St. Petersburg, Florida

If you like the sun then you will love St. Petersburg’s 361 days of annual sunshine. St. Pete is the Sunshine City in the Sunshine State. You’ll also enjoy its quaint downtown, multiple museums and the waterfront along Tampa Bay.

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1 Welcome Sign on Interstate 275 in St. Petersburg, Florida

St. Petersburg is proud to welcome visitors to their city. Two of these towers with a Mediterranean Revival style were built in the 1980s along Interstates 175 and 375. But after the eight-lane Howard Frankland Bridge was finished over Old Tampa Bay in the 1990s, no sign greeted incoming traffic on Interstate 275. That changed in 2012 when local businessman Bill Edwards donated $600,000 to construct this pink sign that says, “St. Petersburg Welcomes You.”

[27.907297, -82.632162]
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2 Vinoy Yacht Basin Marina in St. Petersburg, Florida

As you might have guessed, the namesake for St. Petersburg is the city in Russia but you probably don’t know why. According to legend, the two men who co-founded the town in 1876 flipped a coin to see who would name it. Peter Demens won so gave it the name of his birthplace. Today, the City of St. Petersburg has a population of about 250,000 people which makes it the fourth largest in Florida. But when you are sitting along the downtown waterfront and looking at Vinoy Yacht Basin, you feel like you are in a charming European town.

375 2nd Ave NE, St. Petersburg, FL 33701
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3 Entrance of The Vinoy Renaissance Hotel in St. Petersburg, Florida

Over a bet during a golf game in 1923, businessman Aymer Vinoy Laughner purchased waterfront property in St. Petersburg and built this magnificent, 375 room hotel that still bears his name. It opened for a gala party on New Year’s Eve in 1925. For the next two decades it served a long list of the social elite. However, by the early 1970s, it had declined into a boarding house and finally closed in 1974. After 18 years of being a haven for the homeless, it received a $93 million renovation and reopened in 1992 to its former glory.

501 5th Avenue NE, St. Petersburg, FL 33701
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4 Tower of The Vinoy Renaissance Hotel in St. Petersburg, Florida

This exquisite bell tower is part of the The Vinoy Renaissance Hotel which was built in only ten months during 1925. It was designed by architect Henry L. Taylor. The style, which is called Mediterranean Revival, was popular among coastal resorts in California and Florida during the 1920s and 1930s. Its ornate features were meant to portray the grandeur of a European palace. This building was doomed to the wrecking ball in the early 1980s but fortunately it was extensively renovated. The hotel’s website justifiably boosts that it is, “Pink, proud and perfectly preserved.”

501 5th Ave NE, St. Petersburg, FL 33701
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5 Museum of Natural History in St. Petersburg, Florida

Since its founding in 1921, The Museum of Natural History has collected a treasure-trove of historical artifacts and archives about St. Petersburg and Pinellas Peninsula. In addition to its permeant displays, it frequently hosts temporary yet fascinating exhibits. The sculpture in front of a paperboy wearing knickers and handing out newspapers is called, “Get the News.” This work by J. Seward Johnson Jr. celebrates when St. Petersburg was declared to be the Sunshine City by the owner of The Evening Independent newspaper. Lew B. Brown backed up his claim by giving away his newspaper on any day that the sun did not shine. From 1910 until 1986, daily editions were only given away 76 times.

335 2nd Ave NE, St. Petersburg, FL 33701
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6 Comfort Station One Restroom in St. Petersburg, Florida

I am thrilled when traveling to find any public restroom, even a smelly porta potty will do, but I have never seen such an elaborate facility as Comfort Station One. It was built in 1927 with an octagonal, Romanesque Revival style that was designed by Henry S. Taylor. He was the same architect responsible for so many of the prestigious buildings in St. Petersburg. You “gotta go” see it!

103 2nd Ave NE, St. Petersburg, FL 33701
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7 Bike Parked at Spa Beach Park in St. Petersburg, Florida

Along the Tampa Bay waterfront in St. Petersburg is a 6.9 acre public park called Spa Beach. As you can see, all you need is a towel to sit down and enjoy a day on this gorgeous white sand. If you get bored, you can rent a paddleboat or jet ski. There are also several restaurants, shops and other amenities nearby.

574 2nd Ave NE, St. Petersburg, FL 33701
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8 St. Petersburg Pier in St. Petersburg, Florida

After it opened in 1973, the St. Petersburg Pier became a vibrant destination for shopping, restaurants, bars, events and an aquarium. It also offered spectacular views of Tampa Bay from the observation deck. However, this inverted pyramid structure was closed in 2013. Plans have been proposed to replace it with a new design but as of May, 2015, the selection committee is still deliberating the options.

899 2nd Ave NE, St. Petersburg, FL 33701
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9 Brown Pelican on The Pier in St. Petersburg, Florida

The Pier in St. Petersburg, Florida, has been closed since 2013 and will soon be demolished. It once was a popular location for anglers but it is now largely deserted. But apparently some of the best local fisherman never got the memo because a flock of these brown pelicans perch on the wooden pilings while waiting to ambush an unsuspecting meal.

899 2nd Ave NE, St. Petersburg, FL 33701
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10 Boy Fishing in North Yacht Basin in St. Petersburg, Florida

This little boy is fishing from a concrete wall at the edge of the North Yacht Basin which is a harbor of Tampa Bay in St. Petersburg. Behind him is the large, tree-lined and very relaxing North Straub Park that stretches for almost a half mile. It’s the perfect place to sit on a bench and watch the boats in the marina or enjoy a bagged lunch. If that’s too subdued for you, come back for their scheduled movies and live concerts.

400 Bay Shore Dr NE, St. Petersburg, FL 33701
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11 Front Façade of Museum of Fine Arts in St. Petersburg, Florida

The Palladian style façade of the Museum of Fine Arts in St. Petersburg looks similar to an ancient Greek or Roman temple. Inside is a huge collection of art “from antiquity to the present” including some by masters such as Claude Monet. It also has a Steuben Glass gallery. Founded by Margaret Acheson Stuart in 1965, the museum celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2015.

255 Beach Dr NE, St. Petersburg, FL 33701
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12 Hazel Hough Wing at Museum of Fine Arts in St. Petersburg, Florida

The Museum of Fine Arts in St. Petersburg went through a significant expansion in 2008 along the back or waterfront side of the original structure. Called the Hazel Hough Wing, it added an additional 33,000 square feet or doubled the size of the art museum. Those spacious windows offer visitors spectacular views of Tampa Bay.

255 Beach Dr NE, St. Petersburg, FL 33701
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13 Beach Drive Shopping District in St. Petersburg, Florida

St. Pete’s downtown shopping district is on Beach Drive. Here you’ll find quaint retailers, boutiques and galleries along a boulevard lined with palm trees. You’ll also discover museums, restaurants, bars and other entertainment venues tucked inside Mediterranean and Spanish looking buildings. It is also just a few steps away from parks and the waterfront.

300 Beach Dr NE #112, St. Petersburg, FL 33701
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14 400 Beach Drive Tower in St. Petersburg, Florida

The towering, 28 floors of 400 Beach Drive are visible wherever you walk along the waterfront district of downtown St. Petersburg. On the lower levels are the Chihuly Collection glass studio, the Morean Arts Center and a fine seafood restaurant. But the biggest attraction for those who can afford it are the condominiums. These seven figure units have stunning views of Straub Park, the Vinoy Yacht Basin and the waters of Tampa Bay.

400 Beach Dr NE, St. Petersburg, FL 33701
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