Gems Around USF Campus

Gems Around USF Campus

Definitely check this out if you are new to the area!

If you are new to the USF area or are just looking for something different, keep reading! A huge part of the college experience is finding wonderful places to explore and eat around the area. Whether it’s a cozy coffee shop, a delicious pizza place, or a fun day activity, Tampa definitely has a lot of places and events to experience. In this article, I will give you some places to check out on your next free day and some tips to help you along the way. Because whether mom or dad like it or not, you won’t be studying all the time.

1. Felicitous

If you enjoy a wonderfully made coffee and/or tea, Felicitous is the coffee shop for you! I have been too many times to count and haven't gotten a bad thing there. Cuddled away behind a strip mall, Felicitous serves the best drinks and makes you feel right at home with a comfortable setting and mix-match mugs. They also have open-mic nights a couple times a month. It's a must.

2. Oxford Exchange

Not only can you get super cute basic photos here, the food is phenomenal. It's a tad pricey, but you get a huge portion and five-star quality. It can be super busy so call ahead to make a reservation. After your meal, you can enjoy a pastry or coffee by Buddy Brew. Then take a stroll around the bookstore while feeling oh-so-cosmopolitan.

3. SoHo Donuts

Around the corner from OE, a glorious donut shop cooks up the best treats. I'm pretty sure they make a donut with every cereal known to man, and they are always fresh and soft. You say now you will only get one donut, but as soon as you step foot in that place, you will know that isn't possible.

4. Datz and Dough

If you have a little extra cash in your pocket and are looking for a hearty meal and monstrous dessert, check this place out. This restaurant and bakery are connected. So when you are too full to function off mouth-watering burgers from Datz, walk on over to Dough and grab yourself a donut ice cream cone. And just forget calories for a day, okay?

5. Vallarta's

All I can say is, "Dollar tacos" (For lunch every Wednesday and Tuesday).

6. The Dali Museum

After you stuff yourself senseless with food, check out this beautiful museum in St.Pete. It may be a bit of a drive but it is totally worth it. USF students get in free, and who doesn't like free? I may be a bit biased as an art major, but the paintings are mind-boggling and worth seeing.

7. Paddle Boarding at USFSP

Time to burn those calories from all those tasty meals! Head on over to USFSP where students can enjoy free paddle boarding. If you aren't into that, they do offer kayaking and sailing lessons! Take advantage of the beautiful scenery.

8. Florida Museum of Photographic Arts

The FMoPA, in downtown Tampa, is free for students with an encouraged five dollar donations. Photography is my medium of choice, and I absolutely love this museum. And not only is the museum awesome, so is the surrounding blocks. After a nice stroll in the museum, head on over across the street and stumble upon cute cafes, yummy NY style pizza, and antique book shops.

9. Pizza Squared

Okay, I know the area might look a little sketchy, but sketchy places are where you find the best food. Pizza Squared offers Detroit-style pizza, and it is totally delicious. Tip: they offer student discount.

10. Ybor

Yes, this is a whole city in itself but it is stuffed with hidden gems. Ybor is great for dancing, tattoos, coffee, pizza, cigars, slushies, and whatever else you can think of. Grab a group of friends and head over one evening and explore. A crazy night in Ybor is kind of a must for USF students.


1. Make sure you ask places if they have student discounts! They may not advertise it but offer it.

2. If you are going clubbing and are a lady, a lot of clubs offer free charge for ladies before a certain time.

3. Most of the time, the more sketchy a place looks, the better food they have.

4. The school and satellite locations offer tons of free events and services for USF students.

5. If you have family visiting, a lot of surrounding hotels will give USF parent discount if you come show your ID at check-in.

6. It is possible to ball on a budget! A lot of places in the area are free or discounted for students.

7. Don't eat dinner until later some nights. A lot of restaurants offer cool deals after 10 or 11pm.

Cover Image Credit: CP Tampa West Shore

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To The Parent Who Chose Addiction

Thank you for giving me a stronger bond with our family.


When I was younger I resented you, I hated every ounce of you, and I used to question why God would give me a parent like you. Not now. Now I see the beauty and the blessings behind having an addict for a parent. If you're reading this, it isn't meant to hurt you, but rather to thank you.

Thank you for choosing your addiction over me.

Throughout my life, you have always chosen the addiction over my programs, my swim meets or even a simple movie night. You joke about it now or act as if I never questioned if you would wake up the next morning from your pill and alcohol-induced sleep, but I thank you for this. I thank you because I gained a relationship with God. The amount of time I spent praying for you strengthened our relationship in ways I could never explain.

SEE ALSO: They're Not Junkies, You're Just Uneducated

Thank you for giving me a stronger bond with our family.

The amount of hurt and disappointment our family has gone through has brought us closer together. I have a relationship with Nanny and Pop that would never be as strong as it is today if you had been in the picture from day one. That in itself is a blessing.

Thank you for showing me how to love.

From your absence, I have learned how to love unconditionally. I want you to know that even though you weren't here, I love you most of all. No matter the amount of heartbreak, tears, and pain I've felt, you will always be my greatest love.

Thank you for making me strong.

Thank you for leaving and for showing me how to be independent. From you, I have learned that I do not need anyone else to prove to me that I am worthy of being loved. From you, I have learned that life is always hard, but you shouldn't give into the things that make you feel good for a short while, but should search for the real happiness in life.

Most of all, thank you for showing me how to turn my hurt into motivation.

I have learned that the cycle of addiction is not something that will continue into my life. You have hurt me more than anyone, but through that hurt, I have pushed myself to become the best version of myself.

Thank you for choosing the addiction over me because you've made me stronger, wiser, and loving than I ever could've been before.

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My Strange Obsession: Bibibop Addition

I am obsessed with Bibibop.


I am obsessed with Bibibop.

Sounds strange, right? But it's true.

For those of you who have never had the opportunity to experience Bibibop, Bibibop is an Asian Grill set up similar to Chipotle. You're able to go down the line of food, choosing a base (always go with the purple rice), hot toppings (they all slap), protein (the tofu is to die for), some cold toppings (a great way to try kale for the first time), and a sauce (if you don't get the Yum Yum sauce, you're weird.)

And, let me tell you, the final product is always delicious.

I hadn't been introduced to Bibibop until this past year, but once I tried it for the first time, I never looked back. Now I am constantly craving the taste of the Yum Yum sauce. I usually hit up Bibibop once every two weeks, but if I was rich, I would probably eat it every other day.

Though, admittedly, the prices are pretty good. And they celebrate meatless Mondays with 20% off to anyone who doesn't get meat in their bowl.

Plus, it's pretty healthy. Unlike most restaurants, like Chipotle, where your somewhat healthy meal can instantly become bad for you with the addition of something on the menu, Bibibop's entire menu provides nutritional value and offers gluten-free and vegan options.

Basically, Bibibop is the most underrated and most delicious restaurant in the world, which is why my obsession with it runs so deep. Although I would usually admit that obsessions are unhealthy, I think this one might be okay.

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