St. Petersburg, FL. Head South on 275 for 20 to 60 minutes (depending on traffic), and you are there. As Tampa’s sister-city, they it has a more relaxed, yet similar vibe to the Big Guava. In fact, according to the city website, their vision is to “be a city of opportunity where the sun shines on all who come to live, work and play. We will be an innovative, creative and competitive community that honors our past while pursuing our future.” (soure).
When most Tampa-dwellers think of St. Petersburg, they think of St. Pete Beach – a small strip of land jutting out into the Gulf of Mexico, St. Pete Beach offers white sand as soft as flour, perpetually warm water, and calm, relaxing surf…but enough about the beach. What about the city?
Downtown St. Petersburg has a ton to offer. If you are interested in venturing south, you should definitely have a plan for how to spend your day. Below is a suggested Saturday schedule. It’s time to brave the Howard Franklin Bridge – time to explore St. Pete!
Early Morning: Take in a Yoga Class at The Body Electric
The Body Electric is a fantastic, inclusive yoga studio hiding in a residential neighborhood in St. Pete. The studio itself used to be an ice factory, “which you can see in the thick brick walls, and the remnants of the cork insulation lining the walls of the studio.” (source). There are three large practice rooms, a yoga store, private showers, lockers, and even a lounge area. The teachers are diverse an eclectic, with the intro on their teacher’s page stating that “We subscribe to no dogma, and we are not the jealous types: yoga is vast, and a lifelong learning experience. We’re here to share with you everything we know and love about yoga!” (source).
If you are so inclined, this would be a magical way to start out a day trip to St. Petersburg. So climb into your car early, bring a change of clothes, and register for the 8:30 am Hot Hatha. The room will be heated to 95-100 degrees, and you will explore a variety of standing, balancing, floor, and inversion postures in this all-levels class. Get ready to get in a good sweat before taking advantage of The Body Electric’s showers.
Morning: Hit St Petersburg’s Saturday Morning Market
This market, which takes place every Saturday in Williams Park (right next to the Rowdie’s Stadium). Take some time to peruse dozens of fantastic vendors, and pick up some breakfast or coffee at one of the food stands while you are at it! The mission of the market is to “be the ‘heart’ of St. Petersburg — the place, more than anywhere else, that people feel a strong sense of joyful connectedness and creative community. While actual farmers, great food, interesting crafts, and live music are all wonderful elements of the market, this spirit of community is what really defines the market experience. Many customers have shared that they think that the market is the most significant improvement to the quality of life in St Petersburg.” (source).
You can take care of your grocery shopping for the week at their fantastically fresh farm stands, or just enjoy the ambiance as you shop around the art stalls and nab some samples from the food vendors.
Lunch: The Mill Restaurant
This classic American lunch menu offers elevated favorites. Whether you are craving a BLT, a “Southern Belle” salad, or something unique and summery like sweet pea hummus, the Mill Restaurant has got you covered. It has won several noteworthy awards, but all you really need to understand its greatness is a glowing customer review. One reviewer offers an insight into his experience at The Mill with this glowing recommendation: “I came here SUPER spontaneously while on a trip to Central Florida… I had some time to drive and the yelp reviews were practically unanimous! If you were visiting St. Petersburg and only had time for one meal, you can’t do much better than The Mill.” (source).
Recommended Order: Pimento Crab Corn Fritters and a BLT.
Afternoon: The Dalí Museum
Central Florida isn’t exactly known as an artistic mecca, but the Dalí Museum in downtown St. Pete is the exception that proves the rule. This stunning piece of architecture contains dozens of Dalí’s priceless work, collected by his friends and avid fans, The Morse Family. In the 1970s the couple donated their entire collection, and in 1982 it was moved to St. Petersburg. Now it is housed in a world-class museum that offers artistic revelations and beautiful history and celebration of Dalí’s life. Whether are not you are a fan of surrealism, there is no denying Dalí’s impact. Spending an afternoon in this gorgeous space will revitalize your appreciation for the arts. Make sure to ask the employees about their favorite pieces, they are quite knowledgeable and do not skip the free audio tour.
The Dalí Museum is also known for bringing in fantastic exhibits, which offer context for Dalí’s artistic influence. Whether it is a Disney Exhibit which chronicles the history of Salvador’s partnership with Walt himself (including an only recently released surrealist cartoon), or Dalí’s fascination and emulation of Leonardo Da Vinci, you are bound to learn more than you could have ever expected.
Don’t miss tying your visitor bracelet to the Wish Tree in the Avant-Garden as you exit the museum!
Evening: Take in the Sunset at Vinoy Park
Vinoy Park is a waterfront park that tragically lines the Bay and not the Gulf. Therefore, you will not be able to watch the sunset over the water, but you will be able to enjoy the softening, pink light of sunset bouncing off of the gorgeous trees and the nearby marinas. Vinoy Park is an excellent place for a walk, or as a home base for tying up a hammock. So take in the waterfront view and enjoy!
Dinner: Ceviche Tapas Bar
There may be a Ceviche in South Tampa, but the St. Petersburg location is absolutely worth the visit. It is located in a historic building in the middle of a bustling downtown, a far cry from the suburban feel of the South Tampa location, which is actually set to shut down. The floor to ceiling window, wrap around porch, and overall Catalan vibe is sure to charm you. What better way to end your day then over some shared tapas and a jarra of Sangía? Let the evening linger on in this stunning location. After all, it’s Saturday, you don’t have anywhere to be tomorrow!
Recommended Order: Grande Pitcher of Red Sangria, Tabla de Quesos, Gazpacho Andaluz, and Gambas Al Ajillo.