I spent a few years living in Tampa in my early twenties when I was trying to figure out what to do with my life. I like the heat so I thought this was the perfect place to get away from snowy, cold grim New Jersey. When I lived in Tampa after I relocated from grey Patterson, I felt as if I had come alive. I later left because my husband got a job in Boston, but we still happily go back to visit Tampa at least once every two years.
Anyone who is looking to move here should know that the city climate is hot. Not a little bit hot but really, really hot. It's also quite humid. So if you can't stand really warm weather, this is not the place for you.
But if you love to swim in winter and hate the cold, this is an awesome choice. Unlike Miami about two hours to the east, Tampa is not quite the big city. It's a big city for Florida but not by world standards. But it is fairly compact and easy to get around in. You don't have to worry about a place to park on most days.
Mostly this is a town where you can stay outdoors for much of the year, enjoy beautiful public beaches and be around nature. I've seen at least a dozen birds in any given trip. I've also been able to have my pick of local bathing spots. Try Indian Shores to spend an entire day on the boardwalk next to the sand and the sea. The beach is only a quick walk from the boardwalk. There's lots of fun games kids can play if they get bored.
First off, I highly underestimated the city. Tampa surprisingly exceeded the average expectations I had for it. For me, 28, single, no kids, never married, it was actually Perfect. Though I've always been a Scenic and Atmosphere type guy, what Tampa does for me, at a more "Mature and Homely" stage of my bachelor years, unlike other vibrant cities; Atlanta, D.C., Baltimore, I'm sure Miami falls into that category, etc; Is that it mellows both Scenery and Atmosphere down to the Perfect Setting. For someone like myself; Not involved with large groups of people, that has minimal amount of friends, solely focused on Work and Education, committed to building a strong precedence independently, who's 'Open' to dating but has dating placed at a low but available priority, that has completely written off Clubs, Restless Work Hard Play Harder, or Rock Star status living BUT, is very open to "Casual" Mingling or Nightlife Enjoyment, It's just.. right.
This wasn't a party or business trip, just visiting a family member. I was located Channel Side, basically Downtown Tampa. Downtowns aren't usually convenient in range or route for; a lot of things, Downtown Tampa, Is. I don't care largely for huge cities with compressed populations. If I don't have to be mixed in with a large scale of people, I won't. With Tampa, that's not the actual case. While being 1 of the top Industrial Cities in America, it takes away the ultimatum of Slow, or Fast. Tampa is Spacious and Airy! It may appear small, and slow if you're used to Atlanta and other East Coast cities, because it's more narrow, But it's 170 Sq Miles big, 347,000 plus people live in it says, it's definitely a less crowded city. Nearly 3 Million live in the Metro Area, but outside of Interstate Morning Rush Hour it still hardly even get's cramped! At all! Even businesses aren't generally cramped.
The vibe is not as Noisy and Crowded as other cities. What you want out of the city on a personal level for you own discreetness, you have to penetrate it. It's not an unveiled, scorned, exposed whore like other cities. It's classy, well kept and the people are Craaazy Nice. In traffic, In work places, eating places, You're not treated with any lack of responsibility. For the most part, all services are fresh. You can eat what you want there, I'm not going to go through the entire world of what is to eat in Tampa. I ate regular there, no fine wine and dine, just Chile's, IHOP, Burger Joints. Outside of that, I tried a Pizzeria there called 'Precinct Pizza' and it was damn amazing. Best I've had in years. Nite life is whatever you want out of it. For me; There is a small city there named "Ybor City". Located here; Pubs, Bars, Restaurants, Shops, etc. Majorly diverse group of people here. Obviously it holds a larger crowd during the weekend, but a crowd here everyday of the week. If I wanted to be "out: somewhere in Tampa would be Ybor city. The Mall wasn't the greatest, but it definitely works. I don't go inside malls often and I'm more of an online shopper, so no biggy there. Other than their mall Tampa does have a Wide range of shopping facilities.
The city is filled with decent people, diverse. If you find a snobby female, name it 1 out of 347,000, or just point the finger at yourself. So here, you have your beautiful city, very industrialized, not slowed down, unable to tell, all at once. It's quite unorthodox if you see it correctly. It has a nice setting of Young Architect, which is flat out Gorgeous at night time, Channel or Bay Water and Greenery. It does not separate City, from the Beautiful Nature of the Gulf Coast. Probably the most, undervalued city I've ever been to. This is mainly how I, a male bachelor interprets Tampa from a Living Standpoint, not as a vacation or anything else. Inner City Tampa is a great place for a "Responsible Single Person" Not just any single person. Couples fit well here also. Families would definitely fit well in Tampa, just not in this particular area, which I myself didn't see a single family. Inner City Tampa is definitely not a place for Retirees.
Being from a small town in Tennessee I just didn't think a trip to Florida would be that big of a deal, but it was. Vacation time is for going somewhere new and I found that going from one Southern state to another could be like going to another world.
My daughter and I chose Tampa, Florida because of all the historic places nearby and in Tampa. The Ybor city district, which is a distinct neighborhood inside Tampa, Ybor has been declared a true National Historic Landmark because of the amount of historic places. One of the most beautiful buildings is the Old Tampa Bay Hotel and it is now a part of the University of Tampa. The building has huge arches and a very uncommon spire that you won't see just anywhere.
There are plenty of other tourist attractions such as Busch Gardens, Adventure Island and Lowry Park Zoo. Tampa also has over 2,000 acres of beaches just inside the city limits.
A variety of interesting food choices is available for every taste in this small part of tropical Florida. It isn't just the typical, touristy burgers, steaks and seafood. This is a place where you can satisfy a craving for the exotic, such as Cuban, Latin or authentic Greek cuisine which is what we did. Although the restaurant atmosphere is enjoyable you can enjoy most any meal outside on a patio or at the many sidewalks, table cafés.
Tampa is the fourth largest city in the Southeastern U.S. but like most Southern states you will experience all the down-home hospitality of a small town.
If I ever move to Florida, I'll definitely choose Tampa, FL. I've vacationed there several times, and find it irresistible. This beautiful, modern city curves around Tampa Bay; the bridges and palm-tree lined avenues offer stunning views, and it's so close to the Gulf Coast, that it's a water lover's paradise. Sailing, fishing, watching gorgeous Gulf Coast sunsets, enjoying the plentiful fresh seafood, or just sitting by the water letting the breeze blow through your hair-there's always something to do and attractions to see in Tampa.
Within a 30 minute drive there are two baseball parks, the Tarpon Springs sponge docks, Heritage Village, and uncountable beaches. Take a dolphin cruise, a dinner cruise, or visit Haslam's, my favorite, fabulous book store in next-door St. Petersburg.
Yes, there are tourists in Tampa, and I can't complain because I've been one, but natives say that there are plenty of times during the year when Tampa is peaceful. The climate is great year-round, and Tampa is easy to reach by highway or air.