If you’re considering moving to Florida’s Gulf Coast, this expansive collection of neighborhoods northwest of downtown Tampa offers a suburban lifestyle combined with a quaint, walkable village center. With a convenient commute to Tampa, St. Petersburg, and Clearwater business centers and just a quick hop to Tampa International Airport, Westchase offers an appealing choice for new Floridians or locals in search of a vibrant, family-oriented area.
Driving into the community from the nearby Veterans Expressway or busy Sheldon Road, you’ll notice the absence of billboards and streetside signage along the main thoroughfare. This may seem like a small thing. But if you’re heading home from a hectic workday or a busy business trip, the beautifully landscaped and tree-lined avenue is an opportunity to decompress a bit on a stretch of what feels like a country road.
Where is Westchase, FL?
Groundbreaking on the first Westchase homes started in the early 1990s, when Hillsborough County approved plans for a 10-square-mile master-planned community. Westchase occupies the northwest corner of Hillsborough County, Florida’s fourth-most populous county. Business commuters and fun-seekers on their way to Pinellas County’s beaches have a relatively easy 30-minute drive -- made easier by the gorgeous view from the Howard Frankland Bridge on the trip across Tampa Bay.
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What makes Westchase one of the best places to live in Florida?
Living in Westchase, surrounded by mature oaks on land dotted with lakes and ponds, one has the feeling of being tucked away in a pristine section of Hillsborough County. But the community is far from isolated. The West Park Village retail area features restaurants, bars, and eclectic shops designed in the neotraditional style: pedestrian-friendly and densely populated, reminiscent of early-American mixed-use town centers. And Westchase neighborhoods are just a quick drive to supermarkets, popular eateries, pharmacies, and every other convenience you need. Experts agree: Niche.com honors Westchase with an A+ rating as the No. 1 suburb in the Tampa Bay area and No. 3 in Florida.
Housing prices range from the $200Ks in some of the older, established neighborhoods, all the way to $800K or more in particularly upscale areas. Westchase also offers plenty of rental options, from studio apartments to resort-style townhouses to single-family rental homes, with median price points at about $1,500 per month.
Westchase offers some of the highest-rated schools in the Tampa Bay area (more on that later), with two schools situated inside the community: Westchase Elementary and Davidsen Middle School.
Some of Hillsborough County’s prettiest land is within minutes, including state and county parks, with hiking and biking trails, camping, and perfect spots for picnic outings. Residents have easy access to the Upper Tampa Bay Trail, a 16-mile path considered one of Florida’s finest.
Guide to Westchase, FL neighborhoods
Nearly 30 neighborhoods make up the Westchase community, each with its own flavor and amenities. Parks, community swimming pools, tennis courts, and playgrounds are plentiful, plus acres of conservation land attract families looking for an active Florida lifestyle. If you’re in the market and checking out Westchase, here’s a quick look at a few of the neighborhoods.
The Vineyards is one of the easternmost Westchase neighborhoods, just minutes to the Veterans Expressway, which quickly gets you to Tampa International Airport, the Westshore business district, and I-275 to St. Petersburg. Homes in this enclave are designed in the neotraditional style, with spacious front porches and zero lot lines. The Vineyards is adjacent to one of Westchase’s two town centers and within walking or biking distance -- with a parent’s help crossing busy Linebaugh Avenue -- to Westchase Elementary.
In The Greens, it’s not unusual to find a stray golf ball on your lawn from players at the Westchase Golf Club, which winds through the neighborhood’s six villages. Gated and family oriented, The Greens features wide sidewalks and a lovely central open space where residents often gather for soccer games and holiday celebrations. Homes are mostly two-story, spacious designs priced in the mid-to-upper $400K range.
Harbor Links/The Estates offers larger lots and more spacious homes than most other Westchase neighborhoods. Also situated along the fairways and greens of the Westchase Golf Club, The Estates is a private enclave of luxurious homes, many with expansive outdoor living spaces and upscale treats like home theaters. Prices vary from the $500Ks to the $800Ks.
West Park Village is at the heart of Westchase. Its villas, condos, single-family homes, and apartments are arranged around the town center’s restaurants and shops, all designed in the neotraditional style to replicate the look and feel of old-fashioned neighborhood living. If you’re looking for a vibrant area with lots of interaction with neighbors and a spirited -- but compact -- village vibe, West Park Village is an attractive option.
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What about apartments in Westchase?
Like most Tampa Bay area suburbs, Westchase has an abundance of apartment communities with varying amenities and price points. A few highlights:
Preserve at Westchase is situated on 20 acres of preservation land and features a community pool, fitness center, indoor basketball court, and outdoor grills. Apartments offer 9-foot ceilings and garden tubs, along with walk-in closets and updated kitchen appliances. Rent: $1,138-$2,913
Avana Westchase is an upscale complex with one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments, two community swimming pools, tennis courts, a 24-hour fitness center, an indoor theater, basketball court, outdoor grills and picnic areas. Rent: $1,359-$2,375
Veranda at Westchase is located on the east side of Westchase, about a 10-minute drive from the town center. This apartment community features resort-style amenities and upscale interiors, including an option for a loft-style floor plan with a wrought-iron spiral staircase leading to the second floor. Rent: $1,268-$2,024
In West Park Village, townhomes and lofts, some perched above the shops and restaurants of the town center, offer the convenience and spirit of downtown living with all the amenities you’d expect in a luxury apartment community. Rent: $1,370-$2,779
What about the schools in Westchase?
The high quality of Westchase schools is an important draw for parents looking to relocate to the community. Part of the Hillsborough County district, the third-largest in the state, Westchase-area schools earn consistently strong ratings, and student test scores rank 44% higher than the national average. Schools that serve the area include:
- Westchase Elementary
- Deer Park Elementary
- Davidsen Middle School
- Farnell Middle School
- Walker Middle Magnet IB World School
- Sickles High School
- Alonso High School
Top things to do in Westchase:
The Tampa Bay area is bustling with plenty of nightlife, a thriving dining scene, outdoor recreation, arts events, and world-class sports -- not to mention the best beaches in the country and a variety of nearby theme parks. Part of the charm of Westchase is its proximity to all the region has to offer -- in every direction.
• No shoes, no shirt, no problem. Florida’s Gulf Coast beaches are spectacular -- and that’s not a fish story. The St. Pete/Clearwater area, about 30 minutes from Westchase, boasts 35 miles of sugar-soft sand beaches. With scores of waterfront restaurants, parks, and tiki bars to choose from, locals heading to the beach make a full day of it, staying to catch the always-stunning sunset over the Gulf of Mexico. But don’t forget your sunscreen: The sun shines 361 days a year here, and without protection a burn can be brutal.
• Title Town. You may have heard of the Super Bowl Champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Or the Stanley Cup-winning Tampa Bay Lightning. Or the American League champion Tampa Bay Rays. It goes without saying: the Tampa Bay area is chock-full of pro sports, and you can catch them all live in-season just a 30-minute drive from Westchase -- the Bucs and Bolts in Tampa, and the Rays in St. Petersburg. Baseball fans are in heaven nearly year-round, with spring training camps all over the area including the New York Yankees in Tampa and the Philadelphia Phillies in Dunedin.
• A beautiful day in the neighborhood. West Park Village, the retail and restaurant hub of Westchase, has dozens of choices for shopping, dining, cocktails, or grabbing a coffee. Enjoy lots of outdoor tables and take advantage of the gorgeous weather! And on holidays, the neighborhood is delightfully festive, with spooky decorations and hordes of trick-or-treaters at Halloween and beautiful decor during the Christmas season.
• Hot time in the city. If you’re looking for something a bit more lively in the nightlife department, there are clubs and dining galore about 30 minutes from Westchase. In downtown Tampa and its surrounding intown neighborhoods, you’ll find several hot spots. One of the newest is Sparkman Wharf, a waterfront outdoor destination with nearly a dozen restaurants situated in reconfigured shipping containers. Enjoy live music under the stars and lots of options for craft beer, wine, and cocktails. In St. Petersburg, the downtown area is alive with a dynamic dining scene and music sites, including Jannus Live, a standing-room-only concert venue, and The Ale and the Witch.
• Grab the Monet and let’s Gogh. A world-class arts scene is part of the Tampa Bay area’s growing appeal to visitors and new transplants. From its gleaming-white perch along the banks of the Hillsborough River in downtown Tampa, the Tampa Museum of Art showcases exciting traveling exhibitions and a renowned permanent collection of Greek and Roman antiquities. Next door, the Tampa Children’s Museum offers an interactive wonderland for kids. And a few miles north at the University of South Florida, the Contemporary Art Museum hosts impressive shows by the hottest up-and-coming and established artists, along with exciting events. In St. Petersburg, the waterfront is alive with the arts, including the St. Petersburg Museum of Fine Arts and the dazzling Salvador Dali Museum, which houses 2,400 of the surrealist’s works in an architecturally stunning work of art in its own right, dubbed The Enigma.
While you’re taking in the sights, you can explore other cool places to live around Tampa Bay. Here are some ideas to get you started:
- St. Petersburg: Life in the Sunshine City
- Brandon: Affordable Living Just East of Tampa
- Clearwater: Best Neighborhoods, Beaches, and Things To Do
Shannon Jacobs is a Tampa-based freelance writer and frequent contributor to the PODS blog. She has lived in Atlanta, the Berkshires, and Nashville, but always returns to the warmth of Florida’s Gulf Coast.