Ultimate Guide to Experiencing Culture in the greater Tampa area on a Budget
Culture is an essential part of the human experience. It's what makes us who we are, and it's what connects us. Whether through art, music, food, or language, culture allows us to express ourselves, share our stories, and learn about the world.
But experiencing culture outside of our daily lives can be, realistically, expensive. From tickets to food to any fun item that's interesting enough to bring home. For those who don't necessarily have the means to pick and choose any event to attend, let alone multiple happenings, getting to experience culture can be tricky. That's where CultureOwl's Ultimate Guide comes in! This guide was designed to help you explore your city–or one you're visiting–and appreciate different events in a budget-friendly way.
With these tips on finding free or price-friendly experiences, sticking to a budget while out, and walking away with relatively cheap personal mementos, experiencing culture should be a more enjoyable experience! Feel free to share with CultureOwl on any of our social media profiles by tagging us.
Unfortunately, culture can get pricy fast depending on the sites or events you set your heart on. This can hold many of us up from experiencing some pretty cool experiences. However, there are some ways to budget for cultural events without breaking the bank. Here are some tips:
Research free events
Many museum exhibits, concerts, and other venues or groups offer free admission on certain days. Do your research, find out when these events are, and plan your visits accordingly. Check out CultureOwl's event calendar for free & cheap happenings in the Tampa/St. Pete area.
Look for discounts
Check websites for discounts on cultural events. You can also check with your local library or community center to see if they offer discounted tickets.
Buy in advance
If you know you will attend something, buy your tickets early. Often, tickets are cheaper or offer a payment plan when purchased beforehand.
Attend matinee performances
Matinee performances are usually cheaper than evening performances. If you can go during the day, you can save money on ticket prices.
Bring your own food and drinks
If the cultural event allows it, bring your own snacks instead of buying them at the venue. This trick can save you a lot.
Carpool or take public transportation
If the cultural event is not within walking distance, consider carpooling with friends or taking public transit instead of driving and paying for parking.
Some cultural events offer free admission to volunteers who help out with the event. Check with the organizers to see if they have any volunteer opportunities available.
Following these tips, you can budget for cultural events without sacrificing the experience. All of these may not work for everyone or every occasion, but do what's best for you and those joining in on the day.
Now that we've discussed ways to access culture at a friendly price point, it's time to look for your interests! First, think about what you are looking for in an experience. Are you looking for something more casual, adventurous, or unique? What environment are you looking to for an event–indoors, outdoors? Would you want to share this experience or do something solo? Once you know what kind of activity you're looking for and who'll be participating, it'll be easier to find something that fits your taste.
Determining what you're looking for will help you search with fewer distractions. The more specific your wants, too, will prove beneficial. Of course, if you're open to different opportunities–go for those too! Opt for what really excites you, whether it's something familiar or not. Either way, you didn't spend too much money to be there.
A great way to work around the gift shop or merch table is to buy a disposable camera beforehand and snap pics throughout your time there--if allowed. It's not necessarily as 'cool' as the modern art oven mitts or a vinyl by your favorite artist, but it's a great way to keep the memory of the day. A cellphone camera also works well, whether adding the pictures to a desktop or printing them--either avenue results in tangible touchpoints from the experience you shared.
Free Events in Tampa/St. Pete
Many tools and resources exist to find free events in any city worldwide. CultureOwl's search engine is a great place to check out if you're here in Florida or traveling to Georgia. Check out CultureOwl's event page for upcoming happenings for free or discounted days. Our page continuously adds cultural events as they get announced, so continue to check the calendar out! A few of the upcoming dates that we're pretty excited about and budget-friendly are:
Second Saturday at Towles Court Art Center
The second Saturday of each month, Towles
The art center opens its doors to the public every second Saturday of the month from 11 am to 3 pm for their 11 artists to discuss their process and current projects with anyone. Whether in a group setting or one-on-one, it's a great afternoon filled with creative conversation. Completely free to the public, and Baby Bries Cafe will serve light refreshments. To read more, check the Towles Court Art Center webpage.
Eckerd College's International Cinema Series
Multiple showings per month, Dan and Mary Miller Auditorium-Eckerd College
Eckerd College's international cinema series showcases acclaimed independent and international films alike to the public multiple times a month. The series is free and shows mostly current titles, but Eckerd College has also played host to small film festivals--most recently an Environmental Film Festival. Check out the full schedule here or on their Facebook page. Showings typically start at 7 pm.
Multiple events happening throughout the month, Tampa Riverwalk
A staple of Tampa's city life, the Riverwalk is an essential cultural hub for the locals. With various activities ranging from special annual events to regularly occurring activities, there's a little something for everyone at the Riverwalk. Take a look at their calendar to find something that works for you: Tampa Riverwalk's calendar.
Experiencing culture on a budget does take a bit of planning and work, but once you have a plan in action, enjoy it! Cultural events have a binding element that is special to the attendees as a group experience. It is also so unique to the medium of choice. Getting to participate on a budget makes that bond an even more prevalent connection. Continue to look ahead for events to check out by yourself or with friends and family, and keep CultureOwl's tricks in your back pocket. These tips can help you experience your city or any new place you may travel to!