Signing up for credit cards through partner links earns us a commission. Here’s our full Advertising Policy.
- Emily’s Weekend Getaway to Grandma’s – Part 1
- Emily’s Weekend Getaway to Grandma’s – Part 2
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!
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!
The next morning, we went for breakfast to Panera.
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.
I had planned two surprises for them that day, and they had no idea where I was taking them!
Surprise #1 – Tampa Theatre
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.
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.
The first floor was also very beautiful.
We could peer over the railing and see the theatre below.
We saw the ladies’ parlor.
And a sitting room.
There were lots of antiques.
We reached the balcony and loved seeing the theatre below.
On our way back downstairs, we stopped for a picture next to Christopher Columbus’ ship, the Santa Maria.
We even got to go backstage and see the dressing rooms.
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.
We loved hearing the organ, and hearing about its history.
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.
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!