Emily’s Weekend Getaway to Grandma’s – Part 1

Disclosure: We get a commission for links on the blog. You don’t have to use our links, but we’re very grateful when you do. American Express, Barclaycard, Capital One, Chase, and US Bank are Million Mile Secrets advertising partners. Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or endorsed by our partners. Here’s our Advertiser Disclosure.

Don’t forget to follow me on  Facebook or Twitter!

Emily:  I love being able to use our miles and points to see family and friends!  A few weeks ago, I used Southwest points to book a non-stop flight to Tampa.  My grandmother, Vena, lives near Tampa, so I was excited to spend the weekend with her.  My mom was also visiting, so I got the bonus of seeing both of them!

Tampa Trip Report

Say Cheese!

Ideally, I would have used Daraius’ Companion Pass to travel for free, but he was off on his own adventure, so he couldn’t make it.

On Friday evening, I left work for the evening flight.  I got in to Tampa at 11 pm, and picked up my rental car at Avis, which Daraius booked through the Chase Ultimate Rewards mall.  Unfortunately, Avis only had minivans left, so I was stuck with one.  This was my first time driving a minivan!

Tampa Trip Report

My Minivan for the Weekend!

The next morning, we went for breakfast to Panera.

Tampa Trip Report

Breakfast Time

Vena got a Spinach & Bacon souffle, I got an Asiago Bagel Breakfast Sandwich, and my mom got a Sausage, Egg & Cheese sandwich on ciabatta bread.

Tampa Trip Report


I had planned two surprises for them that day, and they had no idea where I was taking them!

Surprise #1 – Tampa Theatre

Tampa Trip Report

Vena & Connie by the Ticket Counter

The Tampa Theatre was built in the 1920s during the heyday of American movie theatres.  Back then, the production companies (MGM, Paramount, etc.) used to own theatres, which is why some of them were so lavish and ornate.

Tampa Trip Report

Inside the Tampa Theatre

The theatre gives free tours most Saturday mornings.  There was a large crowd when we arrived, and I was surprised to see so many people.

The Theatre has a distinct architectural style, called Mediterranean.  It was meant to make you feel like you were in Italy or France on a romantic summer evening.  First, the guide took us upstairs into the balcony.

The man giving the tour was very knowledgeable.  He talked all about the theatre’s history and what it was like during its prime time.  The detail in the theatre was eye catching.

Tampa Trip Report


The first floor was also very beautiful.

Tampa Trip Report

First Floor of the Tampa Theatre

We could peer over the railing and see the theatre below.

Tampa Trip Report

View From the Balcony

We saw the ladies’ parlor.

Tampa Trip Report

Ladies Parlor

And a sitting room.

Tampa Trip Report

Sitting Room


Tampa Trip Report

Inside the Theatre

There were lots of antiques.

Tampa Trip Report

Tampa Theatre

We reached the balcony and loved seeing the theatre below.

Tampa Trip Report

View from the Balcony

On our way back downstairs, we stopped for a picture next to Christopher Columbus’ ship, the Santa Maria.

Tampa Trip Report

By the Santa Maria

We even got to go backstage and see the dressing rooms.


Tampa Trip Report

Say Cheese!

After seeing the backstage, we went to sit in the front rows to hear the organ being played and to learn more about the theatre.

Tampa Trip Report

Tampa Theatre Stage

We loved hearing the organ, and hearing about its history.

Tampa Trip Report

Playing the Organ

Vena plays the organ so she really enjoyed this part of the tour.

On our way out, we stopped for a drink of water by the water fountain.

Tampa Trip Report

By the Water Fountain

The Tampa Theatre is a real treat and I would recommend going.  The tour was especially nice because we could understand more about the theatre’s history.  The theatre also had many other events, such as Oscar-Nominated Shorts and WineFest.

What was the second surprise? Stay tuned for tomorrow’s post to find out!

*If you liked this post, why don’t you join the 10,000+ readers who have signed-up to receive free blog posts via email (only 1 email per day!) or in a RSS reader …because then you’ll never miss another update!

* If you liked this post, why don’t you join the 25,000+ readers who have signed-up to receive free blog posts via email (only 1 email per day!) or in an RSS reader …because then you’ll never miss another update!

Editorial Disclaimer: Neither the responses below nor the editorial content on this page are provided or commissioned by the bank advertisers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertisers. Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of the bank advertisers. It is not the bank advertisers’ responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

18 responses to “Emily’s Weekend Getaway to Grandma’s – Part 1

  1. thanks for the tampa tour tips! keep ’em coming! I will be in tampa next month and will definitely tour the tampa theatre.

  2. I used to live in Tampa, and the Tampa Theatre was one of the few cool things there. It’s fun seeing a movie in such an old movie palace.

  3. I appreciate the great tips and tricks on getting the best credit card offers out there. Clearly, you are doing this for a commission; your professionalism and meticulousness impresses me immensely. Thanks a lot!

  4. I loved this post! One, I lost my own beloved grandmother ten years. Some of my best memories are with my grandmother. Emily, you’re so lucky to still have her. Two, I’m heading to Tampa in the next few weeks, and I didn’t even know about that theater! They don’t have tours the weekend I’ll be there, but it might be a good place to catch a movie after the beach.

  5. @ harold- Thanks! There will be another post soon.

    @ Lisa- I agree that it was a hidden gem in Tampa…I would have liked to see a movie there!

    @Kay @ Travel Bug Diary blog- I know what it’s like to lose someone you love–sorry for your loss. You’re absolutely right in that we need to appreciate the time while they are still around. Even if you don’t go for a tour, there is still a lot to see!

  6. Nice job Emily.
    Wonderful you had a nice getaway with your Mom and Grandmother… priceless!

  7. What a beautiful post. You and Daraius are very family oriented. God bless you both!

  8. @mary- Thank you! It was a very fun trip!

    @Diana- We’re lucky to have the opportunities to see family and friends like we do!

  9. Team Connie is back, hooray! The only think missing is Judy….

  10. Pingback: Empress Tea Room | Million Mile Secrets

  11. @Laurel- Glad you like Team Connie! I will have to let her and Judi know.

  12. Emily has such a beautiful smile!

  13. @ Tony- Awe, thank you!

  14. Pingback: Vena’s Last 3 Lessons | Million Mile Secrets

  15. Pingback: An Asian Holiday: Part 1 - Using Miles and Points to Get to India And Hong Kong | Million Mile Secrets

  16. Pingback: If I Could Only Have One Credit Card, Which Would It Be? | Miles, Points, and the Pursuit of Travel

  17. Omg, thank you very much for posting this! It’s gonna be so helpful when I am thinking about going to Tampa Theatre in Tampa! I am from Calgary so I am not familiar with Tampa. Next time I visit my family will be so much better! Super Marvelous!