Tampa Bay is a city filled with great attractions, but what about the unique places off the beaten path? Anyone wanting to explore the exhilarating nooks and crannies of the city can’t miss these amazing spots.
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Hindu Temple of Florida
It’s always a fascinating experience to visit temples. I personally include them in most of my travel itinerary if possible. Off a nondescript road a few miles north of Tampa International airport lies the beautiful Hindu Temple of Florida. You’ll be mesmerized by the pyramid structure as you drive up to the picturesque temple that has welcomed the area’s Indian population since 1996. The temple is a bastion of the Hindu faith, offering worship for several deities and many events throughout the year. Visitors to the temple should wear modest clothes and must remove shoes before entering.
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Gasparilla Pirate Festival
Every year, Tampa Bay is invaded by countless pirates for the Gasparilla Pirate Festival. The rum flows freely and the entertainment never ends. The event features a parade of pirates sharing their booty of beads and doubloons from floats along a 3.8-mile parade route. The parade is open to the public and there’s even a non-alcoholic children’s event, so all ages can enjoy the pirate life. Tickets for the event sell fast and Tampa Bay hotels fill up quickly.
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Wat Mongkolratanaram of Tampa
Founded in 1981, the Wat Mongkolratanaram spreads the teachings of Buddha in one of the most beautiful architectural landmarks of the area. The Thai Ayudhaya inspired building is not only a place of worship but also home to Buddhist monks. If you come on Sunday, you can enjoy the weekly marketplace of Thai fruits and vegetables.
Photo Credit : Hong Kong Willie
Hong Kong Willie’s Art Museum
Joe Brown has spent much of his life turning trash into something beautiful, culminating in Hong Kong Willie’s Art Museum. His art features everything from Coke Bottles to Lobster Buoys to creative unique pieces you must see to believe. Brown adopted the nickname of Hong Kong Willie in honor of his art teacher from Hong Kong and added Willie. All proceeds from art sales go to green endeavors.
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Far away from the city lights, artist and sculptor Howard Solomon transformed his home and surrounding area into a landmark straight from King Arthur’s court. In addition to his castle home, the area features a moat and the “Boat-in-the-Moat” restaurant. The home has more than 80 stained glass windows and plenty of fun for adults and children alike. Solomon’s Castle is closed for the months of August and September.
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Henry B. Plant Museum
The Henry B. Plant Museum transports visitors back in time to America’s Gilded Age at the turn of the 19th century. Once his home and later the Tampa Bay Hotel, the museum features original furnishings and other items, along with exhibits and an audio tour to show how the world existed during the time of Henry B. Plant. If you’re fascinated by the past or the Victorian lifestyle, then make the museum a stop on your vacation.
Tampa Bay is a magical area filled not only with mainstream attractions favored by many tourists but also truly unique and interesting places few people see. These are the real treasure of Tampa Bay.