Saint Petersburg (Florida)

For the Russian city, see Saint Petersburg
Downtown as viewed from the observation deck of The Pier (closed in 2013).

Saint Petersburg 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. The city has tried to characterize the downtown as an arts and entertainments destination and you will find no shortage of arts and crafts stores, galleries, & museums along with cafes and boutique food shops all within a couple blocks of the Tampa Bay waterfront.

Understand

 Climate Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
 
Daily highs (°F) 70 71 76 81 86 89 90 90 89 84 77 72
Nightly lows (°F) 53 54 59 64 70 74 76 76 75 68 60 54
Precipitation (in) 2.3 2.8 3.4 1.6 2.6 5.7 7 7.8 6.1 2.5 1.9 2.2

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.

The city publishes the free "Downtown St.Petersburg Guide & Map" booklet, updated each season, that contains maps, trolley routes, and listings for hundreds of museums, events, restaurants, & hotels along with coupons. You can find the guide in dispensers throughout downtown and in many businesses.

The Pier—a city icon since 1973—was closed to the public in 2013.

A pier has been at the center of the St. Petersburg waterfront for over a decade. In 1973, a 4-story building in the shape of an inverted pyramid was constructed at the end of the existing pier and became a city icon for the next four decades. However, the rest of the pier structure dated to 1926 and required an increasing amount of money for repairs. In 2010, the city decided that the money needed to repair the pier and give it an additional 20 years of usable life was too much and that, instead, the pier would be entirely replaced. The inverted pyramid closed to the public on the night of May 31, 2013 and is expected to be demolished later in the year. The approach to the building will remain open for public use until then. The replacement design chosen by the city council is a modern metal-clad pedestrian walkway and amphitheater in the shape of a loop, , expected to be opened in late 2014 or 2015. However, city residents have tried to force a vote on the replacement design and thrown up several legal challenges, which may significantly delay the construction/opening of a replacement.

Get in

By airplane

By train

By car

The primary route in and out of the city is Interstate 275. I-275 runs north to Tampa and connects with Interstate 4 (Orlando, East Coast) and Interstate 75. I-275 runs south over the Sunshine Skyway Bridge to Bradenton and connects with Interstate 75 heading south to Sarasota, Ft.Meyers, Naples, and South Florida.

By bus

Greyhound Bus Lines has a stop at 180 Dr Martin Luther King Jr St N St. Phone number: +1 727-898-1496. You can walk four blocks south to catch the Central Avenue trolley to the beach or east towards the pier.

Get around

By bus

Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority, the county-wide bus system called PSTA. Their phone number is: +1 727 540-1900. The buses run daily from 6AM-8PM Sun-Thurs and 6AM-midnight Fri & Sat. The price is $2 per ride. Daily unlimited-ride cards are available on board for $4.50. The PSTA bus system can transport you all over St. Petersburg and to other towns in Pinellas County. They also allow small domestic animals as long as they are in carriers.

By trolley

There are trolley-styled buses , on two separate lines:

The two lines connect at (no free transfers): Baywalk & The Pier. Connections with PSTA bus routes are available at Grand Central Station & Williams Park. The city also runs a free "Baseball Shuttle" between downtown parking garages and Tropicana Field for certain games where large crowds are expected.

By car

There are over 25,000 available public parking spaces in St. Petersburg. Metered parking spaces along streets in downtown and at parking lots along the bay. There are also several public parking garages in downtown. As of October 2011, the rates along the Pier are $0.75/hr.

Rental Cars are available from:

By taxi

By bicycle

The Pinellas Trail starts in downtown and runs the entire length of Pinellas County.

See

The new Dali museum.

Do

The "Snell Arcade" building houses some of the shops and restaurants that line Central Avenue in downtown St. Petersburg.

Sports

Buy

Eat

Budget

Mid-range

To be classified

Drink

There are many small bars on the beaches to the west side of the peninsula and scattered throughout the area. Downtown bars of choice include: Mastry's, The Independent (local favorite), The Green Room, Limey's Pub, Pelican, Fortunato's (after dark), The Rare Olive, Baywalk (various spots), Moon Under Water

Bars

Inside lounge with specialty Tequilas, infused Tequilas and Full liquor bar, Wine and Champagne with great daily specials.

Gay Clubs

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.

These hotel locations are in downtown St. Petersburg and despite not being within walking distance from beaches, they are walking distance to many museums, restaurants and shops.

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.

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. 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.

Go next

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 Studios. Three hours northeast from St. Petersburg is Daytona Beach and Cape Canaveral.

Routes through Saint Petersburg

Ends at Tampa  N  S  Bradenton Ends at
Tallahassee Pinellas Park  N  S  Bradenton Ends at


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