What's it like to live in Tampa, FL?


Ginger Warder

Profile written by local expert:

Ginger Warder

Residents of the Tampa Bay area enjoy both a laid-back beach lifestyle and the amenities of a large metropolitan area, including three professional sports teams, interesting museums and an array of entertainment and dining options.

The Tampa Bay metro area is a sprawling and diverse region that encompasses three cities – Tampa, St. Petersburg and Clearwater – each with a distinct personality.

Living in the Tampa Bay area is like being on vacation all year. Located north of the bay, Tampa has a hip social scene, a thriving Hispanic community, and is notable for Ybor City, once known as "the Cigar Capital of the World." On the opposite side of the bay, the beaches of St. Petersburg offer water sports and activities like parasailing and dolphin-watching cruises, while the city itself has become a major arts destination, home of the renowned Salvador Dali Museum. Clearwater is popular with the spring break crowd and in recent years, the city's notoriety as the headquarters of Scientology has been eclipsed by its marine movie star, Winter, of "Dolphin Tale."

Rankings

U.S. News analyzed 100 metro areas in the United States to find the best places to live based on quality of life and the job market in each metro area, as well as the value of living there and people's desire to live there.

Tampa, Florida is ranked:

#35 in Best Places to Live

#29 in Best Places to Retire

6.6

Overall

Scorecard

  • Desirability
    8.8
  • Value
    5.0
  • Job Market
    6.5
  • Quality of Life
    6.6
  • Net Migration
    8.0

Read how we rank places

Tampa, FL Quick Stats

  • 2,888,458

    Metro Population

  • $44,510

    Average Annual Salary

  • 81.7° / 65.1°

    Avg High/Low Temps

  • 41.8

    Median Age

  • $170,400

    Median Home Price

  • 46.3 inches

    AVG Annual Rainfall

  • 4.6%

    Unemployment Rate

  • $953

    AVG Monthly Rent

  • 26.3 minutes

    Avg Commute Time

What's the cost of living in Tampa, FL?

The cost of living in the Tampa Bay area is slightly lower than the national average; however, so is the average annual salary. Still, compared to other major regions, Tampa, including its surrounding communities, is relatively affordable.

Value Index

Index Score: 5.0 /10

How we calculate this.


Tampa offers a lower value than similarly sized metro areas when you compare housing costs to median household income.

Housing Costs this Year


Tampa
$170,400

USA
$211,704

Housing Costs Over Time

Data sourced from Zillow median home sale price data series. Additional data provided by the Austin Board of Realtors, Houston Association of Realtors, Intermountain MLS, Omaha Area Board of Realtors, San Antonio Board of Realtors, and the Salt Lake Board of Realtors.

Buying or Selling a Home in Tampa, FL

Finding the right real estate agent or realtor is key when it comes to buying or selling a home in Tampa.

Sunny weather and ocean views have brought more and more people to Tampa. Unfortunately for them, low housing inventory has kept prices fairly high, especially in southern neighborhoods like Davis Islands that have easy access to the water. When looking for someone to handle your sale or purchase, keep in mind that, though it might be tempting to think that there is one overall best real estate agent in Tampa, what's best for someone else may not be best for you.

If you're considering buying or selling a home, see our list of the top real estate agents in Tampa.

What's the weather like in Tampa, FL?

Tampa, unlike most regions, actually suffers its worst weather of the year during the summer. This time of year brings intense humidity, daily rain showers, temperatures that hover in the high 90s and occasional hurricanes.

Seasonal Temperature (Avgs)

62.4°F


Winter

72.6°F


Spring

82.8°F


Summer

75.7°F


Fall

Seasonal Rainfall (Avgs)

2.8 in


Winter

3.0 in


Spring

7.8 in


Summer

6.3 in


Fall

Monthly High and Low Temperatures (°F)

Data sourced from the National Climatic Data Center.

What's the best way to get around Tampa, FL?

Most residents depend on their cars to get around. Locals bemoan the lack of a highly developed transportation system that traverses the bay, though public transit is available on either side of the water.

Both Tampa and Pinellas Counties have public bus and trolley systems. The Hillsborough Area Regional Transit (HART) Authority offers public bus routes throughout the Hillsborough County area and the TECO Line Streetcar runs between downtown Tampa, Harbour Island, Channel District and Ybor City. The Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority (PSTA) operates the public bus system in St. Petersburg and Clearwater, and the Suncoast Beach Trolley runs between downtown St. Petersburg and the beaches.

Tampa is also home to the Tampa International Airport and the St. Pete-Clearwater Airport (home to low-cost carrier Allegiant Airlines). Port Tampa Bay serves several major Caribbean cruise lines, and Amtrak trains from the Northeast, Midwest and the South offer routes to and from the Tampa Union Station.

Commuting in Tampa, FL

Means of Transportation
Driving
89%
Above national average

Bicycling
1%
Equal to national average

Walking
2%
Equal to national average

Public Transit
1%
Below national average
Average Commute Time

26.3 minutes

0.4 minutes more than national average

Average Commute Times by Zip Code

Data sourced from the U.S. Census Bureau's American Community Survey.

Who lives in Tampa, FL?

Almost half of the population is between 18 and 54 years of age, with another 35 percent of residents in the over 55 demographic. Most residents are transplants from other areas of the U.S., drawn to the region by its good weather, recreational activities, job opportunities or retirement communities.

In general, the Tampa Bay region is politically conservative, and Clearwater ranks as one of the top 25 most conservative regions, but those statistics are somewhat misleading. St. Petersburg is home to a massive gay pride celebration and to the Tampa Bay Times, a left-leaning daily newspaper. Both Tampa and St. Petersburg have strong arts communities and gay-friendly neighborhoods. And although religious affiliation often correlates to political leanings, the Tampa region has one of the lowest rates of religious affiliation in the U.S. with 25 percent of the population having no affiliation whatsoever. 

Age Distribution

Marital Status Breakdown


About the same number of single people in Tampa as national average

Data sourced from the U.S. Census Bureau's American Community Survey.

What is there to do in Tampa, FL?

The Tampa Bay area is home to a number of diverse communities, and residents tend to seek entertainment in these cultural enclaves as opposed to more touristy areas like the Channel District or Southshore.

Historic Ybor City pays homage to its populations' Cuban roots with authentic cuisine, music and cigars. In Seminole Heights, artisans sell their crafts at the Second Sunday Morning Market.

The region's beaches are located in St. Petersburg and Clearwater. Fort DeSoto Park in St. Petersburg features kayak rentals, fishing piers and a dedicated dog beach and dog park, while Caladesi Island State Park in Dunedin is a pristine retreat only accessible by ferry. 

Find out more about what there is to see and do in Tampa, FL