Located on Florida's Gulf Coast, 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.
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.
Living in Tampa as an expat
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 the city, 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.
Tampa’s economy is on the up, so newcomers with skills and experience in areas such as manufacturing, technology, finance and tourism will find plenty 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. Not only are properties spacious but there is also a strong sense of community in many of the neighbourhoods which will certainly help newcomers settle in. 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.
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, Tampa makes it easy for new residents to find a local team to back. Tampa’s nightlife knows no bounds either, and there is no doubt that this is a city that knows how to have fun.
Cost of living in Tampa
Those moving to Tampa will be pleased to learn that the city's cost of living is slightly less than the national average. Salaries are also slightly lower than the national average, however, so new arrivals will need to consider their budget carefully. That said, if budgeting properly, new arrivals in Tampa can live an extremely comfortable life, with a good standard of living.
Expat families and children
Tampa 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. Both foreigners and those moving from elsewhere in the US will be able to send their children to public schools in Tampa. That said, many expats may prefer the familiarity of an international school, particularly one that teaches the curriculum from back home.
Families looking to have some fun on the weekends will be spoilt for choice in Tampa. From the range of parks and gorgeous outdoor areas in the city, to the zoos, aquarium and museums, expat families will certainly have their pick of fun activities. The city also hosts exciting events throughout the year with entertainment for both the young and the old.
Climate in Tampa
Tampa’s year-round good weather continues to draw people from all over. With an average annual temperature of 72°F (22°C), it's easy to understand why this city has mass appeal. The climate also contributes to many 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.
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.
►For info about the healthcare system and the best hospitals in the city, see Healthcare in Tampa
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.
Expat Health Insurance
If you’re thinking about taking out private health insurance, our trusted partner Cigna Global is very aware of all the difficulties that expats can face when it comes to healthcare in a new location, so they have created a range of international health insurance plans specifically designed for expats, which you can tailor exactly to the needs and ensure access to quality care for you and your family.
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