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Welcome to St. Pete, Florida’s Sunshine City, which holds the Guinness world record for the most number of sunny days in a row!
Thanks to its beaches, piers, museums, parks, restaurants, and water-based activities on the Gulf of Mexico, this Pinellas County city is a little slice of upscale heaven!
Our guide to fun things to do in St. Petersburg, FL shares why The Burg is worth a day trip from Tampa, a girls’ weekend, a couples getaway, or a family vacation in the Tampa Bay area.
Best Things to Do in Downtown St. Petersburg, Florida
Hop Aboard the St. Pete Trolley
There are two types of trolleys that help locals and visitors get around St. Pete.
First of all, there’s the Downtown Loop Trolley which covers The Pier, Museum of History, Renaissance Vinoy Resort, Museum of Fine Arts, BayWalk, St. Petersburg College, Courtyard Marriott, Open Air Post Office, Florida Holocaust Museum, USF St. Petersburg, Dali Museum, Hilton St. Petersburg, Hampton Inn & Suites, Chamber Visitor Center, and Pelican Parking, all for free!
The second is the brightly painted Central Avenue Trolley, which stops at destinations between St. Petersburg Pier at Downtown to Pass-a-Grille Beach at St. Pete Beach.
North Shore Park Sunrise Spot
North Shore is one of the best free things to do in St. Petersburg for those who are looking to keep fit or get a tan.
The area, which is also known as Old Northeast or Historic Old Northeast, has paths for walking and running and free volleyball nets.
Visitors like it for its free parking, restrooms, and faucets.
Keep an eye out for dolphins around the sea wall and arrive at sunrise for a vivid explosion in the sky.
Take Your Sketchbook to the Museum of Fine Art
Museum of Fine Art (255 Beach Dr. NE) showcases over 500 years of work through the mediums of paintings, photography, glass, sculptures, installations, and visual art.
Budding artists are permitted to sketch with dry utensils, i.e., pencils.
If you want to learn more about the museum and the work it holds, join the weekend Docent-led public tours.
There’s also a series of events that take place throughout the year.
For drink and food, stop by Café Clementine, which has indoor and outdoor seating.
Straub Park is split into two, North Straub and South Straub.
This public park is named in honor of William L Straub, who was the editor of the St. Petersburg Times for over three decades.
In winter, you’ll see scenes of a menorah candle for Hanukkah and the nativity on display, as well as the Christmas parade.
For more festive ideas, read our guide to St. Pete at Christmas.
Casual Ferry Ride
Looking for a fun way to get between St. Pete and Tampa?
Consider the seasonal ferry that cruises over Tampa Bay at approximately 29 knots (33mph).
Amenities include onboard snacks, a full-service bar, and restrooms.
Luggage and bikes are permitted.
Chihuly Collection for Glass Art
The purpose-built Chihuly Collection (720 Central Ave) displays Dale Chihuly‘s large-scale glass installations known for their gorgeous colors.
You can also see glass blowing in action at the Morean Arts Center (719 Central Avenue).
The Florida Holocaust Museum
Founded in 1992, The Florida Holocaust Museum (55 5th St S) documents the Holocaust, with exhibitions sharing stories of local survivors.
The museum has one of the few remaining railroad boxcars used by the Nazis to transport Jews and other prisoners to concentration camps like Auschwitz and Treblinka.
It is one of the largest Holocaust museums in the country, and, along with exhibitions, it also puts on events.
Catch a Game
Watch the Tampa Bay Rowdies tackle the competition during a soccer match at Al Lang Stadium.
The team has been playing since 2010 and are members of the USL Championship.
Season tickets and single-game tickets are both available.
Pick Up Local Produce at St Pete Farmers’ Market
You’ll smell it before you see it!
St. Pete’s Farmers’ Market takes over the area in front of Al Lang or Williams Park every Saturday morning.
Here, you can kick start your day of St. Petersburg activities with a coffee, lunch on artisan food, or buy fresh fruit and veg to cook with.
Vendors sell their produce under canopies, but the pathways are uncovered.
Demens Landing Park
Demens Landing Park provides views of Tampa Bay and is home to the American Theater In The Park amphitheater.
Families like this waterfront park for its shaded pavilions picnic areas with tables and grills, and the playground.
There’s a white bridge leading to Demens Landing Park that has a blue historic sign detailing the area.
The sign states that the park is located on the site of the first railroad pier in St. Petersburg, which was built by Russian nobleman Peter Demens in 1889.
Demens named the town St. Petersburg after the city in Russia.
There is a pretty mural of a girl cuddling a manatee next to Demens Park.
On a still day, the colors reflect in the water.
Learn more about the city’s murals during this 3-hour e-bike tour.
Pedal Along the St. Pete Trail
For sporty activities in St. Petersburg, the popular trail system spans approximately 37 miles and is used by walkers, joggers, runners, and cyclists.
The path takes in Downtown St. Petersburg, Vinoy Park, North Shore Park, The Dalí Museum, Mahaffey Theater, the Museum of Fine Arts, and the St. Petersburg Museum of History.
Other trails, such as the Pinellas Trail and the Progress Energy Trail, can be joined from the St. Pete Trail.
See a Show
Throughout the year, Broadway, dance, comedy, musical artists, and plays take to the stage of the Duke Energy Center for the Arts – Mahaffey Theater (400 1st St S).
It is also home to the Florida Orchestra and the St. Petersburg Opera.
The venue was built in 1965 and has a capacity of just over 2000.
It features European box-style seating, a ballroom space, and state-of-the-art audio and visual equipment.
Next door to the Mahaffey is the unusual-looking Dalí Museum (One Dalí Boulevard), where you can see the work of the legendary Salvador Dalí (1904-1989).
Visitors can explore the biggest collection of Dalí work outside of Europe, including paintings, drawings, book illustrations, prints, manuscripts, and photographs.
The striking building was created by architect Yann Weymouth, and the geodesic glass dome is called Enigma.
Visitors enjoy the Avant Garden designed to encourage ‘quiet reflection and soulful contemplation’.
The Dalí Museum is one of the best things to do in St. Petersburg, according to footfall.
Things to Do at St. Pete Pier
Sunbathe at Spa Beach
St. Pete Pier is not just a pier; it is also a beach!
Its Spa Beach (615 2nd Ave NE) has ocean views, free sun loungers, and Adirondack chairs.
There are restrooms close to the beach.
Christmas Tree and Market
Close to Spa Beach is the massive seasonal St. Pete Pier Christmas tree and charming Christmas Market.
Vendors line the pier while musicians sing Christmas songs; remember to bring some coins to throw in their guitar case.
Don’t miss the tinsel-clad palm trees dotted around the pier too.
Cool Off at the Splash Pads
What better way for kids to cool down and run off some energy than splash pads?
These fountains spontaneously sprout water while young children run through them.
There are chairs and benches for parents and carers to watch from.
St. Pete’s Glazer Playground (521 2nd Ave NE) has a variety of slides, swings, climbing structures, obstacle courses, and activity nodes for kids to go wild on.
There are several seating areas for parents.
The Glazer Family owns the Glazer Vision Foundation, and its work can be seen around St. Pete and Tampa.
Tampa Bay Watch Discovery Center
Spend time at the Tampa Bay Watch Discovery Center educational facility and visitor center to learn about the importance of preserving the local ecosystem.
Check out the interactive exhibits, displays, and educational programs to learn more about seagrass beds, oyster reefs, coastal habitats, marine life, and the Bay’s environmental challenges.
Learn About The Thicket
The pier also has a patch of local thicket, which is inspired by West Central Florida’s environment of mangroves, dunes, salt marshes, and estuaries.
The pier’s thicket has Sabal Palm, Buttonwood, and Saw Palmetto.
Admire Art Installations
You’ll find art all around the pier.
Work includes that of Tampa Bay native Janet Echelman’s Bending Arc, Los Angeles’s Nathan Mabry’s Myth (Red Pelican), and Belgium’s Nick Ervinck’s Olnetopia.
Dine with a View
You’ll be famished after visiting all of the above St. Pete attractions!
Consider the restaurant Teak at the end of the pier for elevated views and casual dining.
The menu consists of seafood, salads, sandwiches, pasta, and entrees.
Even if you don’t want to dine at Teak, take the stairs up for epic views over the pier.
The landscape also features Downtown’s shiny skyscrapers.
St. Pete Marina Photo Spot
Watch the boats bob in the water at St. Pete Marina, a coastal backdrop for your photoshoot.
This is where several cruise and boat tours depart from.
Go Dolphin Spotting
Go dolphin spotting on the Dolphin Queen!
Pier Cruises have been sailing in St. Pete for decades and offer a 90-minute tour of Tampa Bay to see the majestic beauties in their natural habitat.
Alternatively, join their sunset cruise or shelling adventure!
Floating Bar Experience
Gather your best pals and some cold beer; it’s time for a tiki tour!
This 2-hour rental features a floating bar, coolers, a speaker, and the chance to see dolphins while you chill with your friends.
World’s First Airline Monument
Not only is it a Guinness record breaker, but St. Petersburg also boasts of being the birthplace of commercial aviation!
Pilot Antony Habersack Jannus was the first to fly in 1914 during a round trip to Tampa in a Benoist Airboat Type XIV.
His paying customer and passenger was the Mayor of St. Pete, Mayor Abe Pheil.
You can see a copy of the Airboat structure at St. Pete Pier.
Keep an eye out for pelicans too!
As you can see, the pier is home to many of the free things to do in St. Pete; now, let’s head out of Downtown to the city’s lesser-known areas.
What to Do in St. Pete’s Other Neighborhoods
Woodson African American Museum of Florida
Learn more about African American history in the US at the Woodson African American Museum of Florida (2240 9th Ave S).
The museum is located in Jordan Park, the first African-American-developed public housing community, which was built in 1939.
It is named after Carter G. Woodson, the scholar who helped establish Black History Month in 1976.
Fairgrounds St. Pete
Get trippy at Fairgrounds St. Pete (2606 Fairfield Ave S) where visitors interact with the art.
This gallery gives you the chance to play with your photography!
Over 50 artists have contributed to the artwork, which includes a mermaid motel, ‘alleygator’, and an immersive scavenger hunt.
No trip to the coast is complete without some peel-and-eat shrimp!
The Big Catch at Salt Creek (1500 2nd St) is a waterfront restaurant that enjoys the ocean breeze from Harborage Marina.
There’s indoor and outdoor seating and entertainment most nights of the week.
Brunch at The Library
Brunch beside books at The Library (600 5th St S) located within Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital.
The menu consists of grits, omelets, burritos, pancakes, salads, and sandwiches.
Sip a Local Cider or Craft Beer
Visit the 3 Daughters Brewing (222 22nd St S) Taproom to taste IPAs, stouts, ales, lagers, and seasonal brews.
If you’re really interested in the process, you can join a guided tour.
Things to Do at St. Pete Beach
Sunbath on the Public Beach
An obvious thing to do at St. Pete Beach is to pack the car with sun loungers and a cooler and spend the day soaking up the sun by the Gulf of Mexico.
This award-winning beach has a huge stretch of powdery sand, so you can find a space of solitude or choose the busier end for a social visit.
The boardwalk trail between the parking lot and the beach is less than five minutes, but you can rent cabanas and umbrellas from Sand Dunes Beach Services if you don’t want to bring beach gear with you.
Restrooms and showers are located by the car park at 4700 Gulf Blvd.
And, if you want to avoid driving at all, use the SunRunner bus to drop you off at this beach access point, which is one of the most popular tourist attractions in St. Petersburg.
Leave your alcoholic drinks and pets at home; St. Pete Beach does not permit either.
You’ll see lots of activity in the water at St. Pete, mainly kayakers launching from the sand, people with rods, and birds diving into the sea for a good feed.
If you’re looking for a shorter walk to the beach with your kayak, consider Pass-a-Grille Beach, which also has better parking options.
The Pink Hotel
The Don CeSar Hotel (3400 Gulf Blvd) is a popular Instagram spot in St. Pete; its pink exterior attracts the lens of international photographers.
Located at Long Key, the Pink Lady was built on St. Pete Beach by Thomas Rowe for a lost love!
Many celebrities stayed here during the Golden Age of Jazz, and you can rent a room too.
If you already have reservations, consider booking a table for dinner where you can watch the sunset over the beach.
St. Pete Party Cruise
While there are many things to do in St. Pete at night, this 2-hour party cruise is pretty unique!
Set sail on the tropical-themed boat, which boasts an open bar and buffet-style dinner.
Live music is provided by the onboard DJ.
Customers enjoy the food and music and recommend doing the tour at sunset if possible!
There are plenty of drink options at every price point along St. Pete Beach.
Check out the Don Cesar, Dolphin Beach Resort, Bellwether, Jimmy B’s, Postcard Inn on the Beach, and Willy’s Booze and Burgers.
Alternatively, if you want to buy liquor for your accommodation, Norman’s has got you covered.
Corey Avenue Entertainment
One of the more unique things to do in St. Pete is spending time on Corey Avenue.
Here, you’ll be rubbing shoulders with locals while shopping and dining.
Choose from coffee or cocktails, then see what’s on at the Beach Theatre.
Corey Avenue Farmers’ Market
Pick up the perfect souvenir at the Sunday market, where vendors showcase their art, crafts, and jewelry.
Leave some room for fresh produce, sweet treats, and baked goods too.
Things to Do Near St. Petersburg
Kayak From Tierra Verde
See Tampa Bay from the water while giving your arms a workout during this 2-hour kayak tour.
The tour features clear kayaks, so you can see the marine life below you as your paddle!
Your guide takes you through mangroves and along the coast, with a stop a Shell Key.
Day Trip to Clearwater
Clearwater is a lively beach city which is also part of Pinellas County.
While St. Pete is quite laid back, Clearwater is a little more aimed at families and also couples who want to hit the bars.
The most popular attractions include sunbathing at the beach, playing in the Gulf of Mexico, taking advantage of the rides by Pier 60, fishing at Pier 60, shopping at the nightly market, and doing one of the boat tours that run throughout the day and early evening.
Parking is located close to Pier 60’s fishing pier, next to Clearwater Beach, but it can get very busy, so arrive early.
If you want to leave the car, check out this trolley service that departs from St. Pete.
Check out our guide to Clearwater for more.
Day Trip to Tampa
Tampa is a big city with a number of diverse neighborhoods.
You can spend time bar hopping and buying cigars in Ybor, stopping off at the museums along the Riverwalk, shopping at the upmarket Hyde Park Village, and dining at the hip Armature Works or Sparkman Wharf.
Check out our guide, things to do in Tampa for more!
St. Pete Travel Information
The nearest airport is Petersburg-Clearwater International Airport, and it is less than a 30-minute drive to Downtown.
It takes twenty minutes to drive between city attractions and St. Pete Beach, so plan your itinerary accordingly!
Note: Since the Gulf of Mexico suffers from the issue of Red Tide, which can cause respiratory illness and eye irritation, it is always best to check the Florida forecast on the NCCOS website.