Something inside me deep down wanted me to write this article. I’ve written so many blogs about how awesome St. Pete is so I think it’s time for me to trash talk Tampa instead. In the process I hope to give you an idea of the differences between the two cities with my extremely biased opinion.
I titled this Top 11 Reasons because 10 just wasn’t enough, suck it Tampa! Yeah I guess hosting the 2021 Superbowl is cool but sounds like it’ll be in an empty stadium. Worst Superbowl ever, thanks Tampa!!!
You know how some things are just known but no one says it out loud? I don’t think I’ve ever heard someone say that Tampa is better than St. Pete. We all just know that St. Pete is the superior place to live. We all know Tampa people have no real argument to hate on us. They hate us cause they anus!
With that said, here are The Top 11 Reasons St. Pete Is Better Than Tampa. When you’re done with this article you can personally give me a call to thank me and we can trash talk Tampa together. OK here we go.
Why are there so many cars at all times of the day in Tampa? Literally right when you cross into Tampa city limits on I-275 it goes from 4 lanes to 2 lanes which results in traffic every single time I go there. This must be on purpose – to foreshadow the misery to come. Anywhere you go there’s traffic and it’s terrible to park.
I will say one good thing – Tampa just received a $67 million dollar grant to develop public transit in the form of streetcars. It actually sounds pretty great if you read this article. Looks like around 100k people will live within walking distance to this trolley system. Who knows, maybe Tampa will start to suck a little less by the time they finish it in 2026.
Although St. Pete is getting busier every year, we have a road system that’s built like a grid. You can pretty easily exit the highway and make your way home one way or another through the grid system. We have plenty of thorough ways that allow traffic to disburse and move smoothly. We also have bike lanes which makes it easy to commute on a bicycle so you can feel good about saving nature. Speaking of environmentally friendly, there’s a solid amount of designated parking spots to charge electric vehicles. Park your EV, go spend a few hours downtown getting your steps in.
One thing we are lacking in is public transit. There’s a plan in place to update our current bus system however what would be really progressive is a light rail that connects Downtown to the beach. This city continues to get better and busier so mass transit will be necessary at some point in the future. At least we are making progress with electric vehicles and other alternatives that don’t involve burning gas.
10. The Beaches and Ocean
I recently met up with an old friend in Texas. He lives in California so we basically met halfway in Austin. We were talking about the weather and he had the nerve to tell me that Florida is a swamp. Yeah well at least I can afford to buy a house here! I’d love to start talking trash about California too but we’ll stay on topic for now. Here’s an article I wrote just in case you’re considering moving to Florida from California.
Yes it gets a bit swampy here during the summer. That’s exactly why you go to the beach or out on a boat. The water temperature here during the summer is amazing and it’s a beautiful place to spend time on the ocean. Guess what St. Pete has that Tampa does not? Beaches and ocean! I love it here so much but I will never understand why people live in parts of Florida that are not near the ocean. By the way, the ocean is cold year round in California anyway, that doesn’t sound fun at all!
Tampa has Tampa Bay which pretty much only has Beer Can Island as a boat-able destination. I just heard yesterday that Beer Can Island is actually shutting down. Can you do anything right Tampa??? Tampa Bay is also where our city discharges sewer waste when our systems get overwhelmed, probably not the best place to swim unless you’re trying to build up your immune system to fight off Covid.
You can walk around in Downtown Tampa on the Riverwalk. It’s OK I guess. Besides that you’ll mostly just see a bunch of traffic in a concrete jungle. You can walk along Bayshore, maybe check out Hyde Park village for a coffee. SOHO is good if you want to see a bunch of loud drunk college kids. You can stop by Ybor for a cigar and maybe catch a fist fight or see someone getting knifed. The point is all these districts are spread out and Tampa as a whole isn’t really walkable although it does have a bunch of smaller walkable districts.
St. Pete has one extremely walkable Downtown area. We also just got new electric scooters you can rent that make it super easy to zip around. Since Downtown is mostly within about 1 square mile, it’s easy to get anywhere within minutes on a scooter or bicycle. If you’re in no rush you can easily walk down Central Ave and find a wide variety of things to do. I will admit that our beach area is not really walkable which is unfortunate. I’d love to see a concrete path along the beach to facilitate foot traffic, bicycles, rollerblading etc.
9. The People!
OK this is more of a diss towards the realtors in Tampa compared to St. Pete. I don’t even know why there’s such a big difference in mentality but there is. It seems like every time I do business in Tampa I encounter some sort of attitude with the agent on the other side of the transaction. I don’t think it’s me because I can count on one hand the amount of times I’ve had issues with agents in St. Pete after doing business here for almost 7 years. I think they just automatically get an inflated ego when they put their tuxedo on to go sell their soulless homes in their subpar city. Hey you know what they say, it sucks to suck!
We’re more on island time in St. Pete. Traffic isn’t as bad, people are moving a bit slower, things seem to be a lot more relaxed but we still get things done. We’re just on a different wavelength over here so you’ll have to get a little sampler of both cities and let me know if you agree with my assessment.
7. Historic Homes
Yeah new construction can be nice with all the technology, brand new everything and warranties. I’d love to own a new construction home in St. Pete, as long as it’s in a neighborhood I enjoy. Unfortunately most of our land is already built up which prevents a whole lot of new construction. On top of that we have historical designations in many of our neighborhoods that sometimes prevent new construction or limit the architecture to only homes that will fit into the general neighborhood aesthetic.
Tampa has new construction but a lot of it is just a box with appliances in it. I guess that’s cool.
The vast majority of St. Pete homes are built in the 1920’s or the 1950’s. New construction here is rare which is why it sells for a premium.
1920’s homes feature Craftsman style features from a time period where the builders of the home took their time and put some soul into their work. These are the wood frame homes you’ll see with interesting architectural selling points like front porches, lots of windows to provide natural light, coffered ceilings and many times a creative use of outdoor space to maximize the smaller lots in this area. These homes will many times be a labor of love, something you need to maintain regularly but is worth it for the character for many people.
The 1950’s style homes are typically built with block construction with terrazzo flooring and mid-century modern styling. These feel a bit more mass produced than 1920’s homes but a block construction home built on a slab is as solid of a house as you can get. These homes will be a little less maintenance and have slightly lower insurance premiums as well.
I like seeing when these homes are renovated appropriately to reflect what the house looked like during that time period. You’ll sometimes see exposed brick, stone and wood incorporated in the interior. Furnishings such as lights, clocks, furniture and artwork many times are modeled after stars because the space race was a huge deal back then. When the correct mid-century modern furniture is incorporated, these homes can look like a time capsule. I’m on my second rewatch of the show Mad Men and am starting to appreciate that time period more and more. Pretty soon I’ll be having whiskey and cigarettes for lunch.
6. Luxury Condos
Tampa has luxury condos as well but there’s a difference. If you’re going to pay a premium to live in a high rise with high HOA fees would you rather live somewhere with just a view or a place where you can walk out your front door and go do anything you’d like in terms of food, drinks and entertainment?
As far as I know, Tampa has high rise condos Downtown and along Bayshore Blvd. Bayshore is essentially a waterfront walkway where people exercise and enjoy views of Tampa Bay. Downtown leaves much to be desired currently however our favorite tech geek turned vaccine proponent Bill Gates and some guy named Jeff Vinik are investing over 3 Billion dollars into this area to make it more walkable. There are 16 high rises going up currently, all with planned ground floor retail space. Sounds to me like they’re trying to emulate the walkable atmosphere in Downtown St. Pete! See Downtown Tampa has so much potential but they just aren’t there quite yet.
Downtown St. Pete has an assortment of condos from 1960’s mid-rises to developments like the ONE Tower which at 41 stories is the tallest building in all of Pinellas County. Although the ONE Tower just claimed that title in 2018 when it was completed, there is already another building being planned which will be even taller.
Even though there’s a wide range of price points for condos in Downtown St. Pete, they all offer the same luxury of being in an extremely walkable, vibrant area. We not only have a huge assortment of bars, restaurants and entertainment – We also have a lot of outdoor space that makes our Downtown area beautiful. Which brings me to….
5. Outdoor space
According to Stpete.org, you will find over 2300 acres of outdoor space spread over 137 parks. One of the main attractions of Downtown St. Pete is the parks along the waterfront, including the newly developed St. Pete Pier that was completed earlier this year in 2020. Whoever developed this city was smart enough to put aside plenty of waterfront space for the public to use instead of building private waterfront residences.
Tampa has some outdoor space as well such as the Riverwalk, Curtis Hixon park and the space surrounding Armature Works but that seems to be about it.
4. Art Culture
I’m not sure if Life imitates Art or if Art imitates Life in St. Pete but there definitely seems to be an energy in the air that inspires this sort of creativity. You’ll find well done creative murals everywhere you go in this city. Although we have a bunch of museums as well, you’re almost better off roaming the streets and experiencing the free street art instead.
There’s a couple of reasons why street art is so prevalent here. I’ve heard that new businesses are required to spend a percentage of their marketing budget on some sort of local art, so what better way to draw attention to your business than to get a beautiful piece of art on the side of your building?
Another factor is the Warehouse Arts District / Historic Kenwood area where lots of artists live and rent out space to do their work. This is where most of the Second Saturday Artwalk takes place where you’ll find dozens of art galleries opening up their doors to the public. This event is one of my favorites in St. Pete – You can go see original pieces of artwork, meet the artists and many times even watch them make their art in person.
Maybe I just haven’t seen enough of Tampa but the parts I have seen are pretty uninspired compared to St. Pete. Even if you end up living in Tampa, you can always come over the bridge to find some amazing locally made art ranging from a few dollars for a Christmas tree ornament to tens of thousands of dollars for a one of the kind world class blown glass piece. You’ll also find everything in between.
3. The Vibe
Yes I’m going to point out “The Vibe” as one of the reasons. It’s one of those things you can’t really put your finger on. I’ve lived in different states and even Germany for a bit and have never experienced a vibe like we have in St. Pete. Most everywhere else I’ve lived people keep to themselves for the most part. St. Pete is a place where people are friendly to the point where it’s easy to make new friends. Most everyone that lives here did not grow up here so most everyone is open to meeting new friends.
I was just talking to a guy I met who moved here from Orlando about this. Cities like Orlando and even Tampa are too big to run into friends and acquaintances by chance on a regular basis. Downtown St. Pete is different though – everything is within about a mile or so radius and most of the popular spots sit along Central Avenue. I run into people I know pretty much every time I leave the house. A big part of this is the fact that most bars and restaurants have sidewalk seating in a city that’s extremely walkable so you’re bound to run into people you know.
Tampa has some sidewalk seating but nothing like St. Pete. I’ve seen more places in Tampa with outdoor space like courtyards, terraces and rooftops. While these can be enjoyable as well, it’s just a more private experience than sitting on a public sidewalk. Luckily in St. Pete we have both.
2. Dog Friendly
I don’t have a dog yet but I am planning on getting one this year. If I didn’t live in this city I would probably not be as excited to get one. The nice thing about the aforementioned sidewalk seating is that you can take your dog to pretty much any coffeeshop, bar or restaurant. Most of the popular parks in our city have fenced in dog parks so you can let your dog run around and make friends. We even have a dog bar and another dog bar waterpark in the works. I’ve learned how easy it is to make new friends when I take care of my friend’s dogs and take them out Downtown – it’s the perfect ice breaker no matter where you’re at.
1. The Local Atmosphere
Local culture is highly valued in St. Pete. This city is full of entrepreneurs who open up creative new businesses and are promoted by their clientele who appreciate that sort of ingenuity. St. Pete is the type of place where a local business pretty much has to succeed on word of mouth and location alone.
Don’t get me wrong – Tampa has local businesses as well but Downtown St. Pete is a mecca for grassroots establishments. Unfortunately we’ve seen a few of these businesses go down in flames due to Le Covid but at least Florida as a whole is more progressive when it comes to easing these restrictions. I won’t dive into this topic too much but I do think it’s really sad seeing businesses fail due to the hysteria of this pandemic. Here’s to celebrating when this once in a century event is over!
Tampa isn’t a horrible place. It’s just incredibly average, somewhat corporate feeling and uninspired. But hey Tampa people before you come find where I live and slash my tires, that’s just my personal extremely biased and correct opinion. Who wants to settle for less when you have an extraordinary city to live in right across the bridge? If you’re considering moving to the area and this article persuaded you to consider St. Pete instead of Tampa, please leave your info below and I’ll reach out to get you started on your home search! Thanks for reading.