Tampa Bay

Living in Tampa and Florida

An ideal location to live and learn

Located on Florida’s spectacular west coast, Tampa is a metropolitan city that’s home to more than 350,000 people. Living here, you'll enjoy the excitement of city life as well as the area’s natural beauty. Spend a Saturday on the white sands of Siesta Key, TripAdvisor’s 2015 No. 1 best beach in the US. Discover the arts at the Salvador Dali Museum, or ride a heart-pumping roller coaster at Busch Gardens theme park. With the Tampa International Airport just 20 minutes from campus, it’s easy to explore the rest of the US and beyond.

Why you'll love Tampa

Tampa has an average of 244 days of sunshine each year. It’s no surprise Florida’s nickname is the Sunshine State.

A convenient location means you can drive to Orlando in an hour or Miami in four. Want to explore more? Fly to New York in two hours. The area is also home to multiple award-winning beaches, including Clearwater Beach. You can't get much better weather, either, with an average temperature of 28°C.

Entertainment is everywhere. There are 10 theme parks within a 90-minute car ride from Tampa, including Universal Studios and Disney World.

You can also live inexpensively. Forbes ranked Tampa the No. 18 most affordable city in the US.

Explore all Tampa has to offer


A variety of shops

Among the big plazas, outdoor malls and neighborhood boutiques, Tampa is a shopper’s paradise. Not far from campus you’ll find International Plaza and Bay Street, which is home to 200 specialty stores, four upscale department stores, and 16 restaurants. Other popular shopping spots include The Shops at Wiregrass, an open-air mall that perfectly fits the Florida lifestyle.

Eating Out

Restaurants in Tampa

Tampa’s dining scene has a myriad of restaurants. From the fresh seafood at waterfront bistros to the Spanish dishes from family-owned cafes, you’ll never have to eat at the same place twice. But we bet you’ll want to after you taste an original Cuban sandwich from Ybor City. Worried you’ll miss the food from home? Don’t be. With Tampa’s multicultural population, there are plenty of markets that sell spices and food from other countries. Therefore, creating your favorite dishes from home is simple.


A Melting Pot of Cultures

According to the US Census Bureau, Tampa is one of the top five most diverse, integrated urban areas in the country. Throughout the year, the city is alive with fairs and festivals honoring cultures from all corners of the world as well as events unique to Tampa. For example, the Gasparilla Pirate Festival in January is a free event with more than 100 years of history. 

Spirituality and faith customs also are important to the Tampa community. It is easy to find places to worship and connect with others who share your religious beliefs.

Weather and dress

What should I wear?

The weather in Tampa can vary. Summer months are bright and hot with highs around 32°C. Autumn tends to be warm with calm breezes, while winter is irregular with highs near 21°C. Spring brings rain; weather is mild with highs around 25°C. Dress is usually casual for USF students. Make sure you have enough clothes to keep you warm for the first month or so of classes, and you can buy anything else you need after you arrive.

Hao Wang, China
"There are many things here that are free for students which is great because at home you have to pay for everything. It's convenient for students to study here." Hao Wang, China