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Saint Petersburg (Florida)

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West Central Florida : Pinellas County : Saint Petersburg
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For other places with the same name, see Saint Petersburg

Saint Petersburg [1] is located at the base of the Tampa Bay peninsula in Pinellas County, Florida, and enjoys a more subdued social atmosphere than its larger cousin, Tampa.

Understand

St.Petersburg Pier
With water on three sides of the city, St. Pete is a superb location for fishing, sailing, and wandering beaches.

Saint Petersburg was founded by John C. Williams from Detroit, Michigan, who purchased the land in 1876. The town began with the help of Peter Demens, who was instrumental in bringing a railroad connection there in 1888. Saint Petersburg was named after the Saint Petersburg in Russia, the birthplace of Peter Demens. A local legend says that John C. Williams and Peter Demens flipped a coin to see who would have the honor of naming the city. Peter Demens won and named the city after his birthplace, while John C. Williams named the first hotel after his birthplace, Detroit. The Detroit Hotel still exists downtown, but it was converted into condos in 2002.

Get in

  • Saint Petersburg-Clearwater International Airport (IATA: PIE), [2]. USA3000 Air with service to Cleveland, Chicago (O'Hare), Newark, Philadelphia, Detroit, Pittsburgh and St. Louis. SkyValue USA with service to Gary, Indiana near Chicago. CANJET service to Moncton, New Brunswick, Halifax, Nova Scotia, St. John's, Newfoundland and Toronto, Ontario.

With a wider selection of airlines and more frequent arrivals and departures, Tampa International Airport is the recommended means of entering the city. The airport is minutes across the bay and is reached by the Howard Frankland bridge, which connects Tampa to Saint Petersburg.

  • Downtown St. Petersburg* Albert Whitted Airport SPG

See

  • Sunken Gardens. [3] A lush oasis of plant life in the heart of Saint Petersburg. The garden offers a maze of paths through dense vegetation, with the lowest point in the garden at least 15 feet below street level. It was originally a lake drained by a plumber who charged nickels to enter, but became a roadside attraction for many years until falling into disrepair. In 1999 the city of Saint Petersburg bought the property and began restorations. The Great Explorations Hands On Museum now inhabits a building on the property also.
  • Fort DeSoto Park. [4] A grand stretch of beaches and wilderness at the southwest edge of Saint Petersburg. Named for the historic Fort DeSoto, the park offers fishing, camping, recreation areas, and several miles of undeveloped beach area.
  • Don CeSar Hotel. [5] This majestic pink colossus radiates gold as the sun sets over the Gulf. Once used as a R&R hospital during World War II, this high-scale resort offers boutiques, an ice-cream shop, and beautiful beach access along Gulf Blvd. in St. Pete Beach.
  • Florida Holocaust Museum. [6] Located at 55 Fifth Street South in St. Pete. Hours are 10:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. with the last admission at 4:00 p.m. Founded by Walter and Edie Loebenberg, the museum opened in 1992. It moved to its current site in 1998.
  • Salvador Dali Museum, 1000 Third Street South, +1 727-823-3767 (), [7]. M-W & Sa 9:30AM-5:30PM, Th 9:30AM-8PM, F 9:30AM-6:30PM, Su Noon-5:30PM. From huge canvases to portraits of the Spanish artist, this museum hosts the largest collection of Dali artwork in the United States. You will find this to be a fantastic gallery, so allow plenty of time for your visit!! If you're on a budget, visit Thursday evenings from 5:00PM-8:00PM for $5. $15/13.50/10/4/Free (General/Seniors & Military/Students/Kids 5-9/Kids under 4)..

Do

  • Tampa Bay Rays, [8] Tropicana Field. This baseball team plays home games in Saint Petersburg. Tickets are between $5-$175. Tickets are widely available for all games.
  • Circus McGurkis. [9] "A celebration of love, community and the power of nonviolence to change the world." Sponsored by the Quakers, this distinctly local event has been celebrated for over 30 years. Circus McGurkis is held the last Saturday of October, bringing together social and political activists, local businesses, and members of the community in a bazaar-like atmosphere of peace and friendship.
  • Art Walk in Gulfport. [10] Held 6-9pm on the first Friday of each month in Gulfport along Beach Blvd. Local artists show and sell their wares, with refreshments and dining for the community.
  • Saint Petersburg Times Festival of Reading. [11] A celebration of reading hosted at Eckerd College annually in November. Acclaimed authors, journalists, and critics join in panels and give talks while children enjoy theater, storytelling, and games.
  • First Friday. [12] On the first Friday of every month there is a Street party on Central Ave. from 2nd to 3rd St. 5:30 to 10 p.m. It is free and usually has live music.
  • Central Avenue's Monthly Gallery Walk – Second Saturday of every month. Extended evening hours at participating galleries throughout downtown, 5:30 to 9 p.m. See and acquire some of the area's finest art; meet gallery owners and artists.
  • Jannus Landing. [13] Built in 1888 Jannus Landing is the oldest outdoor concert venue in Florida. Some of the largest bands come to play the small venue because of its unique look and feel.
  • Tampa Bay Segs - [14] Offers the opportunity to see Saint Petersburg on a Segway® Human Transporter. Tour covers at all of the highlights in St. Pete. Tour begins in Baywalk.
  • Baywalk - [15] Located in the heart of downtown St. Pete includes places to enjoy the areas fine dining, shopping and entertainment
  • The Pier - [16] Located in downtown St. Pete on Tampa Bay at the end of Second Ave N.E. Built in 1973, the upside-down pyramid main building is home to shops, boutiques, restaurants and bars, a large food court, an aquarium, a large bayside observation deck and other activities. The Pier also hosts concerts and cultural/leisure activities. Visitors can feed the pelicans, catch a free trolley from the Pier to go downtown into St. Pete or catch a sightseeing cruise. Parking is $3 except for special events and a shuttle is available to take you to the main building. The building is open 365 days/year. Hours are Monday-Thursday 10:00 a.m.-9:00 p.m.; Saturday 10:00 a.m.-10:00 p.m.; Sunday 11:00 a.m.-7:00 p.m. although restaurant and attraction hours vary.
  • Gulf Beaches - [17] Beautiful sandy beaches from Fort DeSoto Beach to St. Pete Beach to Clearwater. All beaches are a short 10-15 minutes west of the city of St. Pete.
  • EagleRider Motorcycle Rentals (RENT-A-HARLEY)[18], Toll free: 888-660-5511. This is a great way to spend the day enjoying all that is offered in the beach communities.

Learn

  • Schools. There are a variety of schools to suit families new to the area. Part of the Pinellas County School District, Saint Petersburg hosts a number of "Magnet Schools" which focus on a specific technical vocation. For example, Lakewood High School located in south Saint Peterburg offers the CA T Program. The CA T program offers a rigorous four-year curriculum which emphasizes advanced mathematics and science, computer applications and programming, multimedia and television production. Other academic alternatives for your child are private institutions. In Northeast Saint Petersburg, Shorecrest Preparatory School boasts a recently renovated campus with new state-of-the-art facilities, class sizes of 20 students, and an academic curriculum devoted to college preparation.
  • Community College. Saint Petersburg offers post high school education with Saint Petersburg College as the largest community college in the area with several branch locations. They offer a wide variety of programs for students straight out of high school or adults wanting to come back to school. They offer many two year degrees including A.S., A.A. and A.A.S. They also offer certification programs.
  • Universities. There are also four-year institutions in the Saint Petersburg area. Although centrally located in northeast Tampa, the University of South Florida has branch locations in the Pinellas County Area including one located in downtown Saint Petersburg. University of South Florida offers many programs including the social sciences, business, natural sciences, and engineering and offers long distance courses through television and web-based correspondence. A private four-year institution alternative is Eckerd College located in the southern most part of Saint Petersburg near the Skyway bridge.

Work

Tourism/hospitality is a big industry in the city as in all of Florida. Florida has no state income tax, so it's a very attractive place to settle and find a job. St. Pete is also located some 30-40 minutes away from Tampa and other cities such as Sarasota and Bradenton. It is also only about 90 - 110 minutes from Orlando.

Buy

Primary consumer destinations include The Pier and Baywalk downtown and Tyrone Square Mall in the Tyrone area.

Eat

  • The Moon Under Water, 332 Beach Dr. N.E. across from the Museum of Fine Arts, (727)896-6160. Menu features a variety of Indian cuisine, traditional English plates, American favourites and excellent curries. Great fish & chips. Over 15 import beers on tap!
  • Columbia Restaurant, [19]. Located at the Pier in Downtown St. Pete. It is on the fourth floor and offers a panoramic view of Tampa Bay. There is also another location on Sand Key near Clearwater. Great Spanish menu, steaks and authentic Cuban sandwiches. It is pricey, however -- meals typically range from $10-$30 USD.
  • Captain Al's Waterfront Bar & Grill, [20]. Also located at the Pier is Captain Al's, though it is on the first floor of the facility rather than the fourth. It's menu is primarily seafood, though it does have a small assortment of soups, salads and meat/poultry dishes. The quality of their seafood-based meals is very high. It is less expensive than Columbia's upstairs; prices range from around $6-$15 USD for most dishes. Be aware that the price for their Grouper and "Fresh Catch of the Day" is somewhat variable, though.
  • The Garden. Downtown.
  • Evos, 2631 4th Street North, 727-571-evos. [21]. A healthy alternative to most fast-food joints, Evos offers healthy burgers, wraps, shakes and "air fries" in a fun, friendly environment. Everything is either hormone free or organic and there are plenty of choices for vegetarians.
  • Hurricane's Restaurant. Seafood restaurant & bar overlooking beaches on the Gulf of Mexico. Located at the southern end of Passegrille. Can be very busy around sunset. Get there early if you want to dine before they convert the restaurant to a nightclub.
  • Saute Cafe, 2325 Feathersound Square, (727) 573-9177 Fax: (727)573-9436, [22].
  • El Cap. A local sports bar serving some of the best hamburgers in Florida. Located on 3500 4th Street next to Signature Bank.
  • Ted Peters Famous Smoked Fish. Bring in your fresh catch and have them smoke it for you, or have a bite of theirs, with a side of their famous German Potato Salad. Located 1350 Pasadena Ave., South Pasadena.
  • Chiang Mai, Asia Grille, The King and I and Bangkok 9 are just a few of the Thai restaurants found in the downtown section of Central Avenue.
  • The King and I restaurant, Central Ave. between 4th and 5th St N. Great sushi and thai. You won't be disappointed with their sushi special (menu on the board, behind the sushi chef station). Thai food is excellent too! Also Open Sunday for dinner, it is very difficult to find a restaurant open on Sunday in St. Pete downtown area.
  • Habana Cafe, 5402 Gulfport Blvd, Gulfport. Phone: +1 (727) 321-8855, [23]. Excellent Cuban food in a restored old St. Petersburg home. The lechon and the butterfly shrimp are can't-miss menu items.
  • Amelita's Spanish Cuban Cafe. The owner grew up in Ybor City back in the 50s & 60s and patterned the restaurant after the small Cafes of that era. Nothing fancy, just a large portion of great tasting food, a friendly atmosphere, and moderate prices.

Drink

There are many small bars on the beaches to the west side of the peninsula and scattered throughout the area.

Sleep

Several beach front and cityside hotels, from chain to locally owned & operated. The Spring Break period of March-April is typically the peak time for rates and crowds. The St. Pete area gets its share of Spring Breakers but many seem to flock to other parts of the state.

Other beachfront communities have their own motel/hotel areas as well. St. Pete Beach, Sand Key, Clearwater, Madeira Beach, Redington Beach, Redington Shores, John's Pass, and several other communities are in Pinellas County and located along the beach. There is also the city of Pinellas Park.

Travellers might find deals at many hotel/motel locations along 34th Street in St. Pete. This is U.S. 19. These are inland hotels but are just a short drive to the beaches or the city.

  • The Grand Bohemian Hotel & Residence, 320 Central Avenue, [24]. Offers guest rooms along with urban residences. The Grand Bohemian Hotel & Residence has 254 guest rooms and suites and 52 residences. The hotel features a spa and fitness center, an art gallery, two restaurants, a café and market, 24-hour business center, and 23,000 sq ft of meeting space. This place has not been built.
  • The Heritage Hotel, [25]. This 1926 historical hotel is located in the heart of downtown St. Petersburg. Within walking distance to all local attractions including the Salvador Dali Museum, The Pier, Tropicana Field, etc. Put on your walking shoes, step outside our front door, and enjoy all that downtown St. Pete has to offer.
  • Don CeSar Hotel, [26]. This majestic pink colossus radiates gold as the sun sets over the Gulf. Once used as a R&R hospital during World War II, this high-scale resort offers boutiques, an ice-cream shop, and beautiful beach access along Gulf Blvd. in St. Pete Beach.
  • Gulfside Resort, 565 70th Avenue, St. Pete Beach, 727-360-7640, Fax: 727-367-6398, [27]. St. Pete Beach hotel near shopping, dining, and nightlife. Very affordable, clean rooms, nice pool.

These resort/hotel locations offer travellers lodging directly on St. Pete Beach. Walk right out of the hotel onto the white sandy beach; room views of the Gulf of Mexico and plenty of nearby entertainment.

  • Grand Plaza Hotel Resort, 5250 Gulf Boulevard, [28]. St. Pete Beach resort on the Gulf of Mexico, 3 restaurants including Spinners Revolving Restaurant, beach theme weddings and conference centers.
  • Best Western Beachfront, 6200 Gulf Boulevard, [29]. Best Western Hotel on St. Pete Beach, discounted loding directly on the beach, restaurants and live entertainment.
  • Dolphin Beach Resort, 4900 Gulf Boulevard, St. Pete Beach, Phone: 727-360-7011, Fax: 727-367-5909, [30]. Florida beach front resort, the Dolphin Beach Resort is located right on the Gulf of Mexico.
  • Alden Beach Resort, 5900 Gulf Boulevard, St. Pete Beach, Phone: (727)360-7081, Fax: (727)360-5957, [31]. The St Pete Alden Beach Resort overlooks the Gulf of Mexico and is only 30 minutes from St Petersburg, Clearwater, and Tampa International Airport. Special features include 900 sq. feet of meeting space, two heated pools, two whirlpool spas, two lighted tennis courts, a children's playground, basketball court, an arcade room, and direct beach access.

Stay safe

Statistically, Saint Petersburg is a safe community. Like any city, there are parts to avoid, but the majority of St. Pete is a modern city full of nice people and hospitable places. Here's a comparison of crime stats: Tampa Vs St. Pete Cities that are tourist attractions are also attractions to those that prey on tourists.

Cope

The weather is warm year round here with highs typically in the 60s and 70s in the winter and 80s and 90s in the summer. Summers are very hot and humid. Sometimes when it rains in St. Pete, it literally pours!

The hurricane season runs through summer and fall with the peak of the season in September. It has been many years since St. Pete has been directly hit by a hurricane.

Being on a peninsula, the city is surrounded on three sides by water. There are also three very long bridges that access the area, the Sunshine Skyway rises to a height of 17 stories above the Tampa Bay. The Howard Frankland Bridge and the Gandy Bridge are much lower rise as bridges grow. If a person fears long bridges, they should be prepared to deal with this aspect of the area.

Get out

The port of Tampa is the launchpoint of Caribbean and other cruises. The port is now limited to smaller (relatively speaking) cruise ships since many of the largest vessels on the Caribbean cannot navigate under the Sunshine Skyway Bridge (approximately 17 stories high) to enter the bay.


St. Petersburg is about 90 minutes west from Orlando and the various theme parks near Orlando like Disney World and Universal Studio. Three hours northeast from St. Petersburg is Daytona Beach and Cape Canaveral.


This is a usable article. It has information for getting in as well as some complete entries for restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please plunge forward and help it grow!




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