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Parking at Tampa
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Tampa Airport parking includes valet services and short- and long-term garages next to the terminal buildings, an economy garage and lot a short distance from the terminals (with a 24-hour free shuttle bus service) and a cell phone lot about a five-minute drive away. All of these facilities offer electric vehicle charging stations and preferred parking spaces for cars powered by bio-diesel, CNG, hydrogen, electric or hybrid-electric to encourage green driving. Of course, many off-site parking lots are also available, with shuttle bus and valet services similar to the on-site options.
Pick-up and drop-off zones used by the public, taxis and services like Uber are immediately outside the main terminal area and clearly signposted. Short-term parking is also available in the parking garage on the side of the terminal if you want to leave your car to see people off.
At the edge of the airport property, a cell phone lot is located close to economy parking, where you can wait for free if you're picking someone up from arrivals, but you need to wait for them to clear baggage reclaim.
Short-term hourly parking spaces are found in the parking garage attached to the main terminal building. Conveniently placed just seconds from the terminal itself, these spaces are primarily intended for those dropping friends off or traveling only briefly for a day or two.
A valet parking service is also available at TPA; you can simply drop your car off curbside outside the terminal and a valet will take care of parking it for you. There's a 24-hour drop-off area just inside the short-term garage if you have an evening flight, which is also where you pick your car back up from when you return. The walk to the terminal takes mere seconds.
Long-term daily parking can be found in the parking garage just across from the main terminal and parking building. This is a balanced option with quick terminal access by foot or via the free monorail shuttle, but it’s charged at a lower daily parking rate.
Economy parking is based a short distance from the terminal building with free shuttle buses connecting to the terminal. It sacrifices a little convenience, but is still just a few minutes away on the regular shuttle buses.
There are also many off-site parking options at Tampa International Airport that work to valet or Park and Ride service models.
The valet services are similar to those offered on-site, but Park and Ride is a self-parking system whereby you find a space at the off-site lot and then catch a complimentary shuttle bus to the airport less than 10 minutes away. It's a little less convenient, but often the most cost-effective parking solution.
Tampa International Airport (TPA) handles almost 19 million annual passengers flying to destinations in the USA, Canada, Central America and Europe. Around 20 major carriers use the airport, with Southwest Airlines having the largest share of its travelers at just over a third of the total. Southwest utilizes Tampa as a focus city and the regional airline Silver Airways uses TPA as a hub.
It is exceptional amongst American airports for pioneering in the 1960s the landside and airside layout that is now used by most airports. It is also one of only two airports in the USA to run flights to Cuba. The area of Tampa is the birthplace of commercial flights; an Airboat traveling from St Petersburg in Florida to Tampa in 1914 was the first scheduled commercial airline flight in the world.
TPA sits just outside the 30 busiest airports in the country. Moreover, trade press and research studies including Zagat Survey, Condé Nast Traveler, CNNGo and JD Power and Associates repeatedly name it as one of the 10 best airports in the USA; Condé Nast Traveler, in fact, named it the second-best airport in the world.
Located about nine miles (14.5 kilometers) east of the center of Tampa in Florida, TPA Airport is in the FL 33607 ZIP code and primarily serves Tampa and its surrounding areas. Residents of Spring Hill, Lakeland, Clearwater, St Petersburg, Kissimmee, Bradenton, Fort Myers, Gainesville, Orlando and Ocala residents all regularly fly through the airport.
Getting to Tampa International by car is a quick journey on Florida State Road 60, which runs through the city center directly to the main entrance of the airport property. From anywhere else in the USA, getting onto the I-75 brings you close to Tampa; switching to the I-275 just outside the city will take you towards the center and exit 39 gets you onto State Road 60 and the airport approach.
Public transport options comprise a solitary bus route provided by Hillsborough Area Regional Transit (HART), which runs from the city center of Tampa directly to the TPA Airport terminal.
Drew Field was built in 1928, but had little time to build a passenger base as Peter O Knight Airport opened just a few years later and claimed most of the business in the area. By the end of World War II, during which it was utilized by the US Army, the property and facilities had been expanded so much that it was better equipped than Knight Airport and took over as the primary commercial airport for the region.
In the 1950s, flights to Canada began and Drew Field was formally renamed Tampa International Airport, with a second terminal opening in 1952 and new carriers including Capital, Delta, Northeast, Northwest and Trans World Airlines (TWA) setting up routes there. Pan Am joined them in 1961 as the jet age began and the old terminal buildings quickly reached full capacity.
A study carried out to evaluate various layouts for a new terminal came up with a winning design that separated airside from landside and incorporated central terminals leading to concourses and gates with a built-in people-mover infrastructure. It's a layout any air traveler will be familiar with today as it was eventually adopted by almost every modern airport, but Tampa was the first to try it in 1965.
The new facilities opened in 1971 as jets arrived and a process of constant development and expansion began. Airsides were remodeled, concourses refurbished and shuttle trains modernized to keep up with the ever-increasing popularity. Current development is working towards a capacity of 25 million passengers, with further construction planned to take that to 50 million as demand pushes beyond the current capacity.
Tampa manages an impressive 19 million passengers a year, who are provided with a range of concessions and facilities proportionate with a large mid-range airport. You can find plenty to cover the essentials and some nice features like a spa, on-site hotel, children's play areas and an excellent public art program, which includes a large aquarium, so there’s plenty to do there.
TPA has its own ambassadors program, whilst Travelers Aid also operates at the airport, so there are plenty of helpful, knowledgeable people around the terminals and at the information desks to help you.
If you have any questions in advance, you can either contact your airline, who can handle most passenger inquiries to do with special assistance, or Tampa International Airport customer services on (+1) 813-870-8700.
A few hotels located close to Tampa International Airport offer passengers an off-site parking option, which can be particularly helpful if you want to break up your journey to or from the airport and save on parking in the process.
If you stay for at least one night in a hotel offering hotel and parking packages, you'll be allowed to park in their hotel lot for free for up to two weeks.
Such packages are provided by familiar hotel brands like the Clarion Hotel Tampa International, which offers comfortable rooms, on-site restaurants, free breakfast, tropical gardens and a play pool for children. The Hyatt Place Tampa Airport offers a free shuttle bus service to and from the airport and the on-site Marriott Hotel has parking packages available, too.
Tampa's art program is widely admired by travelers and spans back over 40 years of encouraging and exhibiting work by a diverse range of artists, who submit work through an open applications process.
To say the collection is eclectic doesn't really do it justice; tapestries from African artists, beautiful murals by George Snow Hill, mixed media landscapes, contemporary LED sculptures and blown art glass are all included.
Regular temporary displays of specific artists or art genres add variety even if you're a regular at TPA, so it's a great way to pass time instead of idly waiting for a flight.
Foodies will be delighted to learn that you can find some of the most outstanding local flavors at concessions in TPA.
Bavaro's is a Tampa Napoletana and Pastaria that makes incredible pizza out of fresh Italian ingredients, whilst the RumFish Grill has an excellent range of seafood, plus a 1,300-gallon (5,910-liter) fish tank that attracts children like a magnet.
There's classic pub food from Tampa's oldest Irish pub, Four Green Fields, whilst the local Cigar City Brewing serves up a range of fantastic lagers and ales to wash everything down. There’s also Buddy Brew Coffee for all the coffee fans.
Sometimes the worst things about waiting in airports are the crowds and uncomfortable seating areas, but you can guarantee yourself some comfort, quiet and a few other benefits by taking a day membership in one of the airline lounges.
Both American and Delta have lounges at Tampa Airport that have open day memberships offering free drinks, snacks, WiFi, TV and a private member's lounge for any paying customers.
Getting to the airport on time can be a stressful experience, but fortunately there are a few facilities at Tampa Airport intended to help you wind down before you fly. Rock's Massage is found in the on-site airport Marriott Hotel and offers a range of massage packages lasting from 30 to 90 minutes.
Tampa also offers something of a rarity for smokers: airside smoking areas in designated patio areas are attached to each concourse to help you relax without leaving the airport.
For those of you who don’t like sitting around, you can find over a mile (1.6 kilometers) of Tampa Airport walking routes mapped on the official airport website.
These are a great way to have a look around the whole airport, pass some time and take in some of the visual attractions like the airport art or the RumFish Grill's aquarium.
If you're traveling with children and you’d like to tire them out a little more, there are also children's play areas located in Concourses A, C and E.
The largest sanctuary in the world for abused big cats, Big Cat Rescue, offers a range of tours and experiences to see and learn about these beautiful animals close-up.
The cats have been rescued from a range of zoos, circuses and even fur farms and given safe haven for the rest of their lives. Small tour groups can shadow keepers and learn all about species like leopards, lions, tigers, cougars, bobcats, lynx and caracals.
Do note that booking is essential; you can do it online at the Big Cat Rescue Website. It’s only 11 miles (17.7 kilometers) from TPA Airport.
A neighborhood rich in history, culture, restaurants, bars and nightlife, Ybor City is located just 11 miles (17.7 kilometers) from Tampa International Airport; it’s a fantastic place to spend the day enjoying the vibrant atmosphere.
Originally built by immigrants, the modern Ybor City reflects its heritage in an eclectic range of cuisine from American favorites like BBQ and seafood to delicious dishes from Cuba, Spain, Italy, Colombia, Puerto Rico and Vietnam.
Covering 240 acres (971. hectares) of green space just 22 miles (35.4 kilometers) from Tampa Airport on the northern edge of the city, Lettuce Lake Park is a beautiful place to visit to take in a variety of Floridian natural ecosystems.
With a visitor center, observation tower, picnic areas and nature trails, the park is arranged around a series of boardwalks taking you through a flood plain, a fresh-water wetland, a hardwood forest, cypress domes and the Hillsborough River.
There's lots of wildlife to look out for and plenty to entertain younger visitors in this gorgeous natural park.
Tampa Theatre is an iconic movie palace built in 1926, which today screens a diverse range of independent films, documentaries and world cinema.
The elaborate interiors have been kept in beautiful period condition, even down to the Wurlitzer Theatre Organ playing live before every film screening.
It also hosts events like fringe theater, music concerts and tours to take you through the history of this amazing building, which is located only nine miles (14.5 kilometers) from TPA International Airport.
Part of the Waterfront Arts District development nine miles (14.5 kilometers) from Tampa International Airport, the Glazer Children's Museum is all about a fun learning experience with interactive areas and activities at every turn.
With 170 exhibits displayed across multiple themed areas encouraging play and discovery, there's an incredible amount to do targeted at various age groups, but it’s perhaps most suitable for younger kids.
It’s clean, modern and considered with some good eating options to boot, so this is a great day out if you're in Tampa with young ones.
Raymond James Stadium, which is just seven miles (11.3 kilometers) from TPA International Airport, is the home of National Football League (NFL) team, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Often referred to as the “Ray Jay”, it stages football games, music concerts, festivals and major monster truck events. It features an entire replica pirate ship that blank-fires cannons every time the Buccaneers score, so the atmosphere is electric on game-days. Every seat in the stadium offers a great view and there's a wide range of great food to choose from, as you would expect from Florida.
You can also take a stadium tour during the day when there’s no event on; it’s in-depth and a genuinely fascinating look around the workings of the venue.
The Tampa Riverwalk is a large pedestrian trail development running alongside the Hillsborough River through about two miles (3.2 kilometers) of the Downtown area.
It’s nine miles (14.5 kilometers) from TPA Airport and links together numerous parks, hotels, entertainment venues and museums. The Riverwalk also displays bronze busts, a huge lenticular mural and offers many beautiful views of the city and river along the way.
One of the largest performing arts complexes in the south east of the USA, the Straz Center for the Performing Arts hosts touring Broadway productions, concerts and other events including its very own grand operas.
The complex includes five theater spaces, restaurants, studios and extensive labs and teaching spaces for educational programs that are delivered to thousands of students every year.
With great shows, comfortable seating and attentive staff, the Straz Center is an excellent place to catch live entertainment just nine miles (14.5 kilometers) from TPA Airport.
Tampa is laid out with one terminal building in the center of the airport and four satellite terminals named Airside A, C, E and F stretching out towards the runways. All of the airline departures and arrivals gates are based in these satellite terminals, which are organized to spread the traffic equally around the four concourses. Most international carriers at TPA are based in Airside F.
If you need help finding your way, look out for the information desks and the various volunteers you'll find walking around the terminal and satellite concourses. Both Travelers Aid and TPA's own ambassadors work at the airport and can direct passengers who are lost and help with a wide range of other inquiries.
For most advance inquiries, such as reserving a wheelchair, it's best to contact your airline directly, but if you do need to speak to the airport, call customer services on (+1) 813-870-8700.
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Tampa Airport is just nine miles (14.5 kilometers) outside of Downtown Tampa and is reachable via a short drive on State Road 60 (W Kennedy Blvd), which runs directly to the airport terminal from the center of the city.
From outside Tampa, the I-75 connects the city to most of the USA. It routes around the city and splits into the I-275, which intersects with State Road 60 at exit 39 close to the airport.
The I-4 is another route into the area for passengers traveling from Orlando, Daytona Beach or Jacksonville. It runs into the city center where it terminates as it becomes the I-275 running towards TPA Airport.
Hillsborough Area Regional Transit (HART) operates a bus service from Marion Transit Center in Downtown Tampa, which runs out to Northwest Transfer Center on the west side of town via Tampa International Airport.
Greyhound buses run into Tampa from around the USA, stopping at Tampa Bus Station in Downtown, from where it's simple to transfer to the HART network to reach the airport itself.
There are no trains running directly to the airport, but Amtrak runs to Union Station in the city center, from where taxis or the HART bus network can take you to the airport terminals.
If you do have any flexibility on when you fly, bear in mind that Tampa International Airport is usually at its busiest on weekday mornings between 6am and 9am. The airport is highly rated amongst regular travelers for its efficiency in moving people through the airport.
If a layover, delay or cancelation leaves you stranded at the airport overnight, it is open 24 hours and you can sleep there, but the only 24-hour food and drink options are coffee shops, so make sure you stock up on some snacks if you must stay. Alternatively, head over to the on-site airport Marriott Hotel right next to the main terminal building for a more comfortable night. Several local hotels also provide a complimentary on-demand shuttle service to and from the airport if you'd like to stay somewhere else.
An interesting feature of TPA Airport is the Master Plan Gallery that can be found between the main terminal and the Marriott Hotel. It illustrates the historical development of the airport alongside detailed models of its current state, as well as how it will look after a series of large-scale refurbishments and construction projects. The aim is to expand the capacity of the airport to 25 million passengers a year.
TPA Airport is located nine miles (14.5 kilometers) to the north west of downtown Tampa in Florida, USA. Tampa is found about halfway down the west coast of the Florida Peninsula, close to the I-75 and about 80 miles (128.7 kilometers) from Orlando. Located in the far south east corner of the USA, it is in a good location for flights to Central America, Europe and even Cuba; it is, in fact, one of only two airports in the country to offer flights to Cuba.
Sarasota is about 65 miles (104.6 kilometers) south of Tampa by road, along the I-75 and just past Bradenton. It takes around 1.2 hours to make the drive.
Tampa International Airport, like all airports, has a three-letter IATA code assigned to it to ensure consistent abbreviation across schedules, flight plans and baggage labeling. Tampa Airport's specific code is TPA, which simply takes three letters from the word ‘Tampa’.
Yes; you still have to smoke outside, but there are designated smoking areas and patios attached to all of the airside satellite terminals, so you can smoke post-security while you wait for your gate to open.
Yes, services like Uber and Lyft are welcome at TPA Airport and can pick up and drop off passengers in the usual designated zones outside the terminal area.
Yes, TPA is open 24 hours, but most of the concessions close overnight. Only coffee shops stay open 24 hours a day, so stock up on some snacks before close if you intend to sleep there. A more comfortable option is to stay at the on-site Marriott Hotel or take one of the free shuttles available to a different nearby hotel.
TPA originally opened in 1928 when it was called Drew Field. It closed during World War II for use by the US Army, but re-opened to the public in 1946.
Yes, free WiFi is available across the terminals, concourses and parking facilities at Tampa Airport.
Around 19 million passengers travel through Tampa International Airport every year, putting it just inside the 30 busiest airports in the USA. If you measure by land area, TPA is about 3,300 acres (1,335.5 hectares), so it is just outside the 50 largest airports in the country.
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