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Florida is known as a great sun destination, especially for families and snow birds. But St.Petersburg, just across the Bay from Tampa is quietly becoming one of the America’s most interesting cities.
So much so that there’s an influx of young entrepreneurs moving to St.Petersburg from the West Coast. Moreover, local millennials, are choosing to stay in the city that gets 361 days of sunshine each year.
But don’t just visit St.Petersburg for the sun, here are 5 great reasons that may surprise you:
1) No State Tax
While state tax doesn’t seem like it would affect a visitor, it has changed the community in St.Petersburg as location independent entrepreneurs are moving to St.Petersburg.
It’s not just the weather, St.Petersburg has a reputation for being an affordable and progressive city. While other sun destinations tend to attract retirees, St.Petersburg is gaining a younger generation that support restaurants, events, art and cultural events.
There are an unbelievable 27 local breweries on the trail and it can be tough to find a Budweiser as locals are choosing local brew. Outsiders have compared St.Petersburg to Portland for its small size but burgeoning craft beer scene.
To encourage growth the city changed old zoning laws to encourage new craft breweries in city limits. Instead of creating a sense of competition, established breweries have welcomed the newcomers and the city is becoming known as one of the best cities in America for beer.
3) Large LGBT Community
Home to the largest Pride parade in Florida, the city mayor has named the month of June Pride month in St.Petersburg.
Outside June, the city is one of the most friendly LGBT destinations in Florida and has a dedicated LGBT Welcome Center, police liaison and liaison to the mayor’s office. The city prides itself on being hospitable and ensuring that all visitors feel welcome.
4) Emerging Food Scene
Other than one steak restaurant, you cannot find chain restaurants in St.Petersburg. In a sea of mediocre chain restaurants overtaking America, there is a fierce movement to keep St.Petersburg local and independent.
A new generation of young chefs are taking local product and using it to share their interpretation of modern American cuisine. Others are influenced globally and you can find great options like Cuban sandwiches and Asian street food. This is not your typical Florida food experience.
5) Modern Art and Culture
While St.Petersburg is home to the impressive Salvador Dali museum, the largest gallery outside of Spain you can literally find art in the street.
Each year the city hosts the Shine Festival, celebrating local street murals. Artists from all over America come to to contribute new work. There are dedicated street art crawls but you can also find many of them simply by walking behind local businesses and many of them are completely covered in beautiful artwork.