Time Inc.’s Money magazine named the 5 Best Big Cities in the U.S. in 2015 and selected Tampa as one of the five. The 5 Best Big Cities are:
Pittsburgh — Best in the Northeast
TAMPA — Best in the Southeast
Denver — Best in the West
Omaha — Best in the Midwest
Mesa — Best in the Southwest
Money.com used the same criteria used in ranking Best Places to Live such as job market, affordable housing, health care, open space, culture, strong public schools and low crime rate.
The following are Money.com’s reasons in naming Tampa the Best Big City in the Southeast:
1. Tampa is a Sunbelt beach city with international aspirations.
2. Tampa hosted the 15th International Indian Film Academy Awards, usually compared to the Oscars, in 2014. The strong Indian community in Tampa was credited for the event’s success.
3. The Tampa Bay Lightning nearly won the NFL’s Stanley Cup in 2015.
4. The Tampa Museum of Art is acclaimed for its collection and its new building.
5. Tampa will host college football’s national championship in 2017.
6. The median home price in Tampa is $121,200.
7. The unemployment rate is 5.6%.
8. The average property tax is $1,800.
1. Tampa is home to the University of South Florida, one of the top research universities in the U.S. and in the world. In 2014, the USF ranked 10th in the U.S. and 13th in the world for the number of patents received by a university, beating prestigious schools such as University of Pennsylvania, New York University and Harvard.
2. Tampa has lots of parks downtown: Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park, Water Works Park, Riverfront Park, Cotanchobee Fort Brooke Park, Plant Park, MacDill Park, Tony Jannus Park, USF Park, Columbus Park, and Convention Center Park.
3. Tampa has the Riverwalk, a developed pedestrian trail that runs along the Hillsborough River from the Tampa Heights to the Channelside area, connecting downtown parks, cultural facilities and business centers.
4. The Tampa International Airport has been ranked frequently as among the best airports in the world. It was ranked the second best airport in North America and fifth in the world for customer satisfaction in 2015 by Airports Council International.
TIA is also known for showcasing public art, with 30 works currently on display and designating 12 more locations for artists to work on.
5. The MacDill Air Force Base helps the city of Tampa with nearly $5 billion in annual economic impact, employing around 18,000 personnel, creating more than 140,000 base-related jobs and inspiring more than 46,000 retirees to make the city and surrounding areas their home.
6. Tampa is fast becoming a foodie destination, with plenty of new-concept restaurants opening and nationally-known restaurants opening their Tampa branches. These are in addition to long acclaimed Columbia Restaurant and Bern’s Steak House, the relatively new Ulele, which has become a showcase of all things great in Tampa, and many other restaurants that have been making diners satisfied over the years.
10. Tampa’s Channel District will be transformed into a vibrant mix of residential, commercial, educational, health, entertainment, sports and recreational havens by Tampa Bay Lightning owner Jeff Vinik and the Port of Tampa.
11. Tampa has popular tourist attractions, namely Busch Gardens, Florida Aquarium, Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo, Tampa Theatre, Sunshine Skyway Bridge, Tampa Electric Manatee Viewing Center, Adventure Island, TECO Line Streetcar System, American Victory Mariners’ Memorial and Museum Ship
12. Ybor City is the National Historic Landmark District of Tampa. Its charm arises from its unique architecture and structures built in the 1800s. Visitors enjoy its shops, restaurants, nightlife and historic tours.
13. Tampa has a gem called Bayshore Boulevard SIdewalk — often cited as the longest continuous paved sidewalk in the world. It offers great views of the Hillsborough Bay, the Tampa skyline, historic waterfront mansions along the boulevard and the lovely Hyde Park neighborhood.
14. Hillsborough River is a Tampa treasure that keeps on giving. It not only provides a nature park for recreation and family bonding events and a place for canoeing, kayaking and fishing, but it also provides a big part of the water supply that fills the water needs of the city.
15. The Port of Tampa is the biggest seaport in Florida and one of the top 8 cruise ports in the nation.