March Madness, Tampa Bay-Style

Credit: Keir Magoulas

Every Minute Counts as Gasparilla Season Reaches its Peak

TAMPA BAY | How much can a single place squeeze into 31 days? Tampa Bay is about to find out as Gasparilla Season reaches its peak.

We’re leaping into action on February 29, then packing every day in March with excitement. Groove to nationally known musicians on four stages at the two-day Gasparilla Music Festival. Spend a week indulging your love of craft beer in Florida’s hub for craft brewing. Build your bracket as the NCAA Men’s Final Four basketball tournament kicks off with Rounds 1 & 2 at Amalie Arena. And show your colors beneath the rainbow flag as Tampa Pride takes to the streets of Ybor City.

Along the way, you can take a trip to the 16th Century, explore the work of famous female photographers, get the kids excited about their favorite PAW Patrol characters, and bite into Busch Gardens® Tampa Bay’s food and wine festival.

Chart your own course to adventure in Tampa Bay. Whichever way you choose, treasure awaits!

Find more adventures on our blog.

Bay Area Renaissance Festival

Through March 29

'Zounds! Step back in time when the rogues and royalty from the 16th Century claim their own corner of Tampa Bay with an amazing mix of experiences and crafts. Watch death-defying feats by acrobats. Cheer your favorite knight during the joust. Grab a turkey leg for lunch. It's a family-friendly Wayback Machine!

Gasparilla Festival of the Arts

February 29-March 1

For 50 years now, the Gasparilla Festival of the Arts has brought together artists from across the world and a multitude of media to celebrate both visual and performing arts. This year's juried festival brings you over 230 artists that will light up newly reconstructed Julian B. Lane Riverfront Park with a museum's worth of variety and works, from photography and glass art to wood sculptures, jewelry, pottery, and more. The festival runs 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday, and 10 a.m.-5 p.m.

100 Years of Art

Through May 24

Tampa Museum of Art celebrates its 100th anniversary in 2020 and for Women's History Month brings together some of the 20th Century's most famous female photographers during the exhibition Modern Women: Modern Vision. The exhibit features photographic works by photographers such as Diane Arbus, Cindy Sherman, and Great Depression documentarian Margaret Bourke-White. March also includes the Next Generation High School Art competition, featuring upcoming young local artists.

"Washed Away Project" at The Florida Aquarium

Through August

Oregon artist Angela Haseltine Pozzi was shocked at the amount of plastic waste washing up on the beaches near her home. Her solution: use it to make art that sends a message about the future of our oceans. She brings that message to Tampa Bay with an exhibit that's part of The Florida Aquarium's 25th anniversary. The show runs all summer.

PAW Patrol at Glazer Children's Museum
Through May 25

The pups of PAW Patrol bring Adventure Bay to Tampa Bay and invite their fans to join them on their missions as they explore their unique abilities, overcome challenges, and help their friends. Included with general admission.

Florida Strawberry Festival

Through March 8

Spring into Tampa Bay's sweetest festivals. The Florida Strawberry Festival celebrates Tampa Bay's position as the nation's winter strawberry source. Guests and foodies travel from all over to get their taste buds on the best strawberries picked in Tampa Bay and the best fresh tasting strawberry shortcake they’ve ever sunk their teeth into. Along with all things strawberry there are agriculture exhibits, eating contests, and top-name entertainment. The festival runs 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Gasparilla Music Festival

March 7-8

De La Soul, Brandi Carlile, and Portugal headline a roster of national and regional acts that take to stages at Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park during the Gasparilla Music Festival. Voted as "Best Festival in Tampa Bay," GMF is a non-profit organization benefiting local youth music programs and art education. Previous festival have starred The Roots, Erykah Badu, Modest Mouse, and The Flaming Lips.

Sunshine State Showdown

March 7-October 18

With WWE's WrestleMania 36 on the horizon April 5, Tampa Bay History Center gets ready to rumble by taking a long look at Tampa Bay's decades-long relationship with professional wrestling. As the hometown of many of wrestling stars past and present, Tampa Bay has a unique relationship with the sport made famous by the likes of Rowdy Roddy Piper, Nature Boy Ric Flair, Hulk Hogan, Dave Bautista, Titus O'Neil and Jinder Mahal.

Tampa Bay Beer Week

March 6-15

Beer goes with Tampa Bay like sunshine and hand-rolled cigars. Florida’s first commercial brewery opened here in 1896. Today, Tampa Bay is the home of legendary Cigar City -- ranked among the best in the world – and dozens of other fantastic breweries Tampa Bay, a collection that has earned Tampa Bay our position as Florida’s hub for all things craft beer. During Tampa Bay Beer Week, craft beer fans will find eight days of Florida's Most pint-worthy pours, tap takeovers, and more than enough unique creations, all celebrating the booming business of craft brewing in Tampa Bay. The week includes Hunahpu's Day March 13 at Amalie Arena celebrating the once-a-year release of the brewery's most sought-after beer.

Spring Training

Through March 24

Sure as the turning of the seasons (as in Hockey Season, Football Season and Baseball Season), Spring Training brings the Boys of Summer to Tampa Bay every year. Whether you're rooting for the hometown Tampa Bay Rays, the New York Yankees or another Grapefruit League team, get your scorecards ready for four more weeks in the sun. Opening day is March 26.

“Jersey Boys” at the Straz Center

March 13-15

The beloved story of four guys from New Jersey whose harmonies make them an international singing sensation comes to the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts as part of this year’s Broadway Season. Featuring legendary hits “Sherry,” “Big Girls Don’t Cry” and “December, 1963 (Oh What a Night).”

St. Patrick's Day Celebration

March 14

Put down that Cuban sandwich (just this once) and pick up some corned beef and cabbage. Tampa Bay wears the green as a WalletHub Top 10 cities to celebrate St. Paddy's Day -- from the Hillsborough River (dyed with environmentally safe coloring) to the Irish bars along Howard Avenue. This year, we'll have an extra touch of Blarney beneath the thatched roof of the Four Green Fields Irish pub at Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park in the heart of downtown. Join a piece of authentic Tampa Bay history with the Rough Riders St. Patrick's Day parade down Seventh Avenue in Ybor City.

Mens Final Four Rounds 1 & 2

March 19-21

Actual March Madness takes hold in Tampa Bay as the road to the NCAA Men's Final Four starts at Tampa Bay's Amalie Arena. Eight college basketball teams (you'll know who on Selection Sunday, March 15) converge on Florida's west coast to challenge each other in the first two rounds of the championship. The teams that survive will make move on to the Sweet Sixteen. Who's on your bracket?

Valspar Championship

March 19-22

The PGA Tour takes on the world-famous Copperhead Course at Tampa Bay's Innisbrook Resort for three days of tournament play and a $6.5 million purse. Who will follow last year's winner Paul Casey's trip to the top of the leader board?

Gasparilla International Film Festival

March 17-22

Film lovers and film stars mingle at the Gasparilla International Film Festival (GIFF), one of Tampa Bay’s largest film festivals. GIFF hosts thousands of filmmakers, producers and premiere film screenings right in the center of Ybor City. The festival puts the art, education and business of film at your fingertips. Now's your chance to meet stars and stars-to-be from the Tampa Bay film industry.

Tampa Pride

March 28

Conquer Tampa Bay with PRIDE when one of the nation's first LGBT pride festivals of the year kicks off in historic Ybor City. The family-friendly parade begins at 9 a.m. and travels down Seventh Avenue, then becomes a neighborhood-wide party, with music, food and fund. Keep the party going as night falls at the many bars and businesses along Seventh Avenue.

Cuban Sandwich Festival

March 28-29

Tampa Bay or Miami? Miami or Tampa Bay? When it comes to the Cuban sandwich, the friendly rivalry is intense and well-established. It comes to a head each year in Ybor City with when chefs from across Florida and around the world put their best Cubans forward for the judges. History tells us the Cuban sandwich was invented in the 1890s in Ybor City to feed thousands of Cuban workers who made Tampa Bay the Cigar Capital of the World. Since then, the Cuban sandwich has traveled the world, taking on new dimensions along the way. It even inspired the Tampa Sandwich Bar in South Korea!

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