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Tampa is a Florida city located on Tampa Bay, on the Gulf Coast. Tampa’s a major center for business, and it’s known for having museums and cultural offerings. It’s one of the largest metro areas in the southeast United States. The Tampa Bay area also includes St. Petersburg and Clearwater.
If you’re thinking about moving to Tampa/ living in Tampa, you’d be in good company. The city has an estimated population of over 385,000 people. Around four million people live in the Greater Tampa area.
The explosive growth in the Tampa Bay metro has led to great economic opportunities and development, but also some downsides. For example, if you’re thinking about moving to Tampa, you should know it has some of the busiest, most congested roads in the state.
Tampa Bay is notoriously bad in terms of public transportation availability, and the area is one of the deadliest for pedestrians, likely because everyone is so car-dependent.
Key Factors to Know About Living in Tampa
Below are eight things to know about life in Tampa to consider if you’re thinking about moving there.
1. The Metro Region
As mentioned, the Tampa Bay metro region includes more than just the city of Tampa. It encompasses four counties—Hillsborough, Pinellas, Pasco, and Hernando.
Hillsborough County is home to Tampa and the Tampa International Airport. It’s also home to smaller cities, including Plant City, and unincorporated areas like Brandon.
Pinellas County is where the beautiful area beaches are located, as well as cities like Clearwater and St. Petersburg. Pasco County includes New Port Richey and Land O’Lakes, while Hernando County is an affordable part of the Tampa Bay area with developments in Brooksville and Spring Hill.
2. The Cost of Living is Rising
While Tampa and Florida, in general, are thought of as affordable parts of the country to call home, things are heating up in Tampa.
In March 2021, the average rent for an apartment in Tampa was $1,423, which was slightly higher than the national average.
A lot of people who have been moving to the area are coming from more expensive cities and parts of the country, driving the prices up.
To find affordable housing, people are going to Hernando or Pasco Counties, which are to the north. They’re further from the central business districts in Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, though.
Even with prices going up, relatively speaking, Tampa is still a relatively low-cost place to live. This is especially true if you compare it to somewhere like Miami. You can get the Florida lifestyle without the astronomical Miami prices.
3. The Weather is Tropical
Of course, one reason that people move to Florida is the weather. You’re going to get warm, sunny winters and springs with temperatures rarely going below 60 degrees. The summers and falls are hot, humid, and wet.
The Gulf of Mexico side of Florida has warmer water temperatures, but you do have to consider hurricane season, which is usually most active in September.
4. Head to Ybor City For History and Culture
Northeast of Tampa’s downtown is Ybor City, which is a historic district. Ybor City was founded in the 1880s by Spanish, Cuban, and Italian immigrants. It was an industrial area with cigar manufacturing as a central activity. Now, it’s like Tampa’s Latin quarter. There are local cigar shops, great boutiques, and some of the area’s top restaurants.
5. The Beaches
The beaches are one of the most important parts of life for a lot of people on the Gulf Coast. The Tampa Bay Area is known for having some of the country’s prettiest beaches, with white sand and warm waters.
If you want to stay in the city, you can go to Ben T. Davis Beach. It’s located along the causeway between Clearwater and Tampa.
Some of the even more beautiful spots are in St. Petersburg and Clearwater. St. Pete Beach and Clearwater Beach have cabana rentals, shopping, nightlife, and plenty of beachside amenities.
You can even leave for a cruise from Port Tampa Bay. The major cruise lines have a presence here, with boats that head to the Caribbean.
If you want unspoiled and undeveloped coastal areas, you can head to Caladesi Island and State Park. You have to take a ferry to access this natural beach. There’s also Fort Desoto Park which is natural and free of condos but with some amenities like bathrooms and showers.
6. Outdoor Activities
Since the weather is nice pretty much year-round, if you’re a resident of the area, you can plan on spending a lot of time outdoors.
You can hike, fish, or birdwatch in Lettuce Lake Park, which is on the Hillsborough River. You can rent a Tampa Water Bike or go to the Hillsborough River State Park for camping or kayaking.
7. The Economy
A lot of fast-growing companies have been moving to the Tampa area. It’s known for being a very pro-business city. There are friendly corporate tax policies in Florida, they do not impose any tax on personal income, and the regulatory burdens are limited. There are a lot of top companies headquartered in Tampa, and the operating costs tend to be relatively low. You’re also globally connected when you do business in Tampa, thanks to the presence of the seaport and the airport.
Tampa has the 6th-most minority business owners in the U.S., and in 2021, Forbes named it one of the top tech cities. Chief Executive Magazine said Florida is the second-best place for business, and LinkedIn ranked the area as number three among fast-growing metropolitan areas for entrepreneurs.
With the rapid growth of the population which is around 50,000 people a year, so there’s an abundant labor force.
8. Tampa Loves Sports
Finally, in 2020, Tampa fans got what they’d been waiting so long for. Tom Brady led the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to become the first team ever to both hosts and win the Super Bowl simultaneously. The Lightning team went to the Stanley Cup, and the Rays beat the New York Yankees.
People in Tampa love sports, and they tend to take it personally when people come from out of state and continue supporting their old home team.