• Melanie Loves Tampa Bay

Living in Tampa / St. Petersburg 🌴 Things To Do, Job Opportunities, Where to Live

Everyone knows Miami and Orlando, but the first city I want you to think about in Florida is Tampa. Do you really know why the Tampa Bay area is such an amazing place to live? I'm spilling it all today...

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The two primary counties are Hillsborough (Tampa) and Pinellas (St. Petersburg / beaches). If you're considering a move here and prefer urban areas - you can choose between downtown Tampa and downtown St. Petersburg.

Downtown St. Pete has a vibrant day and nighttime scene with lots of restaurants, bars, nightclubs, live music, parks, shops, and museums. It's a fun place to be! Housing ranges from luxury high rise condos to historic bungalows.

Downtown Tampa is experiencing major growth right now, with the biggest part of that being Water Street. It's a $3 billion transformation of 54 acres in the heart of the city. Leading the charge is Jeff Vinik, owner of the Tampa Bay Lightning hockey team. When completed, Water Street will add thousands of residences, commercial space, parks, restaurants, and shops.

Sparkman Wharf opened up last year, providing an Instagram-worthy place to eat and drink.


The Riverwalk is one of the highlights of downtown Tampa, taking you from the Tampa Convention Center all the way up to food hall and market Armature Works. Development project Riverwalk Place will be the tallest building on Florida's west coast when completed.


If downtown areas aren't your thing, there are lots of quaint communities throughout the area including Tarpon Springs, Dunedin, Safety Harbor, Hyde Park Village, Seminole Heights, and Ybor City.


Florida is well established as a prime vacation spot, but us that live here have to work. Thankfully for us, finding a job isn't too difficult. Local leadership has worked hard to attract employers that bring high-paying jobs with them.

The Tampa Bay area is home to the headquarters of Fortune 500 companies such as: Tech Data, Publix, Jabil, WellCare, and Raymond James.

Other companies with a presence here include: Bloomin' Brands, Citigroup, Humana, USAA, JP Morgan Chase, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Progressive Insurance, Mosaic & HCA West Florida.

There are endless opportunities here for anyone in healthcare or education. Did you know that Hillsborough County is the eighth largest school district in the nation?

There are tons of openings in the service industry, especially during our busy tourist seasons.

If you have an innovative spirit and a great idea for a start-up company, we want you in Tampa. One of the coolest things happening at Water Street in downtown Tampa is an innovation hub called Embarc Collective - opening this year to help people get businesses off the ground.


When you have a day off from work, you want to have fun and we have plenty of options.

From beaches to water activities including boating, fishing, kite surfing, kayaking, paddle boarding, and scuba diving.

Museums - The Salvador DalΓ­ Museum, Tampa Art Museum, Glazer Children's Museum, Museum of Science and Industry.

Aquariums & Zoos - Clearwater Marine Aquarium, Florida Aquarium, ZooTampa at Lowry Park

Amusement Parks - Busch Gardens, Adventure Island

We have festivals for just about everything - from the Gasparilla Pirate Festival, we have themed events for strawberries, blueberries, margaritas, ribs, macaroni and cheese, Cuban sandwiches, French fries, seafood, the Mayor's River O' Green Festival, art, film, and pride.

Breweries - the Tampa Bay area is very quickly becoming a destination for those who enjoy a great craft beer. Here's a complete guide: http://www.tampabay.com/projects/2017/tbt/ultimate-bar-guide-2017/tampa-bay-brewery-guide/

Shopping - indoor and outdoor from little beach shops to high-end stores at International Plaza, plus outlet malls and boutique outdoor options like Hyde Park Village in South Tampa.

Restaurants - of course we have great seafood, our grouper is the best! Besides that, the Tampa Bay area food scene is fantastic with every type of food in every price range, and more eateries opening all the time.

Music - Amalie Arena, Raymond James Stadium - these two host many of the most popular tours. Plus, we have the MIDFLORIDA Credit Union Amphitheatre, Yuengling Center by the University of South Florida, Jannus Live, Mahaffey Theater – Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts, Capitol Theatre, and Ruth Eckerd Hall. Plus lots of bars and restaurants with live music.



We're home to three major sports teams: Tampa Bay Buccaneers (football), Tampa Bay Lightning (hockey), Tampa Bay Rays (baseball). Plus, the Tampa Bay Rowdies, an American professional soccer team. If you're a spring training fan, three MLB teams train here including the New York Yankees, Toronto Blue Jays, and Philadelphia Phillies. For golf fans, the Valspar Championship is a professional golf tournament in Florida on the PGA Tour, played annually on the Copperhead Course at Innisbrook Resort and Golf Club in Palm Harbor, northwest of Tampa.

Tampa has proven itself over and over as a great place to host big sporting events such as the Super Bowl, NCAA Women's Final Four, NHL All-Star Game, and the College Football National Championship.


Tampa International Airport is consistently ranked one of the top in the nation - it's easy to navigate and has lots of local flair with some of our most popular restaurants opening up TIA locations for travelers to enjoy. Everything in this airport just makes sense with easy long-term parking and pick up / drop off spots. Security lines are usually manageable, with many national and international flights.



Do you like what you're hearing so far? Even better news: the cost of living in the Tampa Bay area is very affordable in comparison with other cities in Florida. Our average housing costs are lower, and transportation is reasonable. Florida in general is an expensive state for all types of insurance, but at least you're not paying state income tax here!


We are really nice! Tampa Bay area residents are so used to other people moving here that we're happy to share our knowledge, take your picture, and provide directions. We don't harass you for wearing your team's jersey to a game as long as you don't harass us.

We love when you visit because tourism is our biggest industry in Florida, so we want you to fall in love with our cities.

The Tampa Bay area is one of the fastest growing regions in the country for all of the reasons I listed above, and so many more that I haven't gotten to yet! We've been in the shadows for too long and it's way past time for us to shine!

If you are moving to Florida and haven't considered Tampa, please do! You'll be surprised at how much this area has grown.

As always, if you're moving here and need help finding a home - please give me a call! I'm happy to help you.



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Melanie is a Tampa Bay area Realtor with Smith & Associates. She loves Tampa Bay area area, houses, and helping clients buy and sell real estate. She can be reached at 813-368-6084 or matkinson@smithandassociates.com

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