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Tampa vs. Sarasota Guide

Tampa vs. Sarasota | 🤷 Where Should You Live? Sarasota vs. Tampa Pros & Cons

Last Updated on: 19th June 2023, 11:35 am

Always wanted to live in a coastal Florida beach paradise? You’re likely debating whether to live in Tampa vs. Sarasota. Choosing between these two idyllic cities can be a tough decision. They both offer fantastic weather, gorgeous sandy beaches, and many great attractions. That’s why both cities continue to attract new residents every year.

The best way to decide which city is best for you is to break down the Sarasota vs. Tampa pros and cons. You’ll want to know how the two cities compare crime rate, cost of living, local attractions, and more. So, here is a closer look at the advantages and disadvantages of Sarasota vs. Tampa.

Living in Tampa Pros

Affordable living

One of the major benefits of moving to Tampa is the affordable cost of living. The cost of living index for the Tampa metro area is 94.6, which is about 5.4% cheaper than the rest of the US. The median sales price of a home in Tampa is $410,000, which is 12% lower than the statewide average of $465,000. Florida also does not have a state income tax, which can save you thousands per year if you move from out of state. So the affordable cost of living is something to consider if you’re debating Tampa vs. Sarasota.

Always something to do

The wide variety of attractions is another excellent reason to consider moving to Tampa. Whether you’re a sports fan, a fisherman, or like to go out and hit the clubs, you’ll always find something to do in Tampa. If you want to spend the day soaking up some sun, check out Ben T. Davis Beach or Davis Island Dog Beach. You can also take the family down to Busch Gardens Amusement Park or spend the afternoon at the Florida Aquarium. Or if you’re looking for culture, check out the Tampa Theater or Tampa Museum of Art.

Great food scene

Tampa is well known as one of the best food cities in the country, and residents will find a wide variety of dining options, from Michelin-star restaurants to food trucks. You can experience mouthwatering cuisine from cultures all over the world, including Cuban food, seafood, steakhouses, southern-style barbecue, Italian, and so much more. You’ll find the best restaurants in Tampa along the riverwalk or scattered around downtown Tampa.

 

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Living in Tampa Cons

Traffic jams

One of the biggest downfalls of living in Tampa is that it’s becoming very popular, which means the traffic can be intense. While Tampa does have public transportation, it’s still very much a car-centric city, which means that major thoroughfares often get clogged, especially during rush hour. A report by CBS News on the worst traffic cities in the US ranked Tampa at 21. So make sure to leave a few minutes early if you commute to work.

Hot, humid summers

The weather in Tampa offers advantages and disadvantages. While the winters are often fairly mild, the summers in Tampa can get brutal. The temperature is known to get as high as 94°F, and the humidity ranges from 88% in the morning to 57% in the late afternoon.

Dealing with tourists

Another often irritating aspect of living in Tampa is dealing with all the tourists. Close to 25 million tourists visit Tampa annually, which often contributes to the congested traffic. The winters are especially chaotic when all the snowbirds flee the north for warmer weather. Tourist traffic will be more of a nuisance the closer you live to downtown, so it’s something to consider when weighing Tampa’s pros and cons.

 

 

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Living in Sarasota Pros

Great schools

One thing to consider when debating Sarasota vs. Tampa is the school system. Sarasota has some of the best schools in Florida. The Sarasota County School District has an A rating with the Department of Education, and Pine View High School ranks within the top 25 high schools in the country, according to US News and World Report.

Pristine beaches

Sarasota is also home to some of the most beautiful beaches in all of Florida. Siesta Beach and Lido Key Beach are two of Florida’s top destinations for surfing and sunshine. With over 35 miles of coastline, you’ll never have a problem finding somewhere to lay down a towel and relax.

Arts and culture

Sarasota is also a major hub for art and culture, with some of the top museums and art galleries in the city. Home of the famous Ringling Brothers of Barnum and Bailey’s circus fame, The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Florida’s official art museum, is in Sarasota. You can also check out the Sarasota Art Museum, the Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, or other notable cultural attractions.

Living in Sarasota Cons

High cost of living

The high quality of life in Sarasota has positives and negatives because the cost of living can be high. The cost of living index for Saratota is 5% higher than the statewide average and 6% higher than the national average. The median sales price for a home is also $495,000, which is 6% higher than in the rest of the state.

Not as much nightlife

Another one of the strengths and weaknesses of living in Sarasota is the lack of nightlife. While you’ll find plenty of sandy beaches and art museums, there isn’t much in terms of clubs and late-night venues. This could be a plus for families and retirees, but it’s likely a drawback for college kids and young professionals.

Hurricanes

The weather in Sarasota also offers highlights and challenges, as there is the increased potential for tropical storms. Sarasota has a natural disaster risk score of 55%, and there have been over 30 natural disasters in the past 20 years, primarily hurricanes. The city is vulnerable to storms from the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico. So make sure to plant for the potential of tropical storms.

The Cost of Living in Tampa vs. Sarasota

When debating Tampa vs Sarasota, you’ll likely want to consider the cost of living. Although both cities are reasonable compared to the national average, Tampa is cheaper. Tampa’s cost of living index is 94.6, indicating it’s about 6% cheaper than the national average. Sarasota’s cost of living index is about 105, making it 5% higher than the national average and 11% more expensive than Tampa. Plus, the median sales price of a home in Tampa is only $410,000, whereas, in Sarasota, it’s $495,000.

Additional Things to Consider Between Tampa and Sarasota

Population

Tampa is a much larger city than Sarasota, with a population that is almost 6 times larger. The population of Tampa is 398,173, whereas the population of Sarasota is 57,376. So you should consider whether you want a big city atmosphere or a more intimate setting when debating Tampa vs. Sarasota.

Crime rate

Crime is another thing to consider when debating the Sarasota vs. Tampa pros and cons. While both cities are generally safe, they do attract some crime. According to FBI crime data, Sarasota has more overall crime but a lower murder rate than Tampa.

The total crime rate in Sarasota is 3,341 per 100,000 residents, which is 42.4% higher than the national average. But, the murder rate is only 2 per 100,000, which is 69.4% lower than the country overall. In contrast, the Tampa crime rate is 1,885 per 100,000, 12.4% lower than the rest of the country. But, the murder rate is 10 per 100,000 residents, which is 69.5% higher than the rest of the US.

Things to do

Both cities offer plenty of things to do; however, if you’re looking for action and excitement, you’ll likely prefer Tampa. Tampa features more bars and restaurants, entertainment venues, and nightclubs, and Sarasota is more known for its pristine beaches and museums than its nightlife. While you’ll still find plenty of activities available in both cities, Tampa offers more diversity and opportunity for younger residents.

Climate/weather

Both cities offer mild weather, cool winters, and hot summers. Sarasota is near Tampa, and the two cities are only separated by about 60 miles, so the climate is very similar. However, Sarasota tends to experience about 10% more rainy days than Tampa, so if precipitation bothers you, you may prefer the latter.

Traffic

Although both cities experience heavy traffic, especially during tourist seasons, Tampa is a larger city that more residents visit yearly, which will naturally result in increased traffic. The average commute time for Sarasota residents is 22.3 minutes, whereas the average commute time for Tampa residents is 24.7 minutes. Although it may seem minor, that’s 2.4 minutes per day or an extra 12 minutes per week sitting in traffic.

Job market

Although both cities have a reasonably strong job market, Tampa does have a larger economy and offers more diversity of opportunity. The primary industries in Tampa are finance, retail, healthcare, insurance, shipping, defense, and tourism. Whereas in Sarasota, the major industries are software, financial services, manufacturing, and tourism. Tampa also has a job growth rate of 3.24%, compared to 2.84% in Sarasota. 

Sports

Sports fans will likely prefer Tampa as they have more pro teams, including the Tampa Bay Buccaneers football team and the Tampa Bay Lightning NHL team. However, Sarasota also has the Sarasota Thunder indoor football team.

Tampa vs. Sarasota- Where Are You Moving?

So now that you know Tampa vs. Sarasota’s pros and cons, you’re ready to decide where you want to live. Both cities offer opportunities and obstacles, so it’s all a matter of personal preference. But either way, you can expect sunny skies, friendly neighbors, and no state income tax!

Once you’ve made up your mind, let our experienced Tampa movers get you where you need to go. Trust 2 College Brothers to make your relocation easy and stress-free with a dependable crew and a wide array of moving services. Call 813-922-1528 today!

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