Tampa Bay Area Trivia

Here are some interesting tidbits about the Tampa Bay area that you probably didn't know.

Ybor City, a historic downtown Tampa neighborhood founded in the late 1800’s by cigar manufacturers and known for its’ cigar factories, is known as the “cigar capital of the world,” and thus, has been given the nickname of “Cigar City.” In 1929, the factory at Ybor City rolled approximately 500 million stogies.

Ybor City, or "Cigar City" has a long history of strange paranormal happenings and is considered to be one of the most haunted towns in America. It was once referred to as the “damnedest town this side of Hell.’ The area offers a number of ghost tours, including one that is frequently rated amongst the best in the country. Ybor’s Cuban Club was voted “One of the Top 10 Most Haunted Places in the U.S.” by the Travel Channel.

Port Tampa Bay is the largest port in Florida. It’s the closest full service port to the Panama Canal. It also happens to be one of the top cruise ports in the US with 4 cruise lines homeporting here including Carnival Cruise Lines, Holland America, Royal Caribbean International and Norwegian Cruise Line. 

On average, Tampa Bay is only 12 feet deep. Because it is so shallow, manmade shipping channels have been dredged to allow large ships safe passage to the Port of Tampa and other bay harbors. The largest of these, the main shipping channel, is 43 feet deep and 40 miles long.

The Port of Tampa consistently ranks among the top 10 ports nationwide in trade activity. It contributes billions annually to the region's economy.

Babe Ruth’s longest home run was hit at the old Plant Field baseball stadium in downtown Tampa. In April 1919, during a spring training game of the Red Sox vs. the NY Giants, the baseball legend hit a record breaking 587 foot homer.

Tampa is home to the highest percentages of Greeks in any American city. If you are looking to try out some great Greek food in the Tampa area, Tarpon Springs is definitely the place to be. The Greektown Historic District is a lovely little place to take a stroll. For excellent Greek food with a fantastic view, check out Dimitri’s on the Water.

It took the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 25 years to return a kickoff for a touchdown.

Tampa is known to be the lighting capital of the world. “Lightning Alley”, an interesting nickname given to the region between Tampa and Orlando, sees more than 50 lightening strikes per square mile – more than anywhere else in the country.

Florida averages more than 10 deaths per year from lightning strikes. On an interesting note, only 10% of those struck by lightning die and men account for 80% of all lightning deaths.

Tampa Bay is the largest open-water estuary in Florida, encompassing nearly 400 square miles and bordering three counties -- Hillsborough, Manatee and Pinellas. The bay's sprawling watershed covers a land area nearly five times as large, at 2,200 square miles.

Mangrove-blanketed islands in Tampa Bay support the most diverse colonial waterbird nesting colonies in North America, annually hosting 40,000 pairs of 25 different species of birds, from the familiar white ibis and great blue heron to the regal reddish egret -- the rarest heron in the nation.

Conde Nast Travel voted Tampa International Airport the 7th best airport in the world.

Tampa is home to the oldest restaurant in the state of Florida and the largest Spanish restaurant in the world. The Columbia Restaurant opened in 1905 and encompasses an entire city-block with its 11 rooms and 1,660 seats.

The title to a park in Ybor City, the Parque Amigos de Marti, is owned by the Cuban government. The park contains soil from each of the provinces of Cuba and houses a statue of Jose Marti.

Bern's Steak House in Tampa has the largest working wine cellar in the world.

So there you have it!