Get AWP Ready! Everything You Need to Know for the Largest Literary Conference in North America


 Get AWP Ready! Everything You Need to Know for the Largest Literary Conference in North America

This week, the largest literary conference in North America is coming to the Tampa Convention Center—brining over 10,000 literary scholars, authors, publishers, and fans along with it.  

If you’re attending the 2018 AWP Conference & Bookfair, you may be wondering what to expect. Well, get ready to take notes, because we’re covering all of the basics on how to be AWP ready.


Many AWP attendees are traveling from across the country for this event. Fortunately, our location in the heart of Tampa’s downtown makes transportation easy.

Transportation to/from Tampa International Airport: Tampa International Airport is located just 15-20 minutes from our facility. If you are flying through this airport, several ground transportation options can get you to/from the Tampa Convention Center including rental car services, taxis, passenger vans, and public HART buses. For more information, visit

Where to Park: If you’re driving to the Convention Center, there are several City of Tampa Parking garages located nearby our facility. Our Tampa Convention Center garage is the most accessible option; however, this garage will fill quickly during AWP due to the large number of attendees. Great alternatives include the South Regional and Ft Brooke Garages.

For a full overview of our parking recommendations, read our parking guide:

Tampa Streetcar: The Tampa Streetcar is a fun, affordable, and unique way to travel between Tampa’s downtown, Channelside, and Ybor City. Visitors can easily access the streetcar by hopping on/off at Dick Greco Plaza, located just outside our facility on Franklin St. The Streetcar is also FREE every Saturday. 

Pirate Water Taxi: The pirate Water Taxi is another fun attraction and mode of transportation that allows you to sail up and down the Tampa Riverwalk.

Coast Bike: Coast Bike Share is a bike rental services with racks located throughout Tampa’s Downtown. Visitors can rent a Coast Bike for an hourly rate from just outside our Franklin St entrance. These bikes can be returned to any Coast Bike Share rack throughout downtown.  

Downtowner: The Downtowner is a free rideshare service in Tampa’s downtown. To reserve a ride, simply download the app to your smartphone and input your travel information.


  • Gasparilla Music Festival: Love music? Well, you’re in luck! One of Tampa’s biggest annual music festivals happens to be the same weekend as the AWP conference. This annual event, which is part of Tampa’s famous Gasparilla season, takes place March 10-11 just a short walk from the Tampa Convention Center in Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park. To get tickets, visit:
  • Brews & Bites: This Friday, some of Tampa Bay’s best local food trucks are lining up just outside our facility for The Sail’s monthly Brews & Bites food truck rally! The Sail, our outdoor bar on the Tampa Riverwalk, hosts Brews & Bites each month with a changing lineup of food trucks and musicians. This event is a great way to experience Tampa like a local by sampling some of our city’s favorite eats, while enjoying live music and waterfront views! Brews & Bites takes place this Friday, March 9th from 6-11pm. For more information, visit:  
  • Convention Center Water Amenities: As one of the few waterfront Convention Center’s in the nation, we are lucky to be located next to a variety of fun water amenities that our guests can enjoy. Just outside our facility at the Tampa Convention Center boating docks, you can hop aboard the Pirate Water Taxi, rent a private boat from eBoats or the Riverwalk Boating Company,  or—if you’re feeling adventurous—cruise your way down the river a water bike from Tampa Bay Water Bike Co.  
  • Tampa Riverwalk: The Tampa Riverwalk is not only a major pedestrian walkway through Tampa’s Downtown, but it is also one of Tampa’s signature development thanks to its beautiful views of the water and the city. Located on the Riverwalk ourselves, our visitors can step right out of our Channel entrance and stroll along the Tampa Riverwalk to reach some of the top attractions downtown including the Tampa Bay History Center, Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park, the Straz Center, and more. For a full guide to walkable attractions along the Tampa Riverwalk, read our guide here:  
  • More: There is simply so much to do and see in Tampa! From exploring marine live at the Florida Aquarium to discovering Tampa’s past at the Tampa Bay History Center, admiring unique works of art at the Tampa Museum of Art, and cheering on our local hockey Team, the Tampa Bay Lightning, at Amalie Arena, there is truly something for everyone.

If you’re looking for something to do between AWP breaks, make sure to visit our area information page for an overview of our top area attractions.


Feeling hungry? There are plenty of great dining options for all types foodies here in Tampa!

Inside the Convention Center: For a quick bite to eat during AWP, attendees can order from one of our exhibit hall restaurants or the Bay Bistro café located on the first floor of our facility.

The Sail: If you’re looking for a truly unique dining experience, The Sail offers delicious food with a view. Located just outside our Franklin St entrance, The Sail is Tampa’s only open-air waterfront bar. Enjoyed by locals and visitors alike, this is the perfect spot to grab lunch, post-convention drinks, dinner, or even just a snack. If you’re attending AWP this Friday then you won’t want to miss The Sail’s Brews & Bites food truck rally. This popular event takes place once a month and features a lineup of some of Tampa Bay’s best food trucks, live entertainment, and an overall great atmosphere. To learn more, visit

Other area restaurants: Outside the Tampa Convention Center and The Sail, there a ton of delicious dining options to satisfy any cuisine craving. We recommend exploring dining options through the Visit Tampa Bay website at:


Now that you know how to get here, things to do, and where to eat, all that’s left is to enjoy AWP! Make sure to check the AWP website for all the conference info you need to have a great time at this event, including information about the schedule, registration, guest speakers, bookfair hours, and more.

We wish all attendees safe travels and a great 4 days at AWP!