Looking for the best things to do in St Petersburg Florida?
Of all the cities to visit in the state of Florida, St. Petersburg should be at the top of your list. Nicknamed, “The Sunshine City”, St. Pete averages about 360 days of sunshine per year, and holds the Guinness World Record for most consecutive days of sunshine, logging 768 days starting in 1967 and has yet to be beat.
St. Pete is located on a peninsula of a peninsula, allowing for this fun-filled city to be surrounded by beaches, natural wildlife, and located a close by for a day trip to other major fun-filled cities. Whether you spend your entire trip at the beach or embark on an adventure to uncover all the fun of the city, you are sure to have a great time.
There is really something for everyone to do down in St. Pete. Here are 19 things you can add to your itinerary for an adventurous vacation in St. Pete.
19 Best Things to do in St. Petersburg Florida
1. Visit the beaches!
St. Pete is known for its award-winning beaches. The titular St. Pete beach was ranked consistently by TripAdvisor for being one of America’s Top 25 beaches for over 10 years, but St. Pete’s presence on their ranking doesn’t stop there.
The entire western coastline of Florida’s peninsula is lined with beautiful award-winning beaches. When visiting, set aside at least one day to spend at St. Pete beach, Clearwater, Madeira, or Pass-a-Grille! These are just a few though. There are MANY more beaches to explore in this area!
Don’t worry if you don’t have your beach supplies with you on your trip. There are many stores lining the beach where you can grab not only beach souvenirs but also last-minute beach supplies. Don’t worry about packing light, because these beach front shops are a one-stop-shop for everything you could need for a beach day, from last-minute sunscreen to bathing suits for the entire family.
2. John’s Pass
ARRGH you interested in strolling through a historical weather event? John’s Pass was created by a hurricane in 1848 and passed through by a pirate, John Levique.
While there isn’t much pillaging to do nowadays, John’s Pass now operates as one of Pinellas County’s top tourist destinations. Whether you choose to stay in this area for the duration of your trip or stop by for a jet ski rental or a dolphin sighting tour, you are sure to have a whirlpool of fun.
After you spend your morning on the nearby beaches, head down to John’s Pass for dinner after a dolphin sighting tour. Grab an ice cream cone and stroll along the boardwalk checking out the shops and picking up some souvenirs to take home.
3. Visit Downtown St. Pete
Downtown St. Pete, or DTSP, is THE place to hang out. The vibes are there, the people are there, and there are tons of events that take place during the day before the night comes alive. DTSP is the place to be, whether you go as a family, a group of friends, or on a date night.
Several other entries on this list are even located Downtown! Have dinner at Cassis and then grab a gelato next door or down the sidewalk at Paciugo’s. Not into ice cream?
Get yourself an ice cream scoop at Kilwin’s to keep cool as you stroll along North Straub Park to get to the pier. If you’re in town during the summer, you can also attend St. Pete Pride, the largest LGBTQ+ pride celebration in Florida!
TIP: Figure out your parking arrangements before you arrive. Spaces fill up, cars line up, and it’s best to park in a city garage and walk than to park in a private garage for a pretty penny and a headache.
Does your trip fall on the beginning of the month? If so, check out First Friday St. Pete, a lively block party that brings the entire city downtown on the First Friday of the month.
See more: Best Bars in St Pete
4. Visit the new Pier
The old pier was once internationally recognized for its iconic inverted pyramid design. Due to aging infrastructure, that pier was torn down and a new, modernized pier stands in its place.
The new pier opened in 2020 and welcomes more space for people and events. Once you get to the pier, take plenty of pictures and immerse yourself in the sights, sounds, and smells of this lively footpath. Or head straight to the pier and spend hours dining, drinking, exploring, watching live music, and enjoying the park and picnic area.
Whether you decide to bring along a fishing rod or not, you might see native Floridian marine life, like dolphins, stingrays, and horseshoe crabs!
5. Downtown Nightlife
There are several places to head to have a drink, dance, and listen to live music in the company of friends and fun locals.
There are many places lined up for you to have a bar-hopping night. After having a delicious dinner at one of the waterfront restaurants, walk off the calories and burn more as you dance the night away with good music and even better company.
Or if you’re tired of walking, try a mobile bar riding through the streets of downtown or a bar on the water set behind the new Pier. Have you been to a speakeasy? Keep exploring and you might find a handful hidden in plain sight. One of the best things to do in St Pete.
6. Support local businesses
Local business is booming in St. Pete and there are many places waiting to cater to your appetite. Right in the heart of St. Pete are Mazzaro’s Italian Market, an Italian deli and specialty grocer. What are your interests? Food, fashion, or books?
There is a delicious restaurant that beats the bigger names. Afterward, go window shopping down Central Ave and find yourself hand-picked or hand-crafted products, with great local businesses lined up one after another.
7. See the Murals
Bring your walking shoes downtown with you because in addition to all the walking you’ll do exploring DTSP, Central Ave is also home to beautiful murals lining up and down the street.
Stroll on by to count the murals on your own, or refer to a map of St. Pete murals so you don’t miss a piece of art.
Whether you take pictures on your phone to send home or hire a local photographer to take unique portraits of you and for family, these murals also serve as great backdrop to beautiful and unique pictures that help you appreciate the beauty and art of our city.
8. Visit Museums
Daytime is a great time to explore the many museums have to offer. If you’re still feeling inspired after seeing the murals up and down Central Ave, take a visit to see the surrealist artwork by Salvador Dali at the Dali Museum.
Still inspired? A little way down is the Museum of Fine Arts. Still feeling artsy? Consider a visit to some of the many art museums located downtown, or experience Fairgrounds St. Pete, an art experience taking over St. Pete social media by storm.
If you’re in the company of a little one, visit the Great Explorations Children Museum. Attached to this museum is Sunken Gardens, a garden filled with lush exotic plants right in the backyard of Downtown St. Pete. For further educational experiences, consider the St. Petersburg Museum of History or the Florida Holocaust Museum.
There is much knowledge to be gained in St. Pete, with most museums located centrally in Downtown St. Pete. For more learning, there is even the Discovery Center and Wet Classroom at the new Pier or classes and tours to take at local wildlife preserves.
9. Visit Nature Preserves
If you enjoyed Sunken Gardens and would like to see the other natural offerings of Saint Pete, then you should visit the several nature preserves all located on the peninsula.
Strap on your good walking shoes, fill a water bottle, and bring your binoculars or a camera to get in touch with your natural side at one of St. Pete’s several nature preserves. Whether you go to enjoy a quiet nature walk or bring a field book to identify local organisms, you are in for a self-guided adventure amongst the flora and fauna of sunny St. Pete.
See the birds at Boyd-Hill and Weedon Island, spot an alligator at Sawgrass Lake Park, or spend some time hiking and viewing mangroves at Fort DeSoto National Park. Some of these parks offer camping and picnic areas, so do your research and plan accordingly.
TIP: Plan accordingly during the hot summer months! The heat, humidity, and mosquitos can be BRUTAL.
10. Go to a sports game
Tampa Bay, also known as Champa Bay, is known for having championship-winning sports teams. Depending on the season you visit, you can catch a Rays baseball game or a Rowdies soccer game right in the heart of downtown.
If you’re interested in seeing other local teams about an hour away in Tampa, catch a Tampa Bay Buccaneers football game or a Tampa Bay Lightning Hockey game. Want to skip the arena crowds? Find a local sports bar and dawn a team’s colors to root for them as they score against other national teams. The sports don’t end there.
Also in Tampa is the New York Yankees’ spring training, local teams, and college sports teams like the University of South Florida!
11. Saturday Morning Market
This next entry marries a few aspects of some previous ones. What do you get when you combine the lively Downtown atmosphere, the St. Pete sunshine, and local business altogether? You get the Saturday morning market!
Begin your Saturday morning by viewing the fresh produce, foods, and handmade crafts in our downtown area. Put on a shady hat and sunglasses and have a cool local drink as you listen to the live music or view unique pieces on display from local artists.
Have a snack or do your weekly shopping, you are sure not to leave the Saturday Morning Market empty-handed.
12. See the Sunshine Skyway Bridge
The Sunshine Skyway bridge is an internationally recognized bridge known for its tall golden support beams. It is also the bridge that connects the south of St. Pete with Sarasota.
To see this bridge in person and admire its architectural glory, you can do a couple of activities that place the bridge as a backdrop. To get up close and personal by actually crossing the bridge, consider a day trip to Sarasota, where you can visit the beautiful Ringling Museum or enjoy a shopping trip at The Mall at University Town Center.
If you’re in the mood to stay on the St. Pete side, spend a day at Fort DeSoto Park and visit the beach there. View the famous mangroves of the bay area with the beautiful bridge in the background. Get even closer by grabbing lunch from Publix and having a picnic at the Sunshine Skyway Memorial Park.
As a final option to get personal with the famous bridge, grab your fishing rod and visit the Sunshine Skyway Fishing Pier, the world’s longest pier, and catch your dinner while enjoying the sights, sounds, and smells of fishing in the sunniest city in Florida.
13. Get outdoors
If you’re not tired of all the fishing and nature walking you could do, consider a unique camping experience in the tropical climate of Florida.
St. Pete isn’t really known for its camping activities, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get in touch with your natural side and sleep amongst the flora and fauna in the few locations with beachfront camping opportunities. Fort DeSoto Park has many outdoor offerings from exploring the aged architecture of the old fort, enjoying the beaches lined by mangroves, and the many walking paths that weave through the park. The park also offers campsites based on the amenities you seek.
Fort DeSoto can be a popular camping destination for tent and RV campers, so if you’re looking for another option, consider KOA Madeira/Clearwater.
14. Go Shopping
Is your wallet still intact? Can you handle more shopping? If so, St. Pete is in the heart of several great shopping destinations.
The most local option is Tyrone Square Mall, but if you’re in the mood to shop for more luxury brands, consider an international plaza in Tampa or The Mall at University Square in Sarasota. These are just a few options with many shops and luxury brands.
St. Pete and its neighboring cities all offer great shopping destinations, so consider visiting a mall (or two!), having a meal at the food court, and shopping till you drop!
15. Visit a natural spring
These next few entries are great day-trip options, but it’s worth the drive to see some of the great attractions located outside of the city that give you a taste of just how much activity the beautiful state of Florida has to offer you.
or the coolest, bluest water not found on a beach, considering visiting a natural spring and having a dip. Not in the mood to swim?
Some parks also offer tubing and boating allowing you to soak in the sun without the sand. The closest three springs you can visit from St. Pete are Werner-Boyce Salt Springs State Park, Weeki Wachee Springs State Park, and Lithia Springs Park. On a hot Florida day, these springs are sure to cool you off.
16. Visit exciting attractions
Perhaps all the art, walking, and nature I’ve been suggesting are not up to your speed. You must be a thrill seeker, seeking something invigorating that pumps adrenaline through your veins.
For a fun night out, consider visiting Celebration Station in Clearwater where you can play a round of mini golf, hit baseballs in the batting cages, and race your opponents on a go-kart track. Is a fun day of light competition not thrilling enough for you?
Then visit Busch Gardens Tampa, an amusement park with the tallest and fastest attractions in Florida set in a park that also cares for exotic animals and educates about conservation. If you’re seeking even more thrills, consider a day trip to Busch Gardens’ sister park, Sea World about two hours away in Orlando, or hit up the other major amusement parks also located in Orlando.
17. Visit Local Aquariums
Another option that’s great for families is visiting local aquariums that are each located just outside of St. Pete. You can visit the Clearwater Aquarium, which was once the home of Winter the Dolphin, a dolphin famous for losing her tail in a boating accident and becoming the first aquatic animal to dawn a prosthetic tail leading to her long life after the accident (RIP Winter, you will be missed!).
Or you can travel east into Tampa and visit the accredited Florida Aquarium, which showcases many exhibits and habitats and prides itself on being the largest aquarium in Florida.
18. Go to a brewery
Maybe rollercoasters and competition are not up to your speed but you’re looking for some responsible adult fun. Then you should visit the local breweries in St. Pete, which include some of the best brewing companies in all of Florida.
Tour a brewery, have a flight or enjoy live music and activities hosted by each brewery. As a bonus for when you’re hungry, check which nights your chosen brewery hosts a local food truck. As a bonus, St. Pete is also home to a local winery, so consider touring, trying, and buying at the Florida Orange Groves Winery!
19. Visit Neighboring Cities
Finally, consider spending a day trip in a nearby city. First, there’s Tampa, which is less than an hour away from St. Pete by car. You can visit downtown Tampa and catch a concert or hockey game at Amalie Arena or shop till you drop at International Plaza.
Visit the animals at Zoo Tampa or brace all the roller coasters at Busch Gardens. Want to have some more fun? The Hard Rock Hotel and Casino is also there. If you’re in town during the right season, you should visit the Florida State Fair. Yep, that’s right.
The Florida State Fair takes place on the Florida State Fairgrounds in Tampa, less than an hour away from St. Pete (and very close to the Hard Rock!). With all these options, it’s hard to choose which attractions to consider for your itinerary. Don’t fret, you can do most of these attractions and more by purchasing a Tampa CityPASS, which includes admission to 5 attractions within the Tampa Bay Area.
Tip – Get a CityPass
Tampa Bay isn’t the only nearby city that offers a CityPASS. Consider spending a day in Orlando, too, and purchasing theme park tickets at a reduced price with CityPASS. Naturally, anyone visiting Florida within a driving distance of the major tourist destination of the country may plan to spend a day at an Orlando theme park.
Major theme parks and water parks of the city aside, Orlando is also filled with tons of other great attractions. Consider visiting the Orlando Eye at Icon Park, the World’s Largest McDonald’s, Disney Springs, Universal’s CityWalk, and many more! Don’t forget about the tons of shopping malls and gift shops, like the World of Coca-Cola, M&M, and American Girl Orlando. There’s also the Medieval Times Dinner Show.
We hope that this list provides you with great ideas and activities for your trip to sunny St. Pete! Whether you spend a day at the beach or engage with the local culture downtown, St. Pete has many offerings for you to enjoy at any time of the day, any time of the year. There are so many things to eat, see, and do, so rest well and be ready to have a jam-packed, fun-filled vacation in this city!
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