Freebie of the Week

In recent years, Old Hyde Park Village has progressively differentiated itself from expanded Bay area retail outlets like Brandon Town Center and West Shore Plaza's Saks Fifth Avenue by developing the neighborhood's unique flavor.

The mall's more fashionable stores have nipped significantly at the well-heeled heels of Hyde Park's upscale shops, but there's been no diminishment of the neighborhood's presence, dominated by an architecture of colorful awnings and a proud patronage of the arts.

Old Hyde Park Village hosts a semi-annual art show, and has hosted a live music series that has raised more than half-million dollars since its inception in 1987. The second concert of the 2001 season (held the last Wednesday of every month between May and Oct.) features Carlos 'n' Tara. The performance takes place 6-9 p.m. Wednesday, July 25, on the common along South Dakota Avenue. Beer and beverage sales benefit Self Reliance Inc.

It sure beats Muzak at the food court, so visit Tampa's un-mall and spend the evening roaming the outdoor shopping district's 60 shops, including a new ice cream parlor, Maggie Moo's, found behind Cactus Club, along with Austen-Hyde Leather and Georgette's, one of the area's fine women's boutiques.

Old Hyde Park Village is at the corner of Swann and Dakota Avenues near Bayshore Boulevard. Call 813-251-3500.

—Cooper Cruz

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