You may be familiar with things to do in Orlando, Florida, where most families spend time during the summer traveling to Walt Disney World, but have you heard of a small town called St.Petersburg, Florida? St. Petersburg, Florida is located in Pinellas County on the west coast of Florida. Today, Amanda, a St. Pete, local will be telling about her hometown of St. Petersburg, Florida and the best things to do in St. Pete, including St. Pete Beach.
Why visit St. Pete over other Florida cities?
There are so many perks to visiting St. Petersburg. The eclectic nightlife turns emerging breweries into hang out spots for locals and visitors alike to spend the nights relaxing in the downtown area.
Tampa Bay’s food scene is booming. See the places you need to add to your must-visit list! From your first sip of locally-brewed Kahwa coffee until your final sunset, you’ll always remember your stay here.
St. Pete is a different vibe than Orlando or even South Florida. The beautiful landscapes and artistic murals are what make the city so special. You can easily walk from one corner to the next and feel as if you are visiting a new place.
A lot of people fall in love with St. Pete and more and more decide to settle down here after just one stay. Read some of the best places to discover for breakfast, lunch, and dinner (and of course, dessert!) so you can book your plane tickets for the summer.
The best things to do in St. Petersburg, Florida
Besides enjoy plate after plate of amazing food, museum hop from the Dale Chihuly exhibit, where you can see his one-of-a-kind blown glass pieces, to the Salvador Dali Museum, where you can learn all about Dali and the surrealism era.
The many museum exhibits definitely contribute to the art scene in St. Pete. While driving, be sure to stop and check out the famous murals along Central Avenue. These murals make for excellent photo opportunities.
Walk through the town, weaving through bushes of vibrant bougainvillea, and spend some time strolling in and out of locally-owned shops. You’ll find a lot of food options along this popular street, too. The people-watching is great! Grab a seat outside while you devour spoonfuls of decadent ice cream at Paciugo Gelato.
There’s always the beach! St. Pete Beach has the pink Don CeSar Hotel, featuring exquisite architecture, where you can walk around and chill by the pool if you are a guest. For public access, take the trolley bus down to the end of the beach to browse local shops, too. For a five dollar admission fee, you can visit Ft. De Soto Park to learn about historic forts from the Spanish American war and splash around in the seven mile stretch of ocean water. Also, consider taking a long walk along Beach Drive.
Where to eat in St. Pete
Breakfast spots are special in St Petersburg. You have many options when it comes to choosing croissants over French toast.
The Wooden Rooster
The Wooden Rooster is a restaurant you should visit for breakfast after you wrap up a long night of fun listening to live music in the city. If you are looking for a St. Pete take on a French staple, then the Wooden Rooster is the perfect place for you to sit and enjoy a sweet or savory crepe.
This casual cafe creates plenty of delicious handmade crepes just for you to devor as you please! Try my personal favorite, the apple melt: caramelized apples, brie cheese and chicken!
Diner food feels like home for a lot of visitors. Get your helping of hubcap-sized pancakes at Trip’s Diner. You can easily start your day at Trip’s and come back there for dinner! Trust me when I say you won’t be the first to do that.
Serving up American staples, Trip’s Diner will have you smiling when your food promptly arrives. Trip’s Diner is also not your standard diner. The entire menu spans from juicy wings to marsala pasta for lunch, back to waffles and eggs benedict for breakfast.
Try the highest quality coffee beans by stopping in at Kahwa for your morning cup of joe. Enjoy your Kahwa coffee with an excellent pastry item, too. Kahwa Coffee is proud to be Tampa Bay’s pick for the best local brew, so you’ve got to taste what all the hype is about, right?
Intermezzo Coffee & Cocktails
So if you are interested in finding the best matcha tea in St. Pete, be sure to visit Intermezzo Coffee. This place is also aesthetically pleasing if you run an Instagram account and need to explore a cut spot to take a lot of coffee pics!
During the day sip on matcha tea and after the sun sets prepare yourself for a sultry nighttime atmosphere when the entire place changes things up a bit. Get ready to sip on a bourbon cocktail while some classic vinyl tunes set the mood.
Bandit Coffee Co.
Need to get some work done while away on vacation? Look to Bandit Coffee Co. for a Wi-Fi sanctuary complete with chai lattes and cold brew.
The view won’t be so bad, either. The large glass windows allow you to sit back and enjoy the greenery of Central Avenue as you type away on your laptop.
Red Mesa Cantina
Take a trip to Red Mesa Cantina if you need to satisfy your Mexican craving while on vacation. From shredded beef tacos to burritos with steak-tips, Red Mesa has Mexican food down to a science.
The view from the newly renovated rooftop bar is also a great reason to eat at Red Mesa for lunch while in St. Pete. Both indoor and outdoor dining will suit your liking at this local favorite. On the weekends you can hear live music playing while you take one bite after the other out of your Sirloin Chorizo Burger, another classic Red Mesa dish.
Tapas and flatbreads? Some of the best sushi rolls? You’ll find a mix of everything at The Lure in downtown St. Pete. The laid-back atmosphere draws in the crowds during the weekends. And who can forget about all-you-can-drink $11 mimosas on Sundays? The Sunday brunch specials are especially fit for out-of-towners eager to try some new food! You can also play a round of pool with your pals while you anxiously await a taste of The Lure’s mouthwatering staples.
Home to St. Pete’s best burgers, you can’t make a stop in the city without checking out the delicious menu at The Ave. This place is also conveniently located next to Park and Rec which is one of the hottest late night bars in town. It’s easy, try one of the best burgers at The Ave and then stay a while until you walk over to Park and Rec a few hours later where you can play skee ball at this cool arcade bar.
St Pete isn’t just a place for old folks anymore, it’s a lively city packed with activities for young people, too. The Avenue considers itself to be a hip spot– always keeping up with food trends. The dishes definitely live up to their reputation.
Bodega Comida Cantina Cafe
Ah, Cuban food. If you want to escape the noisy and hectic streets of Miami to find authentic Cuban eats, just come to St. Pete instead where you can munch on a really good Cuban sandwich at Bodega.
The fresh made-to-order meals at Bodega are always complete with a sparkling glass of sangria. Make your way over to Bodega and walk right up to the window to order your lunch. Authentic plantains, rice, beans, a lot of flavor are all things to expect at this Latin American spot. The prices here are also reasonable if you are sticking to a budget on your trip.
Urban Brew & BBQ
Homemade barbeque = Urban Brew & BBQ. Chef Chris whips up gourmet mac & cheese and smoked meat at his restaurant, Urban Brew & BBQ. Definitely try “The Thing”. It includes cornbread waffles, smoked pulled pork, cheddar cheese, slices of bacon, an egg, topped with bacon gravy!
You can’t have comfort food without mac ‘n cheese. The Best of the Bay award was granted to Urban Brew for the best mac & cheese around as they host southern home cooking at its finest. Their in-house dishes will not disappoint.
True Italian food can be tasted at Il Ritorno. The menus are seasonal and Chef David puts his culinary background to the test in every new dish he brings out. Pasta in this contemporary restaurant keeps guests satisfied because of the changing options. Flavorful Italian cuisine from scratch! Try the Mezze Rigatoni or the Roasted Duck Breast for dinner.
Birch & Vine
Another outstanding contemporary American restaurant to dine at is Birch & Vine. Located on bustling Beach Drive, Birch & Vine continues to be a top-rated evening restaurant for couples and families. If you need a spot for a date night, Birch & Vine makes the list. Try the steak or salmon.
Annata Wine Bar
The ultimate tapas bar can be found at Annata Wine Bar. The atmosphere at Annata embodies elegance and sophistication and the meals always impress guests with their level of richness.
The extensive wine list will have you pleasantly surprised upon arrival. The cheese boards are what make Annata so famous, too. Expect a wide variety of appetizers to split among friends at Annata.
Dessert in St. Pete
Mini Doughnut Factory
We take our doughnuts very seriously in the Sunshine State. Mini doughnuts, to be exact. One of the newest dessert places to pop up in downtown St Pete is the Mini Doughnut Factory. You can stop in to pick up a handful of gourmet mini Donuts ranging from traditional birthday cake flavor to gooey chocolate peanut butter.
Each doughnut is homemade and fresh. Your custom creations will be ready to eat in seconds as they are dipped in sweet icing and topped with funky fruity pebbles, coconut flakes, or cotton candy pop rocks.
Where to go out in St. Petersburg, Florida
Green Bench Brewing
The first microbrewing company of its kind develops its own line of handcrafted beers right in St. Pete. Locals love hanging out in the Beer Garden tasting the finest St. Pete brews until twinkling lights.
Green Bench continues to be featured for their efforts to create the best beer in the world. Don’t just shop local, drink local!
Park & Rec
A hot spot for the younger crowd is Park & Rec. This expansive lot holds enough space for an arcade, rows of corn hole, air hockey machines, room for a live DJ, and plenty of elbow room for boozy shaken drinks to hold on the dance floor. Located right next to The Avenue, Park & Rec prides itself on being called an “adult playground”.