Spring break season is approaching, the sun is shining brighter, the temp is increasing, and…we are stuck in the center of the semester. I know we are all itching to get out, destress, and enjoy the weather. As college students, though, our budgets may be a little lacking. But luckily here at the University of Tampa, our campus is nestled in the heart of downtown Tampa, putting us right in the middle of so many things to do, AND a lot of it is free. If you’re looking for a way to relax mid-semester, keep reading for 10 free things to do around the University of Tampa!
1. Soak up the Florida sun at the beach.
Choosing a university in Florida definitely has its perks. At UT, we are never too far away from the beach. Ben T. Davis is a smaller beach located right of the Courtney Campbell Causeway not too far from campus. If you are willing to make a little bit of a longer drive, Clearwater Beach is my go to.
2. Sip on a cold beer at the Yeungling Brewing Co.
Tampa is home to an assortment of breweries, and many offer tours and tastings. Yeungling Brewing’s Tampa location offers free tours of “America’s Oldest Brewery” as well as a sampling of some of their finest brews. Not a bad deal if you ask me.
3. Stroll down Riverwalk.
As Spartans, we are #blessed, to have a campus that’s in a major city but also right along the river. Riverwalk is a paved trail that winds along the Hillsborough River, extending from the Channelside District all the way down the Water Works Park. The view is amazing and there’s also a lot of places to stop along the way. Bonus points if you take a date out there to watch the sunset.
4. Hitch a ride on the Downtowner.
The Downtowner is a free app that just launched in Tampa in Fall 2016. They provide free rides throughout the downtown area, making it easier to get to and from Lightning games, Franklin Manor, or any of your favorite spots. Since they are just starting up and have only a few shuttles, the wait time may be a little longer than your normal Uber. But hey, it’s free.
5. Take a bike ride down Bayshore.
Since we are in the Sunshine State, outdoor activities are possible for a majority of the year. Riding a bike or going for a job down Bayshore Boulevard is a popular option. The trail is located right on the edge of the bay, giving you an insanely beautiful view. The waterfront million dollar mansions on the opposite side of the street give you some career motivation too. Don’t have a bike of your own? Don’t worry! UT Students can rent bikes free of charge at the fitness center. If anyone would like to try and teach me how to ride a bike, you know where to find me!
6. Step back in time at the Henry B. Plant Museum.
Little known fact, UT’s Plant Hall was a hotel before it was a university! If you’re a history buff, or just want to know about the beginnings of UT’s campus, we have our own museum right on campus, free for Spartans. The best time to go, in my opinion, is around the holidays when they do their annual Christmas Stroll and the entire place is covered in decorations and decked out trees.
7. Perfect your downward dog in Curtis Hixon.
For all my yogis out there, just across the river from campus, Curtis Hixon Park hosts a weekly, donation-based Yoga in the Park on Sunday evenings. With a serene waterfront view and a DJ setting the mood, this is for sure a peaceful way to prepare for Mondays. Namaste.
8. Window shop in the lovely neighborhood of Hyde Park.
I know, window shopping is pretty impossible, especially down in Hyde Park. Well, maybe just for me. Hyde Park is probably one of the prettiest places in Tampa. And as if it already wasn’t gorg enough they’ve been expanding the area. It’s full of tons of stores, including a Kendra Scott boutique, as well as some amazing restaurants (Bartaco is my personal fave). It’s such a nice area to walk around with your friends or significant other, but I can’t be held responsible if you spend a little cash. I mean, there is a Sprinkles there!
9. Lounge in Plant Park.
With a perfect view of the river and the Tampa city skyline, this is definitely my favorite spot on campus. Whether you’re studying at a picnic table, lounging in a hammock, or tanning on the docks, Plant Park is a good choice is you’re not looking to leave campus. It’s also the perfect place to take pics if you haven’t updated your Instagram in a little.
10. Become a pirate for the day at the annual Gasparilla Festival.
Tampa parties, and we party hard. Every year, during the last weekend of January, pirates descend upon Tampa’s waterfront for an all-out invasion and a little debauchery. It is Tampa’s biggest party with a parade of of floats tossing beads and thousands of people dressed head to toe in pirate gear. Aside from the parade, there are so many block parties and cool events to attend, many of them at no cost. It’s like an all weekend alcohol-fueled party marathon. I definitely look forward to Gasparilla every year.