A rainy-day, newcomer's guide to Ybor City

I am brand spanking new to Tampa Bay, so when presented with the opportunity to do a newcomer's travel guide to Ybor City (the infamous Ybor City) I must admit, my little writer's brain got all caught up in fluttery enthusiasm. I pictured a research day sipping beer on sun-flooded patios, browsing all sorts of weird shops, and following it up with a night of all-in debauchery.

Imagine my disappointment when I was jolted awake by a crack of thunder to a black downpour of a morning. Suddenly I could relate to every horrified tourist I'd encountered during my college years in Orlando who felt they'd somehow been lied to when they booked a getaway to the "Sunshine" State.

Against every instinct to stay in, eat re-heated Chinese and watch the 6-hour version of Pride and Prejudice, I managed to pull some clothes on, wade out to my car and see what I could make of a truly subtropical day in Ybor City.

My favorite finds are as follows: