Tampa was named the "best city" in the Southeast by Money magazine, one of five cities with at least a 300,000 population across the country that Money calls "urban gems" that offer an "abundance of amenities at livable prices."
Money crunched the numbers on 63 urban centers, putting a premium on a robust job market, affordable housing, and factors such as accessibility to health care, culture and open space. It then picked five based on regional locations.
"Earlier this year the Tampa Bay Lightning nearly beat Chicago for the Stanley Cup — yes, that's ice hockey," Money states. It went on to cite the recent Bollywood Oscars event held in Tampa, the Tampa Museum of Art's collection moving to new digs in 2010 and, in 2017, the hosting of college football's national championship game. Money dubbed Tampa the "Sunbelt beach city with international aspirations."
The city survey also praised Tampa International Airport for its major expansion plans and growth of overseas flights, the city's success in recruiting major drug manufacturer Bristol Myers Squibb's North America Capability Center and for Amazon's large-scale expansion and hiring in the area.
The magazine also quoted Lightning owner and real estate developer Jeff Vinik predicting the city would boom, and quoted Moody's forecast of 15 percent job growth in the next five years.
Tampa's in good company. Pittsburgh was named the best city in the Northeast, Omaha in the Midwest, Mesa (Ariz.) in the Southwest and Denver the best of the West.
Some people like small towns, Money noted. "But there are plenty of folks — from millennials searching for that first job to boomers eager for big-city convenience — who want something different.
"Now that the hard work is done," Money said, citing its top five city picks, "all you have to do is pick a place and start packing."