​Ditch Your Car: the Best Neighborhoods in Tampa for Walkability

Posted on May 24, 2021

If you’ve considered ditching your car, you’re not alone. Plenty of people who prioritize walkability have taken that attitude one step further: why not get rid of the car completely? Thanks to emerging services like Uber, Amazon Prime, and Instacart, it’s also becoming easier to take care of daily tasks without ever owning a car.

Is something like this possible to pull off in a city like Tampa? Here’s what you need to know.

Living in Tampa Without a Car: How to Get Around

Although Tampa has numerous highly walkable neighborhoods - this means that to do everyday things like going to the post office, getting lunch, or visiting a doctor, you won’t need a car - you likely will still need to go further into the city sometimes. For this reason, you’ll need to familiarize yourself with:

Biking - while only 6% of Tampa’s roads have bike lanes (or about 155 miles), it still managed to snag a bronze award as a bicycle-friendly community from the League of American Bicyclists. A bike can be a great investment when it comes to getting around the city - there are also plenty of Rent-a-Bike solutions available as well.

Ride sharing - apps like Lyft and Uber have revolutionized the transport industry. If you can work from home or can walk or drive to work, it may be easier (and more affordable) than you think to shift your other errands over to ride sharing. 

Car rentals - have a wedding in Orlando you need to go to? You can typically rent a car in Tampa for a fairly affordable daily rate -  either using a traditional car rental service like Enterprise, or an app-based service like Turo, which allows you to rent from other locals - similar to Airbnb. Zipcar memberships are also available in Tampa for a more consistent solution.

Scooters - Tampa is becoming a more scooter-friendly city after a pilot project placed electric scooters around the city that could be rented for $1 per rental plus 10-15 cents per minute. If the pilot continues to fare well, the city should see even more scooters/scooter accessibility soon (COVID-19 has impacted the anticipated rollout).

Public transportation - while Tampa lacks a subway system, it has a fairly extensive trolley car, streetcar, and bus system available. You can purchase 31-day passes for $65, or one-way for $2.

Water taxi - while the water taxi is limited to waterways (unsurprisingly), they can make getting around certain parts of the city a lot easier. Pirate Water Taxi makes 15 stops around the city, including Downtown Tampa and Davis Islands, and you can purchase an annual pass for $99.95.

The Best Neighborhoods in Tampa for Walking

Tampa’s overall walkability rating is 49 (out of a possibly 100) - this means it is a somewhat walkable city, but a car will be needed to complete some errands. However, some neighborhoods within Tampa are far more walkable than others. Here are a few of the best places to live in Tampa if you don't own a car.

Downtown Tampa - Downtown Tampa is the urban core of the city, and the area is thriving with plenty to do during both the day and night. It’s also home to the Tampa Riverwalk, which allows for easy exercising and gorgeous views of the waterfront. Many residents feel that having more grocery stores and retail shopping would bring this area to new heights of walkability, but for now grocery apps do a lot of the heavy lifting.

  • Walkability: 85%
  • Transit Score: 65%
  • Bikeable: 69%

Channel District - For people who love a quick walk to a favorite bar or restaurant, the Channel District (located next to Ybor Channel) is an easy winner. “The kind of people who live in the Channel District, who value an urban, car-free lifestyle” are both young professionals and older retirees, according to Vance Arnett of the Channel District Community Alliance.

  • Walkability: 78%
  • Transit: 61%
  • Bike: 63%

Palma Ceia - For a slightly more suburban feel than what you’d find in Channel District or Downtown Tampa, head to Palma Ceia. This area is popular with both families and young professionals and has plenty of parks, coffee shops, art galleries and restaurants within easy walking distance. Historic homes and brick streets infuse this area with a picturesque finish.

  • Walkability: 77%
  • Transit: 35%
  • Bike: 60%

Courier City - Many of the top comments about Courier City on neighborhood data website Trulia praise it for its walkability, with plenty of things to do and amenities within an accessible distance. This trendy area has plenty of Old Tampa historical charm, along with a healthy mix of new restaurants and chic cafes. It's also one of the best areas in Tampa for singles and young professionals.

  • Walkability: 86%
  • Transit score: 38%
  • Bike: 62%

Hyde Park North - Hyde Park may be a bit more expensive than other options, but many residents find it worth the price tag. “Convenience is a major draw for those moving to and living in 33606. While still preserving its historical roots, Hyde Park is very much on the up and up,” notes SpareFoot moving guide. The area also has a thriving nightlife scene (SOHO), so save money on Uber and walk to the club from your front door.

  • Walkability: 77%
  • Transit: 46%
  • Bike: 70%

Do you plan on living in Tampa without a car? It’s not the easiest city to go car-free in, but it can be done! To learn about additional neighborhoods perfect for a car-less life, contact our Tampa real estate agents.

"Channelside, Harbor Island, and Hyde Park North seem to be the best areas to live and be able to walk to restaurants, dining, and entertainment as well as sporting activities," notes Tampa-based Realtor Terry Fernandez. "Channelside hosts professional hockey, basketball, as well as numerous concert events."

The Best Apps for Getting Around Tampa Without a Car

These days, technology is integral to getting around Tampa neighborhoods.

  • Transit App:  Use the Transit app to instantly see nearby transit options, and launch GO to get step-by-step navigation. You can also plan a trip and set reminders. 
  • Shipt: Same-day delivery of groceries and other household essentials from 15+ stores in the Tampa Bay region.
  • Busby: Busby is a free safety cycling app that offers features such as accident detection and accident prevention. If a user is involved in an accident, Busby gives them half a minute to move or respond. If no response is given, emergency personnel are contacted and given their location.

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