The area of Tampa Bay, Florida offers excellent outdoor recreation spots, growing cities and suburbs, and year-round warm weather. Tampa, St. Petersburg, and Clearwater are the three major cities comprising the Tampa Bay metropolitan area. If you're gonna be a Tampa mover, locals refer to it simply as the Bay Area.
Tampa Bay stands as a hub for shipping and production, although much of the industry is largely based on tourism as well. Common industries include cigars, citrus, breweries, seafood, and phosphate. Many people have seasonal houses in the area as well as many wealthy individuals who also have property in Tampa. Many regional offices, especially of banks and telecommunication companies, are in Tampa as well.
Tampa is a popular tourist destination. An international airport is right outside of the city for convenient access. Popular attractions include Ybor City, a cigar museum, the Museum of Science and Industry, and Hillsborough County Historical Museum. The Florida Symphony Orchestra and the Tampa Ballet perform in a performing arts center in Tampa that was opened in 1987. The well-known amusement park, Busch Gardens, is located near the University of South Florida. Major sports teams include the Tampa Bay Devil Rays (MLB), the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (NFL), and the Tampa Bay Lightning (NHL), among several other smaller professional and collegiate teams in the area.
Tampa was a Native American word that referred to the area where the city of Tampa is located today. Panfilo de Narvaez was the first European to find the area in 1528. Florida was eventually transferred to the United States in 1821. In 1849, the city of Tampa was officially incorporated. The city was under Confederate control during the Civil War and martial law was declared. In 1862, the Union army attacked the city and gained control of a city fort and the town in 1864 through the next year. In 1883, phosphate was discovered, and the area is now one of the world's leading providers. During the 1880's, railroads reached the city and bigger business came to Tampa. Throughout the first half of the 20th century, organized crime and illegal gambling rings came into the city and became very popular. Today, Tampa Bay is an increasingly popular tourist destination, and has a steadily growing population. It is the second largest metropolitan area in Florida.