Experience one of the most unique areas of Tampa and learn about the rich history of the cigar capital of the world by visiting the Ybor City Museum State Park. This state park is unusual as most of it is inside, so it is the perfect park to visit on a rainy day.
Ybor City Museum State Park – The Basics
- Address: 1818 E 9th Avenue Tampa, Florida 33605
- Driving distance from select Florida cities
- St. Petersburg: 30 minutes
- Orlando: 1.5 hours
- Jacksonville: 3 hours
- Miami: 4.5 hours
- Hours: 9 AM to 5 PM Wednesday through Sunday
- Entrance fee: $4 per person, age 6 years or older
- Exact change or credit cards accepted
- Activities: Tours, historic site, interpretive exhibits, museum, garden
- Parking: There are several paid parking lots or street parking around the museum. Additionally, the Centro Ybor Garage is a 10-minute walk from the museum.
- Pets are not allowed
How did Ybor City become the Cigar Capital of the World?
Visiting the museum will give you the most complete history of Ybor City. However, some brief details are below.
Ybor City became known as the cigar capital of the world thanks to Don Vicente Martinez Ybor who built the largest cigar factory in the world. Immigrants flooded the city for employment opportunities as the factory was able to employ over 4,000 people. Unfortunately, with the great depression and the rise of cigarettes, cigars became less popular over time.
Cigar Factory Tour
Today, there is one remaining cigar factory that you can tour, the JC Newman Factory. The cigar factory is located about a 15-minute walk from the museum. The address is 2701 N. 16th St. Tampa, FL 33605 and is open from 9 AM to 5:30 PM Monday through Friday. Tours are usually offered daily with some exceptions, but if you plan to visit you will want to reserve your ticket in advance as these often sell out.
More information can be found here.
What is there to do at the Ybor City Museum State Park?
The museum is inside the historic Ferlita Bakery which was rebuilt in 1923. Towards the back of the museum there are displays with information about the bakery and the original ovens in the bakery. The bakery used to produce over 5,000 loaves of bread daily.
There are several things to do in the Ybor City Museum State Park. You can plan to spend anywhere from 1 to 2 hours up to half a day depending on how much time you spend reviewing the interpretive displays. However, you can easily spend a full day exploring all that Ybor City has to offer.
Watch an informational video on the history of Ybor City
There is a TV and seating area in the front of the museum which is utilized to play an informational video on the history of Ybor City. The video is approximately 20 minutes, and on my visit the park ranger announced to visitors before he restarted the video so you can watch it in its entirety.
Walk through the museum’s interpretive exhibits
There are several informational displays that provide information on the history of Ybor City. Information on the following topics and more can be discovered during your visit.
- Immigrants who flooded to Tampa, Florida to work in the cigar factories
- Process of tobacco coming from Cuba to Tampa
- Steps to making a cigar
- History of Ferlita Bakery
If you are up for a challenge, there is even a scavenger hunt available at the front desk to fill out as you tour the museum.
Guided Tour of La Casita
La Casita is a restored cigar worker’s house from the 20th century. Guided tours are currently unavailable at the time of this publication.
Visit the Garden at Ybor City Museum
Directly outside of the museum is a Mediterranean-style garden and patio. There is a sculpture of Don Vicente Martinez Ybor, a fountain, and several patio tables where you can enjoy a picnic lunch. The area is partially shaded. Additionally, the restrooms are located outside in the garden area.
If you are interested in hosting a wedding or other special event in the gardens the area can be rented for $1,500. Contact the Ybor City Museum Society for additional information at 813-247-1434.
Other Parks to Visit in Ybor City
While you are visiting Ybor City there are two other small urban parks you can consider visiting.
This is a 2.5-acre urban park located right across the street from the museum. The address is 1800 E. 8th Ave. Tampa, Florida 33605. The park is mostly sunny and has a few benches that are partially shaded by trees. The park is open from dawn to dusk daily and is mostly concrete with a few small grassy areas with trees. While you are there you will likely spot a famous rooster which is known for roaming the streets of Ybor.
Parque De Jose Marti
This urban park is about a 10-minute walk from the museum and is 0.14-acre. It is very small, but honors the Cuban national hero, Jose Marti. There is a statue of Jose Marti and a plaque honoring La Casa De Pedroso where Jose Marit found respite. Additionally, in the park there is a small, shaded area at the back of the park with benches to relax on.
Other things to do in Ybor City
You can spend an entire day visiting historic Ybor City. It is a fun place to visit and there are many great restaurants, bars, and breweries along 7th avenue. One of the most historic restaurants to visit is the Columbia Restaurant. Reservations are recommended!
Coffee Shops: The Blind Tiger Café, Foundation Coffee Company
Drinks: Big Easy Bar, Gaspar’s Grotto, Ybor City Wine Bar, or Double Decker if you are in the mood for karaoke
Breweries: Zydeco Brew Werks, Rock Brother’s Brewing, Tampa Bay Brewing Company, Coppertail Brewing Company
Restaurants: Sunday’s Delicatessen, The Bricks, James Joyce Irish Pub & Eatery, Columbia Restaurant, Due Amici Pizza & Pasta Bar, Samauri Blue Sushi & Sake Bar, and The Stone Soup Company
Dessert: Chill Bros Scoop Shop, Mayday Ice Cream Centro Ybor
Looking for other Florida State Parks to visit near Tampa?
Check out these posts below:
- Hillsborough River State Park
- Alafia River State Park
- Little Manatee River State Park
- Honeymoon Island State Park
- Werner-Boyce Salt Springs State Park
The information above was accurate at the time of publishing to the best of the author’s knowledge. Information will be verified and updated periodically. If you are planning to visit Ybor City Museum State Park, I recommend verifying the most current information with the Florida State Park website.