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3 Hidden Gems You May Have Missed in Ybor City

As a college student at the University of Tampa, you’ve probably been to Ybor City on a Friday or Saturday night. Ybor nightlife is well known, but if you only go to Ybor for the clubs, you may be passing up some fantastic experiences.

Here are some hidden gems you should know about in Ybor City that you may have missed the last time you visited.

Vintage Roost

Vintage Roost is only a couple blocks away from the Columbia (worth visiting in its own right), on the edge of Ybor. Every month, Vintage Roost hosts a three-day market where you can go in and shop for antiques. The markets usually have a theme–December featured a wide assortment of vintage Christmas decorations, while January’s market was pirate-themed à la Gasparilla. The next market is February 11th-13th, just in time for Valentine’s Day!

José Martí Park

This little (0.14 acres, to be precise) park is easy to miss if you’re not looking for it. Sitting on the corner of 8th Ave and 13th St, Parque Amigos de José Martí is a monument to José Martí. Martí was the revolutionary who visited Tampa on multiple occasions to rally support for Cuban independence among Ybor’s immigrant community. The park also honors Lt. General Antonio Maceo–another hero of Cuban independence–and Paulina Pedroso–who housed Martí, Maceo, and other Cuban liberationists at her home where the park is currently located.

Stepping into this park also means you get to leave US soil without even stepping on a plane! Parque Amigos de José Martí is owned by the government of Cuba and contains soil from each Cuban province.

Rasoi Indian Cuisine

Before your dinner reservation at the Columbia, swing by Rasoi Indian Cuisine for a delicious lunch. This restaurant is fantastically reviewed by locals and visitors alike! They have a beautiful outdoor seating area (it’s still COVID out here!), and they also offer both takeout and catering services. Their menu boasts a huge assortment of dishes–vegetarian and not–from many regions of India, including chicken vindaloo, lamb rogan josh, palak paneer, and rasmalai. Even if you’ve never had Indian food before, Rasoi Indian Cuisine has something for everyone.

Be sure to check out these places next time you’re in Ybor City! And don’t be afraid to explore; you might find something even more exciting.

Brianna Lovett is currently pursuing an International Studies major with a History minor at the University of Tampa. Born and raised in the Tampa Bay area, she dreams of travelling the world to explore historical sites and enjoy local fruits and vegetables.
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