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Tampa is the third-largest city in Florida, located about 200 miles northwest of Miami on the state's western coast. Tampa Bay offers beautiful waterfront views, and also protects the city from the Gulf of Mexico, helping to create the moderate climate the area is so well known for. Though Tampa is a large city and an important financial center, it also maintains a laid-back identity as a beach destination thanks to its sandy shores and palm-tree-lined boulevards.
The Rich History of Tampa
Surprisingly, despite its great Gulf Coast location and well-protected harbor, the Tampa area wasn't settled until the early 19th century. Development began to take off once Florida became a state in 1845 (after being acquired from Spain in 1821), and the arrival of the railroad in 1884 helped draw new residents and repeat visitors to the area. In the late 19th century, new luxurious waterfront hotels were the foundation of the area's tourism industry, which is still booming today.
Tampa's cigar industry, which began with the construction of a cigar factory in 1886, has been a rich element of the Tampa area's unique identity. Over a century later, the Ybor City area boasts a lively Hispanic culture.
Living in Tampa
Today, Tampa has a well-rounded balance of skyscrapers, beachfront development and outdoor spaces, making it an ideal home for many. Tampa is also a busy cruise ship port, drawing in beach-loving visitors with its miles of sand and vivid turquoise waters. The city is home to several art and history museums, three professional sports teams and plenty of activities for locals and tourists alike.
Here are just a few of the wonderful neighborhoods that Tampa has to offer:
Soho/Hyde Park is a chic metropolitan community that is a favorite among young professionals. This area offers the best of both work and play in one accessible hub, making it easy to stop for happy hour or enjoy a weeknight dinner after a day at work.
Downtown Tampa and the Channel District
Downtown Tampa, including the Channel District, is an ideal neighborhood for people who enjoy an active lifestyle, with sports, entertainment, shopping, dining and culture all easily accessible. Lush parks like Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park offer beautiful green spaces amid the skyscrapers.
The rich Hispanic roots of Ybor City originated from immigrants that arrived in the 1880s to work in the city's cigar factories. Today, it's one of Florida's National Historic Landmark Districts, and is the home of many special events for both children and adults, such as the Latin-inspired "Guavaween" celebration, which happens each October.
Downtown St. Petersburg
For Tampa residents who love to be in the center of it all, downtown St. Petersburg offers all the excitement of urban living, playing host to a vibrant mix of restaurants, museums, shopping and waterfront parks.
Moving to Tampa
The City of Tampa is home to a diverse collection of large employers. Among these top names are Publix, Tech Data, Baycare Health System and University of South Florida. Some of the major industries in Tampa include trade and transportation, professional and business services, education and health services and government. For new residents joining the Tampa job market, fast-growing fields such as leisure and hospitality, construction, education and health services offer plenty of employment opportunities.
Another benefit of moving to Tampa is enjoying the below-average cost of living. You can expect to pay a little more than the national average for the typical home in Tampa.
Tampa School District Information
Tampa's School District of Hillsborough County is one of the largest in the United States. Several Hillsborough County schools have earned national recognition for the high-quality education provided to students. Tampa students also have a variety of private and charter school options. With an excellent student-to-teacher ratio in schools throughout the city, Tampa provides each student with excellent opportunities for individualized education.
Tampa Moving Tips
Here are a few quick tips that can help make your move to Tampa stress-free:
- Water and Power: The City of Tampa provides utilities services, including water and electricity.
Trash and Recycling: The City of Tampa manages all trash collection and recycling services, offering both home pick-up and drop-off sites for recyclable goods.
- Public Transportation: HART is the official public transportation system of Tampa, providing service via bus and van. For extra convenience, you can purchase unlimited fare passes for periods of up to 31 days.
- Parks and Recreation: The Tampa Department of Parks and Recreation maintains a large number of facilities available to the public, including playgrounds, aquatic centers and recreation centers. Residents can purchase affordable resident passes for access to programs and activities.
Tampa Housing Information
Tampa offers a wide variety of housing options, from numerous beachfront neighborhoods to high-density housing and suburban areas.
Older residents tend to favor beachfront areas in Tampa metropolitan cities like St. Petersburg and Clearwater, while families often gravitate toward the city's suburban areas.
The median home value in Tampa is relatively low in comparison to the national average. This affordability is the reason over half of Tampa residents own their own home.