Adjacent to more industrial, skyscraper-lined Tampa, St. Petersburg can be considered the Florida metropolis’s quirky, yet more laid-back neighbor. Boasting pristine beaches, world-renowned museums, and blocks of independently-owned shops and restaurants, there is no shortage of things to do and see in this sunny suburb where residents greet you with seemingly permanent smiles. Read on for some of our favorite spots.
Where to Stay:
This 18-room boutique hotel is all about location, nestled in the heart of downtown St. Pete’s lively Beach Drive which can best be compared to Miami’s Ocean Drive in South Beach. Rooms are classic, yet spacious with four poster beds, stand-alone tubs, and oversized dressers
Perhaps St. Pete’s most iconic hotel, the bubble-gum pink crown jewel of St. Pete Beach sits atop wind-swept dunes with direct access to the alluringly blue waves of the Gulf. It’s the place to see and be seen, especially at Maritana — the property’s award-winning seafood restaurant with a completely revamped menu and one of the peninsula’s most extensive wine lists.
Where to Eat:
Mediterranean-influenced Allelo welcomes visitors who crave an elevated dining experience that won’t break the bank. Featuring small plates like fresh snapper crudo and a tableside beef tartare, one thing’s for certain: You’ll be inspired to book a trip to Greece or Spain to taste these flavors from the source.
This off-the-beaten-path wine bar seats no more than 12 patrons with a revolving menu that showcases chef and owner Ben Ankrum’s culinary gems like honey glazed eggplant and what is arguably one of the best bahn mi sandwiches in the entire Sunshine State.
If you’re craving authentic Cuban food, look no further than Bodega: a local favorite with a sky-high Cuban sandwich that you’ll be dreaming about in the days that follow. Be sure to wash it down with one of the haunt’s revolving fresh juices and sodas that are worth a stop alone.
Where to Drink:
Aside from an impressive list of libations and a range of ever-so-trendy tinned fish, this bright and airy bar serves shucked oysters and caviar, along with a homemade shug sauce that should be bottled and sold to the masses.
Taking a page out of Miami’s thriving LGBTQ+ pool scene, the Wet Spot is a safe haven for those who can’t get enough of the Florida sun. The outdoor bar, connected to Cocktail lounge, becomes a full-fledged rave with weekend events that attract guests from all walks of life. And when the sun goes down, migrate towards the business’s nearby speakeasy, The Saint, for a wicked good time.
Where to Visit:
The 100 year-old attraction is one of St. Pete’s oldest and most beloved with tropical plants, flowers, waterfalls, and flocks of friendly birds and flamingos. There is also a history center that details its fascinating timeline of growth, from birth to present day, paying homage to the family that maintained its grounds and turned it into a national landmark.
Boasting a whopping eight of Salvador Dalí’s masterworks, the breathtaking space is an ode to the Spanish surrealist’s art, which never shied from exploring the provocative and bizarre. Be sure to also drop into the Dalí Live 360-degree experience — a multi-sensory projection show housed in a giant sphere that chronicles his fascinating life and artwork.
Start your day with a clear-bottom kayak tour through winding mangroves and a stop at famed Shell Island. If you’re lucky, you’ll be treated to dolphin and manatee sightings, though tour guide Chris’s extensive knowledge of the area and its wildlife is a treat in and of itself.
Start at St. Pete’s famous waterfront pier and work your way west on Central Avenue, dubbed as the city’s “coolest street.” The bustling strip is home to many of the aforementioned businesses mentioned in this guide, so pick a starting point, put away the map, and get lost in everything this lively, yet picturesque beach town has to offer.
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