The Three Coolest Things in Tampa

“Cool” is one of those concepts that will never go out of style. Today, for something to be cool it has to be interesting yet relaxed and trendy but classic. It can be a difficult balance to strike without swinging into the boring or the kooky. But over the past few years, a few truly things have cropped up around Tampa – places and activities that are always worth the time and energy. If you ever find yourself with some time to kill after work or over the weekend, consider exploring one of the awesome and trendy things on this list.

Here is the unofficial list of the coolest things in Tampa.

 

Grab a Cigar at King Corona

Ybor City is a lot of things, it is historic, eclectic, and unique. This neighborhood used to be full of cigar factories, and the leftover industrial architecture will make you want to don a Guayabera shirt and drink some rum. Today, the neighborhood is full of restaurants, bars, cigar shops, and tattoo parlors. One walk down 7th ave on a Friday and Saturday night and you will be bombarded by a cast of characters like you have never seen before. Whether it is the guy charging people to hold his giant albino boa constrictor, the glassblower making bowls in the window of his shop, or just the bar clientele rocking nightwear that looks suspiciously like bondage gear…you are sure to see something new.

If you want to sit back and take it all in, grab an outdoor or window seat at King Corona. King Corona is not the fanciest or newest Cigar Bar in Ybor City, but it is the coolest. The family that started King Corona can trace their family history back to the 1890s when more than 10,000 factory workers rolled cigars by hand. Today, King Corona’s gigantic humidor offers a ridiculously wide selection of what put Ybor City on the map…cigars. While you sit an indulge in this classic tobacco product, you can also treat yourself to a café con leche off of their café menu, some delicious sangria off of their wine and beer menu, or even an unassuming yet delicious sandwich off of their food menu. If you decide to indulge the lifestyle further, you can buy your own home humidor right there, or take home decorative cigar boxes for an incredibly reasonable price. Once you decide on what you want to enjoy, you can elect to sit inside or outside (given that you can find a table). Inside, you can sit comfortably at tables or in leather armchairs, and you can chat with the staff about the rumors of hauntings that plague the building. Outside, you can enjoy the parade of 7th Ave partiers that wander past, reveling in Tampa’s humidity and enjoying the relaxation that comes from being outside the pedestrian artery of the sidewalk.

Cigar City isn’t fancy. It isn’t expensive, and it isn’t brand new. But it is cool. Go check it out.

 

The Tampa Riverwalk

Along the eastern side of the Hillsborough River, there is a 2.6-mile pedestrian walkway that extends all the way from Channelside to Tampa Heights. To describe the Riverwalk, the City of Tampa website says “The goal was to create a Riverwalk with timeless appeal and memorable qualities that will draw people from both near and far.” Well, they’ve done it. This modern walkway takes pedestrians and bikers from the condo-heavy Channelside neighborhood to the hip cultural center of Tampa Heights. Along the way, riverwalkers will pass under bridges, by Curtis Hixon Park, and on to the Water Works Park. Along the way, the path either hugs the river bank, makes its way onto land as a sidewalk and even swings out over the river. There are seating areas for pedestrians, several unique sunshades, and incredible, color-changing lights. Coming upon Curtis Hixon Park from the Riverwalk feels like entering a modern outdoor city of the future. The grassy tiers, evenly spaced palm trees, and in-ground water fountain look more like the grounds of Starfleet academy than a public park. If you keep walking you will hit the Straz Center and some very inventive art installations. Take a quick stop at a swinging bench to enjoy the boaters sailing buy, and then head straight on to Water Works and the brand new, super trendy Armature Works. Armature Works is a great place to grab a bite or a craft cocktail, which you can pour into a plastic cup to take out on to the lawn at the edge of the Riverwalk.

If you are looking for a more fitness-focused experience, hit the Riverwalk for a light, scenic jog, or jump on your bike and cruise back and forth. No matter how you choose to enjoy the Riverwalk, you are bound to have a fantastic, and memorable experience.

 

 

Foundation Coffee Co.

This craft coffee shop sits in a block-long brick building in the incredibly newly revitalized neighborhood of Tampa Heights. The entire front wall of the shop is floor-to-ceiling windows, and when you walk in you will find yourself in a giant, industrial-inspired space with a vaulted ceiling and ample natural light. If you proceed through the space, you will find a door to a back patio with intimate seating areas, tall café tables, and trellis that offers partial shade. Both the interior and exterior offer awesome places to hang out, enjoy a conversation or get some work done in peace.

Compared to the ever-expanding Starbucks menu, the Foundation café menu will seem suspiciously sparse – but if you are a real coffee lover then this is the place to be. Their drip coffee, cold brew, and cortados are true barista masterpieces. This is hipsterism at its best – eccentric, passionate people creating a quality product in an interesting space. So pull up a chair, or find a spot on their oversized couch, and enjoy.

 

Tampa is full of cool and trendy places. Do not limit yourself to the three mentioned on this list, but definitely take some time and check them out. You will not regret it.

Thai Temple, Tampa FL

It’s Sunday morning in Tampa, FL. There is only one place to be. Set aside the trendy restaurants with their Sunday Brunch drink specials. Skip the gym, and forget about sleeping until mid-afternoon. You are going to Wat Mongkolratanaram. Tampa’s one and only Thai Temple.

Wat Mongkolratanaram (simply called “Thai Temple” for those in the bay who are not fluent in southeast Asian languages) is exactly what it says it is. The gorgeous temple building sits right on the Hillsborough River. The stunning gold-tiered roof, beautiful nature and monks wandering the grounds in bright orange robes are enough to make you forget that you are in Tampa, let alone in North America. Visitors are welcome to sit in the temple with the worshipers to experience the hypnotic music, tenants of Buddhism, and the peaceful nature of the Thai people. Just remember to leave your shoes outside. This slice of Asian culture, tucked away in a seldom-visited corner of Tampa Bay, is so authentic that it is an absolute must for anyone looking to try something new and exciting.

Sunday visits are encouraged because of the infamous Thai Temple Food Market.

Between 8:30 am and 1 pm, every Sunday, members of the local Thai community set up food stalls along the porch of the rec building that sits opposite the gorgeous temple. The local lore cannot be confirmed on the Wat Tampa website, but the story goes that members of the Thai community began bringing food offerings to the monks every Sunday. Pretty soon, the volunteer and food volume became too much for the monks to enjoy alone, so the Sunday meal was opened up to the Thai community. Once the market outgrew even the Thai community, the market was opened up to anyone and everyone in Tampa Bay.

The food is delicious, the atmosphere is peaceful, and the people are painfully kind. So the next time you find yourself free on a Sunday morning, head to the Thai Temple for a little taste of culture.

Here are the things you need to know before you arrive:

 

Bring Cash:

The entire food market is cash only – making it one of the few remaining spots in Tampa Bay without credit card squares or Apple Pay. Make sure you have got some actual dollar bills in your wallet before you arrive. That being said, $10 will more than cover your meal. Prices are extremely reasonable. Just grab some extra cash if you want to shop at the stunning flower market. Best prices on orchids in the bay.

 

Arrive Early:

The earlier you can beat the brunch crowd, the better. There is a large parking lot in front of the temple, but even that can fill up quickly so arrive early to secure a spot.

 

Be Prepared to Wait:

Even with an early arrival time the market is still likely to be crowded. You will more than likely have to wait for a parking spot (also be aware, people utilize absolutely every available parking space, so it will likely be a tight squeeze). You will also probably have to wait at the food stalls, especially if you are after their most popular dish – the noodle soup.

 

Get the Noodle Soup!

This item is popular for a reason. The line wraps around itself several times, and you may need to wait up to 20 minutes to place your order. Once you arrive at the front of the line you have several decisions to make:

  • What size soup do you want? (regular or large)
  • What size noodles do you want? (large like linguini, medium like spaghetti, or small like angel hair)
  • Which soup do you want? (beef, pork, or vegetable)

Regular soup costs $6 and large cost $8. As you move from the order area to the payment area, you can watch an assembly line of volunteers place your noodles in a bowl, cover those noodles with broth, add your chosen protein, plus a meatball for good measure, and top it all off with a fresh mix of veggies. Once you pick up your soup and pay the same man that has been working the stall for years, you can head off to the condiments counter.

The condiments counter contains large containers of hot sauce, jalapeños, fish sauce, and soy sauce. Go ahead and dress up your soup however you would like, then grab some utensils and napkins and head to the picnic tables. The best way to attack the soup is to use chopsticks for the noodles, and then a spoon to slurp up your leftover broth.

When you are finished with your soup, bring your tray and bowl over to a garbage station. Drop anything left into your bowl in the bucket lined with a strainer, throw away your trash, and stack up your reusable tray and bowl for the volunteers to pick up later.

If you are curious about other food options at the Thai Temple, check out “What to Order: Thai Temple Sunday Market”.

 

Plan your attack:

Everything at the Thai Temple is delicious, and you will likely want to sample more than one dish. If that is the case, you will want to plan your attack accordingly. The line at the Thai tea/Thai coffee station is always extremely long. It makes sense…the tea and coffee are delicious and only costs $1, wherein most Thai restaurants a single tea will run you at least $4…so start there. Maybe pick up two or three, one to enjoy in line, and the others to enjoy with your meal. From there, head to the noodle soup line. This will most likely take up the bulk of your time. The soup is very hot, so wait for it to cool a bit while you pick up anything else you may want – like some fresh spring rolls or mango sticky rice (which always runs out early). If you are hitting the market in a group, consider splitting up for efficiency.

 

Bring Sunscreen and Bug Spray:

The eating area at the food market sits right on the Hillsborough River – and while the majority of the area is shaded, the strong Florida sun may still poke through. Nothing is worse than suffering a sunburn or irritating bug bites when you are trying to enjoy your meal, so come prepared to ward off the more irritating aspects of nature.

 

Check out the River Dock:

Make sure to take a stroll along the dock extending into the river. If you look over the edge you will see dozens of river catfish. Drop something small into the water (like an ice cube) and watch the fish rush to the surface!

 

Enjoy:

Sunday mornings are a time to relax, recharge, and take in the beauty around you. Do not rush your time at the Thai Temple. Instead, take in the delicious heat of the soup, the creamy sweetness of the tea, and the beauty of the people around you. ‘

 

Learn more at their website.

The 4 Best Hammock Hangouts

If there is one thing that Tampa has in abundance, it is palm trees. A quick glance out nearly any window will reveal dozens of these towering, tropical trees that give the entire city a beachy, instagrammable vibe. But in addition to being beautiful, palm trees can serve a functional purpose as well. Find two palm trees spaced appropriately and you have an ideal spot to set up a hammock!

Hammocks have long been a symbol of summertime relaxation. Tampa is a summertime city, which means you can take advantage of hammock life all year long. The best part is that there is no need to buy an expensive hammock stand. Just grab a compact, nylon hammock off of Amazon (this one is great), and head out to find a good spot to chill out. Setting up a hammock is as easy as finding two trees, looping some rope around the trunks and clipping those ropes to a carabineer. Anyone can do it.

So if you are looking to kick back and enjoy the outdoors, grab a hammock and check out the 4 best hammock hangouts in Tampa.

 

#4: Swann Circle Park

This park sits in the middle of a high-end neighborhood between Westshore and Dale Mabry. It is super low key and pretty much off-the-grid, which makes it a great spot to relax in some peace and quiet. There aren’t any park amenities like a playground, picnic tables water fountains, or even a parking lot…but it does have a ton of beautiful trees. To find a good spot, just drive around the park, scoping out the different clusters of palm trees and oak trees. When you’ve found something that looks intriguing, just pull to the side of the road and park your car right on the street. If you want to make an afternoon of it, stop by Trader Joe’s, which is right down the block, and grab some snacks. Swann Circle Park is shady, gorgeous, and usually empty, so pack up your hammock and check it out!

 

#3: Picnic Island Park

Picnic Island Park is located on the southwestern tip of the Tampa peninsula, and offer absolutely gorgeous views of the bay. There is even a small narrow beach there if you are tempted to stick your feet in. The park is large and spacious, with several free parking lots, a Frisbee golf course, and picnic pavilions scattered all over. There are also dozens upon dozens of palm trees. The trees here are slightly more spaced out so that park-goers can enjoy sunny lawns, but there are clusters here and there that provide great hammock supports. This is largely a family park, so if you go in the middle of the day be prepared to enjoy a soundtrack of children playing and BBQs sizzling. To get here, try south on Westshore Blvd until you think you cannot possibly drive further south. The road will bear right, and you will see signs telling you to take a left into the park. This area of Tampa is a bit sparse, so it will feel strange driving in that way, but once you reach the park’s entrance you will be glad you stuck through it!

 

#2: Courtney Campbell Trail

The Courtney Campbell Causeway is the northernmost causeway that connects Tampa to Clearwater. The total length is just shy of 10 miles. The Courtney Campbell Trail is a pedestrian and cycling pathway that runs alongside the busy causeway – it even has an entirely separate pedestrian bridge! The trail is always busy with walkers, bikers, and runners, and the small strip of land along the edge the trail is a regular hangout for people just looking to enjoy the views of the bay. The big of land between the road and the bay has some beautifully spaced out palm trees, which seem to have been planted with hammocks in mind. Hanging up your hammock here means enjoying the bay breeze and a gorgeous bay-front view. The din of the traffic behind you will fade into the background as you enjoy what it feels like to hang out in the middle of a body of water. To get here, drive west towards Clearwater. There is a traffic light just before the raised bridge that will allow you to turn left onto the trail’s access road. It is a one-way road that will force you to head back east towards Tampa, but no more than 50 feet from the entrance to the road is a little parking lot you can safely leave your car at for free. Grab you hammock and walk back west. Pretty soon you will find some beautiful palm trees just begging to support a hammock. So set up, chill out, and enjoy the view.

 

#1: University of Tampa

You do not have to be a student to enjoy this University’s downtown campus. Situated on some prime river-front property across from downtown Tampa, the front lawn of UT has an insane view. In one direction, you have the Hillsborough River with Curtis Hixon Park, sparkly high rises, and the gorgeous color-changing light show on the Riverwalk. In the other direction, you have the stunningly unique main building of the University, Plant Hall. This stunning, historical building actually used to be a 511-room hotel situated near the end of the railway line. Build in 1891, it still maintains a lot of its grandeur. Between Plant Hall and the river, is a lush lawn and some towering palm trees, which provide an excellent hammock hang out. At any given time there are at least a half a dozen hammocks set up here. All you have to do is find two unclaimed trees and set yourself up right on the riverbank. The hardest decision you will have to make is which way to face. The one downside is that parking on campus is nearly impossible, so instead find a free 2-hour spot behind the Oxford Exchange (which is right across Kennedy) and walk over. If you want to establish a new appreciation for downtown Tampa, then this is absolutely the hammock spot for you.

 

So grab your hammock and enjoy our hot, sunny weather in these four fantastic hammock hangout spots.

The Three Best Happy Hours in Tampa

Happy Hour can be a magical thing. Just a few short hours every day in which drinks are cheaper, bars are crowded, and people are happy. Knowing a good happy hour means you have the inside track. You don’t have time for that “$2 off of house wines” nonsense. No. You know the places that serve incredible cocktails, good wine selections, and sometimes even light appetizers for a price so reasonable it sometimes feels like stealing.

The next time you are looking for something to do after work on a weekday, remember that bars and restaurants all over Tampa are trying to draw you into their lounges with special pricing.

So why not let them?

 

#3: Bernini of Ybor

Time to leave South Howard and venture into Tampa’s most unique neighborhood…Ybor City. Ybor is where all of the famous Tampa cigar factories were once located, and the cultural mix of the Cuban, Spanish, and Italian workers therein have created an eclectic and impossible to forget neighborhood. Bernini of Ybor is a corner restaurant on 7th Ave promising “Innovative Italian Cuisine”. The restaurant is in a unique, two story building that has vaulted ceilings inside and sidewalk seating outside. Opened by restauranteur, Jason Fernandez, who sharpened his teeth at the Colombia Restaurant down the block, at the Commander’s Palace in New Orleans, and then under Wolfgang Puck, Bernini promises that it is “Not an impersonal corporate chain, but rather an eclectic eatery where the cuisine compliments your surroundings without compromising your wallet.” This place offers a fun environment, rustic Italian food, and a great bar menu.

Speaking of the bar menu, absolutely every single day until 7 pm, you can enjoy $3 Finlandia Martinis. There are 13 different flavors to choose from! Also daily, between 4 pm and 7 pm, guests can enjoy 50% pasta and entrées. If you want to go out in Ybor on a Friday or Saturday night, start at Bernini’s for dinner and drinks, and then hit 7th from there.

Recommendations: Two or three lemon martinis. The Crispy Duck entreé, and the Rigatoni Bolognese.

Your Bill: $34

 

#2: Cheap

This place is frustratingly difficult to Google. Go ahead, try a search for “Cheap bar, Tampa.” You will get a list of dives and chains, but this place likely won’t appear until you add the street it is on (South Howard Avenue). Also, Cheap is somewhat of a misnomer. Situated on the ground floor of a boxy brick building that takes up an entire block on South Howard, one of Tampa’s more notorious party streets, Cheap is a swanky little lounge that consists of three bars and three different kitchens, all with a unique vibe. The first room feels like a club, the second like a trendy restaurant, and the third is vaguely like a dive. The menu is large, and segmented by kitchen. There is an American section, an Asian/Sushi section, and a Spanish section (note: Spanish, not Mexican). You can order off of any of the menus, and based on your selections those orders will be delivered to three different chefs in three different kitchens, and they will come out whenever they’re ready, so don’t count on course-planning here.

This place makes the list for “best happy hour”, because of their 5 for $5 promotion. It isn’t as simple as a daily happy hour. It takes place Thursdays (all day), and again on Fridays & Saturdays from 5-8pm. This is one of those elusive weekend happy hours, and the selection is fantastic. You can choose from a diverse list of menu items, and a great little cocktail list. Everything listed will be just $5 each. If you are looking for an inexpensive place to grab a bite and a few drinks on a Friday or Saturday night, you absolutely will not do better than this.

Recommendations: Calamari Fritos & a Shrimp Tempura Roll. A coconut mojito followed by your choice of a call drink.

Your bill: $20.

 

#1: Bulla

This Gastrobar is new to South Howard Ave, but it is a fantastic place to enjoy a few cocktails. You can choose from their main bar which is situated right on Howard Ave, right behind some floor-to-ceiling windows that open completely to make the whole place feel like a patio or the super swanky rooftop bar that will make you wonder why everyone in Tampa doesn’t spend more time on roofs. (Fair warning, the downstairs and upstairs menus differ slightly.) Bulla is an inventive Gastrobar that is quickly growing, with locations in Coral Gables, Doral, Winter Park, Atlanta, Tampa, Plano, and Charlotte. But just because people in other cities are in on the secret doesn’t make this place any less fun. Here is what Bulla says about themselves: “why all the buzz? the bar and open kitchen design set the mood with an energetic vibe. the emphasis is on quality gastronomic creations made with the finest and freshest flavors. with tantalizing tapas, seasonal menus, hand-crafted cocktails, and an impressive wine list, bulla is where you go to indulge in a celebration of good taste.” (source).

This swanky new place made the Best Happy Hour list because every weekday between 5 pm and 7 pm, every drink on the menu is half off. You can get a craft cocktail, a glass of wine, a bottle of wine, or a pitcher of sangria for half off the listed price. There aren’t any deals on food, but Howard has a great food scene. If you are planning a night out, definitely start at Bulla for drinks, then you can either decide to stay to enjoy dinner, or pack it up and try someplace new on the block.

Recommendations: A pitcher of the red Sangría (always trust a Spanish place to make a great Sangría). You should get 3-4 glasses out of each pitcher.

Your Bill: $14.50

 

Dinner and drinks don’t have to break the bank in Tampa. Try one of the three fantastic places on this list, and try not to drunk text anyone important.

 

 

Are you a Happy Camper?

Remember summer camp? Nothing in the adult world can quite capture the chaotic energy of a summer spent at sleep-away camp. Your counselors were the coolest young adults you had ever encountered, every day was filled with amazing and exhausting activities, and at night you slept so deeply that you forgot you where you were when you woke up.

Camp Tampa, a new gym in South Tampa, tries to recreate the magic for adults. Their camp theme is definitely campy…they call their studio the “Camp Grounds”, their fitness instructors “counselors”, and their class schedule “Activities”. You can shop for new workout clothes in the “general store”, and everyone seems to own at least one article of clothing declaring themselves a “Happy Camper”.

Here is how Camp describes themselves on their website: “Anyone who’s ever been to camp knows it’s more than just a place to play capture the flag and make macramé potholders. CAMP is freedom. CAMP is friendship. CAMP is exploration. And CAMP Tampa is meant to be that and more for adults. A place where you can try new things, push your boundaries, make new friends and connect with old ones. CAMP is so much more than a fitness studio. It’s an adventure.”

So what does Camp have to offer? This is not a traditional gym with a row a treadmills and a weight room. This is an instruction-based gym that offers classes in the three following categories: Cycle, Yoga, and Circuit. Three fitness styles that effectively offer you cardio, stretch, and strength training. The gym consists of three classrooms spread across two buildings. There are several styles available in each category, so you can customize your own fitness schedule.

Style #1: Cycle

Camp offers a spin class to end all spin classes. The cycle room is packed with tightly spaced bikes, and every camper is given special spin shoes so that they can actually clip into their stations. Every bike is laid out with a towel and free weights (in case your instructor chooses to use them), and camp staff is available to help you adjust your bike’s seat and handlebars. Once class actually starts the room is dimmed and music is pumped through loudspeakers. Your instructor explains the different hand positions, how to adjust the resistance on your bike, and that camp offers a beat-based ride, which means that the songs are pre-selected to offer you faster or slower rhythms. You may think that you are there to work your legs and your heart, but through free-weight use, on-bike crunches, and insane amounts of resistance that they call “climbing that hill”, you are actually in for a full-body workout. Throughout class, your instructor will shout out instructions along with bits of inspiration, and the lights will periodically change from dim front lighting, to complete darkness for sprints, to black light for a special vibe. When class is finally over and you unclip for a quick stretch, you will be drenched in sweat, walking on shaky legs, and feeling better than you ever have before.

There are four types of spin classes available:

Camp Cycle: The standard 45-minute rhythm ride. This is a great class to start with to get a vibe for how Camp handles spin.

Cycle/Yoga Blend: 25 minutes of spin followed by 25 minutes of yoga. You can get your heart pumping in spin, then head into the yoga room to stretch out your muscles while your entire body is warm. If you don’t have time for yoga, you can always take just the 30-minute cycle portion as an express class.

Cycle/Circuit Blend: 25 minutes of one, then 25 minutes of the other. It doesn’t matter where you start since the entire class switches rooms together. This is a great way to get in two types of workouts for the price and time allowance of one.

Cycle Sculpt: 45 minutes of full-body resistance training. Your bike will be harder to pedal, you will definitely use your free weights, and your instructor might even utilize resistance bands to work your muscles along with your cardiovascular health.

 

Style #2: Yoga

The yoga room at camp is actually housed in a separate building and has a calmer, more zen vibe than the building that hosts cycle and circuit. You can actually subscribe to camp for yoga only! Which is a great option for anyone looking for a challenging yoga studio with a variety of classes to offer. If you are a monthly subscriber, you will be given a yoga mat, a mat towel, and a hand towel to use in every class, which is great since most classes are heated. The actual yoga room is a beautifully designed space with large picture windows on three out of four of the walls. The windows look out onto lush landscaping of palmetto bushes and palm trees, giving yogis and the incredible feeling of being deep in nature even though in reality the parking lot is just a few feet away. When you walk in, you will be encouraged to stay quiet and meditative, and to find a place on the floor in one of the four available rows. Each row has helpful mat placement indicators, maximizing the space available. Cork blocks are available to everyone for modification, and once class begins your instructor will move throughout the room, occasionally offering pose demonstrations or hands-on adjustments. Every class has time for Shavasana built in, so you won’t have to sacrifice a rest if you have a busy schedule. There are several types of classes offered, but each one pretty much assumes prior yoga knowledge. This is not a great place to explore yoga for the first time, but if you are looking for a challenging, well-designed flow to expand your practice, this is a great place for you.

There are eight types of yoga classes available:

Root: This is the closes Camp comes to a beginners class. The room is heated to 95 degrees, and yogis are guided through static poses and mindful breathing.

Root Flow: A vinyasa flow class is a room that is heated to 95 degrees. Instructors will lead you through each salutation, but will not necessarily explain the positioning of each pose. Prior yoga experience is recommended.

Hip Hop Flow: A fast-paced vinyasa flow class in a room that is heated anywhere from 95 to 98 degrees. Popular hip-hop jams are played, so if you are sick of listening to Enya and want to rock out to some Kanye during your practice, then this is the flow for you. Prior yoga experience recommended.

Blend: The second half of the cycle/yoga class described above. This class assumes you are warm from cycling and takes you through a few vinyasa flows, but then calms you down and stretches you out in the second half. If you are subscribed to yoga only, you can take this as a 30-minute express class. The room is heated to 90 degrees.

Restore: A super-slow paced, deep stretch class. You will hold poses for a long time, and the room will be slightly cooler at only 85 degrees. The instructor will focus on mindful breathing, meditation, and opening the body’s energy channels. Every student is given a block and a bolster. All levels welcome.

Freestyle Flow: Looking to take your vinyasa flow to the next level? Take the class. The instructor will focus on inversions and arm balances, offering modified flow sequences and the occasional workshop to get you upside down. The room is heated to 90 degrees. Prior yoga experience pretty much necessary.

Power Flow & Chill: Camp is the master of blend classes. This 75-minute class offers 45 minutes of intense vinyasa flow, followed by 30 minutes of restorative poses. The room is heated 90 degrees. Listed as open level, but prior experience is helpful for the power flow portion of the class.

Hot Full Body: Not for the faint of heart, this is a 50 minutes high-intensity interval class that offers plyometric and isometric movements for toning and strength building. This isn’t even yoga. If you sign up for this class get ready to sweat your butt off in a fast-paced and incredibly challenging class that resembles aerobics more than anything else.

 

Style #3: Circuit

This style of workout, popularized by Orange Theory Fitness, involves high-intensity intervals. When you enter the circuit room, you will find a long row of self-propelled treadmills to the right and a row of weight stations to the left. You will have been assigned either a treadmill or a weight station to start out on, so you will be able to take your place quickly and efficiently. The treadmills take a minute to get used to. The running platform curves upwards, so that you can control the speed based on how high up on the curve you choose to place your treads. Since it is completely self-propelled, there is no way to set a pace ahead of time, so you will be forced to find your own rhythm. This is incredibly challenging for anyone used to electric treadmills, and the entire experience promises to help you burn up to 30% more calories in the same amount of time. Once you are acclimated with the room. The instructor will shout our exercises. A large clock on the back wall counts down the time you spend in each interval. The lights are turned low and the music is turned up, creating a pretty overwhelming sensory experience. The instructors will demonstrate the more difficult moves and will help correct your form if you are wrong, but at the end of day, the effort exerted is entirely up to you.

There are four types of circuit classes available:

Camp Circuit: 25 minutes of interval running on the treadmill, and 25 minutes focused on full body weight training on the weight stations. This is a great class to start with since you will get the chance to use all of the equipment in the room.

Camp Cycle/Circuit Blend: 25 minutes of circuit, 25 minutes of cycle. You can sign up to do either option first, just keep in mind that the first 25 minutes will definitely leave you tired for the second 25 minutes. You can also take the class as a 30-minute express Circuit workout.

Camp Stations: In this class, the instructor sets up different exercises around the room. Campers are broken up into small groups and asked to participate in exercises for 60-90 second intervals. When one station is complete, your entire group moves to the second station. This class can get a bit confusing, and should not be the first choice for any new camper.

Camp Ass & Abs/Arms & Abs: At the end of the day, most people want nice arms, abs, and glutes. These split resistance classes offer 30 minutes of ass followed by 30 minutes of abs, or 30 minutes of arms followed by 30 minutes of abs. If you are bent on improving a specific body party, then this is a great class for you.

 

Hours & Availability: This is a class-based gym, and the class schedule varies day to day. Overall, it is easy to find a class time that works for you, since classes can start as early as 5 am and go as late as 9:30 pm.

 

Facilities & Amenities: The facilities are absolutely beautiful. The buildings have been beautifully renovated, and the gym equipment is new and high-end. Each building has free lockers with built-in code locks. Bathrooms are stocked with lovely shower gel, shampoo, conditioner, spray deodorant, dry shampoo, and hair dryers, and offering free cycle shoe rentals & yoga mats/towels to subscribed campers is a nice tough. There is even a daycare area where you can safely leave your kids while you work out for a small additional charge. Ideally, there would be a few more showers and the water fountain water would be chilled rather than room temperature, but all in all, it is a beautiful gym.

 

Instructors: The camp staff is very knowledgeable, and seems genuinely excited to help their campers lead more active lives. Workout sequence does not vary drastically between instructor, which suggests managerial influence on workout design, but since the sequences do change regularly and always offer a full body workout there is not much to complain about there. It is a busy gym, but a bit more client recognition would be a nice touch.

 

Affordability: This gym is not cheap, but given the variety of classes offered, amenities available, and the quality of the instructors, it can be worth the money. The monthly unlimited package is the way to go if you are an avid gym goer. There are monthly unlimited packages for the entire gym, or just for yoga, and you can pause your membership at any time to push back your payment date. This is great if you are headed out of town and don’t want to be paying for a subscription you can’t use!

 

Customer Service: Fantastic. The staff is easy to reach, and they are always happy to help you out with questions either about the workout, or your membership.

 

Overall Vibe: Bougie, friendly, and fit. The staff and clientele are regularly decked out in designer workout brands, and everyone seems to already be in shape. That being said, everyone there has an upbeat, happy attitude, and it seems like everyone is doing their best to stay fit and trim. It is a gym you go to be seen at for sure, but the workouts are so good that you had better be willing to be seen as a sweaty mess!

Exercise Tampa: 16 Easy Ways to Stay Fit for Free!

Do you want a way to keep your heart rate up and your waist slim, without forking over the money for an expensive gym membership? Maybe you want to try something new, like Yoga or Boot Camp, but are reticent to make an investment in something you might wind up hating. Sure, you could follow various YouTube videos alone in your living room, or go for an occasional jog…but sometimes the half the challenge of working out is keeping a consistent routine. Sometimes you need other people around you to motivate you and keep you on track! Whatever your reason, your need, or your preference, the good news is that there are several ways to exercise in Tampa, without having to pay a dime!

Below is an incomplete list of free workouts throughout Tampa, and after that there is a sample monthly schedule that will definitely help you to stay fit for free!

 

This is a great series since Lulu Lemon brings in local teachers from around the community. You will have a different instructor teaching a different style every week. It is important to connect with your yoga instructor, so if you find someone you really like you can always start attending the studio they work at!

 

This class takes place right before sunset in Tampa’s gorgeous riverfront park. Bring a mat, some water, and even your four-legged friend if they are well behaved and practice some yoga outside! It will not be the most meditative class you have ever taken since it is hosted in a busy city park, but the sense of community surrounding this class is lovely.

 

Another free yoga class! This one takes place Saturday mornings in the garden of the Ybor City Museum Society. It is a great way to kick off your weekend and maybe undo some less-than-healthy food and drink decisions you made Friday night…Yoga Loft, a studio in Ybor City, hosts, so you will experience practice with a variety of their instructors if you attend regularly.

 

If you want something a little bit more upbeat than yoga, try out this Zumba class hosted by the Downtown YMCA. The class takes place outdoors in Curtis Hixon Park, so you can take in some fresh air and workout all at the same time. Zumba is an upbeat, dance-based workout. You may feel a little silly boogying down in public, but it is worth the workout!

 

Another Curtis Hixon workout! This class is hosted by the Bamboozle Fit Club and is free and open to the public. Just bring some water, and you’re A-game because this class will absolutely kick your butt. It may be wise to schedule Thursday as a rest day after this class…

 

  • Free 5K run, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday evenings

Running for Brews is a social club that gets together an astonishing four nights a week to share the loving of running, and beer, of course. This group is open to veteran and brand new runners, with everyone running the same course at their own place. On Mondays, the crew meets at the Pour House in Channelside for a 6:30 pm fun and a 7 pm free yoga class. On Tuesday, they meet at MacDinton’s on Howard ave for a 7 pm run. On Wednesdays, they are back at the Pour House for a 7 pm run, and on Thursdays, off to Yard of Ale on Howard for a 7 pm run. There are other chapters of Running for Brews in different Tampa neighborhoods, so make sure you check out their site to find the club closest to you.

 

This run club meets weekly at the Fit2Run store at Tampa’s International Plaza. They run for about 5K and then return to the store to talk about everyone’s favorite sport! This crew is incredibly knowledgeable and supportive, with most of the participants actively training for an upcoming race. If you are looking for a good pair of running shoes, you can’t do much better than Fit2Run, so why not kill two birds with one stone and grab some new shoes before you hit the pavement?

 

  • Sattva Yoga in Seminole Heights – first class free!

At this studio, your first class is free! So check out the cute little bungalow that has been converted into an intimate and welcoming yoga studio. You’ve got nothing to lose. The owner, Kelly, is welcoming and knowledgeable. This is a great studio to check out if you are new to yoga – no egos here!

 

Orange Theory offers a super intense high-intensity interval workout. At most studios in Tampa (there are several) your first class is free! The class consists of running on a treadmill, rowing on a stationary machine, and various body weight and free weight exercises. So try it out, who knows, you might get hooked!

 

This is another Curtix Hixon Park class! Every Monday at 6 pm, come take this high-energy circuit class that merges strength training with dance that will spike your heart rate while toning your muscles.

 

This free class only comes around once a year…but it is well worth the wait! This upbeat cycle studio hosts classes in a dark roo, lit only by the light from the giant monitors playing the accompanying music videos to the songs you are peddling to. It is like a workout crossed with a party and it should not be missed. Plus, what’s better on your birthday than a free workout?

 

This isn’t technically group fitness, but considering how many people are walking, jogging, biking, and skating up and down Tampa Bay’s famous Bayshore Boulevard all of the time, you will absolutely feel motivated and supported. Bayshore features a waterfront sidewalk that claims to be the longest unbroken sidewalk in the world, measuring an incredible 4.5 miles. If you want to tackle that whole distance, go for it! But if you would rather just jog one or two, feel free to ditch out at any time.

 

If you are interested in water front views, but not too thrilled about the jogging, then check out the Bayshore fitness trail, right outside of downtown. The trail consists of outdoor gym equipment spread over a mile of the Bayshore waterfront. You can do everything from pull-ups to knee-dips to crunches, all on completely free, city equipment! Make your body weight work for you with this fantastic circuit.

 

Al Lopez park is another great place for jogging, and like Bayshore Boulevard, has several pieces of outdoor gym equipment spread throughout the park. There are less stations than on the Bayshore fitness trail, but the stations they have available are sure to keep you toned and feeling strong!

 

Bonus workouts in St. Petersburg & Clearwater

Damon Reio is a personal trainer and owner of Physiques in St. Petersburg, FL (just a short drive from Tampa). Every Saturday morning, he hosts a free outdoor boot camp class, which he says he started to prove to people that you can get fit without hiring and expensive personal trainer. This class is no joke, you will find yourself doing push-ups, squats, and doing resistance training with bands.

 

The Pinellas trail is an amazing linear park created out of an abandoned railway corridor. It stretches from St. Petersburg to Tarpon Springs, and can be used for walking, running, biking or skating. Much like Bayshore Blvd, this trail is usually full of fitness-minded people, so you will never feel too far away from some motivation! The trail is an astounding 38.2 miles long, and basses through Palm Harbor, Dunedin, Clearwater, Largo, Seminole, South Pasadena, and Gulfport.

 

With this incredible offering of free fitness routines, it will be easy for anyone to save some money while continuing to look their best. Exercise in Tampa is diverse and plentiful. Try following the hypothetical schedule listed below, and see how you look and feel after just 30 days.

 

Week 1:

Sunday: 10am Yoga at Lulu Lemon in Hyde Park. Afterward, maybe grab a cold brew at Buddy Brew, right next door!

Monday: 6:30pm 5K run with Running for Brews at the Pour House in Channelside. Follow it up with a free yoga class at 7pm and a cold beer by 8!

Tuesday: 6pm Zumba at Curtis Hixon. Cool down with a walk up and down Tampa’s gorgeous Riverwalk.

Wednesday: 6pm Boot Camp at Curtis Hixon with Bamboozle Fit Club. You will be too tired to walk the Riverwalk after this, but you should be able to make it across the street to Anise for a craft cocktail to celebrate your survival!

Thursday: Take a rest day! Or, use this opportunity to try a free Orange Theory class. Just make sure you call ahead to let them know it’s your first time. They will set aside a treadmill for you and ask you to arrive early to go through workout safety.

Friday: Leave work early and try the Bayshore Fitness Trail! Finish it off with a healthy dinner at Fresh Kitchen, just up the street on South Howard Ave.

Saturday: 9:30am Yoga in Ybor City. Stick around afterwards and check out the Saturday Market that takes place in the historic district right across the street!

Week 2:

Sunday: 6pm Yoga in Curtis Hixon Park. Once you finish your Shavasana, sit up to watch the sun go down over this historic University of Tampa across the river.

Monday: 6pm VKNG Boot Camp Class in Curtis Hixon. Grab some BBQ at Holy Hog downtown after to celebrate.

Tuesday: 7pm Run for Brews at McDinton’s on South Howard. Stick around for a beer after and enjoy the patio.

Wednesday: 6:30pm run with Fit2Run. The store even features a small food counter where you can get cold pressed juice and healthy meals once you have covered a few miles!

Thursday: It’s been a run-heavy week. Maybe take a night off again, or try the Al Lopez Fitness Trail, maybe stay late for a picnic after?

Friday: Take a walk along Bayshore and keep an eye out for dolphins! They can often be seen out in the bay.

Saturday: 8:45am Boot Camp in North Shore Park in St. Petersburg. This class is worth the drive down. Once you are finished you can spend the rest of the day exploring the fantastic downtown St. Petersburg, which includes the Dalí Museum an unbelievable Saturday morning market. Maybe you can even pick up the supplies for a picnic in Vinoy Park.

Week 3:

Sunday: 10am Yoga at Lulu Lemon in Hyde Park. If 11am isn’t too early for sweets, drop by Hyppo for a fresh fruit popsicle after.

Monday: 6:30pm Run for Brews at Pour House, followed by a 7pm yoga class and obviously, a beer!

Tuesday: 6pm Zumba Class in Curtis Hixon, maybe this time grab a slice at Eddie & Sam’s, some of the absolute best pizza in town.

Wednesday: 7pm Run for Bews at the Pour House. If you are hungry afterwards, walk over to Fabrica for some brick oven pizza!

Thursday: Our standard rest day. Or, an opportunity to check out Sattva yoga? Seminole Heights has a great restaurant scene if you are hungry afterwards. Ichicoro Ramen is right down the block!

Friday: Rest up. At this point, you will need it.

Saturday: 9:30am yoga class in Ybor City. If you want some breakfast once you are finished check out La Creperia Café right down the block.

Week 4:

Sunday: 6pm yoga in Curtis Hixon Park. Maybe head back to a walk on the river walk once you are done?

Monday: 6pm VKNG Boot Camp Class in Curtis Hixon. If there is something good playing, follow it up with a show at the Tampa Theater.

Tuesday: 7pm Run for Brews at McDinton’s on South Howard. If you want something other than beer once you are finished, head down the block to Haven for a fantastic wine selection.

Wednesday: 6pm Boot Camp at Curtis Hixon with Bamboozle Fit Club. If it’s a nice night, take a stroll on the Riverwalk for a stroll.

Thursday: Leisurely jog down Bayshore Boulevard. Enjoy checking out the Bayfront mansions along the route!

Friday: Time to rest!

Saturday: Head over to Pinellas county and check out the trail. Bring your bike and see if you can do the whole thing! You’ve spent a month being fit…you may just be able to handle it.

 

So stay fit, stay frugal, and enjoy the results!

What to Order at the Colombia

The Colombia restaurant is the definition of a Tampa Bay institution. It claims to be the oldest restaurant in Florida, and its first location (because now there are many, including one at the Tampa International airport), takes up an entire city block on Ybor City’s infamous 7th Ave. The restaurant has been run by 5 generations of the Casimiro family starting in 1905 and continuing today in 2018.

The building itself is incredible. You enter through a somewhat nondescript doorway and are brought into an atrium that immediately transports you back to a time when people dressed for dinner. To the left of the hostess stand is a framed historical document that advertises The Colombia’s compliance with Prohibition, but if you ask the right person they will show you that the wall the document is posted on is actually a doorway concealing to a staircase, which leads to the secret attic The Colombia staff used to use to hide liquor during those conservative years.

Every dining room in The Colombia is unique. In fact, the Don Quixote room was the first ever air-conditioned dining room in Tampa. The colorful tile you see throughout the restaurant (including the pitcher servers make their famous Sangria in) come from the Triana district of Seville, Spain. The restaurant even has an adjacent museum that features pieces of art and historical artifacts from the institution’s history.

Reading the menu is like reading a family memoir that is well versed in local Cuban history. The description of their house salad alone is a full paragraph, and the various sections of the menu are decorated with historic family photos. The Colombia offers traditional Spanish Tapas, up-scaled Cuban dishes like Ropa Vieja, and local Tampa Bay inventions like the Cuban Sandwich, which call all be washed down with a delicious mojito that has an actual piece of sugar cane sticking out of it.

But with all of that history, cultural influence and celebration, the sad truth is that there are only a few things on the menu that The Colombia does exceptionally well. It is a controversial stance to take when discussing this restaurant that has been the premier restaurant in the region for over 100 years, but true nonetheless.

So if you are planning on visiting The Colombia Restaurant, first of all, make sure it is the original one in Ybor City, then make sure you understand what to ask for in order to have the best experience possible at this location that exemplifies living history.

 

Step 1: Getting There

Even though not everything on the menu is delectable, the trip into Ybor city is well worth it for an evening out. Reservations are recommended, but not particularly hard to get, so just call ahead. If you would like to see the Flamenco dancers, who perform every night of the week except Sunday, you will need a special reservation and you will be paying an $8 entertainment cover per guest. You can valet your car right at the front door, and while dressing up is in no way required, why not throw on some cocktail attire to dine at a restaurant that once served Marilyn Monroe, and more recently, George Clooney?

 

Step 2: Drinks & Bread

Your meticulously dressed waiter may engage in some pomp and circumstance before taking your drink order, so be ready for a quick introduction to the beautiful interior of The Colombia. When it comes to drinks, their wine list is somewhat limited, but if you are a fan of Spanish wine then you are in luck! The best cocktails on the menu are the Mojito, which comes in a highball glass with fresh mint and a stick of sugar cane that a lot of people mistake for a straw when they are first served, and the Sangria Tinto, which your waiter will mix for you table-side and serve in a stunning ceramic pitcher from Seville, Spain.

In between your drink order and their delivery, a different waiter will deliver an individual piece of Cuban bread to every guest at the table, along with their own shallow ceramic dish of soft, whipped butter. The piece of bread you receive is not a slice of bread or a roll, but rather an entire chunk off of a loaf of Cuban bread, and each chunk is hand-wrapped in a thin piece of white paper. If you have never had Cuban bread, you are in for a treat. Baked fresh daily at La Segunda Central Bakery down the street, Cuban bread is hard and crispy on the outside, and soft and airy on the inside. The flavor is mild, but when it is spread with the soft whipped butter, something magical happens. Do not panic if you see what looks like a long black hair sitting on top of your bread – that is just a leftover palmetto leave. La Segunda Central bakes Cuban bread the traditional way. Before each loaf goes into the oven a fresh palmetto leave is placed along the length of the bread, which causes the surface to crack aesthetically. Also, keep in mind that you are not limited to just one piece of this Amazing bread. If you ask your waiter for more, they will continue to bring you fresh warm bread and a new butter dish.

 

Step 3: Ordering your Meal

At this point, many are tempted to try a variety of tapas or traditional Cuban food. Some of these selections are excellent, but overall the main courses here are over-salted and under-sauced. Instead, opt for the entrée portion of their famous 1905 Salad. This salad is unique and filling. The following description is pulled from the Colombia’s menu verbatim:

“The Colombia’s legendary salad tossed at your table. Crisp iceberg lettuce with julienne of baked ham, natural Swiss cheese, tomato, olives, grated Romano cheese, and our famous garlic dressing. The award-winning salad won honors from USA Today as “One of the 10 Great Places to Make a Meal Out of a Salad”. The signature salad, named for the year the restaurant was founded in Tampa’s Latin district of Ybor City, was inspired by immigrants to the Cigar City: Romano cheese from the Sicilians and the famous garlic dressing used by Cubans to marinate fresh roast port, plus Florida tomatoes, iceberg lettuce (*Originally known as crisphead, iceberg lettuce got its name from the layers of ice covering heads of lettuce being shipped to Tampa via Henry B. Plant’s trains. As the trains pulled up, people would yell, “Here come the icebergs!”), julienne of baked ham and Swiss cheese. In the ‘40s, Tony Noriega, who ventured to New York City during the Depression to find work, added a “secret ingredient,” Worcestershire sauce, to the recipe” (source).

Why that lengthy description includes the entirety of the ingredients listed twice, or that detail about the man headed to NY (a place that is decidedly not Tampa), for work instead of describing how he came to add his secret ingredient, we may never know. But lengthy pontifications aside, this salad is absolutely delicious. You have the option to order the salad with either turkey or grilled Shrimp rather than the ham, but don’t do it. Stick with the original.

A few minutes after your order is submitted, your water will wheel a petite card over to your table, and present each ingredient of the salad as he prepares it and tosses it in front of you. Once you have your first bite of the decadent, vinegary taste of this hearty entrée salad, you will not even wonder what anything else on the menu tastes like.

 

Step 4: Dessert and Coffee

The desserts on this menu are really nothing to write home about, but if you have an insatiable sweet tooth, then it is really hard to go wrong with either the Flan or the Key Lime Pie. If you are a fan of an after-dinner coffee, then definitely go for the café con leche. The beverages consists of strong coffee mixed with scalded milk in a 1:1 ratio, and it is unbelievably better than a latte. It may keep you up a few hours later than you are used to, but it is worth it.

 

Step 5: Heading out into Ybor

A night at the Colombia wouldn’t be complete without a stroll down 7th Ave following dinner. Depending on what time of night it is, you will encounter an increasingly eccentric cast of characters. From the man who carries around a boa constrictor in a shopping cart and charges people for pictures, to the rotating parade of insanely tricked out vehicles that roll down 7th every 15 minutes or so, it is almost like getting a show along with dinner. There are some fantastic bars on the strip if you are looking for a nightcap, but those tips belong in a different article.

 

Summary:

The ideal order at The Colombia Restaurant:

  • Pitcher of Sangria Tinto (doesn’t even matter if you are sharing it or not)
  • Multiple orders of the Cuban Bread
  • The Entrée portion of the 1905 Salad
  • Flan and Café con Leche for dessert

The 3 Best Healthy Breakfasts in Tampa

Nutritionists may have debunked that whole “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day” marketing campaign from decades back, but that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t treat your body to something healthy and delicious first thing in the morning!

It may not be easy. The American South is a huge fan of delicious, yet fattening breakfast foods like chicken and waffles, biscuits and gravy, and of course cheesy grits – but the following three restaurants will surprise and amaze you with their hearty, delicious, and most importantly, healthy breakfast options! Tampa is a very healthy city, with various walking/jogging paths, dozens of gyms to try, and outdoor yoga happening everywhere you look. Why not keep that attitude rolling through mealtime too?

So whether you are enjoying a bite bright and early, or rolling into these places at 11am with oversized sunglasses and a hangover, you will be able to find menu items that work for both your tongue and your waist.

Daily Eats

901 S Howard Ave, Tampa, FL 33606

The Daily Eats is an institution on South Howard Ave, a youthful party scene in Tampa. It is owned by the Ciccio Restaurant Group, which you have definitely patronized before, as they are responsible for some of the best dining options in the city (think Fresh Kitchen and the Green Lemon, just to name two out of their dozen). The menu at the Daily Eats is stacked with customization options and is heavy on the puns, and it features a great “staff favorite” section, so you won’t have to put your waiter on the spot.

Below are the three yummiest and healthiest items on the menu:

The best sweet option:

Good Morning…Honey

“Fresh mixed fruit, sliced strawberries, candied pecans, crunchy granola & creamy vanilla yogurt topped with whipped cream and honey”.

If you leave the whipped cream off and add a cup of black coffee, then this bowl (available in large or small) is guaranteed to satisfy your sweet tooth and give you that burst of energy you need to make it to the afternoon.

The best savory option:

The Goat (omlette)

“goat cheese & sautéed spinach topped with smashed avocado.” Comes with your choice of grits, home fries, fresh fruit, oatmeal.

Adding an oatmeal to that protein-heavy eggsation will keep you so full and satisfied that you may even be able to skip lunch!

The best overall option:

The Monday Morning Breakfast Bowl

“scrambled egg whites with diced red onion, chopped turkey sausage, fried jalapeños & American cheese served over fresh spinach”.

This option is Gluten Free and overall low on carbs. The egg whites and turkey sausage are super lean, but the addition of a cheese still makes it feel decadent.

So if you like to eat breakfast daily (like so many do), then don’t miss the Daily Eats.

 

Three Coin Diner

7410 N Nebraska Ave, Tampa, FL 33604

If you aren’t looking for anything fancy…in fact, if you are looking for the exact opposite, then this diner is the perfect place for you! This fantastically greasy and unadorned diner is a neighborhood institution, and it is open 24 hours. If you decide to head that way during the morning hours, then check out these fantastic healthy breakfast items below.

Below are three of the best healthy options on the menu that will start your day out right:

The best sweet option:

Cantaloupe with Cottage Cheese

This is a diner classic. Sweet, fresh, and with a dash of lean protein, this breakfast will keep you energized all morning. It is reliable and delicious, every single day.

The best savory option:

Feta Cheese and Spinach Omelet

No one does omelets better than diners, and this omelet is the best one on the menu. The savory combination of fluffy eggs, wilted spinach, and salty feta cheese is sure to satisfy your breakfast cravings, and the protein will keep you energized all day.

The best overall option:

Lo-Cal Sliced Turkey

This sliced turkey comes with cottage cheese, tomato, a hard-boiled egg and lettuce. Everything on this plate is lean and healthy, making it a fantastic choice for your first meal of the day!

 

The Restaurant – Oxford Exchange

420 W Kennedy Blvd, Tampa, FL 33602

When most people think of the Oxford Exchange, they think of the trendy Buddy Brew Coffee Bar, the classy Té Bella tea counter, or the beautifully appointed center space with tall ceilings, eclectic decorations, and dozens of UT students desperately working on different assignments. But if you venture from that main atrium into the restaurant side of the building, you will be rewarded with a delicious and very healthy breakfast.

Below are three fantastic choices when it comes to eating and feeling your best at the Oxford Exchange:

The Best Sweet Option:

Parfait

“chia Greek yogurt, toasted coconut & almonds, mango, candied ginger”

This eclectic combination of flavors is nearly guaranteed to taste like nothing you have every tasted before. Plus, the nutritional value of the chia, yogurt, almonds, and fruit will satisfy your body’s health needs.

The Best Savory Option:

Omelet

“spinach, tomato, bacon, goat cheese, crispy Yukon fingerlings”

Simple, complete, and nutritious. If you want to be super conscious you can always skip the bacon.

The Best Overall Option:

Kale Scramble

“egg whites, black quinoa, kale, roasted tomato, goat cheese, green onion”

This dish is almost aggressively healthy, but with the savory tang of goat cheese and the deeper notes of roasted tomato, you will hardly notice that you are doing something so good for yourself!

 

There is a great breakfast/brunch culture in Tampa, so if you want to participate in the morning rush without participating in the sometimes corresponding weight gain, make sure you are frequenting one of these three restaurants. Any of the menu items listed above (plus several more there wasn’t space for) will keep you feel full, light, healthy, and ready to take on anything the day has in store for you!