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Tampa Bay’s 1999 time capsule

What was Tampa Bay like at the turn of the millennium? We took a look back at the final year of the 20th century to see what life was like pre-Y2K.

A palm tree and the Tampa skyline with a search bar reading "Tampa Bay 1999"

Hey Google, what was Tampa Bay like in 1999?

Photo via Canva



Do you remember 1999? Ricky Martin’s “Livin La Vida Loca” topped the charts, we were scared of the Blair Witch, and Google officially launched.

To celebrate, Google Trends opened its time capsule to see which fads were titanic in 1999. According to the report, adults were watching “The Matrix” and “The Sopranos” while kids were into “Toy Story 2” and “Teletubbies.” People also used the search engine to learn about David Beckham or evaluate their Pokémon cards, and searches for hot sauce set the web ablaze.

Livin La Vida Local

Want to know what life was like in TBAY? We dug up some data to help us remember the final year of the 20th century — thanks to some help from a 25-year-old search engine.

Do you remember 1999? That year, Google officially launched. To celebrate a quarter century, Google Trends opened its time capsule to look at the world’s search history.

To explore our local time capsule, we used the 25-year-old search engine to take a glimpse at life in Tampa Bay at the turn of the millennium.

  • Median family income: $45,600
  • City’s population: 290,973
  • Average cost to buy a home: $90,900 (quarter 4 1999)
  • Average cost of a gallon of gasoline in Florida: $1.18
  • In the news: Benito Middle School student Nupur Lala won the National Spelling Bee — a moment that would become subject of the documentary “Spellbound.” Perhaps Bruhat Soma will have a documentary
  • Citrus Park Town Center opened
  • Who was performing: Cher made a comeback with her “Do You Believe?” tour at the Ice Palace — now Amalie Arena. The same venue also hosted Billy Joel, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Jimmy Buffett, the Rolling Stones, NSYNC, and Bob Dylan all in the same year. What a time to be alive.
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