If you're trying to decide where to live in Tampa armed only with Google to check out Tampa's neighborhoods, it can be daunting. We live here, and we still don't know everything there is to know about every neighborhood! So we did the homework, scoured the internet, and put a big emphasis on our personal experiences as well. And we've put together what we hope is a helpful guide for those moving to Tampa to help you find the best places to live in Tampa!
If you're looking for neighborhoods in Tampa with a city feel, an area complete with places you can walk to with plenty of things to do, especially outdoors, one of the following neighborhoods is sure to fit your needs.
Popular communities: Bayshore, Davis Island, Hyde Park, SoHo, Palma Ceia, Culbreath Isles, Port Tampa
If you want to be near the water, surrounded by boutique shops and independent restaurants, and you love the look and feel of a historic district, South Tampa is for sure one of the best places to live in the city. Here you'll find gorgeous homes of all shapes and sizes, though they tend to be pretty pricey. If a historic home is not within your budget, don't let that deter you as there are also more affordable options such as condos, luxury lofts, townhomes, as well as duplexes and split-levels.
There is always something going on in South Tampa, from festivals to live music events to an active nightlife, and the majority of it is within walking distance or a short Uber ride. And because South Tampa is close to Ybor City (pronounced ee-bore) and Channelside, there are even more options for entertainment, shopping, and nightlife minutes away.
If you're an active person or family, know that Bayshore Boulevard Linear Park is the longest continuous sidewalk in the world at 4.5 miles long. Residents make good use of it, and rain or shine you can join walkers, joggers, runners, and cyclists throughout the day. The sun rises on Bayshore over Old Tampa Bay, and this is also where the annual Gasparilla Invasion takes place.
At the southern end find Ballast Point Park. Family-friendly, it boasts a water park, concessions, a fishing pier, pavilions and more. Walking distance from Bayshore Boulevard on Howard Avenue you find yourself in the heart of the SoHo district, quaint homes and vintage apartment buildings line quiet residential streets as you head North on Howard towards the entertainment district. Learn more about the shopping and nightlife Soho offers in SoHo Tampa Guide | Best Bars, Restaurants & More.
Interested in an 'island life?' If you're moving to Tampa don't miss Davis Islands, a group of small islands connected to Bayshore Boulevard, homes on the island are minutes away from Downtown Tampa. You can read more about the interesting history of the islands in Davis Islands, Its Real Estate Moguls, History and Intrigue.
South Tampa is a peninsula with Bayshore Boulevard bordering to the East and the Westshore District, Culbreath Isles and Port Tampa bordering the West. Lined with everything from shiny new gated communities to older construction neighborhoods, you'll find every price point when looking in South Tampa. Culbreath Isles and Westshore Yacht Club have guard gates and waterfront options from majestic homes to townhomes and condos. Culbreath Isles is a single-family home community, while Westshore has every option including a private club and marina.
Port Tampa is at the southern tip and also houses families stationed at nearby MacDill Air Force Base. Port Tampa is the neighborhood to research if you are looking for a neighborhood in transition. Once nothing but small homes, though you still see vintage cracker-style and shotguns, there's an exciting boom happening in the neighborhood as new construction and larger homes replace the past. You'll also find Picnic Island Beach in Port Tampa, a wonderful waterfront park where you can jog, fish, launch a boat, play on the playground, swim, lay on the beach, play frisbee golf, picnic and more.
Also close to the water, but with more of a city feel than South Tampa, Downtown Tampa is full of condos and highrises with first-class amenities such as fitness centers, concierges, security, pools and hot tubs, and the best skyline and water views. And with Water Street Tampa coming online, it's growing even faster than ever.
Downtown Tampa is a business district, centrally located for easy access to major highways, shopping, and restaurants. Stetson Law School and the University of Tampa are also within walking distance of the many condos and highrise apartments.
Though there are not as many options as South Tampa for nightlife, Downtown Tampa does have some popular and non-chain hangouts and restaurants. For alternative entertainment, The Tampa Theatre, The Tampa Museum of Art, Glazer Children's Museum, and Curtis Hixon Park, used for various events, are fun places within walking distance if you are considering moving to Tampa.
Shopping opportunities are scant, but Westshore Plaza and International Plaza are just a few minutes away, offering popular dining and upscale shopping for everything from housewares to electronics to clothing. There's also a Publix finally under construction as well.
Ybor City (pronounced ee-bore)
Ybor is a community famous for its historical Cuban cigar factories. Its charm is found in its restored brick roads; an active trolley system connecting Ybor to South Tampa, and Channelside; and its bungalows. While there aren't as many historic housing options in Ybor as there are in South Tampa, there are modern and renovated condos, townhomes and lofts, some with pools and fitness centers. Recently new single-family homes are being built in this charming city, if you are looking for an eclectic yet old-time neighborhood, be sure to ask your realtor about all the options in Ybor City.
The Tampa Bay Rays have also announced plans to move to the neighborhood, increasing excitement around this part of the city.
While Ybor is host to many festivals, parades and events, it's known for its nightlife; full of nightclubs for every type of club-goer and music fan. For alternate entertainment, there is a movie theater, a comedy club, and concerts such as the annual WMNF Tropical Heatwave, throughout the year.
Ybor is also chock full of independently owned and operated restaurants for all tastes. There are also some locally-owned retail and clothing stores, but for big-name shopping, you'll have to venture to another part of town. Like Downtown Tampa, Ybor is close to major highways so alternative entertainment, shopping, and dining is never far away.
Within walking distance of housing in Ybor is the Hillsborough Community College - Ybor Campus, which is located in several buildings throughout Ybor. Fairly recently, a large section of Ybor has been dubbed 'Gaybor' and contains shops, clubs, and restaurants owned by and/or catering to the LGBT community.
Channelside and Water Street
Channelside, like Downtown Tampa, has a city feel with its lofts and highrises, but without the many skyscrapers of the business district. Condos, lofts, and high rises offer panoramic views of the city and water and offer versatile interior design, such as exposed brick walls and concrete floors. There's also plenty of new restaurants and shops such as District Tavern and Victory Coffee making it feel more like a neighborhood than ever.
Water Street is a new entertainment district within walking distance to places like The Florida Aquarium; Amalie Arena home of the NHL Tampa Bay Lightning; and several non-chain restaurants. With the addition of Sparkman Wharf and Waterstreet Tampa, Downtown Tampa is growing to be one of the best places to live in Tampa!
When considering where to live in Tampa are you thinking a little less city and want to be in a residential community? If so, Tampa has tons of great neighborhoods to explore!
Popular communities: Pebble Creek, Cross Creek, Hunter's Green, Tampa Palms, Wesley Chapel
Located North on I-75, New Tampa is one of the youngest communities in Tampa Bay and is full of ranch style homes, condos, and townhomes in family-friendly neighborhoods.
While New Tampa does not offer the same walking distance opportunities found in the city, there is still plenty to do. The Shops at Wiregrass, an outdoor mall, is full of popular shopping and chain dining opportunities and is occasionally the site of live music and events.
Nearby are familiar chain restaurants and a movie theater. For those looking for outdoor recreation, New Tampa is full of nature trails and golf courses. Its location puts it fairly close to Busch Gardens, Adventure Island, the University of South Florida, and major highways.
Many large corporations and businesses have re-located their headquarters in New Tampa, If you are looking to live in one of the fastest growing communities in Tampa, be sure to consider living in Wesley Chapel.
Popular communities: Northdale, Seminole Heights, Tampa Heights, USF Area, Airport Area
North Tampa runs from the University of South Florida - Tampa Campus to the Tampa International Airport, with convenient access to the highway. Though it's located close to the university, it's not a typical college town, with easy access to the rest of what Tampa has to offer.
New and remodeled housing is available as well as apartments, condos, and townhomes in several price ranges. Because it is near to the school, there are many dorm- and suite-style living opportunities.
Related Content: Find Your New Off-Campus Home With The Best USF Student Housing Complexes
Entertainment, dining, and shopping opportunities include chain restaurants, a movie theater, Busch Gardens, Adventure Island, MOSI, and the University Mall. There are several popular bars in this area, many frequented by and catering to college students.
Closer to the airport, further from the school, apartments, houses, townhomes, and condos are available that do not cater as much to a college crowd and meet many price ranges. This part of North Tampa is also close to the Westshore Plaza and International Plaza, as well as several chain restaurants and bars.
The Seminole Heights and Tampa Heights neighborhoods North of Downtown Tampa are quite different from the University and Westshore areas. With a well restored historic district full of bungalows and some brick-paved roads, Seminole Heights and Tampa Heights offer more of the South Tampa charm, while still maintaining a unique, suburban feel. Many stores and restaurants in this area of Tampa are independently owned and operated, and the community is littered with thrift and antique stores. If your idea of fun and entertainment is a bike ride down a shady lane, hanging out at an independent bar or craft brewery, or taking part in a co-op, The Heights are two perfect places to live in Tampa.
North Tampa is a good mix for anyone not wanting to choose between suburban or urban living. It offers many conveniences of the city, without the constant noise, as well as suburban amenities, without the feel of being far removed from the city.
Popular communities: Valrico, Dover, Seffner, Fishhawk, Lithia
This area offers several interesting neighborhoods in Tampa, you will find everything from apartments to single-family homes, to ranch properties with acreage. Brandon, Seffner and Fishawk are suburban communities located closer to restaurants, shopping, and bars, while Valrico, Dover and Lithia, located on the outskirts of Brandon, are quieter, and often more rural. If you are looking for a place to live in Tampa, and want land, there are still opportunities to buy in this area.
While Brandon consists mostly of chain restaurants, there are some popular, locally-owned ones, too. While nightlife is nothing like South Tampa or Ybor and there are no real nightclubs, many local neighborhood bars are packed on the weekends. Several Brandon bars also offer live music from reggae to country to alt-rock.
The major shopping outlet is Westfield Brandon Town Center, located in the heart of Brandon. Entertainment opportunities are pretty standard, including a movie theater, bowling alleys, and pool halls. For clubs, museums, concerts, and similar activities, one would have to venture further out to Downtown Tampa, South Tampa, Channelside, or Ybor.
FishHawk has evolved into a small town. With its own middle, high, and two elementary schools, FishHawk offers almost every amenity of suburban community living, tucked into a nature preserve. Minutes away you find Lithia Springs Park and a wonderful natural spring where you can take children of any age to swim, picnic and play.
FishHawk offers condos, townhomes, ranch-style, and new bungalow style housing in all price ranges, and is a very family-oriented community. Within the community is Park Square, an area with a locally popular restaurant, and an open park area which is the site of the regular Friday night Concert in the Park, a free, family-friendly event with live music.
The community centers have a total of three pools, a mini water park for young children, and a private movie theater. For outdoor recreation, the entire community is full of miles and miles of nature trails, with pavement for cyclists, providing virtually endless fun.
Within its limits are grocery stores, some locally owned retail stores, chain and fast food restaurants, banks and the like, but for popular nightlife, entertainment, and shopping opportunities, one would have to venture out, and it's quite a drive to the hot spots like South Tampa, Ybor, and Channelside.
Popular communities: Apollo Beach, Riverview, Ruskin-Little Harbor
South Shore is a relatively new name referring to the communities of Apollo Beach, Riverview, Gibsonton, Ruskin, and Sun City Center, a senior citizen community. These Tampa neighborhoods are similar to Brandon, though many are situated on the water with canal access to rivers such as the Alafia River.
Apartments, townhomes, condos, and houses are available in South Shore in any price range.
Shopping opportunities are also similar to Brandon, with many chain restaurants and retail stores. There is no major mall, so one would have to head to Brandon or Tampa for major retail shopping opportunities. Entertainment and nightlife, too, match Brandon, with typical spots such as movie theaters, bars, and bowling alleys.
You have more opportunities to hang out in a marina bar, to launch a boat and attend seafood festivals in the South Shore area. Situated across Old Tampa Bay from South Tampa, talks are underway to add a ferry route from Apollo Beach to Mac Dill AFB. Travel time by car from South Tampa to South Shore is approximately 45 minutes. If the ferry is available to non-service people, this area will grow more quickly than it has already. The perfect place to live for a young family, don't miss the South Shore. Minutes away from Downtown Tampa via the Crosstown Expressway, it's a quick hop up to Orlando, down to Sarasota or to Busch Gardens and more on I-75.
Last, but certainly not least, Plant City, located southeast of Tampa, Plant City is a perfect place to live for anyone seeking peace and quiet. There aren't many cookie-cutter neighborhoods here; instead many pre-1920's houses have been scooped up and restored, in places like Plant City's Historic District. These neighborhoods boast paved brick roads, Grand Oaks, and a quaint downtown shopping area with local antique shops.
Apartments, newer homes, and townhomes can be found and are not overly expensive. As Plant City is largely an agricultural community, many houses for sale or rent can be found, set on a nice chunk of property: A perfect set-up for anyone wanting some space between them and their neighbor.
Shopping opportunities are scarce, but Westfield Brandon Town Center is not far to the West and with Lakeland to the East. Entertainment includes bars, movie theaters, and bowling alleys, similar to Brandon and South Shore, so those looking for clubbing opportunities would have to venture out.
One of Plant City's biggest attractions is the annual Florida Strawberry Festival, which draws crowds of up to 800,000 people and includes concerts by big-name country stars, famous strawberry shortcakes, rides, and more.
Water Access Communities
One of the best things about living in Tampa, is the access to water ways and plenty of communities providing waterfront property. So if you are looking for where to live in Tampa with access to the water, the more expensive communities reside in South Tampa and Downtown with other options at Rocky Point, the Southshore area or communities along the rivers including Hillsborough River, Palm River and Alafia River. Read more about the Best Places to Live on the Water in Tampa.
We hope this guide helps you get a better idea of where to live if you're moving to Tampa or, if you already live here, maybe you learned a few things about Tampa neighborhoods. Of course, this guide pales in comparison to actually visiting, so if you have a chance to, come out and experience these Tampa neighborhoods yourself. Find a great realtor, and plan your day using this handy guide!
You can read more about our Tampa neighborhoods in:
Spotlight on Luxury Condominium Living | Tampa's Bayshore and The Islands
Davis Islands, Its Real Estate Moguls, History and Intrigue
Spotlight | Culbreath Isles, Its History, Heritage and Homes
Condos on Harbour Island | Premier Tampa Condos, Community Living