Lakeland : Florida


What It Is Like to Retire in Lakeland

Lakeland is a city of 112,641 (2020 Census) in central Florida, east of Tampa with Orlando to its east. Lakeland is part of the Lakeland-Winterhaven Metro and growing fast, having grown approximately 43% since 2000. Florida Southern College with its enrollment of just under 2,000 is located in town.  Lakeland was an important town during the Florida land boom and many of its historic structures date from that period including the Terrace Hotel, New Florida Hotel (Regency Towers), Polk Theatre, Promenade of Lake Mirror, and the former Lakeland Public Library (now the Trammel Building and home to the Chamber of Commerce.) People often mention that the downtown area is very beautiful - the folks who live in Lakeland are very positive about their community.

Picture of Annie Pfeiffer Chapel (Frank Lloyd Wright) image courtesy of federal HABS—Historic American Buildings Survey in Florida project in the public domain.


Where to Retire in Lakeland and Home Prices

There are many active adult communities in the Lakeland - Winterhaven area. The Beacon Hill- Alta Vista residential neighborhood features historic homes.  There are frequent mentions of the areas south of town as being a particularly nice part of town, as opposed to the east side.
The National Association of Realtors reports the median sale price to be $297,500 in the Lakeland-Winter Haven area, during the 4th quarter of 2021, up 24% from a year earlier.


What Is Special about Lakeland

The Detroit Tigers have held their spring training here in Lakeland since the 1930's. Frank Lloyd Wright's  "A Child of the Sun" project for Florida Southern College is the largest one-site collection of Frank Lloyd Wright buildings in the world. There are 9 buildings in the project. Lake Mirror Park in downtown Lakeland is a particularly beautiful setting. There are several historic districts.

What Is Not Special about Lakeland

Lakeland was home to an infamous incident in 2006 where 2 police officers were murdered while conducting a routine traffic stop. The next day the suspect was shot 68 times.

Who Will Like Retirement in Lakeland

Retirees who want a reasonably sized town with a fair amount to do will probably like it in Lakeland.  You can live in a old neighborhood or move into a 55+ community. As an example of diversity, Lakeland boasts a Hindu Temple.

Local Economy Is Driven by

There are several corporations with headquarters here, including the supermarket chain Publix. Unemployment is above the national average.

Climate and Physical Environment

Lakeland is near I4 between Orlando and Tampa in central Florida. The terrain is flat with Lake Mirror a prominent feature. Winters are warm and summers hot and humid.

Restaurants & Cultural Scene

There are frequent festivals and many residents say there is a lively cultural scene. Its several colleges provide additional culture. Polk State College shares a campus with a regional branch of the University of South Florida. It is an easy drive to Tampa or Orlando for more serious culture.  The Detroit Tigers have spring training here and there is a minor league as well.



Crime in Lakeland is about a quarter higher than the national average.

Medical Facilities

The Lakeland Regional Medical Center provides the local hospital services. Other hospitals are nearby.


Lakeland has an Amtrak station. Residents can use the Orlando, Tampa, or even the small Lakeland airport - a former Army Airbase.

Valuable Links

Wikipedia for Lakeland
City-Data for Lakeland
City of Lakeland

What people are saying about Lakeland

Mosaic Sinkhole
Google \"mosaic+contamination+sinkhole\" before making any decision about living anywhere near Polk County.
Posted by mittenzon on March 22, 2017

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