The Best of Arts & Entertainment in Tampa Bay
The James Museum of Western & Wildlife Art
Best New Museum
The new museum (opened in 2018) contains over 400 works of art selected from over 3,000 pieces from the collection of Tom and Mary James. The museum has over 30,000 square feet of gallery space, Native American jewelry, museum shop and cafe. The museum offers event rental space in the downtown museum.
Best Historic Movie Palace
The historic Tampa Theatre, built in 1926, has undergone recent restoration of the lobby, concession area, auditorium seating and various behind-the-scenes upgrades. Check out the New LIMELIGHT series in 2019 bringing five diverse speakers including Lou Holtz, Micho Kaku, Jenna Hager, Carl Hiaasen and Platon to share their experiences and perspectives.
Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino
Best Entertainment Under One Roof
The expansion of the casino is scheduled to be completed by mid-2019 to be one of America’s largest casinos with 5,000 slots machines and 200 gaming tables. Growing to meet area demands includes a 15-story hotel tower with 564 more rooms and suites. The new Rock Spa & Salon will offer spectacular services for relaxing and pampering and a new Italian restaurant will join the award-winning Council Oak Steaks & Seafood and The Rez Grill.
Straz Center for the Performing Arts
Best Theater for a Live Show
The crown jewel of the 2019 Broadway series at Straz is Hamilton running from Feb. 12 – March 10, 2019. For more than 30 years, Straz has provided the best programing from Broadway to Opera to artistic shows and concerts, in five theaters. Dine before a show at Maestro’s Cafe, Maestro’s Restaurant or Maestro’s On the River as a delicious way to celebrate the evening.
Tampa Museum of Art
Best Museum for Public Programs
In downtown Tampa, along the Hillsborough River and adjacent to Curtis Hixon Park,TMA offers seven interior galleries, an exterior sculpture gallery and a large LED covered portico that hosts numerous events. Enjoy a drink or light bite at the new Riverwalk Cafe. The Season of Love contains three exhibitions including the interactive Yayoi Kusama: Love is Calling on view through Feb. 14, 2019.
Best Regional Professional Theatre
Since 1977, American Stage offers programming throughout the year with the MainStage season, Spotlight Series, 21st Century Voices: New Play Festival, and Improv. Enjoy the pop-hit songs of ABBA in Mamma Mia at Demens Landing Park running April 10 – May 12, 2019.
The Florida Aquarium
Best Natural Environment Aquarium
The Florida Aquarium showcases more than 7,000 animal and plant species and helps promote stewardship of the environment. The new conservation-focused Waves of Wonder gallery opened recently. From the Wild Dolphin Cruise to the Swim & Dive experiences, this family friendly aquarium is a great place to have fun with the kids. For outside fun, kids can enjoy The Splash Pad, an outdoor water play zone.
813. 273.4000; www.flaquarium.org.
Best Non-Profit Art From Fine Craft Artists
The gallery on Central Ave. in downtown St. Petersburg in the Central Arts District, showcases more than 250 fine craft artists. There are weekly walking Mural Tours every Saturday showcasing over 30 murals in a four block area. The CraftArt Festival, a 2-day juried contemporary craft festival is held each November.
Best Local Studio & Event Space
Gallery owners, Cassie and Jake Greatens, create and bring innovative artists to the Tampa Bay area and collaborate with local venues, including the Epicurean Hotel and Armature Works.
Best Home for Community Visual & Performing Arts
For over 15 years, this art studio created by a group of passionate and creative people, have been dedicated to artists, audience and volunteers alike, to entertain and educate. Various programing includes music, song, theatre, poetry and open mic nights.
Best Multi-Event Venue
Home to the Tampa Bay Lightning, this 670,000 square foot arena hosts more than 150 events each year including national concerts, performing acts and more. In 2019, Pink, Blake Shelton, Disney on Ice are scheduled to perform.
Museum of Fine Arts
Best Art For Diverse Audiences
MFA has a world-class collection of works including Monet, Morisot, Rodin, Cezanne, Renoir and Willem de Kooning in the heart of downtown St. Petersburg, along the waterfront. The photographic collection at the Museum of Fine Arts now boasts more than 16,000 photographic items that span the history of the medium. On exhibition thru March 31, 2019 is Jewels of the Imagination Radiant Masterworks by Jean Schlumberger from the Mellon Collection.
Florida Museum of Photographic Arts
Best Museum Dedicated to Photography
Showcasing and preserving photographic art is the core of the mission at FMoPA. The exhibit Modus Operandi Contemporary Photography from the collection of BNY Mellon opens Jan. 15 – April 15, 2019. Classes from Smartphone Photography to Photography 101 are periodically held.
USF Contemporary Art Museum
Best Contemporary Art Museum in Hillsborough County
Located on the campus of USF, the museum organizes and presents exhibitions of contemporary art with The Visible Turn: Contemporary Artists Confront Political Invisibility on display from Jan. 11 – March 2, 2019. The collection includes more than 5,000 pieces of art.
Duncan McClellan Gallery
Best Local Glass Gallery
Located in the heart of the Warehouse Arts District, the gallery and outdoor spaces welcomes visitors with rotating exhibits featuring over 50 national and international glass artists. Owner, Duncan McClellan created the DMG School Project to provide educational opportunities to artists and the community.
MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre
Best Large Outside Concert Venue
Whether on the lawn or under the covered seats, some of the largest musical acts perform at the Amphitheatre from country to rock. Shows in 2019 include Ozzy Osborne, Hootie & The Blowfish and Train/Goo Goo Dolls.
The Palladium Theatre at St. Petersburg College
Best Affordable Venue for Music
In downtown St. Petersburg, the historic Palladium, hosts a variety of concerts and performances featuring genres of jazz, blues, pop, opera, Theatre, Celtic, acoustic and more. Comprised of two theaters, the Hough Hall seats 850 and The Side Door seats 175.
Zoo Tampa at Lowry Park
Best Kid Friendly Zoo
It’s a great place to take the kids to enjoy and interact with over 1,300 animals set on 56 acres in the heart of Tampa. The Zoo has animals from Asia, Africa, Australia and Florida including giraffes, zebras, elephants, manatees and more. For extra fun, enjoy select dates for Yoga in the Wild connecting people, wildlife and nature.
Ruth Eckerd Hall
Best Venue for Performing Arts in Clearwater
From seasonal favorites to musical acts, Ruth Eckerd Hall provides a variety of programming to satisfy the performing arts lovers. The Broadway series brings Legally Blonde The Musical and Rent back to the area in 2019. Comedian Ron White performs Jan. 4.
The Leepa Rattner Museum of Art
Best Modern/Contemporary Art Museum in Pinellas County
The museum has a collection of more than 6,000 works of 20th and 21st century art located on the campus of St. Petersburg College. Among the collection are works by notable artists Pablo Picasso, Marc Chagall, Fernand Léger and Henry Moore, along with the core of the collection by artists Abraham Rattner, Esther Gentle and Allen Leepa.
Best Live Outdoor Concert Venue
Often called the Skipperdome by locals, this restaurant and outdoor music venue offers a variety of live music of rock, blues, reggae and more six days a week outside under old oak trees. Closed on Mondays. Grab a bite of Floribbean cuisine and of course, the famous fried gator tail or gator chili.
Best Outdoor Music Venue in St. Pete
In downtown St. Pete, the outdoor courtyard is a fun gathering spot to watch the numerous concerts from local and emerging artists to national artists in all musical genres. The iconic venue is standing room only.
Florida Holocaust Museum
Best Living Memorial Museum
The Museum has evolved into the preeminent source of Holocaust information in the Southeastern United States and one of the foremost Holocaust institutions in the country. The museum strives to teach the importance of human life to prevent future atrocities.
The Mahaffey Theater
Best Waterfront View Theater
Along the waterfront in downtown St. Petersburg, the 2,031- seat cultural theatre offers quality programing including national and international artists and performances in Broadway, pop, rock, comedy, dance and more. Also home to the Florida Orchestra in St. Petersburg and a special performance with Seal on Feb. 9, 2019.
Salvador Dalí Museum
Best Mind Bending Arts Museum
In the heart of St. Petersburg is The Dalí Museum, which continues to grow with the help of collectors, experts and partners. The museum houses over 2,000 works comprised of oil paintings, watercolors, drawings, prints, photographs, sculptures and objets d’art. A special exhibition Magritte & Dalí, showcases over 30 works from celebrated surrealists, Rene Magritte and Dalí.
The Glazer Children’s Museum
Best Place To Explore & Dream
It is a place for kids to play with purpose in the museum located adjacent to Curtis Hixon Park in downtown Tampa. The Glazer Children’s Museum is a great place for kids to experience learning environments where they can play, discover, and connect to the world around them.
Chihully Collection-Morean Arts Center
Best Collection of Colorful Glass Art
Showcasing the works of glass artist, Dale Chihuly, the downtown St. Petersburg museum showcases stunning large-scale works including the Ruby Red Icicle Chandelier artwork. Part of Check out the art of glass blowing in a Hot Shop Demonstration or try it yourself with a Hot Shop Glass Experience.
The Attic at Rock Brothers
Best Intimate Concert Venue
Located atop Rock Brothers Brewing in Ybor City is a great venue that hosts a variety of musical acts including singer songwriters, national and regional artists and comedy performances.
Best Museum To Inspire And Uplift
A new museum in downtown St. Petersburg dedicated to Contemporary American Studio Glass. With more than 500 pieces, it represents 55 artists over 55 years. Closed on Monday, the museum is open daily with special $5 entrance on Thursdays after 5 p.m..
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