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Less than 100 days from now, the College Football National Champion will be decided on Monday, January 9th at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa Bay, Florida.

Let’s book as soon as possible in order to enjoy the best of Tampa Bay’s hotels, restaurants, nightlife and Pre-National Championship events.

For those flying in to Tampa for the first time, the Tampa International Airport is located 6 miles west of downtown and 5.4 miles from Raymond James stadium.

There are a number of hotels at and near the airport, but I would like to provide a short list of 7 of the best…all are very close to the stadium and I will throw in one that is a bit further for those that want to stay at the Casino.

Le Meridien, Tampa

My picks for restaurants not to miss include: Bern’s Steakhouse (known for having one of the largest wine collections in the world, make reservations well in advance), The Columbia (Florida’s oldest restaurant, traditional Spanish) and Roy’s (Hawaiian fusion/Pacific rim cuisine). And for a variety of choices, some more casual…I recommend the International Plaza and Bay Street at International Mall. Over 200 stores and restaurants including The Capital Grille, Ocean Prime, Blue Martini, Cheesecake Factory. Large mall with anchors: Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom and Dillard’s.

The Columbia restaurant

Hands down the area for Tampa’s best nightlife is Hyde Park, Hyde Park Village and the SoHo areas…a historic neighborhood and district near Bayshore Blvd.

Prior to the National Championship game, there are a number of events beginning on Friday, January 6th and starts with the Playoff Fan Central event which runs for 4 days. This family friendly event is at the Tampa Convention Center and will highlight bands, cheerleaders and mascots from each school, interactive games, sponsor activities, special guest appearances and exhibits celebrating college football.

Raymond James stadium

Go to for a complete list of events and tickets for all. The road to the College Football National Championship ends in Tampa Bay this year…will you be there to celebrate your team’s victory?

College Football National Championship trophy

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