St. Petersburg, Florida, is a dream getaway for sun worshippers or those looking for a subdued southern escape. Located at the base of the Tampa Bay peninsula, St. Petersburg is surrounded by water on three sides. The picture-perfect locale means you are never far from the lull of crashing waves or stunning, panoramic ocean views. Most travelers flock to St. Petersburg to enjoy the area's spectacular white, sandy beaches. While the sun, sand and surf are intoxicating, the city offers so much more.
Florida is one of the most family-friendly travel destinations on the planet. If you are planning to visit St. Petersburg with multiple generations, and are interested in activities that will keep the entire clan happy as clams, consider these attractions:
- Great Explorations Children's Museum: Take a break from the beach to visit this mecca for hands-on exploration. Kids of all ages will enjoy learning about the wonderful world of touch from the museum's high-tech and traditional exhibits. Kids are given the freedom to explore music and science rooms, or they can learn how to design cars and sail boats.
- Suncoast Seabird Sanctuary: This one-of-kind public avian hospital gives visitors a bird's eye view of the work it takes to mend injured wildlife. The sanctuary is staffed by professionals and knowledgeable volunteers who care for and rehabilitate a variety of birds from herons and raptors to egrets and pelicans, and you get a front-row seat to see their efforts.
- Pier Aquarium: St. Petersburg's legendary Pier Aquarium boasts an ocean's worth of amazing watery exhibits. Visitors learn about different marine creatures and their environments. In addition, the educational facility allows guests to partake in a number of interactive exhibits, including the ultra-popular touch tanks.
Don't travel all the way to St. Petersburg without sampling the area's sumptuous regional cuisine. Dive into delicious dishes at these eclectic eateries:
- Guppy's: No trip to Florida is complete without dining on fresh seafood. Locals and visitors love the underwater eats at Guppy's. The outdoor dining area offers incredible views of St. Petersburg's sensational sunsets and mouth-watering epicurean delights such as blue crab tacos, Asian tuna filets and potato-crusted salmon.
- Habana Café: For adventurous palates, Habana Café offers a taste of the old country. Dine on authentic Cuban fare, including roast pork with white rice, black beans and arroz con pollo. The food is as vibrant as the setting, which is decked out in colorful murals and live Latin music.
- Six Tables: If you are celebrating a special occasion or simply have money to burn, head to Six Tables. The upscale restaurant pampers guests with an exceptional multi-course prix fixe menu, which includes appetizers, champagne, soup, salad, sorbet, an entree, cheese and fruit, and a decadent dessert.
Shopping in St. Petersburg is a dream for big spenders and frugalistas alike. The city offers an eclectic mix of traditional upscale department stores, trendy boutiques and antique shops. If you are looking for unique gifts and trinkets, don't miss these shopping centers:
- The Pier: This local landmark is a sight to see. The five-story complex juts over the water of Tampa Bay and features an inverted glass pyramid. Inside you can shop 'till you drop at popular chain stores and local boutiques. The shopping venue also boasts dozens of restaurants, an aquarium and boat rentals.
- BayWalk: This open-air shopping plaza caters to high-end shoppers. BayWalk is home to a collection of luxury stores, movie theater and upscale eateries.
- Grand Central Antiques District: Home to Florida's largest antique mall, this retro-style stretch of stores is a haven for treasure hunters. In addition to antiques, you can find distinctive jewelry, handcrafted accessories and stunning artwork.
Whether you are on a romantic holiday or in town for a reunion with your high school pals, St. Petersburg's nightlife has something for everyone. Top picks include:
- Tryst Gastro Lounge: This festive night spot comes to life at night. The vibrant drinks, pub grub, and party atmosphere make the club a must-visit for travelers looking to soak up the casual Florida vibe.
- A Taste for Wine: When you tire of sipping tropical libations on the beachhead to A Taste of Wine for a more sophisticated escape. This top-rated wine bar is a popular nightlife outing for those with upscale tastes. In addition to the excellent wine selections and outstanding microbrews, the bar offers live music, amazing appetizers and a hip outdoor balcony.
With so much to see and do in St. Petersburg, it's a good idea to research your options before making the trip. An excellent guide to city life can be found on the St. Petersburg/Clearwater Area Convention & Visitors Bureau website.