We have been residents of Pensacola for a month now which is really hard to believe. So much happened during our first month that time just flew by. We are (mostly) settled into our new house and anticipating the sale of our house in Jacksonville so that we can upgrade some of our furniture. Y’all have no idea how much I’m looking forward to a new couch in the living room and finally having matching bedroom furniture. Meanwhile, we’re utilizing what we have and I’m daydreaming about how to decorate our new space.
Now that we’re Pensacola-ians (Pensacola-ites?), we’ve noticed a few differences between Jacksonville and our new city. We miss our framily in Jacksonville but we’re really enjoying our time on the upside of Florida. (See, I’m even learning the lingo! Fun fact: Pensacola is also known as the City of Five Flags due to the five national governments that have been in charge of the city at one time or another.) Here are some of the things we are liking and disliking about living in Pensacola so far.
- The smaller size. Jacksonville weighs in at 875 square miles making it the largest city in the US. A huge city provides a lot of opportunities and the chance to explore many different parts of town. But even after living in Jacksonville for almost 32 years, there are still areas of town that I haven’t explored. With a city so large, you tend to find the areas you like the most and stay there. (There’s so much hilarious truth to this map.) Meanwhile in Pensacola… Escambia County, the westernmost and oldest county in Florida, encompasses Pensacola and neighboring communities and measures 656 square miles. We live in the northern part of Pensacola and can be anywhere in the city in about 20-30 minutes. The smaller land mass gives Pensacola that “small town” vibe and makes the city less overwhelming to explore.
- Less traffic. Less people means less traffic. Even “rush hour” in Pensacola is a piece of cake compared to normal traffic in certain parts of Jacksonville. I sat in traffic the other day during morning rush hour that added eight extra minutes to my drive. As I was complaining about the traffic I had to remind myself that traffic is an all day occurrence in Jacksonville.
- The beach. We never went to the beach while living in Jacksonville. The water is murky, the beach is dirty… and I’m not just referring to pollution. When I was in college, I went to the beach during the summer but I’ve just never been a huge fan. Adam and I can count on one hand how many times we went to the beach together. But the beaches here in Pensacola are beautiful with white sand shores and crystal clear water. They also seem to have a laid back atmosphere, though we’ve been told Pensacola Beach can get pretty rowdy during the busy seasons. I definitely foresee us spending a lot of time at the beach while we are here.
- Our house. I could write an entire post comparing our two houses but our house here is 700 square feet bigger than our Jacksonville house and having more space is so, so nice. Not only do we have more room for all of our stuff but there’s more floorspace for Emme to play, our furniture fits in the house better, and we actually have room for guests.
- The smaller size. While we love that Pensacola is much smaller than Jacksonville, a smaller city also means less opportunities. Most restaurants and stores in Jacksonville have many different locations spread out across the city. A lot of businesses in Pensacola only have one location, which is the case for two of my favorites – TJ Maxx/Homegoods and Tijuana Flats. And I’m mourning the loss of places like Chipotle, Trader Joes, and IKEA.
- Slow drivers. When traffic is flowing in Jacksonville, drivers have the pedal to the metal! Adam and I both noted how slow everyone seems to drive in Pensacola. Maybe that’s because so many of them are retired and in no real hurry? Or maybe residents avoid speeding because the police are more apt to write tickets since the overall crime rate is down and cops are bored? I’m not entirely sure the cause but it seems the actual speed limit is at least five mph under the posted speed limit.
- The lack of influencer opportunities. This is a weird thing to complain about and definitely a #bloggerproblem but there doesn’t seem to be an influencer network here. When I lived in Jacksonville, I was invited to events for influencers on a weekly basis at local restaurants and businesses. From what I’ve gathered, that just isn’t the case here in Pensacola. I was so excited to finally make Yelp Elite this year but there isn’t a Yelp community manager in Pensacola which means there aren’t any Yelp events to attend. Womp, womp! The city definitely seems to be behind the curve a little bit when it comes to influencer marketing. But I’m hoping to change that!
If you’re local, I would love to know what you like and dislike about the area. I think it will be interesting to revisit this list once we’ve been here longer.