1. Tampa’s Festival Season Lasts All Year Long

Move to Tampa

Source: Sunset Music Festival via Facebook

If you love festivals, you’ll be right at home in Tampa. There’s a festival every day - okay, maybe not every day, but nearly every weekend. From the Tampa Bay Margarita Festival, Sunset Music Festival and Tampapolooza to Springfest on Harbour Island, you’ll never want for great music and food in the sun. Invest in a lawn chair and an oversized hat as soon as you get there, you’re going to need both.

2. The Food Scene Is Better Than You Could Imagine

Move to Tampa

Source: Restaurant BT via Facebook

The food in Tampa will makes anyone who’s a foodie at heart fall in love immediately. From traditional fare, food trucks, creative farm-to-table cuisine, international gastropubs, and the freshest seafood you’ll ever have, Tampa is bursting with culinary diversity.

3. Everyone Has A Beach House In Tampa, Almost

Move to Tampa

Source: Flickr User Visit St. Pete/Clearwater

In less than an hour you can be enjoying the surf, sand and sun of various beaches all around Tampa, whether it’s Clearwater Beach and Indian Rocks Beach to St. Pete Beach or Treasure Island. There’s no shortage of spots to escape from the city and cater to your inner beach bum.

4. Tampa Is Major League

Move to Tampa

Source: Wikimedia Image

Tampa has three, count ‘em, three major league sports teams - The Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Tampa Bay Lightning, and the Tampa Bay Rays - so it doesn’t matter whether you’re into football, hockey, baseball, or all three: You’re major league covered.

5. Don’t Be Too Flashy In Ybor City

Move to Tampa

Source: Flickr user theogeo

While crime is definitely down from past years, it’s still best to use caution when partying in Ybor City. Don’t be flashing your fancy jewelry, expensive handbags, watches, credit cards or cash around too obviously. Just keep your head up, your eyes open and have a blast.

6. Steer Clear of Dale Mabry on Game Day

Move to Tampa

Source: Flickr User apalapala

Make sure to find out when game days are and steer VERY clear of Dale Mabry Highway. The traffic gets out of control, and you’ll spend the day fuming in traffic jams. You’re going to thank me for this tip.

7. Tampa Is Jam Packed With Arts And Culture

Move to Tampa

Source: Tampa Museum of Art via Facebook

It’s not just about suntanning and sports in Tampa. Any day of the week you can choose from a variety of events and museums throughout the city. If you’re into art, don’t miss the Tampa Museum of Art and The Ringling. There are also plenty of history museums, cultural festivals, and for performing arts check out the Straz Center.

8. Forget Cheers, It’s All About The Hub In Tampa

Move to Tampa

Source: Flickr User Nicole Kibert (elawgrrl)

Head to The Hub in downtown Tampa for drunken camaraderie, live music and the best, heavy handed drinks in the city (known as the famous ‘hub pour’). This Tampa staple is dark, dingy, and musty…. everything you want in a hole-in-the-wall, dive bar. Don’t forget to check out their legendary bathroom graffiti.

9. Watch Out For The Speed Traps

Move to Tampa

Source: Tampa Speed Traps via Facebook

Police cars parked out of sight, laser guns and well hidden motorcycle cops…. yeah, it’s a speed trap kinda city. Even if you think you’re fine because you didn’t get pulled over, don’t be so sure since the city is covered with red light cameras. Just try to avoid Temple Terrace Highway altogether. Consider yourself warned.

10. The Independent Businesses Are Hidden But There

Move to Tampa

Source: Inkwood Books via Facebook

Tampa is notorious for large chains, so when you find a small place to eat and shop, be sure to check them out. You might notice the chains right away, but try looking a little deeper. There are still plenty of cute boutique shops, local restaurants and other businesses ready to welcome you. They’re always a better experience than any large chain.

11. Channel Your Inner Captain Jack At The Gasparilla Pirate Fest

Move to Tampa

Source: Gasparilla via Facebook

Since 1904, the Gasparilla Pirate Fest has been invading Tampa Bay. Every January, dress up in your best pirate gear (don’t worry about going overboard, because everyone else will) and join the other hundreds of thousands of mateys for boats, pirates, parades and swashbuckling. And don’t worry, there’s plenty of rum.

12. The Best Christmas Lights Are On Hyaleah Road

Move to Tampa

Source: Flickr User Ricky Brigante (insidethemagic)

Christmastime is gorgeous all over Tampa, even though there’s no snow. While Christmas Town at Busch Gardens is what people probably think of, the most spectacular light show is put on by the locals. The neighborhood down Hyaleah between Serena Drive and Poinsettia Avenue brings out the sparkle and completely rocks the Christmas lights. There’s no better place in Tampa to get in the holiday spirit.

13. Dance The Night Away At Hyde Park Cafe

Move to Tampa

Source: Hyde Park Cafe via Facebook

Don’t let the name ‘cafe’ fool you, Hyde Park Cafe is a killer dance club with great music and DJ’s. It’s everyone’s favorite place to chill after a long day at work or to party the night away. Depending on the night, you could hear everything from hip-hop and Latin to house music. If you’re lucky you’ll land there on a night with some internationally known live talent. Oh, and they do have awesome food too - don’t miss the handmade pizzas.

14. Charley’s Steak House Is The Best In Tampa...

Move to Tampa

Source: Charley’s Steak House via Facebook

Even though Charley’s Steak House is technically a mini-chain with a few steak houses in Florida, they have the best steaks in Tampa. Their Midwest grain-fed beef is aged on-site for weeks, cut daily, seasoned for 30 hours, and then flamed grilled over oak and citrus wood. Charley’s isn’t cheap, but it’s worth every penny.

15. But You Can’t Miss Berns Either

Move to Tampa

Source: Bern’s Steak House via Facebook

Berns Steak House is a Tampa landmark that you absolutely cannot miss. Their steaks are mouthwatering and broiled to perfection. Their vegetables come from their own farm, their wine cellar is famous and after all is said and done, head upstairs to the intimate dessert room. If Berns is booked up with reservations, try Side Berns, which is equally delicious.

16. You Can Party Like A Rock Star Without Having To Drive

Move to Tampa

Source: Flickr user mighty.travels

Hopping around Downtown, Ybor City and the Channel District is easy and fun with the awesome streetcar system, which is so much better than any public bus. Visit restaurants, drink to your heart’s content, and party like a rockstar without worrying about driving. They run late on Friday and Saturday nights, and make partying safer for everyone.

17. Busch Gardens Has A Killer New Ride

Move to Tampa

Source: Busch Gardens Tampa via Facebook

Busch Gardens is always a great idea in Tampa, but 2014 saw the addition of a brand new thrill - Falcon’s Fury. It’s the tallest free standing drop tower in North America, and it’s terrifying. You’ll climb 335 feet in the air, pivot 90 degrees so you’re looking straight at the ground, and then plummet, face down, toward the ground at 60 mph. See, doesn’t that sound... fun?

18. The Best Brunch Is At Datz...

Move to Tampa

Source: Datz via Facebook

You can get brunch all over the city, but Datz is where you want to land. You’ll have to wait in line for a while, but you won’t be sorry. Try their gooey monkey bread, a burger on a split donut, or just go for the gold with their chicken and waffle Benedict. They have the best Bloody Marys in the city, too.

19. And The Best Tacos Are At Taco Bus

Move to Tampa

Source: Taco Bus via Facebook

If you’re craving Mexican, there’s no better place than the Taco Bus. It can be a bit hipster-ish, but if you can endure the plaid and skinny jeans you’ll be rewarded with fabulous tacos and a butternut squash tostada that will make your tastebuds sing.

20. The Kids Can Get Up Close And Personal At The Zoo

Move to Tampa

Source: Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo via Facebook

The Tampa Lowry Park Zoo might be the best zoo in the country. Not only can you get up close and personal with the animals by feeding them and petting them, there are also nighttime sleepover adventures, the stingray bay, and plenty of shows, talks, rides and tons of animal interaction. The kids will love feeding the giraffes, playing in the water park, taking an African safari and enjoying icey summer drinks at ZooArctica.

21. Tampa Is A Beautiful Place To Live

Move to Tampa

Source: Flickr User Matt Paulson (Photomatt28)

You might not really need to be told this one by now since it’s so obvious, but Tampa is not only full of culture, art, great food, ridiculously great weather and year-round festivals, it’s also a stunningly gorgeous and an all-around beautiful place to live. So pack your bags and head south.