The Best of Metro Tampa Bay.
the bay’s best
Tampa Bay Arts & Entertainment
Tampa Museum of Art
Best Public Art Museum
The exhibits are ever-changing to promote, explore and expand the appreciation of art in the community. The exterior of TMA at night with its shimmering aluminum exterior and LED light installation, serve as the cornerstone of Tampa’s art culture located along the Hillsborough River and next to Curtis Hixon Park. With pay-as-you-will admission each Friday, visitors can experience Art on the House from 4 – 8 p.m. The Sono Café serves up great panini, light dining and a great Sunday Brunch with cocktails.The gift shop houses works from local artists. 813.274.8130; www.tampamuseum.org.
Best Display of Fine Craft Artists
Florida CraftArt showcases the finest craft artists from around the state, where their works are available for sale in the gift shop and changing exhibitions. The signature event is CraftArt Festival, a 2 day outdoor fine craft festival held in November each year along Central Ave. in St. Petersburg. 727.821.7391; www.floridacraftart.org.
Best Community Art House
The passionate group of community enthusiasts hosts a wide variety of art, heritage, history, song, literature, theatre and movie programing since 2004, bringing a variety of art forms and people of different cultural backgrounds together in this community art space that is also available for rental. 727.895.6620; www.thestudioat620.org.
Best Local Art Gallery
Owner Susan Baisden features contemporary glass artists, painters and photographers including Derek Gores, Jennifer & David Clancy, Heath Seymour and Alberto Murillo, as well as other national and international artists in her gallery near downtown Tampa. 813.250.1511 or www.baisdengallery.com.
The Florida Aquarium
Best Wildlife Encounter
Dive with the sharks or swim with the fish at this fun aquatic destination in downtown Tampa. Kids will enjoy all the marine animals, plus have a blast in the outside water play area – Explore A Shore. 813.273.4000; www.flaquarium.org.
Florida Museum of Photographic Art
Best In Pictures
The FMoPA is dedicated to exhibiting and preserving a variety of photographic art by national and local artists inside the iconic Cube at Rivergate Plaza in downtown Tampa. The First Friday of every month members and non-members can experience an opening, social hour or lecture. Workshops, classes and programs are offered in photography throughout the month. 813.221.2222; www.fmopa.org.
USF Contemporary Art Museum
Best Contemporary Art Museum in Hillsborough County
Adjacent to the USF College of Arts, CAM brings contemporary exhibits from artists around the world and raises awareness of current cultural trends for students, faculty and the community and maintains the more than 5,000 art works for the university’s art collection. 813.974.4133; www.ira.usf.edu.
Museum of Fine Arts
Best Comprehensive Collection
The permanent collection offers works by Cezanne, Renoir, Georgia O’Keefe and Monet and the museum celebrated its 50th Anniversary with events throughout the year including the debut of a cookbook. Spend the day getting cultured and have a delicious lunch in the MFA Café. 727.896.2667; www.fine-arts.org.
The Palladium Theater at St. Petersburg College
Best Showcase of Music Variety
Feed the soul with the latest sounds of jazz, blues, opera and pop. The Palladium hosts a wide variety of artistic and musical acts. Take a look at the online calendar for upcoming shows and performers. 727.822.3590; www.mypalladium.org.
Salvador Dalí Museum
Best Surreal Museum
The museum has more than 2,140 pieces of Salvador Dalí’s work, the largest collection outside of Spain. Exhibits frequently change to incorporate art from other top worldwide museums, featuring lectures, workshops and more. The enriching multi-media exhibition, Disney and Daí: Architects of the Imagination, will be on display through June 12, 2016. 727.823.3767; www.thedali.org.
The Leepa-Rattner Museum of Art
Best Contemporary Museum in Pinellas County
Located on the campus of St. Petersburg College, the museum includes works by Abraham Rattner and modern art by Ester Gentle and Allen Leepa, as well as, Pablo Picasso, Henry Moore, and Marc Chagall. 727.712.5762; www.spcollege.edu/central/museum/.
Best Classic Date Night
Built in 1926, the historic movie palace continues to provide a fun place to enjoy a classic black-and-white film, contemporary art film or live performance under the painted ceiling of twinkling stars. 813.274.898; www.tampatheatre.org.
Straz Center for the Performing Arts
Best Theater Experience
Enjoy an elegant evening of the arts with the best of Broadway, Opera, concerts and artistic shows, in five unique theaters. Before the show, enjoy a special dinner at Maestro’s Restaurant or Café. 813.229.7827; www.strazcenter.org.
The Mahaffey Theater
Best Bayside Theater
Home, in St. Petersburg, to The Florida Orchestra the state-of-the-art European box-style seating theatre, with views overlooking the St. Petersburg waterfront, brings in top performing artists of music, dance, comedy and theater. 727.892.5767; www.mahaffeytheater.com.
Florida Holocaust Museum
Best Museum to Honor and Educate
Dedicated to honoring the millions of innocent people who died in the Holocaust, the museum teaches the importance of human life to prevent future genocides. Original artifacts help retell the stories, while the Education Center provides the largest Holocaust and genocide library in the southeast. 727.820.0100; www.flholocaustmuseum.org.
Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo
Best Animals and Attractions
On 56 acres in the heart of Tampa, the kids will have fun with up-close views of more than 1,0000 animals including zebras, giraffes, tigers, elephants, koalas, and hippos at this world-renowned zoo. The Wallaroo Station is fun for kids to cool off in the water play area on a hot summer day. 813.935.8552; www.lowryparkzoo.com.
The Glazer Children’s Museum
Best Place to Let the Kids Play
A fun place to let the kids play and learn with 12 themed areas and 170 interactive areas. When they are done inside, let them continue the fun outside at Curtis Hixon Park. The museum offers great space to host a birthday party or special event. 813.443.3861; www.glazermuseum.org.
The State Theatre
Best Intimate Space Venue
The scale and size of the State Theatre makes it an ideal concert venue for small and emerging bands. Originally constructed in 1924 as a bank, the building is an example of Beaux-arts style architecture. Check the website for upcoming musical shows. 727.895.3045; www.statetheatreconcerts.com.
Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino
Best Play and Stay
The Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tampa is the sixth largest in the world with over 5,000 slots and 118 live-action game tables to choose from, nine dining options including Council Oak, Hard Rock Café and the newest concept with celebrity Chef Marc Murphy – Grey Salt, that will satisfy any taste you desire. Check in, but never leave at the casino operating 24/7, 365 days a year. 1.866.502.PLAY; www.seminolehardrocktampa.com.
Best Eclectic Music Venue and Eatery
A great place to enjoy live music, that ranges from rock to blues to reggae, while chowing down on fried gator tail or smoked salmon. Affectionally called “The Skipperdome” since it is outside under the stars. 813.971.0666; www.skipperssmokehouse.com.
Best Multi-Purpose Venue
From Lightning hockey and Storm games to the hottest bands in the country, the Amalie Arena, hosts a wide range of concerts and functions including TORUK – The First Flight by Cirque du Soleil in March 2016. With more than 150 different events held annually, the Arena is definitely a multi-use venue. 813.301.6500; www.amaliearena.com.
Best Contemporary Art Space & Studio
The modern space allows for large exhibitions from local, regional, national and international artists. Gallery Owners, Cassie and Jake Greatens want to help expand the art scene in the Tampa Bay area. The space serves as a space for the community to engage in an array of art in addition to hosted exhibits. 813.839.7135; www.casscontemporary.com.
Chihuly Collection – Morean Arts Center
Best Center for Colorful Glass
A stunning, permanent collection of colorful glass works by world-renowned artist Dale Chihuly is on permanent exhibit at the gallery on Beach Drive, or visit the Glass Studio & Hot Shop to learn the latest techniques of glass blowing. The mission of the Morean Arts Center is Connecting People with Art. 727.896.4572; www.moreanartscenter.org.
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