Depends what you're looking for.
My husband and I moved from Chicago a year ago.
We lived in Tampa for about a year than moved to a town house in Clearwater.
It really depends what you're looking for and your professional field.
Extremely hot summer, it rains a lot during the summer and when it rains it pours. Hurricane season is not that bad but it may vary from year to year. Before moving in or purchasing anything check if your house in the flood area. When it storms pretty bad many areas got flooded pretty bad. And it very hummed.
It's a GREAT place to be in a winter. It's not too hot and not too chilly, just perfect. Winter is the only time of the year when you can go for a long walk during the day and enjoy outdoor activity. It doesn't rain that often during the winter.
Don't move here if your profession is other than IT or medical professional. Well, don't move here if you're doctor lol.
Medical field is extremely underpaid here. Just google average salary for a nurse or a doctor in Florida and other states. But still if you're in medical field you're going to be ok here in terms of paying bills and renting a decent place.
All other industries are extremely underpaid and the average income does not meet the cost of living here.
If you're staring your career in IT it's a great place to get some solid experience and move on.
After Chicago I would say that housing is more affordable than in Chicago but not by much.
You can a rent decent apartment between $800-1000 or a house/townhouse between $1000-1500.
Again depends what you're looking for. For LGBT folks, I wouldn't recommend Tampa Bay area in general. No the area is very gay friendly (in my opinion) but there's no organised LGBT community in terms of a "gay" neighborhood like Boystown in Chicago for instance. Yeah there're are gay bars and clubs but still it's nothing like Chocago or even Miami.
Over all, Clearwater and Tampa Bay has plenty of fun places to go out and have fun. Ybor City is the center of bars and restaurants. Coyote Ugly
bar is awesome!
In general, Tampa Bay is a diverse place. But still predominately the're senor citizens, dusting the winter snow birds. If you like younger crowd Tampa Bay and Clearwater is not place for you.
Car insurance and traffic.
Car insurance is just outrages! Traffic in Tampa is horrible. People do stupid stuff. Clearwater is a little bit better and my car insurance went down a little bit when I moved there. But as soon as you enter Tampa- it's just awful.
You're going to see a lot of weirdos in Tampa Bay area. Especially in St. Pete or in Tampa by Nebraska ave.
To sum up my review, I want to say that we don't regret that we moved here from Chicago. I miss my community but on the other hand the nature is grate and it's a beautiful place to live. However, I am not sure if we're going to stay here forever.
Eugene | Clearwater, FL