Downtown Tampa has a ton of incredible history to discover and this tour will guide you through much of that, but the highlight and focus of this tour is to dive deep into Tampa’s fascinating black history! Most people, unfortunately, don’t know this, but some of the coolest histories in the city took place right along Central Avenue- a thriving black business district that ultimately fell to its demise in the late 1970s. With names like Ray Charles, MLK Jr., Nat King Cole, and so many more that played a role in Tampa’s history, it’s a tour you definitely don’t want to miss!
Departing from Curtis Hixon Park in the heart of Downtown Tampa, this tour kicks off with an overall history lesson on Tampa as there’s so much to see in all directions from this specific location. From there your guide will head into downtown away from the water, jogging by several of the key locations mentioned in the initial history lesson such as Old City Hall, The Floridan Hotel and The Tampa Theatre. This also takes us to the old Five & Dime district, where the Woolworth Sit-in took place and where runners will learn all about the ‘Tampa Technique’.
As we make our way east of the city, we’ll stop by St. Paul AME church- a beautiful and very historic building in the city with a lot of cool former guests such as MLK Jr., Reverend Jesse Jackson, and even Bill Clinton stopped in to speak here. Passing by Oaklawn Cemetery we arrive at the highlight of the tour- HISTORIC CENTRAL AVENUE. Here your guide will take you on a jaunt all around Perry Harvey Park where you’ll learn all about how this area (known as “The Scrub”) became such a happening place! Running through oversized statues doing the twist by the jukebox and a real-life replica of Central Avenue with the perfect view of the city at the end are just a few of the highlights in this area. From here we’ll head to our last official stop- the Jackson House. The Jackson House is not in great condition right now, but it’s a must-see due to the history behind those walls. Built-in 1901, the Jackson Rooming house played host to names like Ray Charles, Ella Fitzgerald, and so many more, as this was one of the only places where black people could rent a room at that time. Once we wrap up here, we will make our way back into the city, and ultimately back to where it all started – Fort Brooke.
If you’ve ever wanted to know a little more about Tampa’s black history, while also getting the best of Tampa’s history and sights downtown, this tour is a must! You’ll get more ‘per K’ on this 5K tour than any other tour that we currently offer, so I definitely recommend checking this one out!