Tampa is currently one of the hottest real estate markets in the U.S., and for a good reason. Because of its rich history, vibrant culture, and proximity to stunning beaches, thousands are relocating to the Tampa area.
Tampa home prices have steadily increased in recent years, and the area offers many options for buyers looking to purchase luxury properties. The median cost for a house in Tampa for 2023 is approximately $395,000, and renting costs are generally lower than in other places in Florida. In addition to its affordability, Tampa offers a wide variety of neighborhoods with something for everyone – from downtown living to suburban life near the beaches.
Thinking of investing in Tampa real estate to make moving to Tampa a reality? Tampa boasts an eclectic mix of culture, entertainment, job prospects, and natural scenery, making it a great place to settle down or begin anew.
Here’s everything you need to know about moving to Tampa.
Tampa Bay Metro Area
With its mild climate year-round, beautiful beaches, and access to major highways, Tampa is an excellent place to call home. Tampa boasts a plethora of shopping, dining, and entertainment choices. It has some of the best schools in Florida, making it ideal for families. And there are many job opportunities available due to its diverse economy and growing population.
The Tampa Bay metro area is made up of Clearwater, St. Petersburg, and Tampa and mainly spans Hillsborough County but includes parts of Pasco, and Pinellas Counties as well.
The Big Guava
Tampa is called “The Big Guava” because of its considerable size and wide range of inhabitants. The Greater Tampa Area is a bustling metropolis with over three million inhabitants, making it the 17th largest metropolitan area in the U.S. It is one of Florida’s most rapidly expanding cities.
Where to Live in Tampa
It can be easy to feel overwhelmed by all the different neighborhoods in the city of Tampa. No matter your lifestyle preference, Tampa has something to offer.
South Tampa has many popular communities and is known for its beautiful homes, excellent schools, and upscale shopping and dining experiences.
Hillsborough County offers numerous parks, beaches, golf courses, museums, and other attractions that make living here enjoyable year-round – not to mention it’s a hotbed for professional baseball talent like Wade Boggs and Tino Martinez!
You can find downtown high-rise apartments near Amalie Arena or Channelside Bay Plaza, waterfront living on Davis Island or Bayshore Boulevard, family-friendly suburban communities such as Carrollwood Village and Westchase, or areas like Lutz and Land O Lakes with horse farms and acreage homesites.
There are plenty of diverse neighborhoods in Tampa, whether you’re looking for waterfront property or historic homes within walking distance from local attractions like Ybor City or Channelside Bay Plaza.
A Glimpse into Tampa’s Neighborhoods
If you’re looking for a home for sale in Tampa, one of my top recommendations is checking out neighborhoods in South Tampa.
Moving to South Tampa is becoming a favorite for newcomers because of its waterfront location and short commute downtown. And personally? As someone born and raised in Tampa with almost two decades of luxury real estate experience in the local market, one of my favorite places is South Tampa! The neighborhoods in this area are full of hip restaurants, shopping, nightlife, and excellent schools, making them popular with young professionals and families.
Consider these Tampa neighborhoods to find your dream home.
A short drive from MacDill Air Force Base, Ballast Point has proven to be a popular neighborhood for its excellent schools, beautiful architecture, and convenient location. Close to Dale Mabry Highway and the Selmon Expressway, you can easily commute from your Ballast Point home. Home to the Tampa Yacht & Country Club, the area is a popular spot for boating enthusiasts.
Just north of Ballast Point in South Tampa is Bayshore Beautiful, a Hillsborough Bay neighborhood convenient to the Selmon Expressway and Dale Mabry Hwy. A short drive from Downtown Tampa, the area provides easy access to the Bay and fun water activities. You’ll find opportunities for condo living as well as single-family homes.
North of Ballast Point and Bayshore Beautiful, you will find Hyde Park. Hyde Park which is also known as the “Golden Triangle” has proven a very popular location with great shopping, views of Hillsborough Bay, and easy access to downtown, Kennedy Boulevard, I-275 and the Selmon Expressway. With a renowned balustrade that abuts the bay, you can enjoy the beauty of this historic neighborhood and the surrounding communities through which it travels.
Convenient to I-275, Kennedy Boulevard, and Dale Mabry Highway, Beach Park is nestled along Old Tampa Bay. With plenty of small inlets to get boaters onto the water fast and just a short drive from the airport, Beach Park is perfect for those who love to work hard and play hard. Waterfront properties can be hard to come by but are worth the effort for the incredible views.
Located along Hillsborough Bay just north of Bayshore Beautiful, Palma Ceia features a variety of fun restaurants. Convenient to Downtown Tampa and Memorial Hospital of Tampa, the area is home to the popular Palma Ceia Golf & Country Club and adjacent to the Selmon Expressway and Dale Mabry Hwy.
Between Belmar Shores and Palma Ceia lies Virginia Park, a centrally located South Tampa neighborhood about 17 minutes from Downtown Tampa. Home to an assortment of international restaurants and great local shops, Virginia Park is popular for its accessible location and beautiful homes. Convenient to Dale Mabry Hwy. for easy commuting!
Just south of Tampa’s Memorial Hospital, Parkland Estates is close to the Palma Ceia Golf & Country Club, Hyde Park Village, and the Selmon Expressway. Just a short drive from the University of Tampa, the area offers gorgeous and historic single-family homes and opportunities for condo or townhome living.
Located in Hillsborough Bay, Davis Island is home to Peter O. Knight Airport, Tampa General Hospital, and Davis Island Yacht Club. Whether you like sailing, jet-skiing, kayaking, fishing, or just boating in general, the island is a hot spot for water sports enthusiasts and perfect for those who do not want to be far from the recreational opportunities that the bay provides. Beautiful bayfront homes feature sweeping views of the water and provide convenient access to the bay.
Looking to be a little further north? Check out Westchase! Home to the Westchase Golf Club plus excellent shopping, parks, walking trails, and two swim and tennis centers for residents, Westchase is convenient to 580 (Hillsborough Avenue/Tampa Road) and the Veterans Expressway. Westchase’s location makes it easy to commute to Clearwater, Tampa, and other surrounding areas.
Tampa Job Market
Although Tampa is the best place to retire, it’s no longer just for retirees. With its beautiful culture and vibrant economy, it’s no wonder that Tampa is one of the fastest-growing cities in Florida. Tampa offers a thriving job market, offering plentiful prospects in finance, healthcare, education, hospitality/tourism, and tech. The competitive job market and lower cost of living are drawing younger generations to the area.
Tampa has seen a surge in job growth over recent years, largely due to its advantageous location near multiple major industries and several educational institutions. Tampa in particular has become an appealing locale for millennials due to its energetic cityscape, multifaceted culture, and relatively low living expenses. With a growing economy that features jobs in the tech industry as well as other sectors such as healthcare and hospitality, Tampa offers millennials plenty of opportunities for career growth.
In December 2022, the unemployment rate in Tampa was 2.2%. Compared to the national average of 3.4%, this is stellar.
What’s more, as a Florida resident, you get to keep more of your hard-earned money because Florida doesn’t have a state income tax. So if you were on the fence about moving to Tampa, this fact just might convince you to start house hunting now!
Education in Tampa
Tampa is incredibly family-friendly and has many excellent schools to accommodate children of all ages. The Hillsborough County School District, the 8th largest school district in the U.S., services the Tampa area with elementary, middle, and high schools.
You can use this directory from the National Center for Educational Statistics to compare schools to one another.
Plus, Tampa is home to the University of South Florida (USF), Stetson University, the University of Tampa (UT), and Hillsborough Community College. USF has especially excellent engineering, healthcare, and technology programs.
For those interested in exploring alternative options outside traditional schooling, there are numerous trade schools across Tampa providing vocational training courses tailored towards specific industries such as construction trades or healthcare services.
Despite bottleneck rush-hour traffic, Tampa ranks as one of the best cities to drive in the U.S. However, there are several public transportation options available to make getting around easier for those without cars or who don’t want to drive themselves.
The Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority (HART) provides the following:
- Bus service with more than 200 buses
- MetroRapid North-South service
- TECO Line Streetcar system
- HARTFlex and HARTPlus Paratransit van services
The Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority (PSTA) also offers additional services outside Tampa.
And Tampa residents can easily access Tampa International Airport to jet-set around the country or even the world!
The main highway through Tampa is Interstate 275 (I-275). This interstate makes navigating the city easy and efficient by providing access to all major areas of town. Connecting Tampa to other places in Florida, I-275 serves as a major highway that facilitates travel between St Petersburg, Clearwater, and Bradenton.
Tampa Culture, Art, and Heritage
Tampa has long been a port city since it sits on the Gulf of Mexico. Yet, it remained mostly depopulated for hundreds of years until the U.S. gained control of Florida in 1821. Before then, various native tribes and the Spanish settled in the area, influencing culture for years.
As a result, Tampa is home to a wealth of cultural experiences, where you’ll find art installations and vibrant culture inspired by Cuban, Spanish, Italian and Sicialian heritages. The city celebrates creative expression and individualism. There is much to explore, from live music to art museums and galleries like the Tampa Museum of Art.
The Tampa Bay History Center is an excellent place to visit to learn more about Tampa’s role in the war. This Smithsonian Affiliate Museum houses more than 12,000 years of Florida history.
Enjoy a collage of more than 550 images by photographer/artist Bruce Marsh at the South End of Tampa’s 2.4 mile Riverwalk before heading over to the Florida Aquarium, or savor authentic Cuban cuisine and groove to jazz or salsa bands in Ybor City’s Latin Quarter.
A unique part of Tampa culture you cannot miss is the pirate-themed “Gasparilla season,” which runs from mid-January to mid-March. The Gasparilla Pirate Fest puts on the third-largest parade in the U.S.!
Things to Do in Tampa
Thanks to its amazing year-round sunny weather, Tampa is exploding with things to do. From historical landmarks to outdoor adventures to bustling nightlife, there’s something for everyone. Here are some of the top things to do in town.
For Outdoor-sy Types
If you love kayaking or enjoying being in nature, head to Hillsborough River State Park. To soak up the sunshine or go boating, check out some of the Pinellas County beaches. Here you’ll find some of the best beaches in all of Florida!
Friday Night Date Night
Spend the warm nights shopping at cute boutiques, dining at delicious five-star restaurants on the Tampa Riverwalk, or sipping a cold beverage at one of the many breweries in town.
Meander along Bayshore Boulevard, a 4.5-mile sidewalk for pedestrians to enjoy the sights of Tampa and Hillsborough Bay. Along the waterfront, one can observe Tampa’s downtown skyline and Hillsborough Bay while enjoying a leisurely stroll or witnessing active joggers, cyclists, and rollerbladers.
Explore Ybor City, a historic neighborhood located just east of downtown Tampa that was once known as the “Cigar Capital of the World” due to its thriving cigar industry from the 1880s to the 1930s.
Visit Channelside Bay Plaza for shopping, dining, or entertainment options such as movie theaters or bowling alleys – all within walking distance from each other. The plaza also hosts regular events like live music performances or art festivals, so be sure to check their calendar before visiting if there’s something specific you want to catch while here.
For those looking for entertainment options, sports teams such as NHL’s Lightning hockey team, NFL’s Buccaneers football team, MLB’s Rays baseball team, and USL’s Rowdies soccer team bring out fans from far and wide during each season, providing a lively atmosphere even in off-season months.
Tampa is also home to six spring training camps for other MLB teams, making it a paradise for baseball fanatics.
For the Kiddos
The Florida Aquarium located near Channelside Bay Plaza showcases an impressive array of over 20 thousand aquatic species spanning five continents.
ZooTampa at Lowry Park is home to more than a thousand animals, representing over 300 species – some endangered. Get up close and personal with giraffes and elephants and interact with stingrays at Stingray Beach. Plus, the zoo offers educational programs that provide insight into worldwide conservation efforts – making it an ideal destination for nurturing a love of nature in your children.
Additionally, Tampa is home to several theme parks including Adventure Island and Busch Gardens.
At Busch Gardens Tampa Bay, you can have an African-inspired adventure of a lifetime. From the wild roller coasters to up close and personal animal encounters like cheetahs, it’s sure to be thrilling. Don’t forget about Adventure Island, with its abundance of waterslides and pools perfect for cooling off in the summer heat.
Theatre and The Arts
Finally, make sure not to miss out on Opera Tampa performances, traveling Broadway shows, contemporary musicians, and comedians at the Straz Center for Performing Arts (located right next door). The Straz Center for Performing Arts has multiple theaters and hosts a variety of events throughout the year, showcasing the finest local talent.
I wasn’t kidding when I said Tampa has so much to do! This endless list of activities makes moving to Tampa, FL, appealing for many.
Find Your New Home in Tampa, Florida
There you have it: everything you need to know about moving to Tampa! After reading this guide, it should be no surprise why Tampa is a premier relocation destination.
Ensure you are working with an experienced real estate professional who can assist in making the transition to Tampa an effortless process. As a third-generation native, I know Tampa like the back of my hand. I love sharing my passion and insider knowledge on the Tampa area with folks looking to call Tampa home!
Are you ready to look for your new home in Tampa? Let’s chat! I’d love to learn about what you’re looking for so we can find your dream Tampa property today.