St Petersburg in Florida, USA could not be more different from its Russian namesake. Often referred to as "St. Pete", the city is drenched in sunshine all year round, and actually holds the Guinness World Record for the most consecutive days of sunshine, with 768 days between 1967 and 1969. Located on the western coast of Florida on the Clearwater Bay Peninsula, expats living in St Petersburg will be able to make the most of the enviable climate at any one of the beautiful beaches nearby. For culture vultures, the city boasts some of the most impressive art credentials in the United States. The Salvador Dalí Museum, for example, houses the largest collection of the artist's works outside Europe, while the Museum of Fine Arts showcases masterpieces by Claude Monet, Paul Cézanne, Pierre-Auguste Renoir and others. Life in St Pete is healthy and relaxed, and for this reason the city has also become extremely popular with retirees, both national and international.
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While the weather in St Petersburg is mostly sunny; when the weather turns it can get really bad. Due to its location on the Gulf of Mexico, Florida frequently finds itself in the path of tropical storms and hurricanes. Any expatriate who is moving to St Petersburg would therefore do well to take a leaf out of the locals’ books and plan for extreme weather conditions before they hit. Find out where your nearest storm shelter is and put together an emergency pack of bottled water, torches, blankets, waterproof gear, duct tape and canned goods. Other expats already well-versed in life in Florida will be able to advise and reassure you if you are worried about hurricanes or other elements of Floridian life, just sign up on InterNations and use the discussion boards and forums to get in touch with them.
St Petersburg in Florida may facilitate a laid back lifestyle, with its long beaches and retirement communities, but in the city center it is business as usual. Downtown St Petersburg is full of impressive skyscrapers, and home to a number of national and international corporate headquarters. Commuters who are living in the suburbs but working in St Petersburg will probably need to have access to a car, for while there is public transport available in and around the city, it can be sporadic and unreliable. American freeways can be quite intimidating for some expatriates, so consider booking a driving lesson or two with a local instructor while you get used to the new traffic rules. Chat to other expatriates through the InterNations community to share your experiences of life in Florida, and pick up a few tips from fellow expats living in St Petersburg or other parts of Florida.