Hyde Park in South Tampa should be a destination for locals + visitors alike. With its historic districts (read: AMAZING homes), restaurants, and boutiques, it is easy to spend an entire afternoon here.
I’d recommend visiting on the first Sunday of each month. Hyde Park Village, an upscale outdoor shopping area, hosts a Fresh Market from 10am – 3pm. It is the perfect combination of street vendors, food trucks, upscale shopping, local boutiques, and live entertainment.
The Fresh Market includes vendors from all over Central Florida. It’s easiest to get the lay of the land from the center of the Village. Just follow the sound of live music, and you will find it. From here, you can easily gather that food is to the left and other goods are to the right.
And when I say food, I don’t mean just any food. You’ll find some of the most unusual and delicious foods in Tampa. From coconut water served in coconuts to fresh popsicles, there are plenty of options to beat the heat. If heat is what you’re after, check of The Cheese Lodge station or the Briarwood Farm Herbs station for a good kick! Of course, there are also opportunities to pick up some fruits and veggies – organic, home-grown, chemical free – pretty much anything you can imagine.
If you’re looking forward to picking up gifts for yourself, friends, or family, the Fresh Market is the place to go for organic/natural selections. If your friends are in the market for handmade, organic soaps + you’re in the mood to lay down some cash, you’re going to do great! Textiles, olive oils, and lotions are around each corner. My favorite spots are the cigar + local photography stations. Both vendors love to chat and lay some knowledge on you, so go in with an open mind. You may just get a few bucks off the price if you’re friendly!
When it gets just too hot (which it will), head on in to some of the local boutiques. My favorites are Downtown Dogs and Navy. Downtown Dogs has more leashes and collars in one location than I have ever seen. If you have an overweight Pomeranian who loves his toy moose but has an edge, I feel pretty confident you can find a large toy dog collar with animated moose and spikes. Just saying.
Navy on the other hand, has a small but meaningful selection. If you can’t find a gift for your favorite ladies outside, you’ll find something here. Jewelry, Ban.do, and stationery round out the shoe boutique’s collection. I’ve had my eye on this LoLo Sunnies Sunglass Case for a while. Perfect to throw in your bag and hit the beach!
While overall I would give the Hyde Park Village Fresh Market high marks, there is one red flag that can easily put a damper on your adventure : PARKING. Granted, I am particular about where I park my car. However, you would think that with 3 parking lots, it would be a breeze to find a spot. Not the case. The parking spots are ridiculously small, causing many patrons to take two spots and start this odd chain reaction of zig-zag, self-imposed parking rules.
So here’s my advice to you:
1. Eat something (anything!) + listen to some tunes. It’s some of the best people/animal watching around. I saw a dog wearing tye dye jeans, tennis shoes, and a visor.
2. Talk to the vendors. You will learn so much more about the community around you. You really appreciate small business owners and their passion so much more.
3. Get there early! Beat the heat, and get in and out before the parking garages turn into a mad house. You’ll also get the pick of the fresh produce litter.
Hope to see you at the next Fresh Market on September 7th!
Cheers + Sunshine,