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Old 09-21-2009, 04:10 PM
25 posts, read 115,801 times
Reputation: 21


We all read all the negative remarks that get posted about the Tampa area (and Florida overall), but I want to hear the positive things about the area and personal experiences. Believe me, I know all the "bad" things about the Tampa area, but that's not what I want to hear this time around.

So, what do you LOVE about the area? What have been your positive experiences about moving to or being raised in the area? Do you have young children? What do you like about raising them in the Tampa area? Are you a young professional? What have been your good experiences in starting your career in the area? Have you lived in the area for a long time or are you a newcomer? Happy? Why?

This might seem like a silly post, but I'd just like to get as much positivity in one place as possible since there's so much negativity all over this board

So, take your mama's advice: If you have nothing nice to say, don't say anything at all

Thank you and have a BEAUTIFUL day
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Old 09-21-2009, 06:05 PM
Location: Sarasota, Florida
807 posts, read 2,910,210 times
Reputation: 701
I lived there for 21 years and loved the fact that I had plenty of work, nightlife, friends and places to see and experience. Bucs games, Lightning, Rays, pro soccer and such. World class restaurants, the State Fair, Ringling Bros. Circus, deep sea fishing, theme parks, 2 1/2 hours to Daytona, the Performing Art Center, nice airport, the list goes on and on...

My kids were heavily involved in competitive youth soccer and Tampa is a real hotbed for that. It was common for the final four of the State Cup competition to be: Countryside, Blackwatch, Clearwater and Brandon. All Tampa area clubs.

We only left to have acreage in Citrus County. After 5 years of the quiet life, we discovered these beautiful panhandle beaches and settled here. My memories of Tampa and the Bay Area are 'warm' and wonderful!
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Old 09-21-2009, 07:21 PM
Location: Tampa
1,236 posts, read 4,204,980 times
Reputation: 944
We have lived here for 4 1/2 years. My positive experiences are:

Barely a crowd while finding parking at the grocery store. While inside, I like the huge, clean isle's with a good selection of items. The produce are in good conditions. There are hardly any lines at the checkout. They will even take your cart to your car and load everything in for you.

I love the clean and pretty beaches, year round. There are plenty of activities for a family to do on a regular basis. If you like the outdoors, Tampa area has plenty of stuff to do.

Busch Gardens, Disney, etc. are all nearby.

The winters are WONDERFUL!

For the kids, there are year round sports.

There are decent restaurants. There are restaurants that are not chains that have really yummie food.

Tampa Performing Arts Center is nice. There are other theatre companies in this area. If you enjoy the arts, you won't be disappointed. Opera, plays, visual arts, etc. It may not be Broadway, but it is still enjoyable.

You can find positives and negatives no matter where you live.
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Old 09-21-2009, 07:37 PM
Location: South Tampa - Bayside West Neighborhood
1,824 posts, read 7,781,936 times
Reputation: 1031
Here is a post I did late last year:

So many ask...why Tampa, why do you stay? What is it about Tampa?

Well in short, the Water, the Weather, the Progress, the Activities, the History, the People.

Water - everywhere, most of Tampa is situated on a Peninsula(called Interbay Peninsula), so there is water to the east(Hillsborough Bay) water to the West(Old Tampa Bay), and the South(Tampa Bay). The Main river through Tampa is the Hillsborough River which starts as a Spring 30 miles to the North, and runs through the city ending up in the Hillsborough Bay downtown. 20 miles to the West of Tampa is the pristine aqua blue water and beaches of the Gulf of Mexico. Throughout Tampa Bay area are numerous lakes, rivers, streams, estuary's, bays, intracostal waterways to explore. Plain and simple, if you like fresh water, salt water, streams, rivers, oceans, Tampa's got it! In addition 5 of the nations number one beaches are located in the Bay area(Fort DeSoto, Pass-a-Grille, Clearwater, Caledesi Island, Honeymoon Island).

Weather - with an average high temperature of 76 degrees from October to May, how could you not love the weather. While others are huddled up for the winter to the North, we are basking in low humidity, beautiful blue skies, and pleasant temperatures for 75% of the year. This means all outdoor activities, sports, festivals can be enjoyed year round in Tampa. And in the summer months, June through September, although it can get very warm, the average high temps are about 88 degrees, there is a almost always a constant breeze due to the coastal winds which trigger mighty Thunderstorms in summer late afternoons/evenings, in time to cool it off a bit, and provide a lightning and thunderous show like clock work most evenings. Since most of us have a pool, beach, and airconditioning nearby, we can handle 3 to 4 months of warmer than usual temps for paradise the the other 9 months of the year.

History - the Bay area has been home to several Indian Tribes for thousands of years. The Spanish came in the 15 and 16oo's, but the American's did not start to evaluate Florida and the Tampa area until the mid 1800's. We built Fort Brooke in what is now downtown Tampa during the Seminole Indian Wars, and later used it for soldiers being shipped off for the Spanish-American War. Vincente Martinez Ybor purchased 40 acres of land just east of downtown to start his Cigar Factories. Within 10 years and by the late 1800's until the depression in the 1920's, Tampa was known throughout the world as the Cigar Capital of the World. Immigrants came to Tampa from Italy, Spain, and Cuba to prosper in the Cigar Capital. Henry B Plant chose Tampa to expand his railroad from the North, and that led to many tourists to flock to the warm temperatures, and an increase in Trade. Many of the established neighborhoods from the early 20th century still exist(Hyde Park, Tampa Heights, West Tampa, Seminole Heights, Ybor City), and have numerous architectural buildings, homes, and landscapes. The area has a unique Cuban-Latin American flavor to it. A few interesting tid bits about Tampa include it has one of the largest Civil War largest Confederate grave sites(Oaklawn Cemetery), Ella Fistzgerald lived in Tampa and recorded some of her biggest hits here, Ray Charles made his first recording in Tampa and Tampa is where the "The Twist" dance craze was born, Rev. Billy Graham started his practice in downtown Tampa, and peolpe like Teddy Roosevelt, Elvis Presley, Thomas Edison, Mark Twain, John F Kennedy, James Brown, Babe Ruth, Jack Dempsey and more have all left footprints of some kind here in Tampa.

Progress - from the 1950's to present, Tampa has been growing by leaps and bounds. Many from the North came here to escape the brutal winters, and the ability to attain land and homes for far less than it would cost in the North. In addition, Tampa Bay's cost of living was considerably less, and there were far fewer taxes. Most transplants came from the MidWest(Ohio, Michigan, Illinios, Indiana), with the remainder coming from the Northeast(New York, Connecticutt, New Jersey). Things have changed quite a bit over the past 10 years(the 90's to present). The growth has been abundant, and the Tampa Bay area now has close to 2 million residents, with the city of Tampa having nearly 330,000. A Financial District was created in the 60's and 70's(current downtown), a Services Sector, Westshore Business District, which is now the largest business and services sector in the state, and 5th largest in the Nation. A National Historic Landmark area, Ybor City and Hyde Park. Tampa Bay is now the 12th largest media market in the Nation. In the 20 years I have called Tampa home, I have seen more skyscrapers built downtown, a national hockey team(Tampa Bay Lightning - Stanley Cup Champions) and Forum built, a professional baseball team(Tampa Bay Devil Rays) and Dome arena established, new Football stadium built for the SuperBowl champion Tampa Bay Bucaneers. Tampa is also looking forward to hosting it's 3rd SuperBowl in 2009. Downtown continues to expand its Arts Museums, Cultural Exhibits, and Parks and trails to accommodate the growth. Just in the past two years over 2000 new residents are calling downtown home in the areas like Channelside, Harbour Island, and the Central Core of downtown, with more new condo towers and residences being constructed and planned, there will be close to 10,000 residents in downtown by 2010. The Riverwalk is well on it's way to be completed by 2009, almost 3 miles of waterfront walking, jogging, blading throughout downtown with cafe's and events along the riverfront. One of the nations largest Aquariums was established in Tampa(Florida Aquarium). Two lane roads transversed into 4 lane highways. And progress just doesn't stop. It nice to live in an area where things change, and most of the progress and changes are for the better and for the people of the city. The moat efficient and modern airport continues it's growth, with a new terminal planned to be open by 2015, Interstates have all been expanded or are currently under construction to be expanded, and finally, Mass Transit is back on the board, with the first trains, light rail and BRT to be operational by 2012.

Activities - For a small city, Tampa has it all. And its nice to have it all in a small city.
Sports - Football, Baseball, Hockey, Arena Football, College Football, Soccer, Baseball and Basketball - all National teams, nationally recognized, and state of the art arenas and fields to play on.
Theater - Tampa Bay Perforing Arts Center is then largest Center for the arts in the Southeast, along with over a dozen other venues for broadway and local productions(Mahaffey, Ruth Eckerd Hall, Gorilla Theater, MAD Theater, and many more independents).
Museums - Dali, Fine Art, Art, Childrens, Holocaust, History, Natural, Fire, Police, Science and Industry, Explorations, International.
Concerts - every major concert act always makes a stop through Tampa performing at numerous venues(Forum, Bayfront Arena, Amphitheter, Tampa Stadium, USF Sundome, Jannus Landing, The Orpheum, Tampa Theater, among the other theaters listed above)
Festivals -ahhh, the numerous festivals year round, some of the biggest in the Nation, and lots of people watching, and of course food and BEER!(Gasparilla - month long celebration, Florida State Fair, Strawberry Festival, International and Gay and Lesbian Film Festival, Guavaween, numerous Art Festivals including the Gasparilla and Mainsail). Most of the smaller communities and neighborhoods have monthly festivals like Clearwater Jazz Fest, Hyde Park Music Series, St. Pete's RibFest, John's Pass Seafood Festival, St. Pete's Festival of States. ABout every weekend you can find some kind of festival or gathering throughout the Bay area.
Attractions - people come from all over the world to visit the area. It's nice to have these in my backyard - Busch Gardens theme park, Adventure Island water park, Lowry Park Zoo, Florida Aquarium, St. Pete Pier, Big Cat Rescue, Suncoast Bird Sanctuary, Florida Botanical Gardens, BEACHES, Heritage Village to name a few.
Recreation - what do you want to do today? Well you can do most everything here in Tampa. Biking Trails(on and off road), Kayaking/Canoeing, Wind Surfing, Fishing, Boating, Sunbathing, Skating, Hiking, Golf. There is a park almost every few miles throughout the city for the purpose of getting out and keeping active.
Shopping - well, some people consider this an activity, and for those that like it, any name brand store can be found in Tampa, whether its exclusive(International Plaza), outdoors(Hyde Park Village, Centro Ybor, BayWalk), Entertaining(BayStreet, Westshore Plaza) or Outlet(Ellenton), its here..from Funky(Ybor City) to mondane(University Square), Flea Markets(Big Top, Oldsmar, Wagon Wheel)..it's here.
Nightlife - as if the above isn't enough, its great to know that there are many entertainment options. Ybor City is Tampa's French Quarter like area with a bar, club and entertainment venue for anyone. It is now going through yet another revitalization, with GLBT establishments on the West end of Ybor City(known now as Gaybor), to the newest entertainment type choices and smaller lounge type places. Then there is Channelside, SOHO, Hyde Park, Westshore, BayStreet. Downtown St. Pete holds it's own for numerous nightlife options, Central Ave and the waterfront bars and clubs.
Dining - As far as restaurants, Tampa is known as one of the Nations busiest places to eat out, because so many of us eat out, and this is because there are so many places and options to eat in the area. Its no wonder places like Hooters, Outback, Bonefish Grille, Hops all started here in Tampa. But its more than just the chains, some of my favs are : Berns, Malio's and Charley's for steaks, Yoko's and Samarai Blue for Sushi, Cappy's and Eddie&Sams for Pizza, Royal Palace for Thai, Kojaks and Jimbo's for BBQ, Oystercatchers and Crab Shack for seafood, Bernini, Bella's and Laughing Cat for Italian, Acropolis for Greek, Red Mesa and Algusto's for Mexican/Tex Mex.

One thing about Tampa, is it's not a Big Deal. What I mean is, it's not a big deal to do any of the above. Whether it's a sports game, day at the beach, trip to a museum or park, a festival, or going out for dinner, it's not a big deal as opposed to going out in a big city. You gotta love having it all in a small city. And I love to travel to visit the bigger cities around the country(NY, Chicago, Boston, LA), so having a World Class, convenient airport with numerous non-stop, inexpensive flights to most major cities is another plus!!
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Old 09-21-2009, 08:02 PM
13,773 posts, read 35,000,583 times
Reputation: 10605
It is hard to follow TB3's post but the one thing I loved is sailing in our Hobie to Caladesi and all around the gulf and intercoastal. Having the dolphins swim beside the boat or underneath it. I liked going to Tarpon Springs for a little taste of Greece, going to Ybor for wonderful spanish food. I liked the art shows, the flea markets and jazz festivals (especially watching the one lady dance from the moment the music started til it ended). The great musicians who play around Tampa.
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Old 09-22-2009, 06:51 AM
26,766 posts, read 41,284,961 times
Reputation: 14907
I love being only an hour from the beach and not having to pay for parking and hardly any traffic jams.

http://weerwetenswaardigheden.web-log.nl/photos/uncategorized/het_overvolle_strand_van_scheveningen.jpg (broken link) This is how most beaches are where I come from during one nice Summer day, since we didn't had many...

Shopping almost whenever you want to go, 7 days a week and no money for parking or for using the restroom.

7% sales tax compared to 19% where I came from

Enjoying the weather, Nature and wildlife and the enormous space there is still is compared to Europe.

Living amongst people from many nationalities and different backgrounds.

We just like the freedom here and being able to wear a Star of David without being scared to being spit on like in Europe.
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Old 09-22-2009, 07:08 AM
25 posts, read 115,801 times
Reputation: 21
WOW! Thank you all! It's nice to read what other people love about the area.

@Tampagug03: what a wealth of information! I really enjoyed reading all of that

I hope to read even more about what people love about the area.
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Old 09-22-2009, 08:35 AM
Location: MI
1,068 posts, read 2,939,536 times
Reputation: 577
I was born and raised in Clearwater and although I'm not there now, I've spent 33 out of my 43 years in the bay area. I feel fortunate and blessed to have grown up in the area where as a kid I never was bored and their was always something fun and exciting to do. I believe thats one of the greatest advantages the area has to offer for kids and adults both; if your bored it's your own fault and your just not getting out. The weather being ideal all year long for being outdoors is a huge plus.

The Tampa Bay area to me is comparable to a carnival-like atmosphere and it reflects in the attitudes of the most of the people that live there; it is without a doubt the friendliest place I have ever visited or lived in.
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Old 09-22-2009, 10:05 AM
26,766 posts, read 41,284,961 times
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Originally Posted by xlabel View Post
I was born and raised in Clearwater and although I'm not there now, I've spent 33 out of my 43 years in the bay area. I feel fortunate and blessed to have grown up in the area where as a kid I never was bored and their was always something fun and exciting to do. I believe thats one of the greatest advantages the area has to offer for kids and adults both; if your bored it's your own fault and your just not getting out. The weather being ideal all year long for being outdoors is a huge plus.

The Tampa Bay area to me is comparable to a carnival-like atmosphere and it reflects in the attitudes of the most of the people that live there; it is without a doubt the friendliest place I have ever visited or lived in.
I agree if people get bored here it is because they are boring...

Going to the beach doesn't cost much and you can spend a wonderful day there. We always take our dogs, they enjoy it, we enjoy it

So even for people who are having a harder time right now a day at the beach can be great
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Old 09-22-2009, 10:30 AM
Location: Eastern time zone
4,469 posts, read 6,547,644 times
Reputation: 3489
Community radio.
Community events: green markets on weekends, community supported agriculture, weekend arts festivals (everything from smaller events like Geckofest to bigger, corporately sponsored events like Ribfest or the Blues Festival).
And the diversity of the communities themselves: no matter who you are, who you voted for, who you love or what music you like or where your family is from, there's a niche for you. You may have to expend the energy to find it, but it's there, somewhere in the Bay Area.
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