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Old 10-17-2010, 09:50 AM
Location: citizen of the world
87 posts, read 173,066 times
Reputation: 52


Searching Florida for a new place to call home. I've traveled Florida in the past as a tourist but now looking to move. I've been to Orlando and Tampa bay but not Jax. I like what I see on line..... I think!.
I like;
Some variation in the weather, not eternally tropical.
Nice historic neighborhoods.
Big river right through the middle

How would you compare these areas as a place to live? Good, bad, ugly.

Not so interested in "making a living" issues or schools unless it affects the quality of life and the feel of the city,

Please offer any insight you have about how JAX, compared to the other areas, would be a great place to live. Thanks.
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Old 10-17-2010, 02:11 PM
Location: San Francisco
2,112 posts, read 5,282,175 times
Reputation: 902
You already described for the most part what separates Jax from the other two.

I personally like the neighborhoods in Jax much better than Orlando/Tampa, BUT they are a little grittier in places. Tampa, and especially Orlando are much "newer", so they have an often cleaner feel and a more manicured appearance (mainly Orlando). Orlando has lakes, but they just aren't the same as a free flowing river (which actually runs all the way down by Orlando) connected to the ICW and the ocean. Tampa's beaches are a little more tropical in appearance with a much more extensive canal system. Much of the newer suburbs in all three will look virtually the same (the southside here looks like much of the entire city of Orlando and North Tampa). The thing with Jax is you can live in a more "northern" looking neighborhood or at least escape to a more "continental" looking neighborhood away from eternal palm trees and pure greenery. Our beaches are a little less crowded than St. Pete's and have more of a range of options. Atlantic Beach looks like it fits more in New Jersey or MA than FL. Neptune is a cross between that style and a NC beach. Jax Beach is full of ugly highrises and slightly crowded, but also has nightlife, more affordable options, and young people. Ponte Vedra looks similar to Vero Beach or other upscale beach communities in FL (and it is upscale).

All three have tons of options for "day trips". Orlando and Tampa to me are "day trips". I guess for those two cities the residents there would come up to visit St. Augustine for a day trip.

Orlando and Tampa will have a more thriving nightlife scene for younger people. Both of those metros are larger and both have more tourists. Orlando is chalk full of tourists, transients, and temps. Nobody in Orlando is from Orlando and nobody stays for very very long. There are some family parts, but it's a young person's city (and not a highly educated young person's city like Boston, Atlanta, or Chicago). Tampa has characteristics of Orlando, being in central FL, but it is also very similar to Jax. Hyde Park is kind of like our Riverside/San Marco. The bigger differences with Tampa are at its beaches. Definitely a snowbird/retiree haven. Pinellas County is slightly seedy imo and full of old old people, so if that's your thing, then by all means.

All three cities are seeing sustained growth and good things happening. There is probably a much larger grass roots effort in Jax to get the city on a roll (mainly downtown and the urban core). For a city our size in relation to Tampa and Orlando, we have more traditional "businesses" headquartered here or with operations here. We have long been a finance/insurance hub in the south and for the state, and we have a huge healthcare network. One other thing that separates us from at least Orlando is industry. We have the 3rd largest port on the East Coast and it's rapidly expanding (only Savannah's 2 hours north and New York-New Jersey's are larger). Because of that you will see heavy industry and industrial parks scattered about the city, mainly on the north side and the west side. We are also a military town and it shows. The military brings much cultural, social, and economic influence on the region. Sure Tampa has Macdill AFB, but it is not the same scope of operation as Mayport/NAS.

If urban life is your thing, you can find it in all three cities, but you'll recognize it for what urban life traditionally entails in Tampa and Jax more than Orlando (grid streets, streetcar suburbs, older buildings, etc, relative density). Check out the following website for all that kind of info:

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Old 10-18-2010, 08:07 AM
Location: International Spacestation
5,207 posts, read 6,203,266 times
Reputation: 1415
Orlando is landlocked. Tampa & Jax both have lots more water. Tampa has the Bay, Jax has the river, orlando has a mouse.
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