This neighborhood has it all when it comes to dining, with restaurants ranging from major chains to cool, unique cafes that cater to a wide variety of customers. Bustling centers for eating out can be found right off of I-75 near the Westfield Shopping Center and Regency Movie Theater for an evening filled with good food, entertainment and more.
For a more unique dining experience, residents often relax at Moreno Bakery on Brandon Boulevard. Moreno's is a Brandon favorite because of its rich and buttery Cuban sandwiches that are large enough to share with a partner and its luxurious baked goods that will satisfy anyone's sweet tooth. Customers can choose to take a cake home to loved ones or enjoy a sweet cupcake in the comfort of the cafe itself.
If thin crust pizza is more your style, visit Babe's Pizza on Kings Ave. Its double-decker pizza draws in the crowd for this delicious masterpiece of two pizzas stacked on top of one another and baked to a melted perfection. The cheesy garlic bread smothered in mozzarella also guarantees a visit back to Babe's in the near future.
Although very busy, Brandon's nightlife remains calm, and restaurants do not usually stay open past midnight. For bar lovers, The Brass Tap in the Westfield Mall comes stocked with 60 beers on tap and more than 300 beverages from around the world. The spacious patio and multiple television screens create the prefect atmosphere for a relaxing night out with friends. For a more wild night, Ybor City in Tampa, where multiple clubs can be found, is a short drive away.
This comfortable and welcoming area originated in the late 19th century and was founded by John Brandon. The neighborhood grew slowly until a large spurt in development and population in 1950, when new families began to move to the area almost daily. Brandon continued to grow at great speed until 1980, although it is still in constant development now.
Although Brandon does not currently have any museums, the Hillsborough County Fair is an annual fall event that everyone in town can enjoy. Located off State Road 60, people can enjoy a unique antique tractor display, watch the Harvest Queen Pageant and attend various livestock shows filled with beautiful farm animals. The fair is an excellent way to get involved with the neighborhood and meet more of its residents.
Traveling by car allows the majority of Brandon residents to venture around the neighborhood and into Tampa as well, as driving up I-75 provides a short ride into the city. Access to I-4 is also an easy drive away through the northern part of the neighborhood. Public parking in Brandon is never strenuous to find; there are parking lots for most restaurants but street parking is extremely rare.
For people lacking their own vehicle, sidewalks are common in the Brandon area, and bikers are welcome to use them as well. Taxis are rare and Uber is only accessible in Tampa, but the Hillsborough Area Regional Transport authority (HART) provides excellent bus and park-and-ride services around the neighborhood and extends into Tampa as well.
The cost of Brandon living is similar to the cost of living in Tampa, although cheaper and high-end living arrangements can be found to please each type of income level. One-bedroom apartments in Brookside Manor start at prices as low as $670 a month, while Versant Place advertises one-bedrooms for rates around $860 per month. With some research, anyone can find a comfortable place to live in this area.
With gas prices at 9 percent lower than the national average, driving appeals to most residents here. If you prefer public transport, a small bus fare of up to $3 will get you an easy ride into Tampa. The typical price for a pint of beer is around $5.
Shopping draws much attention to the Brandon neighborhood, with the Westfield Shopping Center nestled right off the interstate. People spend hours navigating through popular stores such as Macy's, Dillard's and Books A Million. Right across the street, Regency Center houses smaller department stores including Marshall's and TJMaxx where cheaper clothes and home goods are found.
For those interested in high-end and boutique venues, the Green Boutique in Plaza Bella houses beautiful jewelry, blouses and Vera Bradley items. Customers ogle at the silver Brighton pieces and home decorations that cannot be matched in value at any large store.
A slightly different boutique called Agape Chic breaks traditional boutique norms as it sells upscale consignment items. Located on Bloomingdale Avenue, this adorable location promises to help you find designer items such as Prada and Gucci for an awesome price to impress your friends.
Grocery stores such as Publix and Winn Dixie provide residents with reliable service and large quantities of fresh foods. Because Brandon lies just west of many strawberry fields, fresh fruit, smoothies and strawberry shortcake can be purchased at the Brandon Farms strawberry stand off of State Road 60.
The majority of parks within a close radius of Brandon remain in Tampa and Plant City, although the All Persons Rotary Park promises a fun afternoon for people of all ages. A playground will entertain young children while others can picnic at one of the rentable spaces. The free-entry and animal-friendly space guarantees an affordable and relaxing time for anyone who visits.