Is there a way to show/hide a tab on a per user basis? I would like to manage this with Apex, but examples of managing this from the UI would also be helpful.
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Building on amatorVitae's answer, there is also the possibility of using PermissionSets that can hold tab setting just like a Profile (and use very similar UI). The difference is that while a User can only have one Profile, they can have multiple PermissionSets added. So PermissionSets can sometimes be a better way of adding functionality, essentially allowing it to be "mixed-in" per User.
This chopped down User details view shows how zero or more PermissionSets can be added in without changing the Profile:
You can choose which tabs to show/hide per profile. To do this, go into any