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Unwritten rules of the Tampa Bay area

Tell us you’re from Tampa Bay without telling us you’re from Tampa Bay.

Chickens in Ybor City. They are strutting through leaves at Centennial Park.

Tampa Bay locals know to leave the Ybor chickens alone.

Photo by TBAYtoday

Whether you’re a Tampa Bay area native or a relative newcomer, there are just some things every TBAY resident understands to be true.

We asked our readers to share the Tampa Bay area’s unwritten rules, from common Tampa + St. Pete knowledge to relatable trends and local lingo. You won’t find these rules in a handbook, but they are undoubtedly absorbed by the community — and if you’re not from the Tampa Bay area, these might be a little difficult to explain.

Foodie tips

West Tampa Sandwich Shop.” — Ethan O.

Rocca or you haven’t lived.” — Irene G.

“Real Cuban sandwiches have SWISS cheese. Not white American cheese. Don’t let them fool you.” — @cutney84

The unspoken rule everyone knows

“Don’t bother the chickens in Ybor.” — @tampaentertainment (Fun fact: This is sound advice. The chickens in Ybor City are protected by Tampa’s Bird Sanctuary Law.)

“Dress like a pirate for Gasparilla.” — Jason K.

“Must love dogs ♥️.” — @the.mini.copper (WalletHub agrees.)

Amalie Arena stands in the sunshine. There is nobody around.

TBAY locals love a trip to Amalie.

Photo by TBAYtoday

If you know, you know

“Lightning gonna strike ⚡.” — Cindy B. (Not sure if you’re talking about the weather or our hockey team, Cindy. Either way, you’re right.)

“Must have salad @columbiarestaurant.” — @beachkowgirl1

Sometimes you just have to laugh

"🐊 = Swamp puppy 🐶.” — @tampaentertainment

“If you have a giant pick up truck that never actually hauls anything, you don’t have to use a blinker? 😇.” — @patriicii.ai

“Forget how to use a turning signal.” — Nicole C. (A theme seems to be emerging...)

TBAYtoday’s pro tips

“The Blind Tiger Cafe has the best coffee in the Tampa Bay area.” — City Editor Patrick. (Please let me know if you disagree — I’m happy to be proved wrong.)

“Always book parking early for big games at Amalie, concerts at Ray Jay, or Gasparilla Music Festival.” — City Editor Bailey.

City Guides are presented by Water Street Tampa.

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