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School Psychology Program -
New Student Guide

Things to do in Tampa

Top 20 Things to Do in Tampa
(According to the School Psychology Graduate program students)

1) The Beach - Clearwater and St. Pete beaches are the closest beaches.  Both are about 40 minutes from campus.  Tampa itself does not have any beaches. 

Check out Clearwater if you like a "loud" beach; St. Pete if you like a "quiet" beach. There are lots of beaches in between:  Indian Rocks, Treasure Island, Madeira Beach, Ft. Desoto, etc. 

Bring sunscreen and an umbrella if you have one.  It gets hot! 

2) Hyde Park Village - Upscale shopping, restaurants, movies, and bars.  Great date location for dinner and drinks or movies.  There are also a few dance places down there that are a little more upscale. 

3) Ybor City - Lots of  clubs, restaurants and historic museums; can be dangerous late at night, so plan to bring a companion

FYI - the majority of the dance clubs in Ybor allow 18 and over, so the crowds get pretty rowdy.  

In Ybor City -there is a section called Centro Ybor that has nicer restaurants,an Improv comedy club, some shops and the Metropolitan Store.  

4) Brandon Town Centre - Nice, casual mall about 20 minutes from campus; Brandon is a small town right outside of Tampa.

5) Busch Gardens, Adventure Island - Amusement parks (Adventure Island is actually a water park); Busch Gardens is about $50 per person; Adventure Island is around $25.  Look for reduced admission coupons at local fast food restaurants or on tourist maps!   

6) Florida Aquarium - Lots of fish and local water wildlife. Located Downtown next to Channeside. 

7) Lowry Park Zoo - White tigers, alligators; if it's an animal, it's likely to be here.

8) Museum of Science and Industry - Also known as MOSI. Located right across the street from campus; has lots of hands-on exhibits and an IMAX Theater.

9) Gasparilla and Guavaween - Ask around when you arrive in Tampa; too weird to be described in the New Student Guide.  The gist of what they are is Tampa's version of Mardi Gras - one in the fall and the other in the spring.

10) USF Football Games - Most of the professors and their families attend - it's really quite fun! Games are played in Raymond James Staduim located near the airport. You can get ticket information at the USF Sun Dome.

11) International Plaza and Bay Street - Mall and outdoor restaurants in South Tampa.  Mall includes Nordstrom’s, Neiman Marcus, and other upscale stores.  Great place to browse if nothing else.  Bay Street is attached to the mall and has a lot of nice outdoor restaurants that offer a variety of different types of foods in a variety of price ranges.  Fun place to hang out, drink coffee, and people watch.

12) Riverfront Park-USF - Located approximately 1.5 miles east of the campus, Riverfront Park offers a range of outdoor activities from canoeing and kayaking, a challenging ropes course, and excellent picnic facilities. You can actually get up close to the river wildlife (e.g., alligators, turtles, birds, fish) if you take out a canoe or kayak.  

13)  Salvador Dali Museum - Its a great museum in downtown St. Petersburg.  They change their exhibit about once every 2 months, so you can keep going back and see totally different works of art.  You will get in for free with your USF  ID.  Normal admission is something like $20.  If you go with a friend, they have military and student discounts (for non-USF students).  When you get to the museum, they give "complimentary" tours all day long that give the history of Dali and the context of his artwork.  

14) Baywalk - Its a shopping/restaurant area in downtown St. Petersburg.  Its a few blocks from St. Petersburg pier. 

15) Channelside - In downtown Tampa next to the aquarium.  Has a bunch of restaurants & bars that are a little more touristy.  Just to give you some idea:  there's Splittsvillve - a martini lounge/bar that has single bowling lanes in it.  Not your typical bowling alley, considering you can bowl while drinking martinis and eating sushi.  Another fun place to go in Channelside is Howl at the Moon.  Its a dueling piano bar where everyone drinks a lot and sings along to songs like Piano Man. 

16) The St. Pete Times Forum - Gets good concerts and you can go to Tampa Bay Lightning games (hockey).  Located downtown.

17)  Movies:  if you are in North Tampa, by USF - there is a really nice theater called Muvico on Bruce B. Downs.  If you're into independent films, visit the Tampa Theater located downtown.  There is also a Muvico in Ybor City.  Channelside has an IMAX theater.  There are also movie theaters in Brandon near the mall, and in South Tampa in the Westshore Plaza mall. 

18)  Baseball Spring Training:  if you're into baseball, the Yankees train at Legends Field, directly across from Raymond James Stadium, where the Bucs play football.  Its right in Tampa on Dale Mabry Hwy.  There are several other MLB team spring training locations in Clearwater, Dunedin, Orlando and Sarasota.

19) The Glazer Children's Museum is located downtown next to the river front.

20) The Straz Center in downton Tampa occasionally has ballets, opera, and traveling Broadway shows.  

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We've broken down the restaurants by location.  

To make it faster, you can click on one of these links, and it will take you to the listings in that neighborhood.  


Near School
Note:  most of these places are off of Fowler Ave or 30th Street, which is an extension of Bruce B. Downs.

Jason’s Deli:  on corner of Fowler and 30th Street. Same strip mall as Kash-n-Karry.   A lot of us go there for lunch.  They have a big salad bar, good soup selection, and a nice selection of sandwiches and wraps.  You can also get a half a sandwich/wrap.  

Taj:  Indian restaurant on the corner of Fowler and 30th Street in the Kash-n-Karry strip mall.  Has good lunch buffet. 

La Cocina:  casual Cuban food.  On the corner of 30th st. & Fowler in the Kash-n-Karry strip mall.

Panera Bread:  Just west of campus on 30th St (where it becomes Bruce B. Downs)., Panera offers a variety of breakfast options such as coffee, pastries, and bagels, as well as breads, soups, and salads for lunch or dinner.

Shells:  On 30th Street south of campus.  Low-key, casual seafood chain restaurant.  Its inexpensive for seafood

Star of India:  30th Street south of campus.  Healthy Indian dishes.  Lots of good vegetarian choices.  Try it sometime for lunch (nice buffet).

Phoencia:  it’s a Middle Eastern restaurant (hummus, falafel, kabobs, lentil soup, etc.)  Its on 30th Street in a strip mall.  Inexpensive.

Tokyo Sushi:  Decent casual sushi place around 56th and Fowler in same strip mall as Applebee’s.  Highly recommend the “Frank Roll”  Its really good.

Carrabba's:  On Fowler and 56th Street, east of campus.  Contemporary chain restaurant Italian cuisine.   

Vallartas:  Busch and 56th St.. Their menu consists of all your Mexican favorites at inexpensive prices.

Hops:  chain restaurant bar and grill.  They have good salads, sandwiches, ect. 

 If you drive up and down Fowler, there are a bunch of chain restaurants.  Here’s a few to give you general idea:  TGI Friday’s, Perkins, Einstein’s, Starbuck’s, Applebee’s, Outback (on 56th street), Subway, etc. 

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New Tampa/Tampa Palms/Bruce B. Downs

Ciccio and Tony’s:  California-style cuisine.  Lots of wraps and low-carb entrée options.  Fairly inexpensive.  Its in same strip mall as Publix near Tampa Palms Blvd. 

Circles: An interesting menu of Thai and Contemporary Cuisine because the chefs are a married couple with different backgrounds! Interestingly enough they also have a great pizza place right next door to the dining room. Meals are on the high moderate side.

Louis Pappas Marketplace:  Really good Greek food.  It’s a great place to go for a relatively quick meal, and the food is extremely fresh.  They have great soups, salads, sandwiches, and entrees.  The prices are comparable to Panera Bread’s and they give a USF discount if you show your ID.  Its located in a strip mall around 42nd Street and Bruce B. Downs. Its relatively close to campus. 

Savino’s:  Good Italian with homemade pasta and lots of fresh seafood.  In same strip mall as Louis Pappas.  A little more expensive, but its worth the non-Americanized food. 

Thai Ruby:  Amberly Place strip mall – awesome Thai food.  Its next to Lifestyle Family Fitness.  They have a great lunch deal.  All meals for lunch are between $5 - $8.  It includes a vegetarian spring roll, a small bowl of soup, your entrée which is enough for left-overs, and dessert.  Dinner is a little more pricey.  Its approximately $10 per entrée give or take a few bucks, and it doesn’t include appetizers.  Regardless, the food is really good and the ambiance is nice too. 

Sammy Frogs: Really cool atmosphere—glass lily pads on the ceiling.  If you are interested in an eclectic mix of Pan-Asian and Italian food, try this place. Prices are moderate. 

Moe’s:  A burrito joint that makes burritos the size of your head.  They’re pretty good and relatively inexpensive.  Off of Bruce B. Downs.  If you are going away from campus, its past I-75, and will be on your left hand side. 

There’s a really good New York Style Pizza place in the same strip mall as Super Target, which is all the way down Bruce B. Downs in the opposite direction of campus.  This place is sandwiched between Super Target and Marshalls.

There is a handful of chain restaurants on Bruce B. Downs:  Red Lobster, Olive Garden, Carabbas, Ruby Tuesdays, Panera, Chili’s, Leroy Selmon’s Steak House, etc. 

 Back to Restaurant Neighborhood Listings

  Hyde Park/Soho (stands for South Howard Ave.)

This area is Tampa’s “restaurant row.”  Specifically, South Howard Ave.

Panera Bread:  On the corner of Howard Ave and Swann Ave. 

Café by the Bay:  It’s a whole-in-the-wall on Howard Ave. but has really, really good breakfast food.  They have omelets and egg benedict galore (lots of different kinds).  In addition, for lunch, they have homemade soups and nice salads.  They are also open for dinner and boast having live music in the evenings.

Ciccio and Tony’s:  On Howard Ave.  California-style cuisine.  Lots of wraps and low-carb entrée options.  Fairly inexpensive. 

Water:  a new sushi restaurant in Hyde Park that is attached to Ciccio and Tony’s.  They use rice-paper rolled sushi instead of nori. They also make a number of their dishes without carbs

Sally O’Neil’s Pizza Hotline:  Awesome, awesome pizza.  You can eat there or take out, but it's really good.  You can also get whole wheat crust, for those of you who try to stay away from carbs.  On Howard Ave. 

Bern's Steak House:  A Tampa tradition.  Call about a year in advance to get reservations ( we exaggerated a little)...Its more expensive, but you should have a “Bern’s Experience” at some point in time while you live here.  Their wine list is the size of a phone book, and they will give you a full tour of their kitchen and wine cellar.  They also have dessert rooms.  After your meal, you go to a separate part of the restaurant, and each table gets their very own room for dessert.  Everything is homemade.  They even have their own farm where they grow their own vegetables. On Howard Ave. 

Sideburns:  Same owners as Bern’s.  Its Asian fusion cuisine with awesome fish & funky interior….Check out the web site. 

Evos: Inexpensive healthy food--vegetarian burgers, grilled chicken sandwiches and wraps, & yummy airfries!  Located on S. Howard Ave. in Hyde Park.

Ho-Ho’s:  Your standard casual Chinese restaurant.  Casual and less expensive. On Howard Ave.

Sangria's: Spanish Tapas Bar. Very good food.  Great drinks.   If you are not familiar with tapas, they are appetizer-sized portions of food.  If you were a table of two, you might order 4 tapas to start, and then you order more until you are not hungry anymore.  Usually, 4 –5 tapas are good for 2 people.  This is a great food option if you plan on going out for the night after dinner.  The location of this restaurant is in the heart of Hyde Park’s nightlife.  Located On S. Howard in Hyde Park

The Yellow Door: It’s almost as though you are in Thailand and Vietnam at the same time! Visit the Yellow Door for a Pan-Asian experience. The food is quite authentic and a bit pricey.  On Howard Ave. next to Sangria’s.

T.C. Choy’s: Feeling like some NYC and Hong Kong dim sum? Head here on the weekends for some great Chinese food.  Its not your typical greasy chinese.  Its definitely more high end and also has sushi.  Also on Howard Ave.  

Mangroves:  Eclectic, innovative cuisine.  The entrees include items like seared ahi tuna, rack of lamb, jumbo-lump crab cakes, etc.  The interior of the restaurant is really hip and so is the drink menu.  Located on S. Howard 

Samba Room:  Nuevo Latino.  On Howard Ave close to Bayshore Blvd. Good food, awesome drinks, great music, cool ambiance. . 

Antojitos: If you want the real Columbian experience, head to this restaurant.  It is in a very ethnic area (corner of Howard and Columbus), so bring your Spanish speaking skills and appetite for Colombian cuisine.  (The waitresses do speak some English).

There are many more restaurants (and bars), but these are the noteworthy places.  Drive up and down Howard Ave.  Even if it looks junky from the outside, the food is probably really good.  Property in this area is really expensive, so if the restaurant is there, it means that it gets a lot of business.

 Back to Restaurant Neighborhood Listings


FYI: Tampa’s downtown isn’t really comparable to a downtown of a major city, like New York or Chicago.  Downtown Tampa is quite small, and the area we would direct you to for first moving here would be Channelside.  It’s its own section of downtown, and has a handful of restaurants and entertainment.  Downtown Tampa is sandwiched in between Hyde Park and Ybor, both of which are also fun areas to hang out in. 

 Jackson's Bistro:  Next to the Harbor Island Wyndham Hotel.  Best Sunday brunch on the water.  It also has a sushi bar and serves dinner.  It's on Harbor Island, which is essentially part of downtown.  It’s walking distance from Channelside. 

Grille 29:  A new restaurant in downtown that has nicer fare – like filet mignon and lobster tail.  Prices are rather reasonable for the quality of the food.

The Signature Room Grille:  Just opened in downtown.  It’s a upscale restaurant with entrees such as five spice muscovy duck breast and sautéed Pacific red snapper.  Prices are a bit high. 

There are more restaurants in this area, but we wanted to give you a sense of what’s here.

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MacDill Ave (in South Tampa parallel to Armenia Ave.)

Pane Rustica:  Awesome homemade bread!!  Also has fabulous sandwiches, all of which can be made into a salad if you don’t do carbs.  If you want a great bakery though, this is the place. 

Spartaco:  A whole in the wall, but has home-made, authentic Italian food.  It is one of the few places in Tampa that is not Americanized.  Located in a strip mall on the right hand side of MacDill if you’re driving south. 

Yoko’s:  Casual Japanese.  The sushi is really fresh..  Located right next to Spartico 

Koba’s Japanese Restaurant:  Casual Japanese.  Fresh sushi.  It’s a free standing restaurant on MacDill Ave.

The Bruchery:  Good casual breakfast.  Has a little bit of everything. 

The Thai House:  Probably one of the most authentic Thai restaurants in Tampa.  Its located on Bay to Bay, which is perpendicular to MacDill Ave.

Louis Pappas Marketplace:  Located on Bay to Bay in a strip mall.  There is also one on Bruce B Downs Boulevard. Has good Greek food that is more on the casual side. 

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Ybor City

Samurai Blue:  At Centro Ybor on the 2nd level, next to Urban Outfitters.  Really good sushi and Japanese food at moderate prices.  Definitely the top sushi in Tampa.  

Dish:  Also located at Centro Ybor on the 2nd level.  You can customize entire meals down to the veggies you want with what preparation and sauce.  Moderate Prices. 

Tampa Bay Brewing Company: Great beer and great food. What more could one want? Featured on the Food Network as one of the nation’s four best microbreweries. It's off of 7th ave. 

Bernini: Wood Burning Oven -  Italian food, but a little on the pricey side. A good way to save money is to order a salad and split a pizza. Located on 7th Ave. in Ybor City.

The Colombia:  Spanish restaurant.  One of the oldest restaurants in Tampa.  Good food and a little pricey.  They have flamenco shows every night (traditional Spanish dancers).  On 7th ave and 21st St.

If you drive up and down 7th Ave, you’ll see a bunch of restaurants.  These are just the ones that stood out as worthwhile to mention.

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Carollwood/Dale Mabry Highway

Jasmine Thai:  If you like Thai food, this place is it.  It's over in Carrollwood (Fletcher and Dale Mabry in the same strip mall as Steinmart).  Go for lunch on a weekend.  Inexpensive and very friendly service.

The Melting Pot: It’s a fondue restaurant in the same strip mall as Steinmart (around the corner of Fletcher Ave and Dale Mabry Highway).  

Kobe Japanese Steakhouse:  This is your stereotypical hibachi style restaurant (where they cook on the table).  It's fun to go in groups. 

Dale Mabry Highway runs all the way from the southern most tip of Tampa to the most Northern part of Tampa.  On it, you’ll find all the major chain stores and restaurants. Here’s a few just to give you an idea:  Hop’s, Chili’s, TGI Fridays, Macaroni Grille, Bucca di Beppo, Red Lobster, etc.  There are also a ton of strip malls that have mom-n-pop restaurants.

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The American Cafe:  In Brandon Town Centre.  Eclectic moderately priced and casual. 

Panera Bread:  Panera offers a variety of breakfast options such as coffee, pastries, and bagels, as well as breads, soups, and salads for lunch or dinner.

Latin Café:  Casual Cuban food. 

Shell’s:  Casual seafood place, chain restaurant 

Buca di Beppo:  Family style Italian, meaning you pick an entree to share with everyone.  Chain restaurant 

Estella's:  Authentic Mexican food.  Casual atmosphere.  On Brandon Blvd/Hwy 60.

Moe’s:  A burrito joint that makes burrito’s the size of your head.  They’re pretty good and relatively inexpensive 

Brandon has a bunch of new strip malls with a lot of restaurants.  The two main roads to drive up and down are Lumsden Rd and Brandon Blvd. 

 Back to Restaurant Neighborhood Listings


Bay Street/International Plaza Mall Area

Bay Street is attached to the International Plaza mall and has a bunch of restaurants.  In addition, there are some good restaurants across the street from International Plaza mall.  The easiest way to get there is to take 275 S, exit Lois Ave.  Stay towards the right on the exit ramp, and go straight.  This will take you directly to the mall/bay street.

Here’s a list of the restaurants at Bay Street with a very short description

Bar Louie:  Martini bar and restaurant with moderately priced food.

Blue Martini:  Is a restaurant, but people go there more to drink.  As indicated in the name, it’s known for its martini’s… and “high roller” crowd on the weekends.

Chammps Restaurant & Bar:  Think sports pub with food.

The Cheesecake Factory:  Really good chain restaurant with a gargantuan menu.  In case you haven’t been there before, the portions are enormous, so inquire about the half-orders. 

Gallery Eclectic Bistro:  The name pretty much gives it away.  It's an eclectic bistro.  The food is good and reasonably priced for what they give you.

TooJay’s Deli:  Awesome Jewish deli.  By far the best matzoh ball soup in all of Tampa.  They also have breakfast.  The menu is quite extensive, so check out the web site. 

Kahunaville:  Casual Pacific rim restaurant.


In the actual mall, there are the following restaurants:

California Pizza Kitchen:  It’s a chain pizza restaurant that also has salads and regular entrees.  


Across the street from the mall, there are the following restaurants

Roy’s Hawaiian Fusion Cuisine:  It’s a Pacific rim steak house with lots of seafood options. 

Fleming's Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar:  It’s a steak house right next to Roy's.

Lee Roy Selmon’s:  Barbeque place next to Roy’s and Flemings. Also located on Bruce B Downs Boulevard just north of I-75.


 Back to Restaurant Neighborhood Listings

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Hyde ParkOutdoor area.  Shops include: William-Sonoma, Pottery Barn, Godiva, Restoration Hardware, Brooks Brothers, Ann Taylor, Anthropologie, just to name a few.  There are a number of good restaurants and really cute cafes interspersed between the stores.  A hidden find there is Color Me Mine – a place where you can pick out pottery and paint it your self.   There is also a farmers market on Saturdays in the fall.  

Brandon Town Centre-- Five years new.  Lots of stores.  Also has a very large (20 screen) movie theatre with very comfortable seats.  Southeast of campus off of I-75 in Brandon.   In addition to the mall, a number of stores and restaurants are in the same complex including:  Bed, Bath, & Beyond, Barnes and Nobles, Thomasville Furniture, Target, and Macaroni Grille.

  Westshore Mall--South of campus off of I-275 close to the airport.  Older mall with lots of updating.  Saks Fifth Avenue just opened here a few years ago.  There is also an Old Navy. Restaurants at that mall include:  PF Changs, Maggiano's, The Palm, and Steak and Ale.  

  University Mall--Close to campus.  Good place to go to pick up last-minute gifts, otherwise, we don't go there.  Pretty safe during the day, but we don't recommend going alone after dark.  Also has 16 screen movie theatre, but we wouldn't recommend going to it because there are better places to go.

  Citrus Park Town Center-- Sort of a Disney World of malls.  Very high ceilings and make-believe storefronts above the real stores.  Neat restaurants, including Cino’s.  Located on the west side of town at Gunn Highway and the Veteran’s Expressway.

  Ellenton Outlet Mall--If you drive south on I-75 for about an hour, you can't miss it. It sounds far, but it's well worth the trek! It offers such stores as The Gap and DKNY.

  International Plaza—The newest and most upscale mall in Tampa.  Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom's, extremely high end stores, but also affordable stores.  There are also a number of good restaurants there including the Cheesecake Factory and other places you might not have heard of.   

Orlando has TONS of GREAT shopping!!!  The Mall at Millenia is for when you have a lot of money to spend.  Its a beautiful mall with stores like Bloomingdale's and Jimmy Choo.  There is also an outlet mall there that is amazing.  Better than the outlets in Ellenton.  It takes about an hour to get to.  


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Places to Exercise

  USF GymTry to go in the morning if you can.  Quite busy between 4 and 7pm.  Free with your student ID!!   In addition, there are a number of free fitness classes that you can take. 

Lifestyles Gym:  Membership is expensive, but you would get 3 complimentary sessions with a personal trainer, and they have really new, really nice equipment.  

Curves:  This is a gym for woman only, and it does a circuit training program.  You need to pay for membership.

Most apartment complexes have workout rooms which typically have different types of nautilus equipment, treadmills, exercise bikes, etc.

Bayshore Boulevard:  World's longest uninterrupted sidewalk (more than 5 miles one way!)  In Hyde Park right along the bay.  Great for walking, running, biking, roller blading...

Amberly Drive:  In Tampa Palms (where Live Oaks Apartments are located).  Long sidewalk in residential neighborhood with lots of trees.  Run, walk, roller blade, bike...a quiet, serene place to gather your thoughts.

Flatwoods Park: Located off of Bruce B. Downs, it's great for roller blading, bike riding, and catching some rays!

Namaste Yoga Studio: A new studio in the New Tampa area off of Bruce B. Downs.  Come enjoy the beautiful bamboo-floor studio—a great place to either have a nice calm evening or a powerful workout. Try it out…your first class is free! And our own Stephanie Mihalas teaches there.

There are also lots of parks in Tampa, including Lettuce Lake Park and Riverfront Park (both on Fletcher).  You can rent canoes at Riverfront Park (which is part of USF).  

If you are into biking, rollerblading, or jogging, you might also want to check out the Pinellas Trail.  Its a bike path that is a 38 miles long spanning from St. Petersburg to Tarpon Springs.  A central place to park is in a town along the trail called Dunedin, which also happens to have really cute cafes and stores.  344 Main Street (Pinellas Trail), Dunedin, FL 34698-5732 is where you want to park your car.  There is also a bicycle rental shop nearby on 357 Scotland St.



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