Why you should go: Sure, I’m biased (I am from here), but Tampa has always been one of the country’s best-kept secrets. Ask anyone you bring here who assumed it was all cow tipping and strip clubs, and their first reaction is: “Wait, it’s pretty awesome here.” And it really is! We have the history (the original Cigar City; the spot where Babe Ruth hit his longest home run), the sunny activities (you won’t find better tarpon fishing), and the laid-back New England-meets-Southern charm that separates it from the rest of Florida. Lately, we’ve even been holding our own in the craft breweries and live music scene -- which is probably why we’re scoring things like BCS National Championship games and now the 2021 Super Bowl.
Why you should go right now: Two words: Armature Works. A formerly dilapidated warehouse for housing old TECO streetcars has been completely restored. Come September, the landmark space on the historic Hillsborough River will reopen as its own little badass urban village jammed with food, drinks and fun. The place is roughly the size of a football field and a half -- and they’re packing it with one of state’s first food halls (Heights Public Market), which will house more than 15 food and drink vendors including a street-style taqueria, a ramen joint, a retro eatery with breakfast all day, a wine bar, and a nitrogen ice cream parlor. It'll also have a rooftop bar and a couple signature restaurants including an upscale Southern steakhouse a dockside seafood and craft beer spot you can boat up to -- or kayak next to, should you feel so inclined to rent one (which you totally can). While the next year may mean sharing our space with more tourists -- we’re totally OK with showing you why we love it here. -- Liz Newman, Thrillist contributor