Off the coast of western Florida sits the city of Tampa, the county seat of Hillsborough County and one of the largest cities in the state. Being a fun city with great weather and plenty to do all year long makes this city a hotbed for living the good life. With a wide variety of options of apartments in Tampa, living here can be the Florida lifestyle you're looking for.
The area was once inhabited by native people known as the Tocobaga and the Pohoy, until they were wiped out by European diseases that were introduced during the 16th century by Spanish explorers. Oddly enough, even as Spain settled the rest of the area, it did not bother to make a permanent settlement over the course of its entire occupation. The land was purchased by the United States in 1819, and it was finally settled by the U.S. Army in 1824. Tampa became incorporated in 1849 and has been growing ever since. The name of the city comes from a word in the Calusa Native American language that means “sticks of fire.”
The climate of the area is humid subtropical, which means it contains the humidity found in most of the South, plus the tropical weather found off the coast of the Gulf of Mexico. The summers are extremely humid and hot, with lots of thunderstorms and the occasional tropical storm. The winters are very mild and mostly dry, although sometimes it can get a bit cold. The spring and the fall are both beautiful, with temperatures in the mid 70s.
Getting Around Tampa
Tampa has a very good public transportation system that includes buses, rail and street cars. The train runs twice daily toward Miami and New York City, and another service provides bus connections to different cities in the area and as far as Orlando. The main city transit offers a variety of bus routes through the whole city, with 30 different routes. The streetcar runs between Ybor City, downtown, and a few points in between. And, of course, Lyft, Uber and other ride-sharing services are available.
Commuting in Tampa
For a major metropolitan city, getting around on your own to and from your Tampa apartments to work and back is not too difficult. Several major highways run in and out of the city, including Interstate 275, State Road 60 and U.S. Highway 92. And three major bridges span the waters to provide transportation out of the city.
Tampa residents enjoy daily reads of the Tampa Bay Times, formerly the St. Petersburg Times, which has served the city for more than 132 years. Local television stations include all the major broadcast networks, including ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox, PBS and the CW affiliates located in the city. More than 70 radio stations are in the area, and they feature every type of music, from classic rock to hip-hop and everything in between. In addition, listeners can enjoy educational networks, news networks, talk radio and sports radio.
With its beautiful beaches, warm weather and its thriving economy, Tampa apartments are one of the best locations in the South to live. The crime rate is about the average of the rest of the country, and the unemployment rate is fairly low as well, with median household incomes more than $40,000. The city is incredibly diverse, with a lot of Hispanic culture.
Several major landmarks in the area date back to both its pre-Colonial and Colonial past. The Tampa Bay History Center tracks the area’s development over the course of its 12,000 years of history. The largest landmarks in the city are of the man-made variety. Busch Gardens, one of the biggest theme parks outside of Orlando, is home to several different rides and animal exhibits, all of which are based on an African theme.
Things to do in Tampa
The Lowry Park Zoo is another spacious animal sanctuary, with thousands of different animals. Finally, the Florida Aquarium is a massive water sanctuary with more than 20,000 different species of plant and animal life. Because the city is right off the coast, you will have plenty of opportunities to go sailing and boating. The port is home to one of Carnival’s cruise ships and a few others as well. Visitors and residents can also take daily tours on smaller boats to sail around Tampa Bay. If you are a football fan, Tampa is home to the NFL’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and the Outback Bowl, which is part of the “New Year’s Six” set of college football bowls.
"Each year in late January/early February, Tampa plays hosts to the annual Gasparilla Pirate Festival. It is basically the Tampa version of Mardi Gras, with giant parties, parades and other pirate-themed excitement. Nearly half a million people attend this festival every year.
Tampa Vacation spots
If you are looking for a vacation, you should stay in the city and visit one of the theme parks. But if you are looking to travel a bit, don’t be afraid to head over to Orlando, which is just a few hours away. Orlando has both Universal Studios and Disney World, among other amazing theme parks.
Where to move in Tampa
Tampa has a large diversity of neighborhoods that boast great apartments for rent. In total, you can choose from more than 80 neighborhoods, ranging from modern neighborhoods with insular, contemporary designs, to historic neighborhoods with Victorian architecture. Some neighborhoods sit at the higher end of the price scale, while others areas of the city offer very affordable Tampa apartments. One of the more unique neighborhoods in the city is Ybor City. Founded by cigar manufacturers, the Ybor City neighborhood is filled with immigrant families from Cuba, Spain and Italy. It is extremely diverse, with amazing restaurants and night life. Another great neighborhood, the West Tampa area, is one of the oldest neighborhoods in the city, and it’s only a mile or two from downtown. The neighborhood has an authentic “old Spanish” feel to it, with beautiful areas reminiscent of the late 18th century in Spain. The region is currently going through a major redevelopment.