While it has long been known for its white sandy beaches and nightlife, St Petersburg has experienced a period of rapid growth putting it on the map as a cultural capital too. Located on Florida’s Gulf Coast, this city is part of the Tampa Bay area but has a lively personality all its own. Attractions like the Salvador Dali Museum, vibrant street art, and a proliferation of craft breweries sit comfortably next to sun-drenched beaches and lush nature parks.
Here you can spend your days gallery-hopping, antique shopping or admire the views at Weedon Island Preserve. From trendy downtown bars to upscale eateries on Beach Drive, there’s a buzzing nightlife that keeps the party going well into the morning.
If you’re in search of a city break that combines arts and culture with beautiful beaches, then a 2018/2019 holiday in St Petersburg could be the perfect fit. It’s nicknamed “The Sunshine City” for its year-round warm weather and friendly atmosphere, epitomising everything a holiday to the USA should be.
This rapidly growing city offers the largest collection of work by Salvador Dali outside of Spain, in its sleek Salvador Dali Museum. The Chihuly Collection is another must-see attraction here, showcasing Dale Chihuly’s genius blown glassworks in an airy space. Foodies are well catered for with the 20,000 square feet of artisanal cuisine at Locale Market, and afterwards you can shop until you drop in Beach Drive’s boutiques.
Along with all of the urban attractions on offer here, St Petersburg is renowned for its top-rated beaches. Sitting between the waters of Tampa Bay and the Gulf of Mexico, the city’s beaches offer clean sand lined by swaying palm trees and high-class resorts. Fort De Soto combines beaches with picnic areas, water sports, and a historic fort for a fun day out. You can pull up a beach blanket or sun lounger to top up your tan here, or embark on a sunset dinner cruise to admire the views from a different perspective.
Freshly caught seafood is grilled to perfection in St Petersburg’s beachside eateries. Whether you’re in search of a casual family lunch or a Michelin-starred gourmet dinner, there’s something here to suit all tastes. Top waterfront spots include Crabby Bill’s at St Petersburg Beach or Caretta on the Gulf in neighbouring Clearwater. Don’t miss the chance to have the local speciality, a fried grouper sandwich. With its proximity to the Gulf of Mexico, Caribbean and Latin flavours feature prominently in St Petersburg restaurants. You’ll be able to enjoy some treats like citrusy ceviche and juicy Cuban sandwiches.
Are you in the mood for a refreshing beer? You’re in the right place - Florida’s Gulf Coast boasts a burgeoning craft beer scene. You can sample what the latest breweries have to offer by following the “Gulp Coast Craft Beer Trail,” which travels from Tarpon Spring to St Petersburg. You’ll come across hand-crafted pilsners, IPAs, and stouts along the way.
The area’s plentiful beaches make St Petersburg a top destination for family holidays. Spend the day working on your sand castle creation, or go paddling in the warm, clear waters. Paddle a canoe through the waterways of Fort Do Soto Beach, or simply relax by the swimming pool at your resort hotel. There are also a number of parks and gardens located in St Petersburg, away from the sandy beaches. The Sunken Gardens is a living museum that’s a firm favourite with local families. These 100-year-old gardens offer an array of tropical plants, combined with waterfalls, walking trails, and special events.
Even on the exceedingly rare rainy day, there’s plenty of entertainment including art museums, kid-friendly theatres, and shopping malls. Spend your St Petersburg holidays entertaining the kids at the Great Explorations Children’s Museum or Clearwater Marine Aquarium, both with hands-on exhibits to engage all ages. And of course, Orlando’s Disneyworld and Epcot Centre are never far away.
Sailing, golfing, scuba diving, and deep sea fishing are just a few examples on the long list of outdoor activities in St Petersburg. Whether you’re in search of high octane adventures or relaxing recreation, you’ll find something to suit your mood. Visit the Mangrove Bay Golf Course for a day on the green, featuring Bermuda turf grass and PGA instruction. The city is dotted with cycling trails and is pedestrian-friendly, making it exciting to explore either on foot or from the comfort of a bicycle.
Naturally, many visitors wish to spend their St Petersburg holidays on and around the water. There are 35 miles of coastline here, with boat rentals available. Sailing through the jewel-toned Gulf of Mexico is an unforgettable experience to tick off of your to-do list. Go bird-watching at Anclote Key, combing for shells on Caladesi Island, or horseback riding on the Municipal Beach. For those who prefer spectator sports, St Petersburg hosts its very own Major League Baseball team at Tropicana Field, The Tampa Bay Rays.
It’s easy to spend the entirety of a holiday in St Petersburg on one of its beaches, each one with its own personality. White sands and guaranteed sunshine offer a little sliver of paradise in the heart of Tampa Bay. The St Petersburg Municipal Beach is one popular option, located on neighbouring Treasure Island. Facilities include beach volleyball courts, snack bars, and shower and changing facilities. Maximo Park is also popular with families, offering two playgrounds and miles of biking trails skirting along the shores.
Fort De Soto Beach is perhaps the most notable in St Petersburg, located on the southern tip of the city. It has even been rated as the number one beach in the USA. Sprawling out over 900 acres over five islands, the park also includes campgrounds, nature trails, canoe trails, and a full-service pier. Stroll along the promenade with an ice cream and admire panoramic views of the Sunshine Skyway Bridge to enjoy the best of a Florida beach holiday experience.
When the sun goes down over St Petersburg, the city heats up with a sizzling nightlife scene. St Petersburg attracts a young, trendy crowd to its beachfront nightclubs and bars, but you’ll find that there’s truly something for all ages here. Beach Drive is the epicentre for sophisticated cocktail bars. Visit the Canopy Rooftop Lounge for a mojito overlooking the below marina, or the 360 Rooftop Bar at the Hotel Zamora for panoramic views of the ocean. There’s a strip of live music venues here if you’re into jazz or rock.
Central Avenue is a bustling nightlife destination in St Petersburg, as are the area’s plentiful beach resorts. Elegant wine bars, craft cocktail lounges, and unpretentious rock clubs sit next to glamorous discos. Downtown St Petersburg is the main hub for art and culture, which you can experience in the evenings at spots like the Mahaffey Theatre. With waterfront views and ballroom space, it hosts evening Broadway productions, concerts, and live theatrical events.
If you’re dreaming of a tropical getaway for two, a holiday in St Petersburg could be just the ticket. Imagine swaying palm trees under a clear blue sky, couples’ massages, and gourmet dining in an open-air rooftop lounge. St Petersburg has it all, particularly if you enjoy art and culture. Sip cocktails hand in hand by the pool, or go parasailing in crystal blue waters. Enjoy a sunset cruise, spot dolphins frolicking in the water, or dance until morning in a beachside hotspot.
There are numerous ways to spend your date nights here, whether it’s taking in a Broadway performance or rock concert. There’s always something on in the Tampa Bay area, and nearby Clearwater’s Coachman Park often hosts free live concerts on the water. For quieter nights, you can visit one of the waterfront restaurants along Beach Drive, to enjoy a high standard of cuisine and breath-taking views. Whether you prefer to be in the heart of the action or are seeking moments of intimacy and seclusion, you’ll find the perfect setting in St Petersburg.
St Petersburg has undergone a recent period of revitalisation that has helped put it on the international art map. Downtown’s Central Arts District features over 70 vibrant murals, and is home to a staggering selection of fine art galleries. Culture vultures won’t be let down by the Dali Museum, featuring an impressive selection of the Spanish surrealist’s work. Then pop over to the fine permanent exhibition by the glass artist Dale Chihuly, and just next door sits the Morean Arts Centre with its live Glass Studio. Do you prefer classical works from the likes of Renoir? Then pay a visit to the city’s Museum of Fine Arts to view impressionist masterpieces.
You can learn more about Florida’s history and heritage at museums including the Tarpon Springs Heritage Museum, or the nearby Dunedin Historical Museum. The Florida Holocaust Museum is also located in St Petersburg, with moving and thought-provoking exhibitions.