I have lived in Pensacola since Aug. 2003, and like most other places, Pensacola has its good points and bad points. The weather is great, especially in the winter months. It is mild and comfortable. The summers can be hot and humid, but at least the beach is in your backyard to cool down. Hurricanes, which always keep me on edge, are always a possible threat between June and October.
The cost of living is great for Florida. It is not cheap, but affordable when compared to other parts of the state. I think $30,000 goes a lot further in Pensacola than Palm Beach or Miami. The cost of rent for apartments has gone up in the past few years due to hurricanes, but it is still pretty affordable.
As far as some of the downfalls, Pensacola has been getting a reputation for a place where young professionals want to leave. This is true since the area seems to lack development in certain areas and decisions by local civic leaders take a long time. While areas to the west in Alabama and the east near Destin, Fla. are thriving, Pensacola seems to be stuck in the mud at times. For some reason, there are a lot of Walgreens and Waffle Houses. Not only are there a lot of them, but there are located very close to each other!
Also, Escambia County is one of the poorest counties in Florida. There are parts of this city where the rich and poor live in the same neighborhood or even street. If you plan on moving down here, make sure you have a good paying job prior to moving here. Salaries are very low for a city this size.
Even though I planning on relocating to a larger metropolitan area sometime early next year, Pensacola has been a nice place to live. If you can find a good job and not mind some of the civic issues and hurricanes, it can be a nice place to live.