Orlando City Episodes

Eat Play Stay Orlando: Ybor City

Published by
Mary Staes

Hotel Haya 

Which came first, the chicken or the yoga? At Hotel Haya on the last Sunday of the month, yoga instructor Chris Wilkinson holds a yoga chicken class or is it the other way around? That’s right, domesticated chickens walk around the room as the class does yoga or if they find someone that they like they will just hang out on the mat with them. These classes raise money for wounded chickens, which is a good cause. 


Anytime is a good time for ice cream, especially at Snobachi. The thing that makes this place special is the world ice cream. Your order is made right in front of you, like a hibachi style type of ice cream that allows you to create your own ice cream or pick one of the signature orders. Dragon Ballz are liquid nitrogen infused treats that create the illusion of you blowing smoke out your mouth and/or nose! How cool (literally and figuratively)?!?

Columbia Restaurant

Located right across the street from Snobachi is Columbia Restaurant. Founded in 1905, this staple is now on the fourth and fifth generation of ownership and operation. Six nights a week they feature authentic flamenco dancers. The humble beginnings started with a small corner cafe that served the popular The Cuban sandwich that grew room by room into a 15-room dining room that encompasses a whole city block!

La Segunda Central Bakery

The Columbia Restaurant has been getting their authentic Cuban bread from another family owned business who is also in their fourth and fifth generation of ownership for over 100 years. Today La Segunda Bakery is the largest producer of Cuban bread in America producing about 20,000 loaves a day and all by hand from start to finish. They don’t just offer bread, they also offer sandwiches, cookies and pastries from all around such as Cuban, Spanish, Italian and even some German foods. 

Cigar City Cider & Mead

Cigar City Cider & Mead is named as a reference to Ybor City’s history and heritage.  Mead has been around and was referred by the ancient Greeks as the nectar of the Gods. It can take two months or over a year to make mead, but the cider doesn’t take as long. They have so many different flavors from key lime to apple, just imagine the flavor of pie without the calories.

Gaspar’s Grotto

What to see a Pirate? Head over to Gaspar’s Grotto, a pirate-themed bar and restaurant. Unlike most bars, they also feature a $6.99 wedding package that comes with the ceremony, a tie rental for the groom and the bride and groom get their own shot and beer, music, photographer and flowers! 

J.C. Newman Cigar Co.

Need cigars for the bachelor party? J.C. Newman Cigar has got you covered. This is the oldest family owned cigar company and the only traditional cigar factory in the United States. This factory makes 60,000 cigars a day on hand operated cigar machines, which means about 13 million cigars are made a year from the Ybor location.

Ybor City Museum

To learn about the rich history of Ybor head over to the Ybor City Museum. The cigar industry was the beginning of modern Tampa. The industry was what built and kept Ybor alive and thriving. Because of the immigrants, the culture of Ybor is extremely diverse. As such, Ybor City is a national historic district of Tampa. Spend a few hours here to learn the history, you won’t be disappointed. 

Gram’s Place Bed and Hostel

Need somewhere to stay? Gram’s Place is the way to go. Tucked away in the Historic Tampa Heights neighborhood of Tampa, Florida, Gram’s Place was established in 1991 by founding owner Mark Holland as a result of his having traveled to Amsterdam. With an artist retreat in mind, it’s a very eclectic and laid back palace where friendships are created. Check out the Crow’s Nest.

Mary Staes

Mary Staes is Digital Content Lead for Very Local. She works with our freelancers and crafts content for our social media platforms and website. Before Very Local, she worked with CBS affiliate WWL-TV as a web producer and weekend assignment editor for about 4 years. She has also handled broadcast coverage for 160 Marine Reserve training facilities while she served as an active duty Marine. As a native New Orleanian, she takes being "very local" to heart. She loves being intertwined with the culture and figuring out how there are less than two degrees of separation between us all, whether we're natives or not.

Published by
Mary Staes

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