The 5 Best Neighborhoods in Tampa

Alli Knothe
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If you’re ready to make the leap to Tampa, Florida, one of the most difficult (and stressful!) decisions you will face is deciding where to settle in.

It’s a tough call. The local real estate market is in high demand, with one of the fastest-growing populations in the country. That means affordable properties and rental units have become increasingly more difficult to snag. There are some seemingly perfect neighborhoods that find their streets impassable during the rainy summer months. Up-and-coming Seminole Heights, known for its quaint bungalows and thriving small business community, shut down for 51 days as a serial killer was on the loose.

Here’s a guide to Tampa’s top neighborhoods.

1. Hyde Park

One of the most expensive places in the area, you may find that Hyde Park is worth the extra cost. The neighborhood has a younger professional population with living options ranging from $1,300 1-bedroom apartments to $3 million waterfront mansions.

That said, Hyde Park is the place to be if you want close by local shops, distinguished dinner dates at CineBistro, or if you’re looking for group fitness and gym options to keep the muffin top at bay. The neighborhood also includes a stretch of Bayshore Boulevard, the ballast-lined, waterfront walkway that’s considered the longest continuous sidewalk in North America.

Convenience is a major draw for those moving to and living in 33606. While still preserving its historical roots, Hyde Park is very much on the up and up. Locals have been enduring some headaches as its outdoor shopping center, the renowned Hyde Park Village has gone through an extensive face-lift that is nearly complete. Hyde Park still contains a combination of Tampa’s most beautiful bungalows, large Victorian-style homes built in the 1800s as well as one of the city’s best-known national historic landmarks, the Henry Plant Tampa Bay Hotel, also known as the University of Tampa’s Plant Hall.

Hyde Park is also home to one of the area’s biggest nightlife scenes, commonly referred to as “SOHO” (South Howard) with speakeasies, college bars and rooftop patios.

Looking for a killer local burger? Check out Goody Goody Burger in Hyde Park Village. Charcuterie platters bigger than your head? On Swann has you covered, conveniently located on W Swann Ave. Taco Tuesday? Perfect. Bartaco has a slate of a baker’s dozen tacos and more to satiate stomachs of all varieties. When you’re done filling your face, walk around to independently owned shops like Albisia or Scout & Molly’s and national retailers like Sur La Table, Pottery Barn and Lululemon.

2. Davis Islands

The perfect home for someone from a small town. On Davis Island, it seems everyone knows everyone, and they all sport “DI” bumper stickers to prove it.

Davis Islands is also (the occasional) home to the rich and famous. Beyonce and Jay Z lived here as the superstar prepared for her world tour in spring 2016. For baseball fans, it’s a permanent home to Derek Jeter. Star-studded mansions aside, this archipelago is perfectly situated for views of Hillsborough Bay and quick commutes to downtown Tampa as well as Tampa General Hospital.

If you’re a fan of hot beverages, then you’re in luck because DI Coffee Bar and Tebella tea company sandwich the main drag of E Davis Blvd. For the Irish at heart, look no further than Molly Malone’s Irish Pub for a great Guinness, awesome staff, authentic Irish music, and some of the best soup this side of the Chattanooga. Are you a big football fan? Visit The Anchor Bar, serving cold pitchers of beer and deliciously spicy Buffalo wings.

3. Harbor Island

If you’re looking to live steps from downtown but avoid being in the middle of everything, Harbor Island may be the perfect fit. You’ll pay a premium but Harbor Island is one of the few areas where you can easily get away without owning a car. It is home to the waterfront Jackson’s Bistro, Bar & Sushi and has a monthly Harbor Island Art Walk. It’s perfect for someone looking to attend big-name concerts (Lady Gaga, Mary J Blige, Billy Joel, etc.) and Tampa Bay Lightning hockey games as well as other evets at Amalie Arena, recently ranked as the . The area will only increase in popularity once the new Water Street development is completed.

4. Downtown Tampa

If you need to be in the thick of things at all times, Downtown Tampa is for you. On the east side of the Hillsborough river, it would be difficult to come up with something Downtown Tampa doesn’t have. Have fun with the family at the Tampa Museum of Art and Glazer Children’s Museum, after which you can take a stroll through the Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park. Spend a romantic evening with a show at the Straz Center. With performances that include Wicked and The Nutcracker to Harry Potter and The Chamber of Secrets in Concert, there is something to see for everyone at the Straz. Fly Bar & Restaurant is a great spot to grab a cocktail, listen to live music and enjoy the rooftop deck for beautiful views of the city.

Heading north, south, east, or west with ease with I-275, I-4, and The Selmon Expressway all within a five-minute drive, (barring Amalie Arena traffic after a Tampa Bay Lightning game.) With historic Ybor City and Hyde Park Village just around the corner from the downtown area you’ll second guess whether you need that car of yours in the first place.

The food scene is also strong with restaurants ranging from the popular Vietnamese Bamboozle Café, Taco Bus’s Mexican fare served out of a retrofitted bus and the regionally-famous Eddie & Sam’s authentic NY Pizza.

5. Carrollwood

Carrollwood may have an older population than the neighborhoods listed above, but it’s still a thriving area with strong property values, big lots and a still reasonable 20-30 minute drive from downtown.

Although it’s the most suburban neighborhood on this list, Carrollwood still packs a punch. For sports fans, it’s a quick drive down Dale Mabry HIghway to attend Tampa Bay Buccaneers professional football games and the New York Yankees’ Spring Training. It’s also a quick trip to other local attractions like Busch Gardens Amusement Park, the Lowry Park Zoo and the Big Cat Rescue sanctuary. There are also plenty of local watering holes, new restaurant options and shopping centers.

Editor's Note: This article was originally published on January 12, 2018 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.

Alli Knothe

Alli Knothe is a freelance writer and business reporter based in Tampa, Florida.
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