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City Guide / Tampa

Tampa vs. Miami: Which City Is Right for You?

By Bri Hand | Sep 22, 2021

There are plenty of reasons to move to the beautiful and balmy Sunshine State of Florida. 

For one thing, the state is one of seven in the country with no income tax, which holds its own appeal for those looking to land here.

For another, Florida is one of the country’s geographic thresholds, where American cultures from both hemispheres mesh together—particularly in populous urban hotspots like Tampa and Miami.

But which major city is the better fit for you? This guide breaks down living in Tampa and Miami in the following areas:

  • Cost of living
  • Quality of life
  • Job market
  • Leisure and entertainment
  • Climate and weather preparedness

Read on to find out which city is the perfect fit for your next home!

Tampa vs. Miami: Cost of living

Miami is regarded as one of the United State’s priciest cities to live in, but choosing between Tampa and Miami will depend on your unique lifestyle.

Cost of living in Tampa

With so many fun things to do in Tampa, it’s no surprise to see a growing population. The city boasts an average cost of living that’s 5% below the national average. Housing alone is 23% less costly than other cities in the U.S. However, utilities tend to rank 16% above other municipalities in the U.S.

There are plenty of pros and cons to living in Tampa. But, the relatively low cost of living in Tampa is a clear advantage and makes it a great city for families and multi-member households. Buying a house in Tampa is 53% more affordable than purchasing one in Miami, with homes costing a median of $266,843.

When it comes to transportation, Tampa will save you a few bucks over Miami on expenses like fuel and public transit. However, compared to the country at large, Tampa exceeds commuter expenses in other cities, with rates around 6% higher than the rest of the country.

Cost of living in Miami

On the whole, Tampa beats out Miami in terms of housing affordability: Miami’s average housing costs loom 44% above national averages, with the median rent surpassing Tampa’s by $300 per month.

However, utility bills for Miamians are cheaper than those of Tampa residents—and, remarkably, 1% below the national average.

Miami also boasts a hale and hearty public healthcare system, with insurance costs 3% below the national average. A routine doctor’s visit, dental check-up, and prescription medication will run you just a little bit cheaper in Miami.

Tampa vs. Miami: Quality of living

Both Tampa and Miami residents enjoy a high quality of life. When it comes to lifestyle, however, the two cities are home to entirely different urban cultures—both of which may suit you, depending on what kind of experience you’re looking for.

Quality of life in Tampa

While Tampa doesn’t have the same nonstop rhythm of Miami’s cultural scene, there are myriad ways to lead a vivacious, salutary lifestyle in this highly active city.

Tampa residents love taking advantage of the innumerable opportunities for outdoor activity, particularly those that revolve around the waterfront. Sailing, paddle-boarding, biking, rock climbing, even a bike-powered bar crawls with PedalPub populate the beachside if you’re looking to break a sweat while you party.

Healthcare consistently ranks high in Tampa—which comes as no surprise, given that the industry is one of the city’s chief economic sectors, home to the headquarters of health giants like:

  • BayCare Health System
  • Tampa General Hospital
  • Greenway Health
  • Wellcare

Public transportation in Tampa isn’t on par with Miami’s when it comes to getting around daily. Tampa lacks a rail system, and commuters are often frustrated with the slow service of the city’s bus.

On the whole, Tampa residents agree that having a vehicle makes day-to-day life run smoother. For residents who want to cruise around without a car, the city also has a well-loved bike share system.

Quality of life in Miami

Although living in Miami can be more expensive than Tampa, some features of the city’s excellence make up for the extra cost.

Miami’s public healthcare system routinely receives high marks in terms of quality, particularly clinical efficiency, competence and courtesy of personnel, and accessibility of premium medical technologies.

The proximity of the city’s gorgeous beaches makes for a lot of caravanning back and forth by car, which is Miami residents’ preferred method of transportation. That said, the city has considerably more options than Tampa when it comes to mass transit.

There are five main options for public transportation in Miami:

  • Buses: One-way fares start at $2.25, exceeding no more than $3. Young children ride for free.
  • Trolley: Miami trolleys are routed through Allapattah, Downtown, Brickell, Coconut Grove, Coral Way, Edgewater, Little Havana, Miami Beach, Overtown, Wynwood, and more!
  • Metromover: As one of three train lines in the Miami-Dade rail system, the Metromover is a raised rail line regarded as the most convenient of the triad, particularly if you’re trying to circumvent the traffic that routinely accumulates around downtown Miami.
  • Metrorail: Another branch of the Miami-Dade system is the Metrorail, which tracks from north to south (Palmetto to Dadeland) for 24.4 miles.
  • Tri-Rail: This is the most ambitious train in the Miami-Dade trifecta, which bridges three counties along Florida’s eastern coast: Miami, Broward, and Palm Beach.

With so many ways of making moves—not to mention the city’s bike share system and taxis—Miami offers plenty of ways to travel from one beautiful place to the next.

Tampa vs. Miami: Job market

Both Tampa and Miami rank high in the citywide latitude given to private businesses to operate as they wish. Still, the two cities have different fortés when it comes to top industries and job growth sectors.

Job market in Tampa

The job market in Tampa is growing slowly and steadily, with a modest 5.9% growth margin in the past five years.

Four major industries reign supreme in Tampa:

  1. Tech
  2. Finance
  3. Healthcare
  4. Supply chain

With some heavy-hitting businesses operating in the city—including JP Morgan Chase, BayState Health, City Bankers Financial Corp, and TechData—the city is poised to outgrow its modest growth rate and achieve projections of 42.7% within the decade.

Job market in Miami

Miami’s reputation for being a rich center of culture and entertainment has made the city a major mecca for tourism, hospitality, and leisure. It also has a robust economic sector, with plenty of activity in banking, international trade, and media—particularly Spanish-language media.

Excluding farming, some of the city’s top industries include:

  • Tourism and hospitality
  • Finance
  • International Trade
  • Media

Miami is also seeing an expansion in education and medicine, as the city is home to several top-tier universities, colleges, hospitals, and research centers.

Tampa vs. Miami: Leisure and entertainment

Yes, Miami is notorious for being one of the country’s rowdiest nightlife scenes—but there is plenty to do in Tampa, too, especially if you know where to look. 

Leisure and entertainment in Tampa

For one thing, Tampa residents know how to celebrate. The city is home to festivals for everything from elevated foreign films to pirates, all year round.

Some of the city’s most popular festivals include:

  • The Sunset Music Festival
  • Tampa Bay Pride Parade
  • Gasparilla International Film Festival
  • Cuban Sandwich Festival
  • Shark Con

Other than festivals, Tampa residents also love to attend sports games. There’s a boisterous fan base for each of the city’s four major league teams: 

  • Tampa Bay Lightning (NHL)
  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers (NFL)
  • Tampa Bay Rays (MLB)
  • Tampa Bay Rowdies (USL)

Leisure and entertainment in Miami

Known as “the gateway to Latin America,” Miami has a long, vivid history of bridging diverse cultures to create one thrumming, thriving hive of a city.

Of course, the favored leisure activity is hanging out on Miami’s pearlescent sandy beaches and enjoying the endless offerings of the city’s culinary, nightlife, and bar scenes.

Take a look at some of Miami’s most vibrant urban neighborhoods, such as:

  • Little Havana: A historic neighborhood home to generations of Cuban immigrants
  • South Beach: A center for swanky Miami hotels, shopping, pristine beaches, and never-ending cocktail hours
  • Wynwood: A phenomenon of a neighborhood that boasts incredible street art, food trucks, and underground nightlife

Tampa vs. Miami: Climate and weather-preparedness

Florida weather can be a blessing and a curse. While the agreeable temperatures of milder months make for an enviable climate, both Tampa and Miami can get dicey around hurricane season. 

Even so, both cities are home to Floridian residents and officials who handle each hurricane season with remarkable transparency, preparedness, and resilience.

Climate and weather-preparedness in Tampa

In the Tampa Bay area, otherwise known as the lightning capital of the world, the official hurricane season begins in June and ends in November.

The lengthiness of extreme weather season comes with practical inconveniences and dangers and steeper-than-average insurance costs. Nevertheless, this major city is dedicated to keeping residents safe from severe storms with a regularly updated “Hurricane” section of the Tampa Bay Times to keep residents informed.

Climate and weather-preparedness in Miami

Despite being in the same state, both temperature and humidity levels in Miami exceed those in Tampa. The average high temperatures in Miami strike at 87 degrees Fahrenheit, while averages for the year usually hover around 77.9 degrees Fahrenheit. Rain reaches its peak in June and September, and hurricane season lasts from June through the end of November.

Living in a hurricane zone can be stressful for residents. Still, many seasons of severe weather have made for an amply prepared and well-informed cadre of local officials who take safety seriously to weather the city’s future storms.

Wherever you land, get there with Landing

Ultimately, it’s up to you to announce the winner in the clash between Tampa and Miami. 

Although, when it comes to making the right choice on how to move, your defending champion is Landing.

Landing matches members to flexible leasing solutions across the country with no application fees, security deposits, or extra month’s rent. Our member experience team is there 24/7 to help you find your dream solution, no matter how short or long you’re planning to stay in your next destination.

Whether you’re seeking a furnished apartment in Tampa or a furnished apartment in Miami, Landing can help you find your next place to call home.

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About the author

Bri Hand

Bri Hand is Landing's Content Marketing Manager. She currently lives in Salem, Massachusetts, with her partner and dog, Arlo, but relishes any opportunity she can to travel so she can try new foods, see gorgeous sights, and daydream about living somewhere new after visiting there for less than 24 hours.