Sights and scenes: Ybor City

A photographic walk through one of Florida's most vibrant urban entertainment districts: Tampa's 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.

Also known as La Gran Septima Avenida, 7th Avenue is the historic main commercial corridor through the neighborhood.