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Pensacola
  • $450   =  non-traditional average 1
  • $769   =  average 2BR ÷ 2, or traditional roommate rent 2
  • $1292   =  average 1BR, rented solo 3
  • (traditional vs. non-traditional roommates)
  • (the rest of the  southeast US)

85% live within a 10-minute walk of a park. 4
Most errands require a car. 5
encouraging need for speed
sugar white beaches, air shows, stock car racing, military men 6
pilots/fuckbois, fuck this tollway, joggers, active, only tourists or people with summer home, dusty, hurricane catchers, yet folks, and upgraded hood, families are the largest hoodmap tags 7

SO, roomiematch.com's Pensacola roommate rundown:

You won't need your sunglasses anywhere more than Pensacola.

(Literally and figuratively.)

Sugar white sand beaches and low country seafood. A focus on education, tourism, and tradition. All with an air of Southern charm and hospitality.

And military airmen flying over it all, most of the year. They're training!

Naval aviation is the biggest possible deal in Pensacola. Tens of thousands of naval aviators have trained here, including John H. Glenn and Neil Armstrong. The entire history of naval aviation, current trainees, and aviation plans for the future, all here. From vintage photos and manuscripts celebrating our military heritage to IMAX movies, free tours, and symposiums all about our bright naval future.

Pensacola's strong military presence centers the Naval Air Station Pensacola, the home base of the Blue Angels. It also includes the Vietnam Veterans' Wall South, the National Museum of Naval Aviation, the Pensacola Lighthouse, and a number of military landmarks from the Civil War.

The military is the largest portion of the economy. The base itself employs almost 25,000. Many additional naval aviators are periodically present for training.

And a lot of the rest of the economy revolves around what those airmen would like when they're not training. And if you like a lot of the same stuff, this could work out well for you too!

Pensacola is considered a beach city and a military town. And what else could those gorgeous Gulf Coast beaches supply? Seafood!

Gulf Islands National Seashore is our longest stretch of federally protected beach. That means Gulf Coast red snapper, Gulf shrimp, mullet, and catfish. These are often served with grits, boiled with red potatoes and corn, on a po'boy, or in gumbo. There's also a lot of seafood BBQ. Broiled on a roll and deep fried fish and chips aren't unheard from.

Also, beer. Beer is here.

There are many outdoor beer gardens and local micromusic festivals whenever weather permits. One could just stop worrying about pre-planning hopeful fair weather moments entirely. Then merely look around for whomever is entertaining tourists with live music and delicious seafood any day you happen to wake up and both you and the weather feel right for joining in.

Pensacola offers cheaper roommate rent, cheaper bills, and a cheaper cost of living overall. You could have your Floridian beach-focused lifestyle, but for a lot less money than those other beachy Floridian cities, like the one with the huge traditional theme park or the other one with the expensively exclusive adult nightlife?

Here, pecans or peanuts might end up in any food item. Or sweet tea. Or cocktail. Pecans and peanuts make it more "community atmosphere" cocktail, less "expensive exclusive atmosphere" cocktail, you see. But Pensacolians are into that.

Plus other masculine stuff, like fishing and boating. Scuba diving and deep sea fishing are taking place off the coast, because in addition to military airmen, they're pretty much slathered in sunken historical shipwrecks too.

Also a vital part of the tourism industry!

Pensacola also hosts a lot of stock car races along with a lot of racetrack to support them all. You can watch NASCAR, ARCA, ASA, and CARS on tour.

I mean, they're all cars, but CARS stands for Championship Auto Racing Series! Because of course it does! Pensacolians are winning all the time!

So what's not about traditional masculinity and the military and winning all the time that's still worthwhile in Pensacola?

Quite a lot. All that Southern water also means nearby parks, lagoons, marshes, and wetlands . . . which also means rare birdwatching. They feature and maintain nature trails and coastal hiking through some notable habitats.

And if you want to make an effort to find them, you can also see several species of carnivorous pitcher plant, including some endangered natives of the Gulf Coast . . . all thriving carnivorously . . . all in the swampy prairies and subtropical pines of Pensacola.

But you won't have to make any effort when you're already outside to see the Blue Angels. Not all the time, anyway.

You'll know when you should look up.

The rest of the Pensacola roommate lowdown:

  • western tip of the Florida Panhandle on Pensacola Bay, along the Gulf Coast
  • city proper only around 50,000, entire metropolitan area around 500,000
  • The Gulf of Mexico moderates the climate year-round. Unlike other cities along the Gulf Coast, most of Pensacola is sufficiently above sea level, such that hurricane surges rarely cause more than occasional flooding. The Gulf also means hot and humid summers, with most summer days hitting highs in the low 90s, but temps above 100 are rare.
  • short mild winters, snow is rare
  • Thunderstorms are also common in summer, but it rains all year, several inches every month, all seasons. Sudden showers happen, but they tend to be loud and aggressive and over in 7 minutes.
  • home of Pensacola State College and the main campus of the University of West Florida
  • There are bicycle lanes around downtown, but they're not separated and sometimes not that visible. There's also a bus (Escambia County Area Transit) but it doesn't serve most of the city.
  • So you'll need a car, but parking is easy and free almost everywhere except downtown during business hours.
  • Pensacola hosts a number of professional golf tournaments.
  • Along with the rest of Florida, Pensacolians pay no state income tax.
  • Boiled peanuts are raw nuts boiled in saltwater until soft. Some love the slime. Others do not. You should try if you like peanuts otherwise, but brace yourself for a mucilaginous consistency.

    Like slime, but a lil' more gelatinous.

    So don't say we didn't warn you!



After you're settled down, you and your roommates should experience Pensacola's:

  • Pensacola Museum of Art: Many public events and artist talks, workshops for all ages and skill levels, several permanent collections, and traveling exhibitions.
  • Pensacola Crawfish Festival and Pensacola Seafood Festival: You and your roommates could attend either/both, since they collectively feature a lot of low country seafood, non-seafood fried delights, live music, and arts and crafts, all together downtown.
  • Historic Downtown Pensacola: Lots of important history inside a few blocks that you and your roommates can visit for free or cheap, including: Historic Pensacola Village, T.T. Wentworth Jr. Museum, Museum of Commerce, Museum of Industry, and The Old Christ Church
  • Palafox Market: Lively farmers' market in downtown Pensacola, every Saturday 9 a.m.-2 p.m.
  • Great Gulfcoast Arts Festival: Since 1973, the first Friday in November, in downtown Pensacola. Draws hundreds of artists and live musicians. Also a Children's Arts Festival, and a Student Art Show for students from elementary to high school. You and your roommates could compete for prize money with your own art, volunteer or just visit. Free for everyone (because of the volunteers).
  • J.W. Renfroe Pecan Company: Free samples for most! But do chill on the number of freebies requested, then buy at least a lil' pecan log or a piece of brittle or something. Don't make the pecan people cranky!
  • The Largest Men's Krewe Along the Florida Panhandle: Many events including several Krewe of Lafitte Parades: "300 Gentleman Pirates, Twelve Floats, Ten+ Parades, Three Formal Balls, Fellowship, Camaraderie, Goodwill and Community Service!"

    You and your roommates could observe (even wave or cheer) along the parade routes.


Here's the city of Pensacola's official Online Services page, including an extremely wide variety of options, from address lookups to weather alerts and flood information.





Notes

1.   The non-traditional roommate rent average for this city we've experienced over the last 3 years. We can't predict future rental availability, because we're neither in control of any rental market nor psychic, sorry!

But in most cities most of the time, the recent and relatively recent past are the best predictors.


2.   This idea came from smartasset.com's ranking of what a roommate saves you in 50 cities. They ranked where roommates will save you the most money, based on the average cost of a 1BR as opposed to a 2BR ÷ 2. Unsurprisingly, the more expensive the city, the more you can save, but the savings are significant in all larger metros. So we got the data for the rest of our cities from Zumper too.

This is really the minimum you could save, as you could live with more than one roommate, split more services, share food or other supplies, etc. More sharing tends to lead to more savings too, as per our roommate roadmap.

As per the rest of the description at the top of this page, we're calling this "traditional" roommate rent.


3.   From zumper.com.


4.   Directly quoted from the Trust for Public Land's parkland rating system.

"The ParkScore index awards each city up to 100 points for acreage based on the average of two equally weighted measures: median park size and parkland as a percentage of city area. Factoring park acreage into each city’s ParkScore rating helps account for the importance of larger “destination parks” that serve many users who live farther than ten minutes’ walking distance."

While each city's rundown already includes their individual ParkScore, nature lovers might like to see all roommate cities ranked for parkland.


5.   Directly quoted from Walk Score's Cities and Neighborhoods Ranking. They've ranked "more than 2,800 cities and over 10,000 neighborhoods so you can find a walkable home or apartment."

While each city's rundown already includes their individual Walk Score, dedicated pedestrians might like to see all roommate cities ranked for walkability.


6.   From various lists here on our own best roommate cities.


7.   From hoodmaps.com: a collaborative map where residents use tags describing social situations you're likely to find. Other users can thumb up or down, so the largest tags have been thumbed up the most.