Hotels Near the Tampa Convention Center – 11 Options Within Walking Distance

Tampa, Florida is not one of the biggest convention markets by a long shot, but it’s one of the most pleasant. That’s because it looks like the photo below more days than not, with this Sail Pavilion bar right on the bay outside where you just had your meetings. To the left is the Marriott and a JW Marriott, across the bridge is a Westin on an island, and an Embassy Suites is connected by a walkway. There are plenty of nice hotels near the Tampa Convention Center just a few blocks further.

hotels walking distance to Tampa Convention Center

The Tampa Convention center is in the heart of the city, but there’s a bonus to this location: it’s also walking distance to the cruise ship harbor. So you could come here for a convention, then have fun embarking on a 3-day cruise when the meetings are done.

If you head down the riverside pedestrian and bike thoroughfare, you’ll hit the Tampa Riverwalk Hotel (formerly a Sheraton) and Aloft Hotel right past it. If you keep walking on that you’ll hit the Armature Works, where there’s a European-style upscale food court and outdoor sitting areas.

Sometimes there’s a strange mix of people milling around from one week to the next, like military contractors, then weight loss multi-level marketers, then hundreds of orthodontists. The city even hosted the Republican Convention the year Mitt Romney got nominated and lost to Obama.

We’ve got details on where to stay near the Tampa Convention center in detail, but if you’re in a hurry, see the map below for prices of places to stay for your next Tampa convention, concert, or Lightning hockey game. You can click on any entry on the map to book. (You’ll also see Tampa vacation rentals on there too that are nearby.)

 

Hotels Right by the Tampa Convention Center

The largest and most dominant hotel near the convention center is the Tampa Marriott Water Street with a marina out front. It has 719 rooms and is the largest in the area, beloved by business road warrior types who want to rack up their loyalty points without any surprises from one hotel to the next. See our first-person review from me, the editor of Hotel Scoop, at that link above.

Tampa Marriott lobby

This is the best bet if you want a big corporate hotel in a terrific location and you’ve got an expense account for those drinks on the deck or by the nice swimming pool that’s a few levels up. Check info and rates at Hotels.com.

Two new Marriott properties have wedged in a hockey puck hit away though. First came the JW Marriott Tampa Marriott Water Street. It’s a narrow high-rise of 529 rooms distributed over 26 floors and it has some of the most attractive public areas in all of Tampa.

The highlight is the roof deck with a restaurant, outdoor lounge area, and swimming pool. It’s worth booking a reservation up here even if you’re not staying just to have a look around. 

JW Marriot Tampa Water Street by the convention center

There’s also another restaurant and a lobby lounge on the ground floor where check-in is, then escalators lead up to a variety of meeting rooms. Since the guest rooms here are some of the newest in town, from a luxury hotel brand at that, they’re tricked out with a long list of amenities, fast internet, and plenty of places to recharge. There are at least nine different categories to choose from, including some suite ones. See more and make a booking here

That property had a brief run as the newest in the area, but then Edition Tampa opened up at the end of 2022 and took the crown (for now). It’s directly across from the Amelie Arena where the Tampa Lightning (also known as Bolts) face off at home. That’s also the main venue for big-name concerts, so Edition Tampa is as close as you can get to the entrance for those.

It’s about a 7-minute walk from the convention center to the Edition Tampa and the trolley goes by here if it’s a hot day. See more info here

Also nearby and part of the same Marriott brand umbrella is Westin Tampa Harbour Island, which is a short walk across a bridge from the convention center. Most rooms have great views of the water and downtown, plus the outdoor pool by the water gives it a nice resort feel. Marriott points, “Heavenly beds,” and great bathrooms make guests happy. Plus there are two hopping restaurants and bars also on the water, as well as a Starbucks in the building. 

Embassy Suites Tampa Convention Center

Embassy Suites Tampa is about as close as you can get to the Tampa Convention center without sleeping in your trade show booth. This hotel has its own walkway over to the center, so late-sleeping delegates visiting Tampa for a conference will certainly appreciate the proximity.

Embassy Suites fans know that there’s a complimentary happy hour each evening with drinks and snacks, so you can make a beeline there after a day on the trade show floor before you even get to your room. This brand is affiliated with Hilton, so it’s a welcome alternative to the Marriott domination in this city. 

Book it direct with Hilton.

Hotels About a Ten-Minute Walk From Tampa Convention Center

Sheraton Riverwalk Hotel near the Tampa Convention Center

For those who could use a little more exercise, Tampa Riverwalk Hotel is less than a ten-minute stroll away. It’s family-friendly and pet-friendly too. It has a great bar and pool area facing the Hillsborough River, a good brunch on weekends, and is close to events in the park or at the Straz Center. This one is usually priced a bit lower than the others in the area. 

Next to it on the river is Aloft Tampa Downtown. Follow this link for a detailed review from one of our correspondents. This one has a more contemporary decor than some of the others and a great indoor/outdoor bar overlooking the Riverwalk and the University of Tampa’s unique architecture lit up at night. (The university was originally a hotel built by Henry Plant, the railroad tycoon.) 

The Hilton Tampa is in the same area but is a block from the river. If you’ve stayed at another Hilton, you know what to expect. Views aren’t as good unless you’re on a high floor, but it’s a solid place to stay. See more info at the Hilton site

All of these above are close to the art museum, children’s museum, and a great riverside playground. There’s an open park with fountains the kids can play in and sometimes there are concerts here. 

Tampa Hotels a 15-Minute Walk From the Conference Center

Le Meridien Tampa downtown hotel in FloridaThe other major downtown Tampa chain hotel is about a 15-minute walk from the convention center, so it’s a better bet for those who love to walk than people with mobility issues. Or those who don’t mind taking a taxi/Uber/Lyft. The Le Meridien Tampa Downtown has the most character of any of the chain properties, however, housed in a historic former courthouse building. It’ll still earn you Marriott points though. See our detailed Le Meridien Tampa review here.

About the same distance walking is Hyatt Place Downtown Tampa, which is located near one end of the streetcar route (see below) and close to a lot of good dining and drinking options. This is your best bet if your loyalty points program of choice is Hyatt’s. See more info here

The former Floridian Hotel wasn’t really worth recommending before, but this historic property got a major revamp and is now Hotel Flor, a Tapestry by Hilton Hotel. It’s a 15-minute straight shot walk from here, but a 3-minute cab ride will get you across downtown if it’s too hot. It’s close to the historic Tampa Theater and multiple places to eat and drink.

On the Streetcar Line: Ybor City

The “work hard, play hard” crowd may want to take advantage of the cool Tampa Streetcar system and stay in Ybor City instead. This is Tampa’s prime nightlife district, with blocks of bars, dance clubs, restaurants, and a couple brewpubs—all in a historic zone once occupied by cigar rolling factories employing Cuban immigrants.

You can often find good rates at the Hilton Garden Inn. The boutique hotel choice is Hotel Haya. Between Ybor and downtown, but on the streetcar line, is a Hilton property Hampton Inn & Suites.

When you’re done with work, spend some more time in Tampa, Clearwater Beach, and St. Petersburg Beach.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Which hotel loyalty points can you earn while staying near the Tampa Convention Center?

Marriott is the dominant hotel chain in Tampa, with seven of the hotels profiled above awarding Marriott Bonvoy points or letting you cash them in. The next-best bet is Hilton, with a namesake hotel, an Embassy Suites, and two options in Ybor City at the end of the trolley line. Or there’s Hotel Flor, a Tapestry Collection Hotel.

Which hotels near the convention center have the best swimming pool?

The Marriott Water Street, JW Marriott, and Westin all have a sizable pool with a nice sundeck and a pool. The Sheraton and Aloft each have a pool overlooking the river. The pool at the new Edition Hotel has a so-so view, but it’s bigger than some of the others, with plenty of deck chairs. 

Which of these Tampa hotels includes breakfast in the rates?

Unfortunately, the choices are slim on downtown hotels that include breakfast. If that’s high on your list, book at the Embassy Suites, Hyatt Place Downtown, or the Hilton Garden Inn on the streetcar line in Ybor City. If you don’t mind a longer walk or a short cab ride, the Residence Inn Tampa Downtown is further up the Riverwalk. Book it here

Former Tampa resident Tim Leffel is the author of four travel books, including Make Your Travel Dollars Worth a Fortune, and is frequently quoted in the media as a value travel destinations expert. All photos by Leffel, who lived in Downtown Tampa for several years, walking distance to all of these properties. Article posted in March of 2024. 

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