No one does laid back, hipster beach vibes in the US quite like St. Petersburg in Florida. Along with award-winning beaches, St. Pete has an uber-cool downtown area, bursting with boutique shops, street art and hip restaurants.
St. Petersburg, [known as St Pete to locals], is located between the Gulf of Mexico and beautiful Tampa Bay. The city is well-known for its warm weather, beaches and for having the accolade of “most consecutive days with sunshine” at 768 days!
If you’re short on time, a weekend in St Pete is a perfect amount of time to get to know some of city’s highlights and to also hit the beach!
Weekend in St. Petersburg Florida
Planning a vacation in St Pete Florida
A vacation in St Pete will require a little travel planning, so you know where you want to visit, where to stay and where you want to eat.
You’ll learn what’s new in the travel industry on this show. There’s also travel hacks, destination inspiration and stories of travel adventures from around the world.
Catch some rays on St. Pete Beach
St Pete Beach was ranked No. 4 Best Beach in the U.S. by TripAdvisor in 2019 and nearby Clearwater beach was ranked at No. 1!
It’s easy to see why this beach is subject to acclaim, St. Pete Beach is the longest stretch of undeveloped public beach in the county.
The beach almost looks unreal with gleaming white sand, aqua blue waters and rows of neat parasols and sunbeds.
It’s pretty much as close to a perfect beach as you are going to get frankly. I almost felt as if I was cluttering up the place it was so immaculate.
St pete Florida beach
You can spend your day sunbathing, swimming and relaxing in this white sand paradise, or maybe partake in some water sports?
On St Pete beach, you can try stand-up paddleboarding, windsurfing, kiteboarding and parasailing if you are feeling particularly active?
Why not book your St Pete Parasail Flight in advance online? This way you can be sure you are going with a reputable company and you can also cancel up to 24 hours before if your plans change?
I would recommend taking a flight and getting some super cool, aerial snaps of the beach. It’s totally one of the most fun things to do in St Pete beach.
If you are just looking for some beach relaxation, then I think the best time to experience the beach is at sunset. You can watch the most dreamy sunset and see the sky explode with colour, it is a fantastic sight.
I would really recommend taking a GoPro camera with you on your St Pete trip so that you can get some awesome beach and kayak shots.
GoPro’s are waterproof and shockproof, so you don’t have to worry about them getting wet or dropping them in the sand.
Want more Florida travel ideas? Check out my article on fun things to do Clearwater Florida for inspiration.
Go on a street art tour with Florida CraftArt
The streets of St. Petersburg are full of creativity and colour, the hipster vibe is strong downtown. There’s a myriad of urban murals and craft beer joints ready to be discovered in Sunshine City. Make sure to wear your best flannel shirt darlings.
Many of the newest street art additions in downtown come from the annual mural festival called SHINE St. Pete, which takes place in October each year.
This annual festival celebrates the power and influence of street art in communities.
The festival also provides artists and non-profit arts organizations with critical operating support.
St Pete’s Walking Mural Tours
If you want to learn more about the street art of St Pete, then why not do a guided tour of Central Arts District in downtown St. Petersburg?
Florida CraftArt has a signature Walking Mural Tours every Saturday morning starting at 10-11:30 a.m.
The cost for the mural tour is $19 for adults, $11 for children ages 6-18, free for children under 5.
Visitors can hear the inside stories of the making of over 30 murals found in the four-block tour, ed by a local artist.
There’s something delightfully bourgeois about spending your vacation discovering street art, it sure beats just hanging out at your hotel right? It’s definitely one of the more hipster things to do in St Petersburg.
If you are into travel photography then it’s also a good chance to get some super cool urban snaps for your Instagram grid.
Popular murals around downtown St Pete include:
- Eye of the Storm by Ricky Watts
- You Are My Sunshine by Jeffrey Sincich and Josh Stover
- Time to Think by Derek Donnelly and Sebastian Coolidge
- Common Ground by Cecilia Lueza
The best part is that murals constantly change in downtown, due to the very nature of street art, so you never know what art you might get when you visit St Pete.
Go shopping on Central Avenue
Shops, cafes and craft beer bars, Central Avenue is where it’s at in St Pete.
The ‘600 Block’ has retained its 1920’s brick facade buildings and has repurposed them to contain boutique shops, breweries, cafes, record shops, and restaurants.
The block was supposed to be demolished to make way for redevelopment just before the real estate bubble burst in 2008.
A St. Petersburg city councilwoman had the idea to offer affordable rents to artists to revitalise the area and open up previously shuttered buildings.
St Pete Central Avenue shops
Central Avenue has now thankfully become an epicentre for hip shops, great eats and impressive art murals.
I’m not a huge fan of shopping normally but even I found the off-beat charm of this area utterly charming.
Sign me up for a flat white and a spot of vintage vinal browsing, I am the new queen of the hipsters.
You can spend a whole morning shopping here for unusual gifts, clothes and records and then stop for a coffee or have lunch in a happening spot like Bodega.
Some of the best shops in Central Avenue include:
- The Rock Shop
- Ashe Couture
- Retrograde Goods
- Baum Avenue Market
- Milagros Soap
Learn about surrealism at the Dali Museum
When The Dali first comes into view, you are sure to be blown away by the impressive and quirky architecture.
The museum has a huge collection of artworks from every stage of Dali’s career, as well as exceptional pieces from every medium of his artistic endeavours.
Here you can find sculptures, oil paintings, original drawings, prints and photos, along with original manuscripts and an extensive archive of documents.
Dali museum also incorporates mobile phone apps and cutting-edge artificial intelligence in exhibitions such as ‘Dalí Lives’.
This technology provides visitors with a modern and interactive way of learning more about Salvador Dalí’s life, from the person who knew him best: the artist himself.
The interior of the museum is also like a piece of artwork itself and is thoroughly captivating with clean lines and swirling staircases.
There is also a pretty outdoor area known as the ‘Avant-garden’ that is based alongside the waterfront of Tampa Bay.
It’s a tranquil and mathematical Garden that features fabulous plants, buses, dripping and pooling water and sculptures.
Dali Museum tour
The Dali offers a range of free Gallery Public Tours that are included with the admission price.
Learn more about this impress collection of Salvador Dalí works under the guidance of one of the expert tour guides.
There is a range of tours available throughout the day including:
- Gallery tour
- Architecture tour
- Garden tour
- Private tour (additional fee)
Have a Latin lunch at Bodega
Enjoy delicious Latin-inspired market dishes at Bodega on funky Central Avenue. The line outside for takeaway is huge, which is always a great sign with a local restaurant. Always follow the locals when looking for restaurants in a new destination.
This rustic spot prepares fresh, made-to-order food and is famous for its delicious Cuban sandwich, a local favourite.
It has a relaxed ambience and fresh juice bar, plus Latin American platters and smoothies.
You can always take your Cuban sandwich to go and enjoy it at one of the local breweries. Cuban sandwiches and craft beer go hand in hand right?
Grab a beer at Green Bench Brewing
Green Bench Brewing is an innovative craft beer microbrewery housed within a large, 6,000 square foot Waterhouse.
The 15 barrel brewhouse is popular with locals and visitors alike and headed up by craft beer connoisseur and Green Bench founder, Khris Johnson.
Bring a banging Bodega sandwich with you and settle in for an afternoon of craft beers and bants with your buddies.
Make sure to check out their speciality IPAs and ales, and explore the taproom and large beer garden.
Craft beer tour
Why not explore the rest of the St Pete craft beer scene on a Downtown Brewery Tour? On a Brewery Tour, you’ll be introduced to a wide variety of local brews featuring at least 3 breweries and take in a few iconic St Pete sights along the way.
It’s a fun and relaxed way to learn more about the local brew scene as well as get a bit of insider info on the culture and community of St Pete.
Have a relaxing dinner at The Rowe Bar at The Don CeSar
Treat yourself to dinner at The Rowe Bar at The Don CeSar. Elevate your beach bar game with some time at The Don’s stunning gulf front bar.
Grab a pre-dinner hand-crafted cocktail or craft beer and kick back on the expansive deck stretching out over the sand dunes. You have earnt it darlings.
Named after Thomas Rowe, the legendary founder of the Pink Palace, The Rowe Bar features incredible cocktails, vibrant coastal cuisine and cosy fire pits.
Typical menu items at The Rowe Bar include:
- West Coast Oyster
- New York Strip Steak
- Gulf Snapper
- Red Grouper
- Grilled Lamb Chops
These come with a fabulous choice of accompaniments including tater tots, asparagus and truffle mac and cheese.
Being British, I had no idea what a ‘tater tot’ is? I’m still not entirely sure but I do think they are rather tasty.
Learn how to play shuffleboard at the St. Pete Shuffleboard Club
If you are looking for unusual things to do in St Petersburg Florida then I recommend a visit to the St Pete Shuffleboard Club.
Founded in 1924, the St. Petersburg Shuffleboard Club is the oldest and largest (80 courts) shuffleboard club in the world.
Now, you might well be thinking ‘are you seriously suggesting I spend my vacation at a shuffleboard club full of oldies?’
Let me sell it to you, you can bring your own booze to the club and have a hilarious, wine-filled evening of learning the rules of shuffleboard, whilst surrounded by people of all ages.
St Pete Shuffleboard
The club is actually growing in popularity, especially with younger people. The ‘St Pete Shuffle’ is a free event for non-members that runs from 7-10 pm every week.
During this event, volunteers will teach you how to play and give you all the information about the rules and regs.
What began with a small group of hipsters out for some ironic fun on a Friday night, has turned into a scene so lively and cool it has been replicated in hipster Brooklyn.
These Friday nights regularly draw up to 200 locals, many with coolers full of booze, ready to shuffle and swig wine.
Go bar hopping in downtown St Pete
Nighttime is where downtown St Pete comes to life. If you want cool beats, giant fishbowl drinks and the chance to shake your thing, you need to head downtown kids.
The gorgeous Florida weather means that there are plenty of uber-cool beach bars, rooftop lounges and hip bars with outdoor seating.
Some of the best bars in St Pete include:
Mandarin Hide: this craft cocktail bar has been open since 2010 and is considered one of the founding venues of the St. Pete craft cocktail scene. This bustling bar cleverly mixes old-school and speciality cocktails with retro style interiors.
Saigon Blonde: This tropical-themed bar in the heart of Downtown St. Pete has tiki totems and sweeping murals to complement the electric menu of cocktails. The tiki bar gives way to a sultry tropical lounge with hanging lanterns, followed by a military-inspired bar at the back.
No Vacancy: This is a new cocktail bar with truly Floridian vacation vibes. The 2,600 sq foot establishment has an indoor and outdoor bar and offers punch bowls and local draft beers.
Explore St Pete’s waterfront area
If you are spending a long weekend in St Pete, you should have enough time to also take a stroll Downtown St. Pete’s impressive waterfront area.
This super modern area is located from Beach Drive to 3rd St, between 7th Ave N and 7th Ave S.
The Waterfront Arts District also home to a range of impressive museums including The Dalí Museum, the Museum of Fine Arts and the St Petersburg Museum of History.
This beautiful district also has shopping, galleries, restaurants, bars and lovely green spaces to walk around.
The waterfront area is used by the city for concerts, festivals and open-air events and welcomes some of the biggest names in music.
The Tampa Bay Blues Festival has been held at the waterfront Vinoy Park since 1995.
Have a boozy lunch at Trophy Fish
Have a chilled out cocktail and lunch stop at Trophy Fish. This cool “bait shop chic” restaurant has incredible, nautical-inspired and island cocktails that will transport you to the waters off Cape Cod.
It’s a curious mix of no-nonsense fish dishes and high-end cocktails where you can get some pretty rad Instagram shots.
The owners of Trophy Fish are also committed to supporting local fisherman by offering the freshest fish as part of their daily menu.
Because of this, the changes daily, so you never know what delicious fish dish you will be able to order until you rock up.
You can have your fresh fish in a variety of ways including in a taco, salad, sandwich or as a plate.
Shop at the Saturday morning Market
As part of your weekend break in St Pete make sure you do some shopping at the Saturday morning Market.
Located downtown in the Al Lang Stadium parking lot, [100 1st St. SE], the market is open Saturdays from 9 am – 2 pm from October to May.
At this bohemian street market, you can find over 125 vendors offering everything from farmers market items, coastal decor items, handmade soaps, painted signs and a range of other unique gifts.
It’s definitely one of the best places for shopping in St Pete if you are looking for boutique stalls selling a range of gifts and trinkets.
There is a range of items to suit every budget from $1 soaps, $3-5 ornaments, $10-40 art pieces as well as a range of foodie items to sample.
Make sure to swing by and treat yourself, you are bound to find something you love.
Where to stay in St Pete Florida
There are many hotels in the St Pete beach area to suit your budget and accommodation needs.
There’s a huge range of luxury hotels, boutique hotels, budget hotels and villas to choose from.
Some of the best hotels in St Pete include:
The Don CeSar
I stayed at the big daddio of hotels in St Pete, The Don CeSar. This huge hotel is affectionately known as ‘the pink palace’ and is frankly an Instagrammers dream.
The hotel is listed among the Historic Hotels of North America and it really looks like you have somehow wandered onto the set of the Great Gatsby?
Here you’ll find old-world charm meets nautical sophistication. Every single part of this hotel is photogenic, from the sea views, fire pits, modern bars and pristine outdoor pools.
The Don CeSar rooms
The Don CeSar has 277 luxurious rooms including 40 suites. Each room includes a flat-screen cable TV, desk, coffee-making facilities and an ensuite bathroom.
Selected rooms also offer a swish, private balcony or patio with stunning views of the Gulf of Mexico or the city.
Amenities at The Don CeSar include:
- 2 heated pools
- 3 lounges
- Concierge service
- Boutique shops
- 24-hour fitness centre
I would highly recommend a stay at this fantastic hotel if you are visiting St Pete for the weekend.
It’s a perfect hotel for a romantic getaway, a weekend with the girls, or a luxury spa weekend away.
Why visit St Petersburg fl?
St Pete is the perfect place for a weekend beach break in Florida with a touch of hipster cool.
The city has a super cool buzz about it with craft breweries exciting restaurants, art murals and boutique shopping.
This means you can do so much more than just lie on the beach here, there is a whole city to discover beyond the white sands.
What do you think of my guide to how to have a fun weekend in St. Petersburg Florida? Will you be visiting? Let me know in the comments below.
Getting to St Pete Florida
If you are flying to St Pete Florida, the major airports near St Pete are:
- 10 miles to St. Petersburg-Clearwater International Airport (PIE / KPIE)
- 18 miles to Tampa International Airport (TPA / KTPA)
- 55 miles to Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport (SRQ / KSRQ)
If you are flying to St Pete from the UK, there are approximately 37 direct flights between London airports and Tampa International Airport per week.
You can compare and book flights to St Pete and Tampa with Expedia. Search for discounted flight tickets from over 400 standard and budget airlines.
Recommended travel resources
Flights: To search for flight deals check out sites such as Skyscanner, Kayak and Travel Supermarket to compare the costs of flights. My top tip to save money is to fly mid-week and take just hand luggage if possible.
Accommodation: I love a nice boutique hotel on my travel and I regularly use Booking.com as they have fantastic flexibility and cancellation. I also recommend Trip Advisor and hotels combined for hotel browsing. Additionally, I use Airbnb and TrustedHousesitters for homestays.
Travel Insurance: I highly recommend you always get travel insurance for your trips. Check out my Travel Insurance Page to see out why. I recommend World Nomads or Post Office travel Insurance.
Group Tours: I love booking group tours as a cost-effective and convenient way of discovering destinations. I recommend booking a small group tour with G Adventures.
Travel Guides: My favourite travel guide books are Bradt Guides, Lonely Planet and Rough Guides.
For more travel tools, head to my bumper travel resources page now!