe...

I attended a conference for work this week in downtown Tampa.  I stayed in the Embassy Suites on the water front. When I was growing up here... downtown was nothing like it is now!  Above is a view of the channel from the Tampa Convention Center.

A view from the skybridge that connects the Tampa Convention Center with the hotel.

Now I'm not an urbanite. I grew up in the suburbs of north Tampa, in a neighborhood called Forest Hills. I never thought that I'd ever really enjoy being downtown.  But I have to say I had a wonderful time.  It's a beautiful city... so many familiar things and places, but with a whole new face. 

The water front, looking toward Harbour Island and the Channelside District (on the left) and Davis Islands (straight ahead).  Harbour Island was built from spoil that was dredged from Tampa Bay.  There was nothing on it when I was growing up, except rats and rattlesnakes.  Now it's one of the most exclusive areas in the state and Channelside is a wonderful shopping and nightlife spot. The Florida Aquarium is there too! Davis Islands is a very small, high end "neighborhood" on a very small island.  The building complex across the channel and toward the right is Tampa General Hospital.  I was born there. The original hospital is totally surrounded by new portions of the hospital.

Today's trolley.  Historically, a trolley ran through town and connected Tampa to Ybor City. I remember the trolley tracks running through the brick streets, but the trolley system had been abandoned.  Ybor City is the historic district.  It was settled by Cuban exiles and is famous for hand rolled cigars.

The Gasparilla, our famous pirate ship. The ship of the pirate Jose Gaspar.  Every year on Gasparilla Day, it and a floatilla of thousands of boats invade the City and take over.  It's evolved into a week long festival. There are parades and parties and artfests. When I was in grade school, we actually got Gasparilla Day off school.  The parade marched down Bayshore Boulevard into the State Fair Grounds (which aren't down town anymore).

Another view from higher up (the elevators were glass).  Tampa Bay is the water you see just past Davis Islands.  Along the Bay is Bayshore Boulevard, which has the longest continuous sidewalk in the world. It reaches from where the Gasparilla is docked all the way to those buildings on the point in the distance.

The Tampa Skyline at night, from the 20th floor.

Lights on the waterfront.

My parting shot...I don't know what this building is, but I thought it was beautiful against the Tampa Sky. I hope you enjoyed your little tour of my hometown.


  1. It looks like a beautiful city, one I could live in especially if i could live near one of those lovely waterways.

  2. Dianne, what a beautiful city--I want to go now!!

  3. This is on my list of places I want to visit! Beautiful photos...they could be postcards! ♥

  4. Just loved the Tampa pictures! I used to ride my bike on Davis Island down by the channel and watch the ships go by! I remember riding all the way down Bayshore Blvd. to McDill AFB with friends of mine, and fun times at Gasparilla and the FAIR!!! I moved away to Ga. in 1976, so never really got to see the new area and Harbour Island. Would love to go spend about a week there, Mom is in Geneva near Sanford. I get down there from time to time, but never really enough time to visit Tampa like I would like. Good times! Glad you had a good trip :D

  5. so many gorgeous shades of blue in your wonderful pics Dianne
    and it sounds like quite a transformation from bygone days ... a fun spot to visit I'm sure.