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JLeslie's avatar

Any Jellies live in the Tampa-St. Pete area?

Asked by JLeslie (47552 points ) December 26th, 2012

I’m going to be moving there and wanted some info about where to live, traffic patterns, etc. My husband will be working in St. Pete, so I wondered how bad traffic is going over the bridges into St. Pete during rush hour.

Also, your favorite restaurants and shopping malls/areas.

Areas that you consider unsafe and to be avoided.

Anything else you want to add.

I lived in southeast FL for many years, so I am familiar with the FL lifestyle in general.

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24 Answers

Seek's avatar

I live north of Tampa proper, and work downtown.

If he’s working in St. Pete, I highly recommend moving to Pinellas County. No one in this state knows how to drive on an Interstate, so rush hour traffic is horrific.

I take I-275 about seven exits. If I leave my house at 7:10, I get to work at 7:35–7:40. If I leave my house at 7:20, I don’t get here until 8:30. It’s that predictable and that stupid. And I don’t even have to cross a bridge.

We have a guy here at the office who lives in St. Pete, but he’s on vacay this week. I can ask him when he gets back what his drive is like crossing the Howard Franklin during the rush. Of course it won’t be the right direction but it might give you an idea.

You’re generally not going to want to live anywhere east of 275 between Hillsborough and Bearss. That encompasses Sulphur Springs (actual name) and Suitcase City (the “affectionate” term for the place no one stays long if they can help it.)

Malls I like: Citrus Park is adorable. International Plaza, of course – it’s ginormous. Wiregrass Mall in Pasco County is an outdoor place that occasionally has free concerts in the courtyard and events for the kids around holidays.

I love Downtown St. Pete. A great afternoon is spent beginning at The Oyster Bar on Central, then off to a Rays game at the Trop. We’re also furniture at the State Theater holy effing eff, Nile’s coming in April!

Much to do in Ybor City. For music: The Crowbar, The Ritz, I don’t go to Orpheum because their manager hires bullies for bouncers. That’s also where you’re going to find the nightclubs. I don’t know the mainstream ones well, but I love The Castle – where “everyone is welcome, and nothing is taboo”

… that’s all I can think to say right now. If you want to know anything at all, just ask! I’d love to have a Jelly Friend around!

JLeslie's avatar

Thanks! Gives me some good info to start with. I’ll be in touch again once I visit St. Pete and start getting more of a lay of the land.

Brian1946's avatar

I’ve heard that traffic on the Aileen Wuornos freeway is murder! ;-o

Seek's avatar

Ha ha. Good ol’ US 41.

OH! I totally forgot to mention the Tarpon Springs Sponge Docks. It’s my favourite tourist trap, and an absolute must-visit if you like Greek food, Greek Culture, hot Greek men, or pretty much anything Greek at all.

JLeslie's avatar

Definitely will have a gyro and a piece of baklava.

Thanks to both of you.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Used to live in St. Pete. But I was, like, 5, so I can’t help you much! But I remember the ocean and the beaches….

janbb's avatar

We have a place in Dunedin and it is quite a nice area; right above Clearwater. Very cute, gentrified downtown and the big box stores conveniently located on US 19, Straight run down to St.Pete but I’m not sure what the traffic is like in rush hour. Pass-a-Grille just south of St. Pete Beach is very nice too, as is much of St. Pete itself.

Seek's avatar

I love Pass-a-Grile. Great beach.

JLeslie's avatar

@Seek_Kolinahr The bad area you mentioned east of I275, is that down near St. Pete? Or, up near the Tampa area?

Seek's avatar

It’s in Tampa, near the University. You’ll know it from the smell, and the fact that the houses cost a third of anywhere else.

janbb's avatar

Also, I would warn against Clearwater. Most of it is now taken over by the Scientologist campus, the beach is all highrises and there are very poor areas.

janbb's avatar

Feel free to pm with further questions as they arise.

Seek's avatar

Same here. ^_^

JLeslie's avatar

I just spoke to the realtor who is assigned to me there. Poor guy, I am so unspecific in what we are looking for. I hope after being there a day or two for house hunting we will narrow things down.

Seek's avatar

He’s probably thrilled to have the work. The realty field is dead in the water here.

JLeslie's avatar

Drove around a bit this past weekend, did some touristy things also.

Went to Tarpon Springs and had a delicious gyro and piece of Baklava. Drove down through the town of Dunedin.

Drove out to Clearwater Beach, ate at Frenchy’s, walked for an hour or so, then drove south along the beach for a while before returning back to St. Pete.

Next weekend I am hoping to meet up with some long time friends who live in the area.

Feeling really confused about where to live. I am hoping it will all starts to fall into place soon. I return home for a while and won’t be back probably for 4–5 weeks.

Seek's avatar

Have you settled on the SunCoast at least? south Pasco – Pinellas county-ish? Or are you still looking in Hillsborough?

JLeslie's avatar

Well, we are inclined towards Pinellas, but I have a feeling we might revisit the South Tampa area. What’s tricky is we are willing to consider a big lifestyle change, but are also used to some conveniences. Right now we live kind of in a countrylike suburb. I have almost three acres and back up to woods. However, I am only 1.5 miles of rural road to the interstate, and in 7 miles I am in a huge shopping area with a big two story mall, 20 restaurants within blocks of the mall, Home Depot, Lowe’s, Target, Office Max, Office Depot, Walmart, it is incredibly convenient and easy to park. Previous to that we lived in your average upper middle class suburb in FL with a community pool and gym in the subdivision. Now we are considering more urban, looking at condos and houses, but I liked the convenience of being able to do a lot of errands in one major shopping area. But, it’s not like NYC of course, you can’t just walk a few blocks and have everything there, or hop on a subway.

A few people have said parts of St. Pete should be avoided, but I am not clear exactly where. There is a Fresh Market near Snell Island, so I guess that is a “higher rent” area and still desireable even though it is an older community. We looked in the downtown area for condos, near the Vinoy by the marina, and they are extremely expensive, and I think we have decided not to spend so much money.

Seek's avatar

I rather like South Tampa and the Hyde Park areas. There’s a little more money in those areas, and thus you can take advantage of independent businesses, cute little boutiques, farmer’s markets, etc.

I would visit any place that you are considering at different points during the day and work week, though. There are a couple of phosphate plants in Tampa Bay on the Tampa side, and the smell can get pretty heinous in some areas close to Bayshore and downtown. My boss’s house got the short shrift there. Oi.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

I have a couple of high school friends that like Safety Harbor. One has lived there for over 10 years.

JLeslie's avatar

The older areas don’t usually have nice community ammenities like I prefer. Many of the houses have their own pools. I liked having a pool, although my husband prefer not to, but I am a lap swimmer, and so many people put in pretty dipping schools in their back yards with no real room to swim if we look at resales and older houses. If there is a local club with pool, gym etc, that will be fine, but I also am trying to find where those places are when I look at everything. I like to zumba, my husband works on the machines, and I swim. That is actually kind of important to me.

Thanks for the warning about the smell! That would really bother my husband.

JLeslie's avatar

What airline at the Tampa Airport has the most flights? Most likely to have nonstop service to places?

janbb's avatar

It really depends on where you are going what airline you would use. My friends fly in direct from the UK on British Airways. I use United from Newark or Spirit from AC. Southwest also flies from Tampa.

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