About Ybor City

Designated as a National Historic Landmark District, Ybor City was established by Spanish cigar manufacturer Vicente Martinez Ybor in 1885. Ybor founded the community just outside of downtown Tampa as a place for cigar manufacturers and workers to live and work. Attracting thousands of immigrants from Cuba, Spain, and Italy, Ybor City’s popularity transformed Tampa from a small 19th century town into a major early 20th century manufacturing and shipping center. Cigar making in Ybor City reached its peak in 1929 with 500 million handrolled cigars produced in its factories.

Decline came as many cigar factories closed during the 1930s due to the Great Depression and increased competition with Jacksonville-based Swisher. Urban renewal projects and the construction of Interstate 4 during the 1950s and 1960s resulted in additional deterioration and loss of building stock. During the 1980s and 1990s, Ybor City’s fortunes turned around as once aging and vacant buildings became occupied by artist studios, galleries, bars, nightclubs and restaurants. Today, connected with Downtown Tampa by the TECO Line Streetcar system, Ybor City is one of Central Florida’s most popular destinations.

Ybor City Photo Tour

The Florida Brewing Company, Florida’s first brewery, began operations in 1897 in Ybor City. The brewery opened with an annual capacity of 25,000 barrels. At the time, its brewhouse was the tallest building in the city.

The company was also the leading U.S. beer exporter to Cuba. During World War II, production increased to 80,000 barrels a year. Unfortunately, success would come to an abrupt halt in the late 1950s when national brewers Anheuser-Busch and Schlitz building new macrobreweries in Tampa. At the time, the brewery still had Cuba to lean on. This would come to an end as well with the rise of Fidel Castro and the embargo on Cuba, resulting to the brewery closing for good in 1961. After its brewing days, the building was used for tobacco storage and a Cold War bomb shelter before sitting vacant for 25 years. In 1999, it was restored and converted into a law firm and office space.

Nuccio Parkway connects Ybor City with Downtown Tampa. The road is named in honor of Nicholas Chillura Nuccio. Born and raised in Ybor City, Niccio was Tampa’s first mayor of “Latin” descent.

Completed in 1886 for Vicente Martinez Ybor, this building was the first cigar factory in Ybor City. Rallying support for Cuba’s Independence, Cuban Revolutionary leader Jose Marti spoke from this building’s stairway entrance often in 1893.

7th Avenue was formerly known as Georgia and Broadway Avenues and also known as La Gran Septima Avenida. It is the historic main commercial corridor through the neighborhood.

Hotel Haya is a new 178 guest room boutique hotel that opened in 2020. The hotel is named in honor of Ignacio Haya, a cigar industry pioneer known for his philanthropic efforts.

The Ritz Ybor was originally built as the Rivoli Theatre in 1917, catering to Ybor City’s Afro-Cuban community.

Centro Ybor is an entertainment, retail and office complex that was built in the heart of Ybor City in 2000.

L’Union Italiana was established in 1894 by Tampa’s Italian community in order to overcome may of the social and economic challenges Italian immigrants faced in turn-of-the-century Tampa.

Businesses occupying restored residential dwellings along North 19th Street between East 8th Avenue and East 9th Avenue.

The Casa Oliva building is the only remaining wood-frame cigar factory in Ybor City. Constructed in 1885, the structure was built as the R. Monne and Brothers Cigar Factory. In 2018, the structure was renovated into apartments.