With its beautiful beaches, eclectic food offerings, a strong sense of community and affordable cost of living, it’s easy to see why increasing numbers of people from within the US and beyond are choosing to call Tampa home.
Located in Hillsborough County and connected to the Gulf of Mexico on the western coast of the Sunshine State, Tampa has always had historical significance within the US thanks to its bustling port which is one of the largest in the country. Nowadays, the Tampa Bay Area, which encompasses the municipalities of Tampa, St Petersburg and Clearwater is one of the fastest-growing regions in Florida.
Tampa’s year-round good weather continues to draw people from all over. With an average annual temperature of 22°C (72.3°F), it's easy to understand why this city has mass appeal. The climate also contributes to much of the lifestyle benefits of living in Tampa, making it the perfect outdoor playground for a range of fun activities including hiking, biking and boating.
Fondly dubbed the Cigar City because of its rich Cuban history, Tampa is home to a diverse demographic. Spanish, French and Italian influences are visible throughout Tampa, particularly in its food, architecture and cultural events. Tampa’s population leans to the political left and it is also home to a fairly large LGBTQ+ presence, which adds much vibrancy and colour to the community, especially in Tampa’s famous GaYbor District.
While it has always been a popular option among retirees who long to spend their twilight years basking in the Florida sun and enjoying all the lifestyle benefits this city has to offer, Tampa is also fast becoming a destination of choice among young professionals and families who are drawn by the career opportunities and school options available.
Tampa’s economy is on the up so newcomers with skills and experience in areas such as manufacturing, technology, finance and tourism will find an abundance of job opportunities. For those looking to start a business of their own, the State of Florida actively encourages investment and has incentives in place to support small ventures.
In terms of accommodation in Tampa, new arrivals will be spoilt for choice. From sleek city apartments and condos to comfortable family homes and palatial villas, Tampa has it all. Although property prices in Tampa are relatively reasonable, demand still outstrips supply so prospective residents may need to act fast to secure a rental especially in the most sought-after neighbourhoods. It’s a fairly large city and while a public transport network does exist by far the best way to get around is by car, especially for those travelling to and from outlying suburbs.
Not only are properties spacious but there is a strong sense of community in many of the neighbourhoods which will certainly help newcomers settle in. Tampa also boasts a broad range of schooling options including some excellent charter and magnet schools as well as a substantial range of private and international schools.
There's also no shortage of entertainment and lifestyle offerings in Tampa. Those with a keen eye for art and culture will find a range of excellent museums and galleries. Sports enthusiasts will be in their element too. Boasting no less than three major professional sports teams – the NFL Buccaneers, the NHL Tampa Bay Lightning and of course the MLB Tampa Bay Rays – new residents will soon find a local team to back. Tampa’s nightlife knows no bounds either, whether pumping dance clubs are one’s idea of a good night out or a relaxed evening sipping cocktails with a view is more your thing, there is no doubt that this is a city that knows how to have fun.
►Checking out a city's best attractions is a great way for one to get acquainted with their new home. For our top tips see the See and Do in Tampa page
Are you an expat living in Tampa?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Tampa. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
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