Monday, February 20, 2012

St. Petersburg, Florida

I was recently whisked to St. Petersburg for an early birthday present. The sunshine city was a great host and exactly what we needed. It had the perfect balance of food, parks and sights required by any weekend getaway.

We started our Saturday by visiting the Saturday Morning Market in downtown. The market hosts a variety of craft vendors along with local and foreign food stalls. We opted for empanadas and some handicrafts from Thailand. Next up was the Dalí museum, really the main reason for our visit. The new building opened in January ’12 and is a beautiful home for the 98 pieces of art. The collection featured some of his more famous works along with some styles of art that most people would not associate with Dalí. My favorite piece was the Sugar Sphinx.

St. Pete is a very walkable city which is why we decided to leave our car in one of the many $5/day garages. From the museum we decide to walk along the water and make our way to Coney Island for lunch. This little hole in the wall opened in 1926 and still serves the exact same menu at unheard of prices like a $2 chilli dog and $3 hamburgers. During our walk, we came across many vintage shops that contained a lot of interesting items. I would recommend Misred Outfitters for women and Trendsetters Men’s Exchange for men. 

The city is filled with lots of beautiful parks with views of Tampa Bay, including the Vinoy. Once you have had enough lazy time in park, you can make your way over to the Pier and enjoy views of the city as well as the bay. In the evening we headed to Jannus Landing, where you will find live shows as well as the nightlife.  We had dinner at Ceviche after a friend’s recommendation and it was a fantastic meal. The setup reminded me of restaurants in Seville and so did the food! 

Our Sunday was spent at Fort De Soto Park, about 20 minutes away from downtown. It is a really isolated park that has everything you want for an outdoors day. Options include hikes, bike paths, the beach, camping and bird watching. Mazzaro's Italian Market is another great thing to check out but it is closed on Sundays. I loved my birthday present and can not wait to go back!

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