Downtown on a dime: How to have fun for FREE in downtown Tampa

The other day I had –22 cents in my checking account. Yep. NEGATIVE dollars, my friends. I’m finally living the ultimate “broke college kid” cliché and I’ve got to say, it’s not as glamorous as the TV shows make it out to be.

While I’m perfectly okay with staying home some weekends and saving money – especially since I’m leaving for Spain in a month – it can get a little old. Thankfully, downtown Tampa has tons of free stuff to do (yeah, I said free) that are actually fun! Whether you’re a broke college student like me or someone just trying to cut back on the spending, you’ve got to take advantage of the free options downtown.

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Free Fitness Classes

Spending money on a gym membership is one of the first things to go when trying to save a little cash. But if you’re anything like me, working out at home can get a little boring. So when I heard about the free fitness classes in Curtis Hixon Park, I immediately jumped on the train. It sounded too good to be true! Here is the weekly schedule:

Sundays at 6pm: Yoga in the park. This class has been around the longest and is by far the most popular. Both men and women come prepared with yoga mats and leggings for the hour-long class overlooking the river. It’s the perfect way to relax and refresh before the week starts!

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Mondays at 6pm: VKNG drip. This hip-hop circuit class literally KILLS with both cardio and strength training. They basically combine dancing with fitness and play awesome music – it’s so much fun!

Tuesday at 6pm: Zumba in the park. And the dancing theme continues! If you’ve never heard of Zumba, just think Latin music and a lot of cardio dance moves. It may sound intimidating to us non-dancers, but if I can do it, I PROMISE you can do it! Check out their Facebook page for updates.

Wednesdays at 6pm: Boot camp. Looking to burn some extra calories before the weekend? This class will do the trick. Bamboozle Fit Club hosts this insane boot camp that burns your entire body for 45 minutes, which is often followed by dinner at the Bamboozle Cafe right around the corner. Totally worth the pain! 

Rock the Park

Curtis Hixon Park has always been home to awesome live music and fun events, and Rock the Park is a monthly regular. Local artists of all genres perform at this free concert on the first Thursday of every month, and families (and tons of dogs) from all over Tampa come here to enjoy the laid back event. It’s pretty low key, which is nice if you’re looking for something chill to do on a week night. And it only goes until 9:30 PM so you won’t be super tired when getting up for work or school the next day! 

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Fourth Friday

On the (you guessed it!) fourth Friday of every month, Tampa’s arts and culture scene comes alive. Venues throughout downtown and Ybor City offer free and discounted offerings, ranging from a pop-up oyster bar at the Tampa Museum of Art to outdoor live music at the Straz Center. To make it even more festive, restaurants and bars throughout the Tampa Bay area also join in on the fun! Happy hour specials and discounts on food are offered at more than 30 restaurants and bars in downtown and Ybor City. Grab a drink and explore the arts and culture scene with your friends – it’s the perfect budget friendly start to your weekend!

P.S.: Take advantage of free rides on the TECO Line Streetcar System on Fourth Friday that takes you around Channelside and parts of Ybor!

The Riverwalk

If you live in Tampa, you know how popular the Riverwalk has become since its completion in 2014. The 2.4 mile stretch along the Hillsborough River starts in Channelside, cuts through through Curtis Hixon Park, the Tampa Museum of Art (which is always free for college students!) and the Straz Center, eventually coming to an end at the newly opened Armature Works – AKA my favorite place in Tampa.

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It’s the perfect scenic route to ride a bike or walk the dog, and if you’re coming from Bayshore like I often do, just cross over the bridge on Platt Street and it’ll dump you off right at the Convention Center. It’s also gorgeous at night – the entire length lit up with alternating colors for the perfect nighttime stroll. It’s a total must-see for anyone in the area! 

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