#Answered: What brought you to Lakeland, FL

Lakeland, Florida | Photo via @thehikerdad

Last week, we posed the question: what brought you here?

For those who aren’t originally from here, we wanted to know why you chose Swan City as your new home. Here’s what some of you said:

  • “Not a newbie, but an oldie, coming to Lakeland in the ’80s, at the request of Lakeland Chamber of Commerce to spend quite a bit of time developing a comprehensive master economic plan for Lakeland and Polk County which I did as their consultant and that strategic plan set the stage and had a lot to do in moving the area’s economic operating growth in the ensuing years.”Reader Tom L. 
  • We moved here from PA in 2003. We originally planned to live closer to Orlando, but the small-town feel of Lakeland along with its close proximity to larger cities made us decide to raise our family here. You get the best of both worlds. You are close enough to larger cities to be able to take advantage of their benefits – ex. concerts, sporting events, restaurants, etc,.. while not having the drawbacks like traffic concerns to worry about daily. Lakeland is a small town at heart with a tight community which provides a great place to raise a family.” – Reader Heather H.
  • “We looked at Lakeland because it was central to where we wanted to go. BUT, we fell in love with Lakeland because of the “small town” feel, even though it is quite large. We LOVE our neighbors, all the quaint stores downtown, the trails, and the variety of restaurants to choose from! An hour from the beach and an hour from Disney and SO many places to explore!”Reader Beth S.
  • “From New England, I threw a dart at a Florida map and here we are!!” –  Reader Ed. P.
  • “My wife Ruth & I moved here to Lakeland, FL from Allentown, PA in 2013 to be closer to our son & his family who live here in Lakeland. 3 of their 4 children have Cystic Fibrosis (CF), And we felt MiMi & PopPop should be close by to help them out! And we are SO pleased we came here! It’s the greatest place to live in the whole wide world!! ❤️😃”  – Reader Norm W.
  • I was born & raised in Los Angeles California. 12 years ago I met my husband online and he lived in Lakeland, FL. I remember asking him one day, “where’s Lakeland”? He then says, “you’ll see,” so I gave in. Coming from an overpopulated city to a smaller city was a huge culture shock. Nonetheless, I gave it a chance, and here I am. ..Lakeland has that cozy family feeling. I love the urban vibe. I would choose Lakeland over my hometown on any day!” – Reader Vanessa C.
  • I moved here from Panama City Florida, because of all the damage done by Hurricane Michael. There are certainly more job opportunities here along with available housing”Reader Michael T.
  • Not newbies after 42 years but not “local” either. Came to Lakeland from Petersburg, VA (Georgia natives) for husband to work in the phosphate industry, IMC.” – Reader Nancy F. 
  • “Originally from Joplin, MO. With work, we moved to Nashville, TN then to Lakeland.” – Reader Donald C.
  • We are snowbirds from northern Michigan. Initially, we came here because of the strong running community, but continue to come here because of the running community and all the many diverse opportunities in and around the city.” – Readers John + Dorothy J.
  • “We came from Pennsylvania to visit my husband’s cousin for a week and left with a new home. The lakes, the hiking trails, and Publix convinced us to buy. We love our new winter home and neighbors.” Reader Dave F.
  • “I’m not a newbie, but came to Lakeland from Orlando on Sept. 1, 1989. My husband worked in Orlando and I had just started to work in Tampa. We needed a happy medium with access to I-4.”Reader Linda V.
  • San Diego, California. Cheap houses, Asian food eateries, diverse population, walkable communities. Small town feel.” – Reader Taylor B.
  • “I moved to Lakeland from Ft. Lauderdale to escape the hustle and high cost of living. Moving here afforded me the opportunity to retire early and enjoy the charm and character of a smaller city.” Reader Mike S.
  • Hello. I moved to Lakeland Highlands 1 year ago from New York City. It’s been rough trying to adjust to a new environment but I must say that the people are very polite, friendly, answer you with “yes mam or sir” The weather is awesome, but I’m missing my family and may be going back. But Lakeland is definitely one of the most beautiful places I’ve lived in. The reason I moved to Florida is because I’m writing a book on my life of what states I’ve lived in and my experience living in each state and so far Florida is the best!!”Reader Greg S.
  • I moved from Detroit. A great job opportunity at Lakeland Regional Health brought my wife and I here. We’ve been here about a year, and while exploring Lakeland and Central Florida has been difficult during the public health emergency, we really look forward to getting out to see and try everything once we beat the virus.” – Reader Terry H.
  • “I moved to Lakeland in 2017 to work for The Lunz Group after graduating from USF in Tampa with my Master of Architecture! I grew up in Panama City, and Lakeland has a small-town feel that makes it feel like home. I love it here.” – Reader Shelley B.
  • “Places to dance.”Reader David G. 
  • In 1969 my family moved here for my Dad’s work. My parents chose Lakeland because at the time it was small and centrally located between Tampa and Orlando so that his drive wouldn’t be too far. Dad found work in Lakeland and never had to commute outside of Polk County. I’ve seen HUGE changes to Lakeland in 51 years!” – Reader Debi S.
  • “I went to school at Southeastern for a year but ended up transferring to a sister school in Missouri. I started dating a friend I had met while at SEU and moved down to Lakeland when we got engaged. We’ve been married for a year now and I’m still learning about what is going on in the area. Your daily newsletter is soooooo helpful!!!” Reader Sydney L.
  • “My boyfriend and I moved here from Charlotte, NC. I came to help launch #BurnBootCampSouthLakeland, and he came to launch the new Amazon Air at Lakeland Linder Airport! We’ve explored many of the suggested areas and events suggested by LALtoday and have yet to be disappointed! Reader Katie H.
  • “My parents moved to Lakeland in 1998 and I joined them in 2002, we are originally from Costa Rica. As crazy as it sounds (because who doesn’t dream of living the life in Costa Rica right?!), we found a home here for so many reasons; Lakeland’s peaceful suburban living, relative closeness to major cities, communal activities but most of all, for peace of mind, sealed the deal for this family. When you are born and raised in a busy city (we are from San Jose), Lakeland is a breath of fresh air. Since then, I met my husband, bought our own home, started a family, and now our 2 children also enjoy the benefits of living in a calm, friendly, and always interesting town. The city does a wonderful job of keeping everyone (who wants) involved with active and fun community events. It just takes getting out, there is always something going on. I love this city!” Reader Caroline M. 
  • “We moved from Virginia Beach, VA soon after a major snowstorm in Jan 2018.  I am actually an old newbie who moved back to LKLD after 60 years. Left in 1958 when I graduated from LHS and joined the Navy to see the world. The Navy sent me to Virginia Beach from Key West in 1960. Retired from JAX in 2000 and went back to VB. We made my 60th LHS reunion at Grasslands in Oct 2018 right after we unpacked our trailer.  We still have strong ties to VB where it is slightly cooler in the summer.  We’ll be “home” to LKLD before Christmas.” –  Reader Steve P.
  • “We moved from the Cincinnati/Northern KY area a year ago. We were coming so often to visit family, we decided to move here to be closer to our aging parents.”Reader Mb H.
  • “My husband and I retired in 1982 from Maine to New Port Richey, from there to Hudson and then, 2 years ago, to my forever home, Lakeland. Love the area, people, so many things to see and do.”Reader Jeannine P.
  • “I just moved down here with my family a few weeks ago from Ohio! My sister is a freshman at Southeastern University, but what we liked about the Lakeland area was the community, the affordable housing, and it’s a short distance to our favorite theme parks and beaches. We love it here already!”Reader Marisa S.
  • What brought me to Lakeland? Well, I actually had received 2 job offers. One was from a financial company based in Minneapolis St. Paul.  The other was from this local grocery store chain, in a city I had never heard of. I knew about Tampa and Orlando of course… but Lakeland?  
  • I learned later that this local grocery store chain, called Publix, was a big deal here. Really big.  Honestly… I had never heard of Publix. I am from out West. More specifically, California and Arizona. Things could have gone south for me when I first arrived. My first week on the job, back in 2010, I had the privilege and honor of meeting one of the kindest and gracious men in Lakeland. His name is Ed Crenshaw. Yep.  That’s right. In my first week on the job, my new boss invited me to a high-level meeting in the Publix Board Room. I arrived early for the meeting and the only other person there was Ed. He was so kind and personable to me.I told him my story of how I ended up at Publix and how I had to decide whether I should move to Minneapolis or Lakeland. I also shared that I had never heard of Publix until arriving here. He was so amicable and just chuckled. Little did I know at the time, I was speaking to the CEO of the company and grandson of George Jenkins, the founder of one of the best-run companies in America… and some would argue, the world! I spent 5 years working in Information Technology at Publix. I’ve since moved on, but I continue to brag about our great city between Tampa and Orlando. Now I’m at Keller Williams Realty helping people move to this special location in our Country. Who wouldn’t want to live in Swan City!”  – Reader Wes G.
  • “My husband and I moved from Bowling Green, Kentucky after college in 2015. The job market for higher education in Central Florida was much better than home, and we fell in love with Lakeland, specifically, when we found it online! “–  Reader Nicki T.
  • “I moved here from NY and found a nice place to live.”Reader Michael M.
  • “Moved to Lakeland from Chicago because of weather, cost of living, proximity to MCO and TPA airports. Love Lakeland.”Reader  Eddie G.
  • “I came to college in 1961: Southeastern University! I fell in love with Lakeland! I raised my family here! I was a teacher here for over 20 years!” Reader Connie D.
  • Georgia. Publix brought me here.” –Reader  Kristen W.
  • “All Saints Episcopal Church. Moved from Maine. Lakeland is a wonderful small city!” Reader David M.
  • Illinois. We chose this area for affordable housing, friendly people, arts & music scene, and close to Disney.” – Reader Kelly G.