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Visit Tampa Bay: Day 2 of How To Be a Tourist in Your Own City

Day 2 of our engagement trip was full of various activities that filled our entire day. From the moment we woke up, we hit the ground running and ran around the city being like the out-of-towners. We aren’t tourists in our own city too often but pretending is always fun.

Okay, so how to be a tourist in your own city? Simple, do things you wouldn’t normally do. We hung out with Marissa from Visit Tampa Bay for a couple activities, which was fun. It was super chill like hanging out with a girlfriend for a change. Our hotel was downtown so, fortunately for us, our morning activities were within walking distance. It was nice to actually walk through the city and experience the hustle and bustle of people walking to work or running errands.

Breakfast at Oxford Exchange

how to be a tourist in your own city
Poppy Seed pancakes and a side of fruit

Our first stop of the morning was breakfast, of course. Oxford Exchange is well known around Tampa Bay for their brunch dishes. We met up here to eat with Marissa and get the day started. We talked about how I got into blogging, a bit of my and Robert’s travels, and our engagement. Breakfast was real laid-back and chill. I ordered their Poppy Seed Pancakes with a side of fruit. The pancake order comes with a stack of 4 soft pancakes with speckles of poppy seeds all over. It’s a large order so I don’t suggest attempting to eat it all in one sitting. I was so sad I couldn’t take the order back with me since Robert and I walked to the restaurant and there was no car for me to leave them in. Trust me, the next time I have brunch at Oxford Exchange again, I’m ordering the same thing so I can take it home with me.

Tour at Plant Museum

We enjoyed ourselves so much at breakfast, we almost missed our tour at the Plant Museum at University of Tampa. The last time I went to the museum was at least a decade ago so I was wwwwwaaaaaayyyyy overdue for a visit. Right now, they have an exhibition titled “When the Train Comes Along” about Booker T. Washington’s visit to Tampa back in the early 1900s. Black history is Tampa is still relatively unknown; seeing it highlighted this way brings attention to other parts of Black Tampeño history like the Williams Cigar Company.

The exhibition also features a history lesson about the old Tampa Bay Casino that used to be on UT’s campus before it was a college and a recording of a choir singing an old spiritual. Festivities for the exhibit started earlier this year but the big shebang for comes in September with the program “Shrewd Business Men”, which features descendants from the owners of the Williams Cigar Company.

Lunch at Meat Market

how to be a tourist in your own city
Wood Grilled Buffalo Burger with Sweet Potato fries and crispy Brussel Sprouts; One in a Melon mocktail (back)

Once we walked back to the hotel and dropped some things off, we headed over to lunch. Meat Market is more of an upscale restaurant in Hyde Park. I went there earlier this year for brunch but this time it was for lunch. It wasn’t packed, which was great. I ordered their Wood Grilled Buffalo Burger with Sweet Potato fries and their One in a Melon mocktail while Robert and I shared a side of Brussel sprouts. The burger was so moist and juicy I had to be super careful when eating it; both the Brussels and fries had the perfect amount of crisp.

If you haven’t been to Meat Market, it’s a great place for any occasion really from brunch to a Girls’ Night Out, which I’m in need of coincidentally. I mean, we’d all love to get any reason to dress up and look cute for a couple hours, right? If you’re someone who wants to start learning how to be a tourist in your own city, restaurants are a good way to start.

Making Candles at The Candle Pour

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve started to appreciate the smell of candles. Robert and I have a full collection in our house currently. There’s always something burning so it’s always a surprise when there’s a different smell circulating through the house. I prefer candles with either a fruity or sweet smell…something colorful almost. Making my own candle wasn’t something I saw for myself but it was fun to get that variety of creative juices flowing.

Creating the candle at The Candle Pour felt super personal…like I was really trying to figure out my likes/dislikes to come up with the perfect combo. After being indecisive for about 5 minutes, I decided on a mixture of a few flavors: pink grapefruit, morning dew, agave, and mango. My mind raced once I put them together in the mixing cup. Although the flavors smelled great on their own, I was still nervous my candle would come out smelling crazy. I named my candle “alleyomalleycat” naturally because duh plus it smells like a tropical island!

Dinner at Ulele

how to be a tourist in your own city
Juan’s Snapper and the Highland Rita
how to be a tourist in your own city
Fire Roasted Chicken and Ring of Fire cocktail


Our last day concluded with where it all started: Ulele. I chuckled a bit when we told our server we were just there earlier in the week for our engagement. Just like Cask, Ulele is one of my favorite restaurants in Tampa. Who can resist bomb AF food next to riverfront views?! Robert and I have the conversation all the time about places we take our folks and Ulele is one of the spots we mention every time. The day we got engaged we started off with their crab mac appetizer (delish btw) and I ordered the Fire Roasted Chicken entrée. I wanted more spinach but other than that, the entire dish was still great. I’ve never ever not had a good meal there. Between the Alligator Hush Puppies to the chargrilled oysters, the menu is all hits no misses.

How to be a tourist in your own city means trying out different things and exploring what’s 10 minutes from your house. The great thing about social media is so much easier to find what’s around the city and get a firsthand look at area attractions.

So, how would you tell someone how to be a tourist in your own city?