Tampa tops Miami as Florida’s best city, says new global survey

The annual rankings pushed Tampa higher than ever. Even Tom Brady got a shout-out.
Tampa, shown here in 2019, is the best city in Florida, according to a new global study by the Resonance Consultancy.
Tampa, shown here in 2019, is the best city in Florida, according to a new global study by the Resonance Consultancy. [ MONICA HERNDON | Tampa Bay Times ]
Published June 30, 2021|Updated July 3, 2021

It’s official: Tampa is the best city in Florida.

That’s according to Resonance Consultancy, a tourism and economic development agency that releases extensive annual reports ranking cities by factors like population and workforce growth, infrastructure, the economy and leisure options.

In Resonance’s ranking of America’s best cities, Tampa came in 22nd, between Provo, Utah and Portland, Ore. More importantly, it finished three spots ahead of Miami — the first time in the study’s history that’s happened.

“In Tampa, the natural and built environments are as in sync as Brady and the Gronk,” the report states, citing a low crime rate, pleasant weather and nearby beaches and attractions. It highlighted downtown Tampa attractions such as the Riverwalk, Florida Aquarium and Tampa Bay History Center; as well as Ulele and the Peninsularium, an immersive arts experience opening soon in Ybor Heights.

Related: The Tampa Arts Alliance wants to unify the city's arts community. Can it?

Last year Tampa finished 30th on the list, well behind Miami at No. 9 and Orlando at No. 18.

“That Tampa swagger that I talked about for eight years is alive and well, and the world is paying attention,” said former mayor Bob Buckhorn. “The Riverwalk opened up people’s eyes to the possibilities of what could happen. It all came together, and it’s been fascinating, rewarding and emotional to watch.”

The rankings were compiled from an array of data sources, from Facebook, Zillow, Google and TripAdvisor to federal data on population, income and crime. And while Tampa was the only local city highlighted, the survey makes clear it’s meant to represent the entire Tampa Bay region, including St. Petersburg and Clearwater.

Related: St. Petersburg makes 'Conde Nast Traveler' list of America's best cities

New York City led this year’s list, followed by Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco and Boston. The other Florida cities ranked were North Port (No. 36), Orlando (41), Cape Coral (49), Jacksonville (54), Palm Bay (58), Lakeland (92) and Deltona (96). Naples ranked No. 2 on Resonance’s list of America’s best small cities.

Miami (No. 27) and Orlando (No. 48) did make the firm’s list of the world’s best global cities, while Tampa did not. The world’s top cities, according to Resonance, were London, New York, Paris, Moscow and Tokyo.