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- Tampa at-a-glance
- What it’s like to live in Tampa
- Economy and job outlook in Tampa
- Real estate, cost of living in Tampa
- The top neighborhoods in Tampa
- How to get around in Tampa
- School and education snapshot
- Weather and climate in Tampa
- 10 can’t-miss things to do in Tampa
It’s a common misconception that Tampa is smaller than Orlando, but this city is part of the second-largest metro area in Florida and the fourth-largest in the Southeast U.S. Tampa itself is home to nearly 400,000 people, and that number has been going up in recent years.
What has everyone moving to Tampa? The tropical climate from the nearby Gulf Coast, easy beach access and world-class theme parks play their part. But Tampa has also seen a thriving job market and offers a lower cost of living than many other large metro areas. A bustling business center with family-friendly neighborhoods makes it a great place to settle down for people at various stages in their life.
Need more? We’ve pulled together a few more things to know before moving to Tampa.
Beach Vibes Meet the Benefits of a Large Metro Area
Located on the west coast of Florida, Tampa off brings up images of the beach. You’ll certainly be able to find that here, with many residents enjoying a laid-back lifestyle. But Tampa also provides access to amenities common in large metropolitan areas, including a vibrant arts and culture scene, great nightlife, major league sports and of course the thrill of the theme parks and attractions.
Yes, you have Busch Gardens and Adventure Island at your doorstep! You’ll also be able to cheer for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (NFL), the Tampa Bay Lightning (NHL) and the Tampa Bay Rays (MLB). If you need to catch a basketball game, the Orlando Magic are a 90-minute drive away.
If arts and culture are more your scene, the History Center and Museum of Art should be on your list. Or if you’re looking for a live performance, the Straz Center, made up of five theaters, brings Broadway shows, opera, ballet, cabaret and local concerts and shows. Of course, nothing showcases Tampa’s diverse cultures more than the colorful murals adorning walls downtown and throughout the neighborhoods.
One of the Best Cities for Jobs in 2023
If you’re moving to Tampa to look for a new job, you may be in luck. When evaluating U.S. cities for job opportunities and growth, WalletHub placed the Big Guava high up on its list. This is reflected in its recent unemployment rate, which was a low 3.1 percent as of July 2023.
So what type of work are you likely to grab while living in Tampa? As part of its recovery from the pandemic, the Tampa Bay area has seen a boom in construction. This metro is also a defense hub, with MacDill Air Force Base being one of the largest employers in the county. Other major industries to check out in Tampa include healthcare, agriculture, finance, technology and digital marketing.
You’ll find Fortune 500 and 1000 companies here, including Mosaic and Bloomin’ Brands, Inc. Alongside them are other big names like SYKES, Masonite and Suncoast Credit Union.
Tampa’s Lower Cost of Living Also Comes with Lower Salary Expectations
Even when you take into consideration that Florida doesn’t have a state income tax, Tampa’s median income comes in pretty low at just $59,893. The good news is that just about everything else is lower here, too, making it easier to get by on the lower income—including housing!
That may be a shock given how the housing market has fared across the U.S. in recent years, but unlike nearby Orlando, the housing costs in Tampa are less than the Florida state average and the national average. The median sale price is still a hefty $430,000, but homes are lingering on the market longer than they were in 2022, and fewer are being sold above list price. This makes it a little easier for you to find the right one to make yours.
If you would prefer to rent, the median rent for a one-bedroom apartment was $1,415 in September 2023, with the median for a two-bedroom a few hundred higher at $1,745.
Live By the Beach, Universities or Thrilling Theme Parks
Tampa boasts over 80 official neighborhoods, some of which are the most coveted in Florida. Whether you’re looking for the best beach spot, access to theme parks, suburban life or the hustle and bustle of a big city, there’s a great spot for you here. Check out these highly recommended neighborhoods for those moving to Tampa:
If you’re seeking a healthy nightlife with upscale restaurants and boutiques, in-demand Hyde Park has it all. Although it’s an expensive neighborhood, the highly rated schools, great views and list of things to do can make it worth it.
Another neighborhood with highly rated schools and great restaurants, coffee shops and parks, suburban Riverside Heights is one of the best places to live in Florida for families, young professionals and retirees alike.
Among Tampa’s trendiest neighborhoods, Seminole Heights goes for a quiet, individualistic atmosphere. Although it’s largely considered a residential area, you’ll still find great spots to eat and hang out.
This neighborhood is among the more expensive ones in Tampa, and for good reason: it’s right in the middle of everything going on. From its urban streets and bars to its quaint cobblestone roads, it packs city to-dos with a small town feel.
Known to give an “old Florida” feeling, this affluent residential neighborhood is great for fishing, hanging out in the park, and strolls along the canals.
Other neighborhoods to include in your Tampa home search:
- Downtown Tampa
- Harbour Island
- Channel District
- Port Tampa
- Ybor City
Tampa is Seeking to Improve its Public Transportation
The Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority (HART) provides a fixed route with 200 buses servicing the county, as well as the MetroRapid North-South service and TECO Line Streetcar system. Due to some transit limitations and risky traffic, commuting can be challenging depending on where you live in relation to work.
Thankfully, the city is aware of their transportation troubles and is implementing what they call Tampa MOVES, a mobility plan that will invest billions into a new transportation vision for the city.
If you love to travel or have friends and family come to visit, you’ll appreciate not one, but two, international airports: Tampa International and nearby St. Pete–Clearwater International.
Education Opportunities in Tampa
While Florida as a whole ranks low in the U.S. for the quality of its education, residents ranked Tampa’s public schools high on Niche, even nabbing the city a spot high on a national list of best cities for schooling. If you would still prefer to check out a private school, the city has over 100 to choose from.
Those pursuing a higher education will have a few places to apply to, including the University of Tampa, University of South Florida and nearby Florida College.
Thunderstorms and Humidity in Exchange for Mild Winters
One of Tampa’s nicknames is the Lightning Capital of North America. Although it’s actually a nearby Florida town that records the most lightning strikes each year, Tampa still sees its fair share of thunderstorms each summer.
Summers here are hot and humid, helping those lush palm trees to thrive. While August is the wettest month, July is the hottest, with highs averaging 86 degrees Fahrenheit.
Winters, though, are dry and mild with temperatures rarely dropping below 50. The coldest month is January, with an average low of 52 degrees.
10 Can’t-Miss Things to Do in Tampa
Tampa may not experience the same spotlight as nearby Orlando, but this city has its own share of thrills, parks, great eats and more. Here’s a list of 10 must-dos in Tampa:
- Walk, bike or rollerblade along the scenic Tampa Riverwalk.
- Shop and dine at the mural-filled Hyde Park Village, full of greenery and shade.
- Skip the drive to Disney and visit Busch Gardens instead, where you’ll hang out with over 200 different animal species and enjoy the thrilling Serengeti Flyer.
- Catch a movie at the historic Tampa Theater, a city landmark that was considered one of the world’s most ornate theaters when it was first built in 1926.
- Take a free trip to the Tampa Electric Manatee Viewing Center, where you can see manatees visiting the power station for the warm waters it circulates into the bay.
- Grab younger kiddos on a rainy day for some fun at the imaginative and interactive Glazer Children’s Museum, where they can learn and play pretend.
- Relive the Gilded Age at the Henry B. Plant Museum, a National Historic Landmark that provides a glimpse into life at the turn of the 20th century.
- Spend the day outside at Hillsborough River State Park, featuring rapids, walking trails and camping.
- Experience indoor and outdoor exhibits or attend an event at the Tampa Museum of Art
- Get another view of Tampa Bay with a short journey out of the city to St. Pete Pier.