Just outside of Tampa in central Florida, Lakeland is a large city of over 100,000 residents. The homes of Lakeland are typical of the sunny, tropical area, sporting obviously Spanish influences in the adobe detailing, the mud or taupe-colored exteriors, and the airy breezeways that many of the homes include. Large family-style houses are popular, as are more modest bungalows with flat or gently sloping terracotta roofing.
The 38 lakes that dominate the landscape of aptly named Lakeland are the major landmarks of the area, as well as serving as reference points and distinguishing features of the various districts of the city. Additionally, seven major historic communities comprise much of the residential community. The Beacon Hill-Alta Vista historic district is a primarily residential area, home to many of the older buildings in the area as well as some new construction. The East Lake Morton area is also a district that is both residential and historical. Other historical neighborhoods include Biltmore-Cumberland, Dixieland, Lake Hunter Terrace, Munn Park, and South Lake Morton. These enclaves are interspersed with shopping and retail areas, such as Lakeland Center and Lakeland Square Mall, as well as important locations of cultural interest, such as the Polk Museum of Art, the Polk Theater, and the Frances Langford Promenade.
Partly since Lakeland is the largest city between Orlando and Tampa, it enjoys a thriving economy based primarily on citrus agriculture, cattle farming, and phosphate mining. Tourism and hospitality, retail and commerce, healthcare and medicine, insurance and finance, transportation and utilities, and music and arts are other employing industries that have experienced much growth in Lakeland over recent years. The top performing employer in Lakeland is Publix, a grocery store which has headquarters and stores in the city and a workforce of more than 6,500 individuals. Geico, Rooms to Go, the Lakeland Regional Medical Center, and FedEx Freight and Services are other major employers in the area.