THINGS TO DO IN ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA

There's a whole new side of Florida that you just haven't seen yet and even if you've been to St. Petersberg (St. Pete for short), cast aside your pre-conceptions of a boring old retirement village for snowbirds. Like Buffalo's revitalization, St. Pete's is going through its own little reinvention. Slow walkers are being traded in for kayak paddles and sleeping early is cast aside for late nights out on the town. There are so many things to do in St. Petersburg, Florida. From food to beer, art, and nature reserves, there's something for everyone here. Check out what's causing all the buzz.I'll be the first to admit that art galleries aren't my thing. I don't know if it's just me but big art galleries are overwhelming. Being as far from a student of art that one can be, I've always found it hard to appreciate art. Is that bad of me to say?Good news. The art that St. Pete is anything but dull or boring. You won't believe which two artists have big galleries in the city.Surrealism is the style and Salvador Dalí is the man behind the famous works on display at The Dalí Museum. Now it may seem strange that St. Pete is home to the second largest collection of Dalí works in the world but it's all thanks to the A. Reynolds Morse and Eleanor R. Morse. In 1942, they started a 40-year relationship with Dalí as both friends and patrons and built up an extensive collection of original Dali works.Just as Dali pushed the boundaries of surrealism, so too is the design and architecture of this museum. Built by the waterfront of St. Pete, The Dali Museum opened in 2011. Composed of concrete, glass skyways, and a giant spiral staircase, it was a joy just to roam around the museum.While I'm not familiar with all of Dali's works, I was mesmerized by the evolution of his art. Listening to the free audio guide, I was able to decode otherwise complex and fiercely technical pieces. My favorite has to be the double entendre piece "Gala Contemplating the Mediterranean Sea". Move your eyes back from the screen and tell me what you see.At the back of the museum is the tranquil garden where you'll find a giant dalistache, a tree full of dangling wrist bands, a melted clock bench, and great example of the blending of art and math. While I visited, I was lucky enough to experience the Picasso and Dali mash up where the two legends and friends have their works compared and contrasted. I thought this exhibit was well put together and fascinating.Yeah that’s pretty much how we all know this master glass artist. His name is Dale Chihuly and surprise, he’s not Venetian even though he’s a master of Murano glass. He’s actually American and resides near Seattle. Walk into the Bellagio in Las Vegas, look up at the ceiling in the main lobby and you see a prime example of his work but there’s so much more.Introducing the Chihuly Collection, another gallery by the waterfront. This isn’t a big gallery but in my opinion is the perfect size meander through and get up close and personal with each piece commissioned for the museum. The glass masterpieces here are ridiculously spectacular. Feel your jaw drop with large scale installations like “Ruby Red Icicle Chandelier” which has the power to pierce or the larger than life glass marbles of “Iwo Jima”.I had the opportunity to join a guided tour while I was there and had the pleasure of learning about how Chihuly creates his pieces and the story behind each one in the collection.In the heart of downtown St. Pete is a truly unique marketplace experience. Locale Market is the brainchild of celebrity chefs Michael Mina and Don Pintabona.I say that it is unique and an experience because it’s so much more than your regular old market. Locale Market is immersive, personal and adaptive to how you want to experience it.Stopping by for lunch or needing some food on the go? Locale Market has an extensive of selection meals that are cooked fresh right in front of you. Feeling Italian? Fresh pasta is cooked to perfection. Feeling a burger? You have to try their St. Petersburger.