May 21, 2014

Exploring Tampa ~ A Great Day Trip From Orlando with Local Eats, Culture & Shopping

I always enjoy my visits to Tampa. It's a about an hour and a half drive from Orlando which makes for a nice getaway. Half of my visits I stay over and the other half I do day trips. There's a lot you can get in a day while visiting Tampa.

While I always have fun discovering new places in Tampa, there are a few favorite spots that I like to stop by when I'm in town.

Datz restaurant is a great local restaurant to grab a bite to eat for brunch, lunch and dinner. During one of our visits we stopped by in the mid afternoon on a Sunday. Getting a table at Datz was about and hour wait. I was too hungry to wait so we headed next door to Dough. Dough is the bistro sister to Datz; a smaller "whimsical" bakery offering up tasty treats. 
Datz Dough in Tampa
Dough is a visual delight. This counter service bistro reminds me of something out of Alice in Wonderland. When you first walk in you are greeted with cases filled with many delectable chocolates and baked goods to choose from. I always take a few minutes just to absorb what I am looking at.
William Dean Chocolates at Datz Dough in Tampa

Cupcakes, Brownies, Cakes & More at Datz Dough in Tampa

Baked Goods at Datz Dough in Tampa
While the focus on Dough is the chocolates and baked goods they do offer a Breakfast and Small Bistro Menu. During the timing of my visits what was offered was on display. My first visit I enjoyed a breakfast baguette with sausage and cheese for brunch. When I got there in the afternoon the menu items were slim pickings, but this was a tasty sandwich.
Datz Doug in Tampa
For my second visit there were a few sandwiches on display. I went with a Turkey and it was delicious. The bread was perfect and the sandwich was wrapped nicely for a grab and go.
Datz Dough in Tampa

I can't come to Dough without something to satiate my sweet tooth. My problem is everything looks so good and it takes me forever to decide on what to get. I got a frosted brownie the first time and it was plenty to share between two. My second visit Bryan & I decided to get some doughnuts to go with our espresso. Looking at the array of dessert options I made some "boring" choices. I like to see how simple things taste before I get into the fancy stuff. My next visit I will branch out a bit.
Datz Dough in Tampa
If you find yourself coming to visit Datz and you don't have the time to wait for a table, you'll be thankful that Dough is offering up a delicious alternative.

Datz Dough on Urbanspoon

After getting fueled up at Dough head over to The University of Tampa for a visit to the Henry B. Plant Museum.  If you enjoy local history this museum makes for a wonderful visit. The architecture is eye catching and you sense you could transport yourself back to the hotels hey days in the 1890's.

Bryan and I have enjoyed a tour of this historic hotel. I'm looking forward to many more visits, as my daughter will be attending UT in the fall.
Henry B Plant Museum at the University of Tampa

Hyde Park Village is a nice place to end a visit to Tampa. You can do a little shopping, catch a movie or enjoy a bite to eat on the patio. This open air shopping village is located in one of Tampa's historic neighborhoods which adds to its charm.

There are many events taking place each week at the shops and restaurants in Hyde Park Village. Fresh Market takes place the first Sunday of the month. There are over 100 vendors including a Kid's Market for young entrepreneurs.

I'm not a fan of malls so I appreciate the outdoor setting for my shopping. Parking is plentiful with three free parking garages.
Hyde Park Village in Tampa

Hyde Park Village in Tampa

Hyde Park Village in Tampa

Hyde Park Village in Tampa

Hyde Park Village in Tampa

Hyde Park Village in Tampa

Hyde Park Village in Tampa

Hyde Park Village in Tampa

Hyde Park Village in Tampa

Hyde Park Village in Tampa

When we were relocating to Florida we originally thought we'd be moving to Tampa instead of Florida. While I love living in Orlando I love visiting Tampa. I enjoy that there is so much to explore and I can do it in bits with quick day trips or take more of the area in with a weekend getaway.

With culture, shopping, breweries, theme parks, events and more there is fun to be had by all.

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