• Kale

Top 50 US Cities for FIRE - TAMPA

Updated: Oct 13, 2020

The rundown on Tampa for FIRE chasers.

Preliminary Rank Estimate: Top 10

The final rankings will be published after all city reviews are posted.

Tampa, FL

Home of the Bucs, Lightning, Rays, just OK food, great craft beer, and reasonably priced living.

It should come as no surprise that Tampa has a preliminary top 10 ranking for those that have been to the only reasonably priced coastal city in FL.

When it comes to FIRE cities, we are looking for a few specific things:

- A low-t0-mid-cost of living.

- A good entertainment scene (sports, bars, parks, etc).

- Solid Universities and/or employers (in case you want to better yourself or pick up a -

part-time/passion gig).

- Good/great food.

- A decent airport.

- A reasonable climate.

Scoring is based on a 1 to 5 scale (1 - terrible, 5 - great).

Quick Summary Scores:

Cost of living: 2.5

Entertainment: 4

Universities/Employers: 2

Food: 2

Airport: 4

Climate: 5

Overall: 19.5/30


Cost of living

The average rent for a 1 bed/1 bath apartment in Pittsburgh is approximately $1,300 with 72% of all units being priced between $700-$1,500.

Tampa suburbs offer even better pricing but include a commute & a shit ton of traffic.

The median single-family home price is $260,000.

Not cheap but the market tends to fluctuate and the entire region is going through a real estate building boom.

The cost of living score, provided by Bestplaces.net, sits at 100.1.

The primary driver of the score is the relatively high housing cost compared to other FIRE cities.


Craft breweries, average sports teams, and amazing beaches are available in Tampa.

With the exception of the Lightning, most Tampa sports are average BUT that allows for lower-priced tickets (a win for FIRE chasers).

Breweries are in high quantity in and around Tampa (80+ within an hour) and are mostly high quality. Bars are typically college student heavy or retiree heavy so a very eclectic scene.

Beaches within 45 minutes to an hour of the City are fantastic. Siesta Key, St. Pete Beach, Clearwater - all amazing. Parking can be a challenge and drinking is prohibited for the most part. The beach areas are somewhat tourist hubs so packed during the major travel seasons.

The city also sports an aquarium and convention center.

The music scene is weak and most concerts are on odd days of the week.


There are a few universities around Tampa - USF, and the University of Tampa.

These schools are decent and the education tends to be very reasonably priced (for USF, UT is private).

For those willing to make the drive or take online courses, the University of Florida and the University of Central Florida are also within 2-3 hours of Tampa.

The employment scene is relatively sparse and the job market tends to be weak.

Raymond James, Busch Gardens, and the tourism industry lead commerce in the city.

The city is attempting to become more "innovative" but the talent & support is lacking.


Easily one of the most subjective categories - Tampa is a pretty weak food scene.

The city is most famous for Cuban food (and it is fantastic) but pretty much everything else is average to below average.

Prices are generally reasonable ($10 or less) and plenty of premium restaurants are available for date nights.

Go-to spots in the city are Columbia and Datz.


Airports within 3 hours of Tampa are top-notch.

Airports include Tampa International, Tampa-St Pete, Orlando (2), and Miami.

Flights anywhere domestically can be found for less than $100 (round-trip) and European flights can be found for around $300 (round-trip).

Uber/Lyft are your best friend to get to and from the airport since parking can easily be $20-$30 a day.


So long story short, Tampa just may be the best climate in Florida.

July high is 90 degrees and December low is 60 degrees.

Humidity is incredibly reasonable compared to most people's perception of Florida.

With this type of climate, you can essentially throw out all of your winter gear (if you're from up north) and saddle up for shorts & tanks most of your life.

Cars last longer, AC bills are a bit higher, but life is good.

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