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May 27, 2018

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St. Petersburg: Inviting, Inspiring and Growing Brighter Every Day

Lynn Waddell | 1/26/2018

Big, Hip Small-Town

In large part, the growth is fueled by the discovery of the St. Petersburg lifestyle, one that’s kissed with sunshine and embraced by diversity, arts and a love for all things local. It also doesn’t hurt that on average, St. Petersburg has a lower cost of living than many other metropolitan areas.

Huffington Post in 2016 wrote that St. Petersburg was becoming “America’s Hottest City” based on its vibrant arts community, craft beer, burgeoning restaurant scene, LGBT-friendliness and having no state income tax.

The city’s charm is so intoxicating to visitors that sometimes they cannot leave, or at least they leave only long enough to sell their homes elsewhere.

Three years ago, artist Julie Angerosa, 36, and her husband, a geologist, were considering a move from upstate New York to a progressive city with a dynamic arts community. They read an article about St. Petersburg and put it on their list of possibilities. She says, “Then we came for a visit, and before we left we put in an offer on a house.”

Sunniest City in America

A key appeal of St. Petersburg has long been its weather. It is literally the sunniest city in America, holding the world’s record for the most consecutive sunny days at 768. Typically, the city has 361 days of sunshine in a year with an average daytime temp of 83 degrees. You can dine outdoors comfortably in short sleeves most days of the year.

Early city leaders played to the temperate climate in their designs and helped make St. Petersburg also one of the nation’s most walkable cities. They laid out streets on a grid, allowed for wide sidewalks, and preserved seven miles of waterfront for all to enjoy with parks of green grass and palms. A downtown pier offered fishing and picture perfect views.

Through the years, city leaders and residents built on the early framework, creating more trails and beautifying them all. Today, an African American Heritage Trail encourages a walking tour of significant historical sites. You can take city history and mural tours, made easier by a Bike Share program with 30 locations around the city.

You can travel on foot or bicycle throughout the entire Pinellas County on the paved Pinellas Trail, which was once a railroad line. Bicycle to work or to the beach along designated bike lanes. Little wonder the League of American Bicyclists in 2017 recognized St. Petersburg as a Silver Level Bicycle-Friendly community, a designation held by no other large or mid-size Florida city.

A weekly Saturday market, street art festivals, orchestra performances in the park, music festivals and more occur regularly under the Burg’s sunny skies. The list of outdoor activities seems limitless particularly when you throw in the city parks with ball fields, tennis courts, golf courses and dog parks. One of the nation’s largest, the city park system spans more than 2,400 acres.

And let’s not forget that the city is surrounded by water on three sides. Watersports abound here. Sailboats, triple decker yachts and catamarans fill marinas. Waterfront homes often feature docks for personal watercraft.

A new $50-million pier with parks, public art and outdoor event space is under construction and promises to be a waterfront recreational hub for decades to come.

Tags: St. Petersburg

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