(January 17, 2019) Music, food samples, character actors, performers and more are on tap for the Grand Opening celebration of Tampa International Airport’s 69 new shops and restaurants on Feb. 16 from 2 to 6 p.m. on the third floor of the airport’s Main Terminal. Admission is free and visitors can park free for under one hour in the Short Term Garage.
“It’s worth a visit to see the improved Tampa International Airport – even if you’re not flying,” said Airport CEO Joe Lopano. “The renovated Main Terminal and our new shops and restaurants are truly spectacular.”
Set against a backdrop of music, entertainment and the thrill of travel, the Grand Opening will feature many of the unique tastes and products now available throughout the airport, including a vast array of local options.
It’s a unique opportunity for Tampa Bay residents to explore their hometown airport – everything from the floor-to-ceiling guitar and rock star memorabilia at the Hard Rock Café to the team gear at Tampa Bay Sports and the stunning views of planes in flight from four different outdoor patios.
“We set out to create an all-new experience for our guests and turn the airport into a destination unto itself,” said Laurie Noyes, TPA’s Vice President of Concessions and Parking. “Our new shops and restaurants reflect our region and better meet the needs of today’s travelers. We encourage everyone to come out and explore TPA.”
The final store to open in the Main Terminal – the Shoppes at Bayshore – opened for business in November and serves as a fitting tribute to the reimagined shopping and dining program. The 6,300-square foot space showcases national and local boutique brands, including names like Tommy Bahama, Quiksilver and Bourbon and Bowties. A pop-up Tampa shop holds a rotating display of local goods. The store’s bookstore and newsstand sells La Segunda pastries, Toffee To Go toffee and Kahwa coffee. Caviar, smoked salmons and a variety of gourmet pastas and local olive oils fill the shelves of a gourmet food section.
The re-make of the Main Terminal and all of the airport concessions were part of the first phase of a three-phase capital program designed to expand the airport’s capacity to 34 million annual passengers. The airport served a record 21 million passengers in 2018.
Construction on Phase 1, which also included a rental car center connected to the terminal by an automated people mover, began in November 2014. Work on Phase 2 – expanded curbsides and commercial development around the rental car center – began in 2018. Phase 3, a 16-gate airside terminal, is scheduled to begin sometime after 2020.