Tampa is the anchor city of what is known as the Tampa Bay Area, an extensive region including the cities of St. Petersburg, Clearwater, and their suburbs. Tampa has been expanding almost constantly since the establishment of Fort Brooke in 1824 and today has grown into one of Florida’s largest, most sprawling metropolitan areas. The most important sections of Tampa to are highlighted below.
New Tampa: New Tampa refers to the newly developed area just north of the University of South Florida (there is another smaller campus located in downtown St. Petersburg). The specific area around the University is also just often referred to as “the USF area.”
This is great place to find inexpensive housing suitable for students and recent grads. With USF constantly buzzing, this is an ideal area for those looking to live, work, and socialize in the same place, but keep in mind this area is quite a ways from the center of the city. Deeper east into New Tampa are newer residential developments perfect for young couples and families commuting to the USF area or downtown Tampa.
South Tampa: South Tampa is home to the beautiful University of Tampa and to some of the most beautiful but expensive homes in the city. Finding housing in this area can be a challenge, so it is best to try and stick close to the University.
Old Hyde Park/ Hyde Park Village: Old Hyde Park is considered to be within the South Tampa area but its historical presence and exciting nightlife merits its own distinction. Old Hyde Park and the Soho (south of Howard) areas are great for boutique shopping, delicious cuisine, and trendy bars for the up-and-coming cool student or recent grad.
The Channelside District: Channelside is in close proximity to Downtown Tampa, and evokes a similar feel as Old Hyde Park while catering more to young professionals. Popular attractions in the Channelside District include the Tampa Bay Times Forum, which is home to Tampa’s improbable NHL team “The Lightning,” as well as The Florida Aquarium, and the Channelside Bay Plaza.
Ybor City: Long known as Tampa’s Cuban Quarter, Ybor city is rich in Latin flavor and charm that echoes into its strings of bars and clubs catering to all musical tastes and incomes. Ybor City has much to offer the clubbing set, but note well this area is predominantly a place to party and not to live. Although crime rates have been rapidly decreasing, Ybor City is still a rough and tumble place to call home.
Downtown Tampa/Westshore area: are the main everyday hubs of Tampa Bay. While these two areas bleed into each other geographically, Downtown Tampa typically refers to the financial and commercial district of Tampa, i.e. the area with the high-rise office buildings.
Westshore, also considered part of the business district, refers to the surroundings of Tampa International Airport. This area includes some of Tampa’s best shopping and dining and hosts the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ Stadium. These areas are relatively safe and great for living, especially for those who like their nights quieter than college living, but housing prices here can be much more expensive than those of the university areas.
Clearwater/St. Petersburg: Located outside of Tampa, the cities of Clearwater and St. Petersburg offer a wide selection of living accommodations and social activities. Downtown St. Petersburg and Clearwater Beach in particular are two popular locations for going out. While St. Petersburg Beach and Clearwater Beach are undoubtedly some of the best beaches in Florida, this also means the cost of living near them quite high.