The Best City To Live In If You're Retired

Location is a driving factor behind every stage of life, and retirement is no different. The kids are out of the house, the savings account is where it needs to be, and you no longer want to or have to work. So where to go? Tampa, Florida, is the best city to live in for retirement, offering a high quality of life, accessibility, and infrastructure, and for a relatively low cost.

In the last two years, Tampa has become a destination juggernaut within the retirement capital of Florida. WFLA reports that in the prior years, Tampa accounted for nearly one in every eight real estate transactions in the state. Additionally, over 10% of these transactions came from people already living in Florida. In terms of out-of-state residents, common places included areas like Washington D.C, Boston, and New York City looking for a better quality of life at an affordable or lower value. So with that, let's dive into the unique qualities that make Tampa Bay such a growing hotspot for retirees.

Cost of living

Tampa is an oceanside city with warm temperatures, many attractions to enjoy, and a growing economy. Typically, this combination of features results in a city with a high cost of living. But, surprisingly, Tampa gets a lot more bang for its buck than some of its contemporaries and is relatively affordable. Living Cost suggests a comparable destination like Los Angeles is roughly 19% more expensive than Tampa, and Best Places notes that Tampa is also approximately 14% more affordable than Miami. In fact, as a whole, Tampa features a cost of living index of just over 100, meaning that its cost of living is average compared to the rest of the United States, as noted by Florida for Boomers.

Combining this affordability with Florida's 0% income or estate tax, this option is desirable for retirees and those working part-time jobs locally in the area, according to Make Florida Your Home. You can retire comfortably here with just over $1,000,000, with Florida outpacing other warm destinations like California and Hawaii by a couple hundred thousand dollars.


Given the city's abundance of citizens over 55 years, it should be no surprise that Tampa offers high-end healthcare. Tampa General Hospital is one of the best hospitals in the country, according to Florida For Boomers. As retirement can come with more complicated health challenges, it is important to have an accessible and highly-regarded center for such treatments. This hospital is the only Level I trauma center in the city and one of only four burn centers in Florida.

The City of Tampa also points out that Tampa is home to the globally renowned H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute. Not only does this center feature pristine care and research, but this is the only cancer center in the state identified by the National Cancer Institute as a "Comprehensive Cancer Center." The highly regarded St. Petersburg Center For Plastic Surgery is also nearby. Whether it be the flu, an operation, a nip, or a tuck, Tampa will have you covered.

Climate and accessibility

Tampa's year-round warm climate is wildly attractive, with the average temperature just under 75 degrees Fahrenheit, according to Moving To Tampa. It rarely drops below the 60s and is a perfect environment for anyone who enjoys outdoor living, sports like tennis and golf, and just being out in the sun. This weather also encourages socialization amongst retirees, as there is nearly always an opportunity to meet up or do something together. While humidity can be a factor, October through the beginning of June is delightful weather.

Climate aside, Tampa is a deceptively strong access point to many corners of the world. This is an important point for retirees who want to be able to visit family in other parts of the country, as well as a vacation abroad. Tampa International Airport features direct flights to some of the best global destinations, including London, Zurich, and all over the Caribbean, as noted by Tampa International Airport.

Real estate

The barrier to entry for renting or buying a home in Tampa is another desirable feature, considering its proximity to water and a vibrant city center. Zillow details how a one-bedroom rental will run around $1,500 per month, and a two-bedroom rental will cost about $2,500 to $2,800 per month. But for retirees looking for a proper place to buy and call home, this is where Tampa excels.

Tampa features a variety of retirement-friendly neighborhoods, with reasonably priced homes and reasonable proximity to neighborhood amenities. Bayshore Beautiful's median home price is just over $375,000, and the majority of residents are over the age of 55. It is also close to local coffee shops, restaurants, a spa, and a YMCA with senior fitness opportunities, as noted by Extra Space. Another great example is Beach Park. Beach Park offers higher-end homes and excellent access to Tampa Riverwalk and the Florida Aquarium, details Expedia. Due to their exceptional proximity to the water and picturesque sensibilities, homes in Beach Park start more in the $600,000 to $800,000 range, per Zillow.

Things to do

Moving To Tampa points out that the city features premier access to some of the world's finest beaches, including the sugar-white sands of St. Pete Beach and Clearwater Beach. These beaches are flat, well-maintained, and, from an aesthetic point of view, are equally if not more impressive than many other renowned beaches such as Malibu and The Hamptons. You will find that the beaches here often resemble those of the Caribbean, the white sand never overheats, and the water is often incredibly clear and clean. That said, due to Tampa's gulf-facing configuration, you can expect water to be less rocky and with fewer, flatter waves.

The city also boasts a healthy array of cultural activities, with offerings such as Busch Gardens Tampa, the Museum Of Science And Industry, and the Tampa Museum Of Art, as noted by American Travel Blogger. Tampa has also emerged as a culinary destination, and Time Out reports that there is a unique and regional quality to many of the best restaurants in the city. Standouts like Ulele and The Deviled Pig offer fun and interesting takes on Native American and Florida cuisine and barbecue, respectively.