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Tampa vs. Orlando (Which City is Right For You?)

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Orlando may have won last year’s War on I-4, but does it defeat Tampa when it comes to where to live?

Living in Orlando vs. Tampa might not seem so different to outsiders (“What’s the difference? They’re both in Central Florida, right?”), but Florida residents know there’s a pretty big gulf in between the two cities.

And no, we’re not talking about the Gulf of Mexico.

If you’re considering moving to Orlando or Tampa, read on to see which one is right for you.

Jobs in Orlando vs. Tampa

Tampa skyline with cool sculpture

Work is one of the biggest things to consider before moving to any new city.

Orlando ranks as the third best city for jobs in the nation, with Tampa not too far behind at No. 16. Orlando also ranks fourth for most job opportunities.

When it come to job industry, both Orlando and Tampa are big players in the tourism industry (with a bit more weight going toward Orlando of course), which means a plethora of hospitality jobs in both cities. But if you’re looking for something with a little more long-term potential and maybe less customer sevice, don’t fret.

Orlando has an impressive tech industry, thanks to Full Sail and Lockheed Martin. It’s also a promising place to raise a startup, if you have more of the entrepreneurial spirit.

And Tampa? Well, let’s just say it’s come a long way from its cigar manufacturing days. “Cigar City” is now home to a thriving agribusiness industry (think food processing and manufacturing) and nearby St. Pete has one of the largest financial sectors in the country.

Who wins? Ultimately, the point goes to Orlando for its job growth rate.


Cost of Living in Tampa vs. Orlando

money folded in the shape of a dress hanging on a clothesline

Both Orlando and Tampa residents benefit from Florida’s lack of state income tax. But beyond that, there are some significant differences in cost of living.

The average salary in Tampa is higher than in Orlando while the average home prices are lower but the average rent is about the same for both cities.

It’s not much of a difference, but a $50k salary in Orlando can decrease to $48k in Tampa and still retain the same lifestyle.

Who wins? Sorry, City Beautiful. Tampa’s got you beat here.


Family Friendliness in Orlando vs. Tampa

big brother and baby brother side by side on bed

Which city is best for raising a family?

Tampa’s Hillsborough County Public School system and Central Florida’s Seminole County Public Schools both made’s list of “10 Best School Districts in Florida.”

Both cities’ crime rates are higher than the national average, but Tampa has Orlando beat with a lower violent crime and property crime rate. However, these statistics overlook the fact that there are very safe pockets in both areas.

The neighborhoods around Tampa’s perimeter are the safest, and the Bay Hill, Doctor Phillips, and Hunter’s Creek areas of Orlando are very safe as well.

Who wins? Tampa, again. You just can’t beat a good school system and less crime.


Food in Orlando vs. Tampa

gourmet soup and sandwich

Okay, so it might be difficult to explain to your friends that you’re moving to a certain city because of the food. But great restaurants are a perk, right?

Orlando was recently ranked #2 in the country for vegan/vegetarian options and #2 for Best Foodie Cities in America as well. It also tied for first place (with Miami and NYC, no less) for “most restaurants per capita.”

Orlando has lots of international options (not just at Epcot either), so put down the Bloomin’ Onion and Baby Back Ribs and go expand your palette.

Tampa has seen fast growth for fast casual restaurants, but it also has some of the best Cuban food you’ll ever find. Ybor City’s Columbia Restaurant has been around since 1905 and is still an institution (with seven locations). And the city’s two food halls (think food court with no stores…just amazing independent eateries) have gained quite the buzz recently.

Who wins? Orlando takes the cake here. With a diverse population of residents and visitors, the number and variety of restaurants is hard to beat.


Lifestyle in Tampa vs. Orlando

Walt Disney and Mickey sculpture inside Magic Kingdom

Tampa is close to both the water and bustling city life (but without Miami’s price tag) and lots of entertainment options. Festivals are popular throughout the year and Busch Gardens and Lowry Park Zoo are popular weekend spots. Art lovers will also appreciate the Dali and Chihuly museums.

And if you’re a sports fan, Tampa’s got you covered. Whether you like college football (USF Bulls), NFL (the Bucs), baseball (the Rays) or hockey (the Lightning), you’ll have plenty of games to hold your attention.

But Orlando has Disney World. And Universal Studios. And Sea World. Heck, even Gatorland.

Orlando has all the theme parks, but you can live a full, rich life with culture and entertainment without ever setting food on theme park property. More tourists means more opportunities for entertainment, shopping, and culture no matter where you are.

Moving to Tampa means practically moving to the beach itself, but Orlando isn’t far from plenty of Atlantic and Gulf Coast beaches.

Who wins? Orlando, hands down. No matter what you’re into, you’ll find something to do just about every day in The City Beautiful.

Weather and Population in Orlando vs. Tampa

Tampa’s population has about 80,000 more people than Orlando, but Orlando always has a great influx of tourist contributing to its population. This also adds to increased traffic at almost all times throughout the day. Orlando roads are also almost constantly dealing with construction.

Both Tampa and Orlando have many more sunny, hot days than not and average more than 50 inches of rain per year. With Tampa being a coastal city, the gulf breeze means slightly lower average temperatures and less humidity, but not by much. It is more susceptible to hurricanes than Orlando, though both cities will get their fair share of severe storms.

Who wins? With fewer tourists and an ocean breeze, Tampa edges Orlando ever so slightly. Even without being on the coast, Orlando is in the hurricane zone for both Atlantic and Gulf Coast storms.


Tampa vs. Orlando? Which City Is Calling You?

When it really comes down to it, the Tampa vs. Orlando showdown is a draw.

Both cities have great weather, a diverse population, great eateries, a bustling job market, and the kind of amenities that draw thousands of new residents every year.

And hey, if you really can’t decide? Orlampa is right in the middle.

Whether you’re moving to Orlando, Tampa, West Palm Beach, or even Portland, Cento Family Moving is here to help. Our team of experienced Orlando movers can get you from coast to coast. Cento Moving is your top choice whether you’re looking for long distance movers or commercial movers. When you need to relocate, trust your family to our family.

We’ll get the job done right.

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