2010 Search and Social Summit in Tampa FloridaThe 2010 Search & Social Spring Summit kicks off on Monday, May 3rd to Tuesday, May 4th. Are you excited? I’m excited. I never quite understood why people skip sessions, even days of these conferences once they get there. Since #SSSS is just two days long, I really hope everyone who attends decides to get the most out of the conference and stay through all of the sessions! But, we can’t eat sleep and breath Search & Social Spring Summit the entire time we’re here. Whether you’re skipping class or finding something to do after the festivities end, there are a lot of things that will keep you entertained throughout the Tampa Bay area. Here are just a few, with driving directions from the DoubleTree Hotel where most of you will be staying.

Tampa Bay Eats & Drinks

Miguel’s Seafood & Grill is one of the best Mexican restaurants I’ve been to in the area. Inviting atmosphere, friendly staff and most importantly, excellent authentic Mexican cuisine that my wife and I can’t seem to stop craving. My favorite is the Seafood Chimichanga but she always wants the Enchiladas Del Mar, filled with crab meat and cream cheese with a delicious ranchera sauce. Directions

If you plan on making a trip to Clearwater Beach, you’ve got to stop by Frenchy’s Rockaway Grill. One of four locations on the beach, this one has always been my favorite. They serve up strong Rum Runners and a She-Crab soup that tastes just like butter. My favorite is the Conch Fritters but the Grouper Reuben is also nearly as good as the people watching. Directions

The last great restaurant on my list is Whiskey Joe’s Bar and Grill, only half a mile from the DoubleTree. They have been closed for years due to renovations but the new location is much improved. It seems like a higher-class sort of joint, but you can walk in with shorts and a T-shirt and nobody is going to look twice. Try the Beer Cheese soup or just the beer on the deck. You won’t be sorry. Directions

Tampa Night Life

When the #SSSS social events but you want to keep the party going, you’ll be pleased to find that Tampa does not lack in social spots. For decades, Historic Ybor City has been the social center of Tampa with dance clubs for virtually every musical genre and people watching like you wouldn’t believe. If you’re not sure where to start, try Centro Ybor which offers a little something for everyone. Directions

If you’re looking for something a little less… insane? Try Channelside in downtown Tampa. Here you’ll find a variety of fun places to throw back a drink, eat a nice meal or do something a little different. My personal favorites are the Channelside IMAX, Splittsville and Howl At The Moon. Piano bar + buckets of liquor = ….well… I don’t exactly remember. But it was fun. I know that much. Directions

A Little Culture?

Maybe you’ve had enough eating, drinking and general partying. Maybe you’re looking for a little culture. If so, check out the Salvador Dali Museum in St. Petersburg for a slow, quiet walk through the mind of a madman. I mean genius. I mean madman. I mean both. A great deal of Dali’s work lives in St. Petersburg in a beautiful location on the water. You can miss it, but you’ll regret it if you do. Directions

The Tampa Museum of Science and Industry, or MOSI, is another great place to get your culture into full swing. This is a great place to learn about a host of different things related to (you guessed it) science and industry and while it looks especially great for kids, I think geeks like most of us can appreciate learning new and awesome things. MOSI helps those of us from Tampa learn those new things every day. Directions

So if you must skip sessions or if you are planning a trip around the conference, don’t hesitate to check out some of the places I’ve mentioned. Let me know what you thought of them and if you happen to find any other cool things to do in the area, don’t hesitate to drop a comment so I can get in on the action.

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