Plant City's Downtown: The one Florida destination you’ve probably never heard of
Sandwiched between the beaches of Tampa Bay and the theme parks of Orlando is Plant City, FL. It’s home to the famous Strawberry Festival, one of the state’s most iconic festivals. And subsequently, it is one of the biggest producers of the state’s sweetest crop - the strawberry.
But there’s more to Plant City than fruit.
Increasingly, tourists and visitors are discovering Plant City’s downtown. The five-mile stretch bounded by North Drane, West Tever, Franklin and Carey Streets, is dotted with historic buildings, restaurants, coffee shops, businesses and some residential.
The downtown was designated as a U.S. historic district back in 1993. The area has since gone through ebbs and flows of development. The city is now making a concentrated effort to revitalize parts of downtown to attract more businesses and travelers. And it’s working.
The city recently approved the East Downtown Gateway project, which would revitalize the historic district with office spaces, retail areas, restaurants and businesses.
If you’re thinking of visiting downtown Plant City, don’t fret. There’s plenty of sights to enjoy right now. Here are some of our favorites:
Check out Robert W. Willaford Railroad Museum And Train Viewing Platform, in Historic Downtown Plant City. Built in the early 1900s, the museum once served as the area’s most popular railroad destination. These days, the museum features a collection of memorabilia, including a completely restored Seaboard Air Line #5735 caboose.
Across from the museum is a fully functioning railroad where you can view 15-20 trains everyday.
After exploring the railroad museum, check out The Corner Store, home to the one-of-a-kind Swiss Roll Strawberry Shortcake. This new Plant City transport is where you go to have lunch you won’t soon forget about. Known for their fresh and healthy menu, try the Triple Dip, a choice of three homemade dips with pita chips, or one of their seasonal sandwiches like The Chicken Goat, made with grilled chicken, goat cheese, sun-dried tomatoes on a whole wheat wrap.
After your belly is full, get in some retail therapy at The Mercantile. This store, opened in 2014, is Plant City’s one-stop destination for stellar vintage finds. Housed in a 100-year-old brick building with 18,000 square feet of gallery interior space, you’ll find one of a kind home decor, handmade soap, and unique clothing.
Thinking of visiting Plant City’s downtown? Find great low rates at the Hampton Inn Plant City, two miles from Plant City’s downtown.