Things to Know Before Moving to Lakeland, FL

Are you thinking about moving to Lakeland, FL? If so, there are probably some things you would like to know about it first…right? 

There are so many wonderful aspects of living in Lakeland that it would be impossible to list them all. However, we are going to do our best to summarize what living in Lakeland is like. We are going to give you all the highlights of living in Lakeland along with links you can follow to explore and learn more about what you have to look forward to when moving to Lakeland, Florida.

Are you ready?

You are about to take the first step in your journey, and you are absolutely gonna love it!

Let’s get started…

Where Is Lakeland, Florida?

Lakeland, FL is conveniently located along the I-4 corridor between Tampa and Orlando. The population is over 100,000 and the city limits cover about 74.4 miles. The downtown area has been loving named “Lakeland’s living room” due to its community spirit (which we will talk about in a moment), as well as the iconic and fun things there are to do there. Lakeland is full of Old Florida history and boundless natural beauty for you to enjoy.

Lakeland Sense of Community

Lakeland has a history that dates back to the old Florida pioneers in the 1870s. Fast-forward to modern-day Lakeland which was built around the 38 lakes found around the community. 

Lakeland reflects a historic character full of heritage, philanthropy, and volunteerism, giving every resident and all visitors a true sense of belonging. So, Lakeland has something to offer every one of its residents and visitors—visitors who once they are here never want to leave. 

When in Lakeland, you can look around, and you will see that people take pride in their community. You will also notice smiles and receive warm greetings from people everywhere you go. This community has a small-town feel with a big city stance. And when it comes down to it, Lakeland is a tight-knit community where you will always feel like you are home regardless of whether you live here or are just visiting. 

Historic Neighborhoods in Lakeland, FL 

The City of Lakeland has seven historic districts, more than 1,600 historic buildings, and 13 individual historic landmarks. Lakeland embraces its past as you can see by the preservation of the tree- and brick-lined streets. One of the most nostalgic historic neighborhoods is called Dixieland. This charming neighborhood is bordered by Lake Hunter, Walnut Street, and Dobbins Park. When you enter Dixieland, you will feel like you have gone back in time making it an experience you will never forget. Others are Beacon Hill, East Lake Morton and South Lake Morton and Biltmore-Cumberland

Click Here for a map of the Lakeland Historic District.

Historic Landmarks in Lakeland

Lakeland is also home to a wide variety of historic landmarks such as the Central Avenue SchoolCleveland Court SchoolJohn F. Cox Grammar School, the Florida Southern College Architectural DistrictHenley FieldFrances Langford PromenadeOates BuildingPolk Theatre and Office Building, and more. It’s definitely worth your time to see as many of them as possible. 

What Is Lakeland Famous For?

Lakeland, FL is famous for being home to the largest single-site collection of Frank Lloyd Wright architecture in the entire world. This collection is housed at Florida Southern College. 

Lakeland is also famous for hosting the Detroit Tigers Spring Training, having the Safari Wilderness, and the Circle B Bar Reserve. You don’t want to miss them. 

Location, Location, Location

You really can’t beat the location of Lakeland. Lakeland is situated in the middle of the state making it convenient to all the major attractions and vacation destinations. Most people save all year for a vacation to Florida. But since you live here all of this is right in your own backyard. This will save you loads of money each year on airline tickets and other travel expenses since many of the fun things to do are just a day trip away.

If you think about it, you could use all that money you would normally pay on a Florida vacation and put it towards your child’s college fund, pay off some debt, or even pay down your mortgage all without having to do anything different or sacrifice anything. And you are just a short drive to all the white sandy beaches of Florida as well (more about that in a minute). How great is that?

What Is the Housing Market Like in Lakeland, FL?

Living in Lakeland is great for those who like a quiet, peaceful atmosphere. However, there is plenty of nightlife and lots of fun things to do in Lakeland (more about that in a minute), and even more just a short drive away. 

The Lakeland housing market consists predominantly of detached single-family homes at 52.5% with the rest of the housing make-up being apartment buildings and mobile homes at 47.5%. Most houses are comprised of two and three bedrooms and the median year of construction for houses in this city is 1983. However, you will find plenty of home inventory for a wide variety of years including new construction. 

Lakeland, Florida home prices range from the low 100k to over 1,000,000 with an overall median home value being around $288,000. So, as you can see there is something for everyone. For up-to-date housing market statistics in Lakeland, please feel free to click on Lakeland Florida Housing Market Report

Jobs, Jobs, and More Jobs!

Lakeland doesn’t have anyone type of profession, so it isn’t mainly a white-collar or blue-collar area. The top professions in Lakeland are sales, office workers, professionals, management, and service providers. And an interesting tidbit is that Lakeland is reported to have more people who work in computers and math than 95% of anywhere else in the United States. The average household income in Lakeland, FL is almost $68,000 and it has a poverty rate of less than 17%.

Additionally, the overall education level of Lakeland is about 22% higher than other cities in the U.S. and about 27% of adults who are 25 and older have, at the very least, a bachelor’s degree. 

The Lakeland area boasts many major employers such as Publix, Lakeland Regional Health Orthopedics, Saddle Creek Logistics Services, Meadowbrook Golf, City of Lakeland, Watson Clinic, Florida Title, Crispers, Velda Farms, RMC Ewell, Amazon, Southeastern University, GEICO, and more. 

Is Lakeland, FL Affordable?

Yes! Lakeland is an extremely affordable place to live and retire. There are plenty of jobs to be had and the experts expect the growth of the job market in Lakeland to outpace the U.S. job growth rate. Additionally, the housing in Lakeland is about 30% lower than the U.S. average and the cost of living in Lakeland is about 13% lower than the U.S. average. 

The Lakeland property taxes are about $427 below the national average property taxes which are approximately $2375, and it’s also lower than many other Florida municipalities. Additionally, the Lakeland sales tax is only 7.0% and there is no state income tax. 

According to US News, Lakeland, FL is ranked #61 in best places to live in the U.S., #18 in best places to retire. #9 in best places to live in Florida, #7 in fastest-growing places. 

What Is the Walkability Score for Lakeland?

A good walkability score is considered 70 or above. Lakeland does not have a high walkability score. Lakeland’s walkability score is 37 and has a bike score of 52 and is only somewhat bikeable but the city is trying to change that which we will talk about in a minute. So, for all intents and purposes, Lakeland is considered a car-dependent city and, fortunately, you won’t have any problems with parking in or around the city. 

Best Neighborhoods in Lakeland, Florida

According to AreaVibes, these are the best neighborhoods in Lakeland.

There are plenty of other great neighborhoods in Lakeland, but these are some that were rated as being the best. 

Does Lakeland, FL Have Good Schools?

According to, there are 211 schools in Lakeland. This number includes preschools, elementary, middle, and high schools, as well as public charter schools, and private schools but does not include colleges. Lakeland has five colleges and three technical schools

As you could imagine, with that many schools the ratings are all over the board ranging on a scale from 1 to 10 with 10 being the best. Additionally, there are many schools that have a “currently unrated” rating. 

If you want to see the rating of any given school, you can go to and see the rating and reviews for whatever school you’d like.

What Is the Weather Like in Lakeland, FL?

Florida has some of the best weather in the country. Yes, it does get humid, and it does rain a lot during certain times of the year. However, when it does rain, it usually doesn’t last long. Here are the Lakeland weather highlights.

  • Summer High: July – 92°
  • Winter Low: January = 50°
  • Rain: Lakeland 53 inches per year, US 38 inches per year
  • Snow: Zero
  • Average number of sunny days: 240
  • Average number of rainy days: 115

What Available Transportation Does Lakeland Have?

As we mentioned above, Lakeland is car-dependent, so you will need a car to get around. And fortunately, Interstate 4 is a toll-free interstate. Then there is the Polk Parkway which is a toll road that provides access from I-4 to a variety of Polk County cities. There is a public transportation option as well. You can opt for Citrus Connection which is a bus services option. This will allow you to take the bus for a stress-free ride where you can sit back and relax while someone else does all the driving for you.  

What Are the Restaurants Like in Lakeland, FL?

With Lakeland being so close to all the tourist destinations, you will have access to a wide variety of exceptional places to eat and some of the best food you will find in the entire state of Florida.

Here are the top 10 best restaurants in Lakeland, FL according to Tripadvisor.

Ovation Bistro & Bar – American, Steakhouse

Nineteen61 – Latin, Spanish

Café Zuppina – Mediterranean, Turkish

Scarpa’s Italian – Seafood, Italian

Harry’s Seafood Bar and Grille – Grill, American

The Red Top Pit Stop – American, Barbecue

Palace Pizza – Quick Bites, Italian

Fish City Grill – American, Bar

Grillsmith Lakeland – American, Bar

Abuelo’s Mexican Restaurant – Mexican, Southwestern

Where are the Coffee Shops in Lakeland, FL?

As much we love Starbucks, Dunkin Donuts, which are located throughout our great city, I strongly encourage to check out our local coffee shops. You won’t be disappointed!

Black and BrewTwo Locations: 205 East Main Street, Lakeland, FL (on Munn Park)
100 Lake Morton Drive, Lakeland, FL (in the main branch of the Lakeland Public Library)

Charlie’s Mini Donuts and CoffeeLocation: 1023 East County Road 540A, Lakeland, FL

Concord CoffeeLocation: 1037 Florida Ave. S, #135, Lakeland, FL (Dixieland)

Divicious Deli & Coffee ShopLocation: 128 E Main St., Lakeland, FL (on Munn Park)

Mitchells Coffee House – 235 North Kentucky Ave., Lakeland, FL (Downtown)

Hillcrest Coffee – 119 Hillcrest St., Lakeland, FL (Dixieland)

What About the Bars and Breweries in Lakeland, FL?

Here are the top five bars and the top five breweries in Lakeland. 


Revival – Cocktail Bar

The Yard on Mass – American, Diner, Cocktail Bar

The Pink Piano – Wine Bar, Piano Bar, Music Venue

Cob & Pen – Beer Bar, Breakfast and Brunch Sandwiches

Lakeland Loft – Jazz & Blues, Cigar Bar


Swan Brewing

Brew Hub

Front Page Brewing (this one is about 20 minutes outside of town)

Swan Brewing – South

Crave & Copper (this one is also about 20 minutes outside of town)

Endless “On a Tank of Gas” Travel Opportunities 

One of the best things about living in Lakeland is the fact that you are situated right in the middle of the state. That means you can visit all the tourist attractions and little out-of-the-way places all over Florida and you won’t have to drive more than a day—usually much less. 

A tank of gas (depending on what you drive) could potentially take you anywhere in the state. In fact, if you wanted to, you could drive from Lakeland to the Florida Keys, which is about 296 miles in about four and a half hours.

It will blow your mind when you realize how many fun things there are to do in Lakeland and the entire state of Florida for that matter!

What Sports Teams Does Lakeland, FL Have?

Lakeland has several sports teams—Lakeland City Baseball, Lakeland FC (Futbol Club) Soccer, Flying Tigers Baseball, Lakeland Magic Basketball, and Lakeland Tropics Soccer. Then, of course, Florida has its share of great sports teams as well. The Tampa Bay Lightning, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Miami Dolphins, Tampa Bay Rays, and the Orlando Magic. So, if you love sports, you are going to love it here. 

What About Golfing in Lakeland, FL?

Lakeland has about 17 golf courses in the city and there are even more in the surrounding areas. As you can see, Lakeland is a golfer’s paradise with some of the most popular public and private golf courses and clubs in the state with plenty of great year-round weather in which to enjoy them. 

Here is a Lakeland Golf Guide that will give you specific information about each one. 

What Types of Music Venues Does Lakeland, Florida Have?

Lakeland music venues include Union Hall which has live music and a full bar. You might also love the Grove Roots Brewing Co. in nearby Winter Haven. They host great musicians and a variety of food trucks. You will also find live music at The Poor Porker. And if you love music and coffee—checkout Hillcrest Coffee. If you want to go to the symphony, there is the Imperial Symphony Orchestra. Lakeland truly has the full spectrum of entertainment.

Performing Arts in Lakeland and the Surrounding Areas

This area is rich in culture and includes plenty of performing arts venues. We have the RP Funding CenterTheatre Winter HavenLakeland Community TheatreRitz TheatreRamon TheaterGram Parsons’ Derry DownLake Wales Little TheaterFlorida Dance Theatre, and the Polk Theatre.

Other Fun Things to Do in Lakeland

We couldn’t possibly name all the fun things there are to do in Lakeland, but here are a few of the most popular. 

What Annual Events Does Lakeland Host?

Lakeland hosts what seems like an unlimited number of annual and special events each year. You can check the Lakeland Events Calendar here to see which ones might interest you or to schedule an event of your own. Here are more events from the Lakeland Chamber of Commerce. And if it’s the festivals you are looking for, here is a list of festivals in and around Lakeland. 

Are There Any Beaches Near Lakeland, FL?

Yes! From shore to shore, there are lots of beautiful sandy white beaches just an hour or two away from Lakeland.

  • Clearwater Beach – approx. 54 miles which is one hour and seven minutes away.
  • St. Pete Beach – approx. 54 miles which is one hour and nine minutes away.
  • Cocoa Beach – approx. 84 miles which is one hour and 42 minutes away.
  • Vero Beach – approx. 110 miles which is two hours and two minutes away.
  • Apollo Beach – approx. 35 miles which is 47 minutes away.
  • North Beach at Ft. Desoto – approx. 73 miles which is one hour and 30 minutes away.

You will never feel like you are missing out on the Florida beach scene even though you live in the middle of the state because literally, everything you could ever want to do is within driving distance. And most things are just a short drive at that. Just think about what all that could do for your quality of life!

What Biking Opportunities Does Lakeland Offer?

As we mentioned above Lakeland has a bike score of 52. This high number is due to the new bike infrastructure and upgrades in the area. These include the Lake-to-LakesUniversity Trail, and the Fort Fraser bike trails. 

Does Lakeland Have Any Parks?

Yes, Lakeland has an abundance of parks with a variety of uses including nature, walking, jogging, hiking, biking, sports, picnicking, playgrounds, dog parks, a skate park, and more. There are so many parks we couldn’t possibly list them all. So, we are giving you a link to the Lakeland Park finder below so you can see them all for yourself. Just click on the dots and it will give you specific information about each park.

Here is a Lakeland Park Finder for your convenience. 

Is Lakeland, FL a Good Place to Retire?

Absolutely! In fact, Lakeland was named recently number one as one of the best places to retire in America. This is partly due to its central location smack dab in the middle of the state and its proximity to a wide variety of high-quality healthcare providers. Some of Florida’s top healthcare facilities are located in Lakeland or just a short drive outside the city. 

Some of the best reasons you will want to retire in Lakeland, Florida are that there are no state income taxes, Florida does not tax your social security income, the property taxes are lower than most other states, and due to its location, you don’t have much to worry about in the way of hurricanes. And, we don’t have to tell you about the year-round sunny warm weather meaning you can be active and outdoors all year long if you want to. Did we mention the endless natural beauty of Florida? 

What Is the Best Reason to Consider Living in Lakeland FL?

Living in Lakeland, Florida is like being on vacation all the time. If you live here, you live in a place that other people travel far and wide to visit, relax, soak up the sun and all the beautiful weather. You will have access within a day’s drive or less to world-famous tourist attractions, white sandy beaches, and all the tropical allure you could ever want. 

Therefore, if you don’t already live here you are missing out on a place that could provide you and your family with a better quality of life for the rest of your life. 

So, what are you waiting for?

What’s Next?

Are you ready to make a move to Lakeland, Florida? Or, perhaps you would like a little more information first. Either way, we can help. Please Contact Lakeland Real Estate Group today. Let us show you just how easy, affordable, and rewarding moving to Lakeland, Fl can be. We look forward to meeting you!

14 Responses to “Things to Know Before Moving to Lakeland, FL”

Read below or add a comment...

  1. john montoro says:

    yes i plan on moving to Lakeland fl from NY in about 18 months

    • Liz says:

      I’m making a change I want to move to Florida with my brother he’s special.mentally challenged, Are Hospital good?
      Is housing affordable?
      I took him on vacation from Boston Massachusetts to Tampa Florida he loves it .

      I’m by myself just with my brother.
      Should I move to Lakeland Florida from Boston Massachusetts???

    • Iredeoya Lavezzari says:

      Hi! Same here. I plan on moving to FL in by next May. I’m not familiar with different areas in FL, but Lakeland is on my list of places to visit in the next couple of weeks.

  2. Sharon Boyce says:

    I can’t wait to call Lakeland home again after being gone for 6 years. I truly miss it. The people and the locale can’t be beat. Thankfully i have a deposit down on an apartment and my job will allow me to work remotely so all i need to do is save up the $ for the movers.
    So excited. The countdown is on.

    • Sam says:

      Hey Sharon…. Is it a good place for study also???
      Do you know something about Florida polytechnic university? Do they provide a good and healthy study environment? because I’m planning to pursue my master from there so it will be very helpful if you have some suggestions for me.

  3. LaSandra Parker says:

    I just moved her one month ago. It’s heaven on earth for me.

    • Iredeoya Lavezzari says:

      Hi Ms. Parker,

      I hope all is well. I plan I moving to Lakeland next May and am wondering what your thoughts are on living there? Is it diverse? How about culturally? How’s the school system?

      Thanks in advance.

  4. Tracy Dennis says:

    Wondering y the diversity of the community snd race relations there. Any comments or insight?

  5. Michael says:

    Winter low is 32 degrees. Lakeland is best known nationally and internationally for Sun n Fun.

  6. Del says:

    I live in AZ & I am interested in moving to Lakeland Community & visit nearby beaches. I plan to visit in a few months to look at property, condo or house. I’m open to suggestions! Thank you

  7. David Mobley says:

    Lakeland population is deceiving. With 120,000 people in corporate limits. Suburbs have always been larger. With 200,000 more residents. Nevermind 7.5 million within 70 miles of city. Very busy area by I-4 corridor. Far from small town feel. Constantly growing. Been here 30 yrs, change is constant. If coming to area from big cities in NE, will love it. Thank U

  8. David Hofmann says:

    I call Lakeland home now for over 61 years. I read this article and would have to agree it’s truthful in most all ways. That’s why I’m still here. Lakeland can thank the “mouse” just east of us down I-4 for the boom we enjoy now. To update everybody just a bit, affordable housing really doesn’t exist here anymore. Since everyone needs to drive to get around, Lakeland is so spread out now, the traffic has gotten very bad. The traffic lights are short and not in sync. A simple drive across town could take you 30 minutes.Lakeland serves the town with its own power plant. A monopoly that’s always raising rates. I agree with most all the other aspects stated & for us it’s a nice quiet place to retire.

  9. Dawn says:

    Is Wilder Oaks neighborhood a good neighborhood in Lakeland? Any help is loved. Need a place safe for kids.

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