The critics have voted and the results are in: Tampa Bay and St Pete rank among the top 10 places to live in the entire US.
Is living in Florida the right choice for you? If so, should you take up residence on the Gulf Coast? What should you know about living in Tampa Bay before you take the plunge and make the move?
We’ll discuss everything you need to know about Florida living, so keep reading for our expert insight!
What’s the Cost of Living in Tampa Bay?
Tampa Bay offers a lot of bang for your hard-earned buck. Overall, the cost of living is about 5% less than the national average.
Breaking it down further, you’ll find that housing costs are an impressive 23% lower than the national average. If you want to find a great deal on an apartment or house, Tampa Bay is a terrific option! Median home prices are around $266,000, while the median rent price is $835/month.
Keep in mind, though, that utilities tend to be 16% above the national average — just under $200/month — mostly due to all that air-conditioning you’ll use. But don’t worry, we’ll get to the climate and weather a bit later!
You’ll find an incredible array of housing options in Tampa and St. Pete, from downtown condos right on the water to single-family homes in quiet suburbs. When you’re ready to browse different houses, condos, and neighborhoods, you can learn about the area here.
What’s the Lifestyle Like?
If you’ve only been to Florida for vacation, you may think that the locals spend all day every day lounging around on the beach. Don’t get us wrong — we all love relaxing by the water. But there’s a lot more to see and do beyond the beautiful Gulf Coast beaches.
Tampa Bay has pretty much everything you could want. There’s great dining and shopping options, plenty of outdoor activities, and interesting historical and cultural sights to see. You’re never far from the water, a park, or a wide promenade for walking, biking, or skating.
You’ll find a huge mix of young singles, couples, families, and retirees, all enjoying the Florida lifestyle. With many big universities, theme parks, and startups nearby, there’s plenty here to attract people of all ages and demographics.
What About Work & Education?
One hundred and fifty years ago, Tampa’s only purpose was to serve as a hub between the water and Ybor City — the cigar capital of the world in the late 1800s. It’s come a long way since then, with a thriving economy and endless new business development.
Tampa Bay and St. Pete are now the Gulf Coast’s hub for finance, industry, and retail commerce. Some of the biggest business bases include tourism, healthcare, tech, and food processing. You’ll also find two nationally renowned breweries and a strong agricultural economy in Hillsborough County.
There are many public and private schools with high national rankings, such as Plant High School or Berkeley Prep School. Aspiring college students have plenty of amazing options from the University of South Florida to Everglades University to the Art Institute of Tampa.
Florida Living: How’s the Weather?
This is a subjective topic depending on how you feel about heat and humidity.
Compared to, well, just about anywhere else in the US, Tampa Bay summers are hot. And not the kind of hot you enjoy on a beautiful summer day in New York or Colorado — we’re talking 90+ degrees all day, every day, for several months. Factor in the high humidity levels, and you’ll be dripping sweat continuously from May through to October.
With that said, the winters are mild and glorious, with average temperatures in the 50s and 60s. There’s an average of 246 days of sunshine annually, which no one can argue with. And if you’re hoping to get away from snow and ice, you might not mind those sticky summers one bit.
You’ll also want to consider how you feel about thunderstorms, because Florida gets a lot of them. Even if you manage to avoid a direct hit from a hurricane, you’re still living in the lightning strike capital of the US.
What Is There to Do in Tampa & St. Pete?
Now that you have a general overview of what living in Florida is like, let’s talk about some of the best features and attractions in the Tampa Bay/St. Pete area.
Theater lovers will adore the Straz Performing Arts Center, which is the fourth-largest venue of its type in the US. Art lovers will enjoy the Tampa Museum of Art as well as the Salvador Dali Museum, which houses one of the world’s largest collections from the iconic Spanish artist.
Ready to ride some roller coasters and see some amazing shows and animals? Busch Gardens, one of the biggest and best theme parks in the country, is right in your backyard. And if you need a little variety, you’re just an hour-and-a-half drive from Disney World, Universal Studios, Sea World, and Orlando’s other great theme parks.
Are you more interested in watching live sports in your free time? With four professional sports teams, you’ll have your choice of live games to attend year-round.
Living in Tampa Bay: Is It the Right Choice for You?
So, what do you think? After considering all the factors listed above, is the Tampa Bay lifestyle the right fit for you and your family?
Like all big moves, it’s important to weigh the pros and cons. Bookmark this article and refer back to it as you continue your research and get closer to making your final decision!
Living in Florida isn’t the only topic on the table today. Keep browsing our site for terrific advice on lifestyle, business, fashion, and much more.