There are very few places I’ve been to and that I have spent a lot of time in that are still mysterious and intriguing. One of those places is Ybor City. Nestled just east of downtown Tampa, sits Ybor City. When you enter Ybor its almost like stepping foot across the border into a new country. Hopefully seeing the neighborhood from a local’s point of view will help guide your visit to Ybor City.
Ybor’s history is one of cigars, booze, and immigrants. Ybor City was one of the very few cities in the American south that thrived while the majority of its population was immigrants. Ybor’s golden age lasted from the late 1800s until the great depression hit. The cigar factories closed and Ybor’s population moved elsewhere turning the once thriving city into nearly a ghost town. Recently the Tampa area has seen a huge population boom and Ybor City has begun to be revitalized.
Walking along the historic 7th Avenue today you will still find cigar shops that hand roll their own cigars right in their front windows. Much of Ybor’s 7th Avenue today is centered around the nightlife, but every month it seems new shops and restaurants are opening and the early 1900s cigar factories are being refreshed and reinvented. The Tampa Bay Rays recently announced that they will be moving their stadium to historic Ybor City. That move is sure to bring a huge influx of new restaurants and businesses!
Because of its rich history and culture, you can find some of the best Cuban and Italian cuisine in Ybor City. Some of the most notable spots to satisfy your cravings are:
The original Colombia restaurant is at the corner of 7th Ave and 21st St. and is the oldest continuously operating restaurant in Florida. The restaurant has been in the same family for more than 110 years, so its safe to say, they know what they’re doing! Not only is the food fantastic, every night at 7:00 and 9:30, guests are treated to a flamenco dance show and live jazz music.
If you aren’t in the mood food Cuban food, or just need your hearty Italian supper fix, the place to go is La Terrazza. Consistently rated among the top Italian restaurants in Central Florida, it is sure to please.
If you spent the night at one of Ybor’s nightclubs, chances are you will be coming out hungry. Due Amici has some of the best New York style pizza in Tampa. The crispy thin crust and large slices are the perfect cure if you’ve had one too many.
Besides the great food, there is also plenty of activities in Ybor City. You’ll find a movie theater and shopping in the Centro area of Ybor. At night the city is transformed into one of the most active nightlife spots in the city. Nightclubs and concert halls are spread throughout Ybor City.
Further down 7th Ave you’ll find the best CrossFit gym in the Tampa area, Cigar City CrossFit, where you’ll find us working out whenever we can! My favorite thing to do in Ybor City though is trying craft beers. Cigar City Brewing and Coppertail Brewing both have tasting rooms in Ybor City, so you won’t have to walk far to find a good beer!
I spent a couple afternoons walking through Ybor City trying to figure out how I wanted to go about writing this post. during that time I tried to make a little tribute video about one of my favorite Tampa Bay neighborhoods. I hope you enjoy it! Click HERE to check it out!