Ybor City, located in Tampa, Florida, is a vibrant and historic neighborhood known for its rich cultural heritage and lively atmosphere.
One of my favorite activities with couples is organizing a pre or post-wedding day session to capture their wedding celebration weekend in a more laid-back setting. After our editorial wedding at Hotel Haya in Ybor, J & T explored Ybor with me. I wanted to share how much fun one of these sessions is, plus show off a little of the Ybor City charm.
The first part of our session was the quiet time before the editorial, where J + T hung out in their room at Hotel Haya. They shared coffee, read together, and were playful. I cannot get over these two together, they share the best bond and so joyful even just in the quiet moments. Pretty sure my cheeks were hurting from smiling before we even headed down to the café!
After a quiet morning in the room we headed down to the cutest café right on the property at Hotel Haya, Café Quiquiriqui. J + T shared coffee and chatted for a few before they changed and we headed out into the neighborhood.
Ybor City boasts a rich history deeply intertwined with the cigar industry and immigrant culture. Founded in the 1880s by Vicente Martinez-Ybor, a prominent cigar manufacturer, the neighborhood became a hub for cigar production, attracting thousands of immigrants from Spain, Cuba, and Italy. The historic brick buildings and charming streetscapes still bear the mark of this influential past, transporting visitors to a bygone era.
As we explored Ybor City we saw just a few of the landmarks the area boasts. The Ybor City Museum State Park is an excellent starting point if you’re visiting, providing insight into the area’s history. The Cuban Club, an iconic building constructed in 1917, showcases elaborate Moorish-style architecture and hosts various cultural events.
When the sun sets in Ybor City, the neighborhood truly comes alive. We didn’t stay out after dark for this session, but if you’re visiting the area (and a nightlife person) it’s worth it. The historic Seventh Avenue, often referred to as “Cigar City’s main street,” offers an array of bars, clubs, and live music venues.
The neighborhood is renowned for its diverse gastronomic offerings, from traditional Cuban dishes to fusion cuisines. After J + T’s editorial I actually went over to the iconic Columbia Restaurant with my friend (who designed the editorial) and we indulged in flavorful tapas and delicious entrées. There was also fabulous food at Hotel Haya itself, so make sure and give yourself plenty of time.
Wandering through the streets of Ybor City, J + T and I saw a few of the hidden gems that make this neighborhood truly special. From boutique shops and vintage stores to quaint cafes and charming bookstores, every corner offered a new and exciting experience. We meandered through the historic brick streets, rode the trolley, and absorbed the vibrant ambiance and the captivating sights and sounds of Ybor City.
With its unique blend of history, culture, and charm, Ybor City has become a sought-after wedding destination. Couples seeking an unconventional and enchanting setting for their special day are drawn to the neighborhood’s distinctive character. The ornate venues, picturesque backdrops, and the area’s vibrant atmosphere create a memorable backdrop for wedding celebrations.