You have several good electric vehicle charging spots if you're heading to an event at Amalie Arena.

If you’re in downtown Tampa, you have a bunch of spots where you can charge your EV. If you’re going to a Lightning game or some other event at Amalie Arena, walking the Riverwalk, heading to Gasparilla, visiting the Florida Aquarium, or having a cigar in Ybor City, you have 7 city-owned public garages that offer free electric vehicle charging.

Those “recalls” you hear about in the news

The electric vehicle life is still pretty new to me. Seeing all the negative TV news stories about EVs and not having a place to charge one at home really discouraged me from ever looking into them. I’ve since learned those TV news stories are pretty much overblown. Those “recalls” you hear about on the TV news lately? Yeah those are software updates… just like your cell phone gets. It just gets more attention when they talk about recalls because it’s scarier. TV channels and cable networks make money by scaring you because you’ll feel the need to rely on them. If they just told you Tesla is sending a software update, that wouldn’t scare you.

Owning a Tesla Without a Home Charger

As for not having a vehicle charging option at home, it hasn’t been a problem in my first few months of owning a Tesla. There are charging spots all over Tampa Bay just like there are gas stations. Sure it’s not as quick as an old fashioned gas tank fill up, but it’s turned into an unexpected thing I LIKE about owning an electric car. It forces me once a week to chill and relax for 15 minutes. I check my email, watch a couple YouTube clips or grab a sandwich.

Downtown Tampa Parking Garages

That said, it’s nice to be able to get a charge when I’m parked in downtown Tampa. The city has 7 garages where you can charge for free. You DO pay those parking fees, but you would be paying those anyway. Here are the Tampa parking garages where you’ll find a spot to charge. If you drive a Tesla like I do, be sure to bring that adapter because they all use those standard J1772 plugs. I’d also grab one of those cheap charger locks so someone can’t pull the plug while you’re away from your car. You can find them on Amazon for just a couple of bucks.

  • Amalie Arena

    Heading to a Lightning game or concert at Amalie Arena? You’ll find a garage with charging right next door. At 301 Channelside Drive (across from South Florida Ave or South Morgan Street), you’ll find the Pam Iorio Garage. With over 1400 spaces, it’s enormous. They charge $2 for the first hour and $3 for every hour after that. If you’re going to be there for a while, the max you’ll pay per day is $15. Keep in mind for Amalie Arena events, they may have Event rates in effect. There are 2 Level 2 EV Plugs (J1772) so get there early if you’re going to an event when the garage will be filled up. The chargers are located on the ground level.

    Amalie Arena

  • Ybor

    You have 2 options near Historic Ybor to charge up.  (Actually 3 if you have a Tesla, I’ll get to that in a moment.)  The Centro Ybor Garage at 1500 East 5th Avenue across from North 15th Street or North 16th Street has 2 Level 2 EV J1772 plugs.  It’s not as big as that Amalie Arena garage.  It’s about a quarter of that size.  But it’s a bit cheaper.  You pay $1 for the first hour and then $2 for every hour thereafter.  The max daily rate is capped at $12. You’ll find the EV chargers opposite the 16th Street attendant booth on the first floor.

    Another good option for Ybor is at 2010 North 13th Street.  The Palm Fernando Garage also charges $1 for the first hour and $2 hourly after that with the daily max of $12.  Look for their chargers near the exit booth near the ramp.

    Going to enjoy one of those incredible 1905 Salads at Columbia Restaurant in Ybor?  Skip the garages and park at the restaurant and look for their free chargers!

    Columbia Cafe

  • The Straz Center and Tampa Theatre

    If you’re going to be downtown near the Tampa Museum of Art, Curtis Hixon Park, Tampa Theatre, and the Straz Center for the Performing Arts, look for the William Poe Garage at 802 North Ashley Drive.  This one’s a bit pricier.  The rate is $2 for the first hour and $3 for every hour after that. The daily max rate is $15.  The good thing about this one is they have FOUR chargers to use.  Look for them near the elevator on the left side of the ramp.  One thing to note is that if 2 cars are plugged in to one charger, you’ll see a noticeable charging speed decrease to about 3kw per hour.  Users on various sites report the chargers are often in need of repair.

    Tampa Theater

  • Riverwalk

    While you take a leisurely stroll along the Tampa Riverwalk, charge up at the Fort Brooke Garage at 107 North Franklin Street.  This garage should have you covered since they have SIX Level 2 J1772 EV plugs.  Like the Poe Garage though, their rate is a little pricy per hour.  You pay $2 for the first hour and then $3 for every one thereafter with a daily max of $15.  Look for the charging stations on the 3rd floor near the Sky Bridge.  Keep an eye out for the signs to Hilton Crosswalk.  As with that Poe Garage, try to get a charging station that isn’t shared or your charging speed will be cut in half to 3kw per hour.

    Downtown Tampa

  • Hillsborough County Courthouse

    Got jury duty?  Well at least when you’re done your car will be all charged up!  The Twiggs Street Garage at 901 East Twiggs Street has 2 chargers on Level 1.  The chargers at this garage also have a history of maintenance problems, so you might want to use this one as a backup.  The upside is the garage has a daily max rate of $12 with hourly rates of $1 for the first hour and $2 after that.  This is a smaller garage with only about 800 spaces.


  • Tampa Convention Center

    If the charging stations at Iorio are being used and you’re heading to an Amalie Arena event, the Tampa Convention Center Garage at 141 East Brorein Street a bit further of a walk, but they have 2 chargers here too. Find them on the main level across from Column B4.  Often non EV cars park in charging spots unfortunately.  This garage is a bit more expensive than the others at $2 for the first hour and $3 for every hour after that.  The daily max is $15.


  • Channelside

    Heading to the Florida Aquarium or grabbing a bite to eat at Sparkman Wharf?  Located at 402 South 12th Street, The Channelside Parking Garage has 5 J-1772 EV chargers on the 3rd floor just before you get to the ramp to the 4th floor. Look next to the elevators.  This is a popular spot for charging so even though they have 5 which is more than most of the other garages on this list, they’re often already in use.  A lot of residential buildings are in the area so I think many buy a monthly pass and use this as their daily parking and charging spot.  This is also another good spot if those Amalie Arena garages’ chargers are in use.  You get in and out of this one faster at Amalie events since it’s a bit of a walk from the arena.

    Sparkman Wharf

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