About

Welcome to DowntownStPete.com where we feature ONLY the BEST of DTSP!

Downtown St. Pete is evolving daily. There are so many things to DO and places to SEE that making a decision can be a little overwhelming. Luckily, there’s a website that Shares only the BEST of the BEST, DowntownStPete.com. DowntownStPete.com is run by world-traveling locals, who really understand what 5 Star means. Here’sa quick guide to make your DTSP life even easier!

August 29 to September 4

NAVIGATION MENU: This is also called the Hamburger Menu (3 horizontal lines on Mobile View)

= DOWNTOWN NOW:  This is our own Social Wall. When you are on your favorite social network, like FB and IG, tag #DTSP on your photos and they will be displayed on Downtown Now.

= EVENTS:  Is where you search and view all events, either in a list or calendar view, which makes it easy for you to plan your next downtown St. Pete adventure!

= BEST of DTSP:   We’ve grouped the BEST of everything you may want to enjoy here in DTSP into convenient CATEGORIES:

Arts and Entertainment
Beauty and Spas
Food and Drinks
Health and Fitness
Parks and Recreation
Places to Stay
Shopping
Venues

= PERSONALITIES:  Here you’ll meet the people who make the community so delightfully unique!

= ABOUT DTSP:  Here we are!

= ADVERTISE:  Since there (still) is no free lunch, we accept paid advertising from local, high-quality DTSP businesses.

= SEARCH ICON (Magnifying Glass):  Click on the search icon (the magnifying glass in the NAVIGATION MENU) from any screen, at anytime, to search for anything.

We LOVE helping you Discover only the BEST of what the locals know: Events, Things to Do in DTSP, and those unique Personalities you have to meet in Downtown St. Pete. Enjoy and Share with your friends!


Headshot of Michael S Novilla - about the owner

ABOUT THE OWNER of DowntownStPete.com

Hello I’m Michael S. Novilla, and for me this website is personal.

I LOVE my city and have pitched it and bragged about it everywhere I’ve been, across 55 countries and counting. I love, live and breathe St. Pete, 24/7/365 (or 366 in leap years). Why? I was born right here in DTSP at Mound Park, now called Bayfront Hospital, and grew up on the west side of St. Pete. That’s 100% born and raised in St. Pete, from breath numero uno.

During my 8 years of education at St. Jude’s, I asked mom and dad to buy me a computer, instead they offered me usage of their lawn mower and a starter can of gas so, at age 11, I began my entrepreneurial career. (I did save up to buy an Atari 800 with 48K. Yes, K, as in 48,000 bits of memory. Wow, how technology has blossomed!). High school was 2 years at St. Pete Catholic then I graduated from Bogie in 1986. Then it was off to SPC (SPJC back then) for “13th Grade,” then on to UF for 3 years, and USF St. Pete in 1991, graduating with a B.S. in marketing, and I finished up with my MBA in 1993. Go Bulls and thanks and love to Mike and Leslie Novilla!

In the 90’s there wasn’t much of anything here in downtown, I mean ANYTHING. I bought a small apartment building on 6th Avenue and 3rd Street North (surrounded by extremely rough looking characters) right across from the legendary Steak and Egg. The majority of my friends and family exclaimed, “What the $#&% are you thinking?” The Vinoy, just a few blocks east, had been boarded up. DTSP was in rough, ROUGH shape, but the core, the residents who love our city, remained strong, even when things seemed at their worst, even when we were most embarrassed by its sickly condition. Those of us who never gave up on St. Pete toiled and worked and pushed and pulled and cleaned and did the best we could with what we had and slowly things got better and brighter. There are so many wonderful unsung heroes, so many people working toward this same goal. Many of those are featured here in our Personalities  stories, people like Jon LaBudde for example.

In 2005, I purchased another building in another downtown neighborhood that needed a LOT of love. I believed that our city of St Petersburg deserved a world-class venue, something unique, owned by locals, run by locals, a venue that is singularly focused on wowing and delighting clients and their guests, not just another paisley carpeted ballroom nor a beachfront hotel, both are great, but we’ve had that covered. Originally a five and dime store from 1920 and a doggie daycare when I acquired her, we took that rough structure under our wings, knowing she held strength and pride and greatness in her bones, just like our wonderful city of St. Pete.

Over 3 long years 535 Dr. M. L. King Jr Street North, was meticulously renovated into what’s now the best reviewed wedding venue and unique event space in all of Tampa Bay, NOVA 535. That was my gift to our city. It was truly a community effort and I thank everyone from the bottom of my heart for their love and support along the way. Thank you all, especially Mike Mitchell, Mike Lewis, Drew Edwards, Jim Walker, Chuck Taylor and Emily Morgavan!

Fast forward to today. DTSP is a thriving, vibrant, world-class city.

I started and run DowntownStPete.com to showcase only best, 4 to 5 star, local events, places, and the unique personalities that make everything happen, only here in downtown, and in one convenient location, and to increase our online reputation and brand awareness of Downtown St. Petersburg, Florida.  People across the globe are searching for amazing places to visit and I want Downtown St. Pete to pop up on their screens. This site will offer fresh, relevant and compelling content, right when they are searching for unique, fun, world-class places to visit and things to do. 

Want to get involved?

Join us here on DowntownStPete.com, helping build our collective local social network. Help me help us make our great city even better!! Thanks for taking your time to read about my love story.


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Content AT downtownstpete.com

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