Your Tampa Playbook for the CFP National Championship

AKA all the moves you need to make to guarantee a winning weekend full of food, fireworks, and all things (not) football.

AT&T PLAYOFF PLAYLIST LIVE: Just…wow. As a local, I’ve been to festivals/concerts at Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park numerous times. Some of my experiences have been better than others. This park is such an awesome location that it sometimes can’t handle the demand that it naturally brings. Last night proved me wrong–the event was flawless, which is saying a lot considering that it rained. Here are a few things to know before going in…

  • Admission to the park/concerts are free
  • Metal detection is required upon entry. This was a great addition that reassured me about safety, in addition to the presence of police to assist with crowd control
  • No outside drinks are allowed in
  • …and Heineken + Dos Equis are the only alcoholic drinks sold inside (meh)
  • FREE CHICK-FIL-A
  • Yup. ^
  • Nearby parking is sparce. Bring your walking shoes and use the Riverwalk (Ulele/Waterworks Park area had plenty of spots when I went).
  • Shows start at 6:00 PM, leading up to headliner Flo-Rida (Saturday) and Usher (Sunday).
  • Fireworks!! Every night. On Sunday, the fireworks location will change from Curtis Hixon to Tampa Convention Center. Word on the street is that Jose Gaspar’s cannons may even make a special appearance.

PLAYOFF FAN CENTRAL: Located in the Tampa Convention Center, this event takes place Friday – Sunday and is open to the public. CFP has taken over inside with interactive games, appearances from the spirit squads, mini pep rallies, and lots of sponsor activities. Tickets are $8 in advance and can be purchased here. This place was PACKED, so it’s best to get in line prior to the official opening.

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TASTE OF THE CHAMPIONSHIP: So you didn’t get a ticket to the event… Save your $250 and spend it at the participating restaurants this weekend. Below are the must go’s:

  • The Columbia Restaurant–when in Tampa, you definitely make sure to go here. With mafia roots and tableside sangria, you won’t be disappointed with this 1905 establishment.
  • Datz–comfort food meets the foodie. Be sure to stop at Dough after, their bakery next door.
  • Ulele–as part of the Columbia Restaurant Group, this place is another Tampa gem. This place hasn’t gotten off of a wait since it opened in 2012, so be sure to go on OpenTable and make a reservation prior to coming in. Ask for a “Riverwalk Cup” and take your drink to-go as you walk to Curtis Hixon.
  • Bern’s Steak House–known for having the largest “private wine collection in the world”. Don’t feel like spending it all in one place? Go to dinner elsewhere and come to Bern’s solely for the Harry Waugh Dessert Room (located upstairs).
  • Goody Goody Burgers–the Columbia Restaurant group can do no wrong. Goody Goody was born in Tampa in 1925, and came back to life in 2016. Save room for a pie after you have the famous P.O.X. burger.

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CHAMPIONSHIP TAILGATE: Contrary to most tailgates, this one is not free to the general public. You must present a ticket prior to entering the tailgate area (open from noon – 6:30 PM).

On and off the field, this weekend is sure to be incredible for Tigers, The Tide, and everyone in between. Tag @allthingstampa in your Instagram posts if you make it out to some of these amazing events!

-TM

 

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