If you're unhappy here, it's probably you.
I was born in Tampa, and while I've traveled extensively I've always come back to my hometown. One of the first things you get used to as a kid growing up in Florida are the new people. You can usually tell who you're dealing with after meeting a transplant, most falling into one of three categories.
1, miserable people. These people try unsuccessfully to move away from their misery, never knowing they're it's source. These are the people who hate everything they see here, we're stupid, never is done right here, etc, etc. Just ignore them, there's nothing anyone can do for them.
2, assimilators. These people get it and are here to enjoy Florida. They seek out locals and live the lifestyle. They'll go fishing with you, eat the food, never complain about the heat, and genuinely seem grateful to be here.
3, the colonizers. These people are truly destructive and arrogant on a scale that hard to sum up. Even though Europeans landed in Florida many years before the places they come from were found, they behave like Florida is a wilderness and set up to tame and polish it. They don't understand why things aren't exactly the way they are back home and assume the reason must be that Floridians are too dumb or lazy to recreate the great civilization they came from. Ironically, no other place in the country is more wealthy or cosmopolitan than Florida, and the never-ending flood of people fleeing the political and economic failers around the rest of the country are glaring proof.
Tampa, in particular, is an interesting and unique city. As with any large city, you can find seedy elements. But being focused on them says more about you than our city. It would be impossible to do real justice to Tampa's history in this format, but I can throw out some bullet points to spark interest. Everything in Florida is not new, in fact, Tampa was a modern city with electric streetcars in the 1890s. Commercial air travel was invented here with a flight across the Bay from Tampa to St. Pete. Speaking of St. Pete, no review of Tampa is complete without our neighbors. Tampa is the principal city but the area functions as a unit. We have more than our fair share of political boundaries in the Bay area but the region is organically one large cityscape scattered over a few counties. Truth be told that's our biggest weakness. This area needs better transit, badly. It's difficult to get a single government to accomplish much. Imagine how hard it is to get a couple of dozen on the same page. Not have a single dominant municipality is a major disadvantage for us. All in all this area is diverse and dynamic. Dozens of small communities with distinct personalities, urban centers, wild places and every modern convenience within easy access. Tampa International is consistently ranked among the nation's top airports. Several curses lines operate from the port of Tampa, Downtown. Our food scene is top-tear, second only to the great food cities like NYC, New Orleans, etc. Our seafood is unbelievable, and Floribean flavors are fun and easy to make at home and become new favorites of people who settle down here. Between Tampa and St. Pete there are weeks of museum and gallery visits, there are always several shows in the area. Music and theater, both indoors and out. The best local insight I can give is to find a friend with a boat. Whether you're island hopping or just traveling across the Bay, this area is smaller by boat.
Christopher | Brandon, FL