Every city has embarrassing traits. My city may have more than most. Tampa is a place often dissed by its own residents and used as a punch line by the rest of the country.
We have endured a lot of jabs over the years. Here, many of us tend to focus on what Tampa lacks — connective public transit options, all four seasons, decent support for a playoff-caliber baseball team — instead of what we can proudly claim as our own. I have definitely been guilty of this.
My wife and I spent our twenties grumbling about Tampa’s shortage of big city allure and planning a jump to Chicago. Then a funny thing happened — we stayed. After a decade here, we finally ponied up and bought our first house last year in Riverside Heights. Now I’m not just excited about what Tampa may become; I love this city right now.
Roald Dahl said “Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it.” He was right. Erica & I found it in Portland. And I love Austin, Charleston and Denver for the same reasons most folks do. But Tampa shouldn’t aspire to be any of them. We’ve made our own magic here and you really don’t have to look hard for it. Consider this pedigree:
We are home to a world-class beermaker. Cigar City Brewing has become the centerpiece in a growing craft beer community that now boasts more than 30 breweries.
We have a mayor who is hell-bent on energizing downtown. Young professionals love this guy.
We enjoy enough sunny days to power a small nation. There are parks, pools, trails and rivers to explore every day of the year. Go outside and throw the ball around. Get that bikini tan. Stand-up paddle. Sit-down paddle!
So beat up on Tampa if you want. Those bruises are gonna fade. And when they do, you know what it’ll look like? Home.2 weeks ago