How To Spend One Day In St Pete, Florida – Things To Do & Where To Eat And Drink
St Petersburg (known locally as St Pete) in Florida is home to world famous art galleries, the world’s oldest and largest shuffleboard club and a foodie scene as vibrant as its street art. Whether you are just passing or staying for longer, let it capture your imagination. Here are some ideas about how to spend one day in St Pete, Florida.
Table of Contents
- 1 How to spend one day in St Pete, Florida
- 1.1 Discover St Pete’s passion for street art
- 1.2 Explore the coolest neighbourhood in town
- 1.3 Try the best Cuban sandwich outside of Cuba
- 1.4 Immerse yourself in the surreal world of Salvador Dalí
- 1.5 Stroll along the seafront and see the giant banyan trees
- 1.6 Indulge in fish tacos and delicious cocktails
- 2 If you have more than one day in St Pete
- 3 Other ideas for things to do in St Pete
- 4 Planning your trip to St Pete
- 5 Travelling in the US? Check out my other US articles
- 6 Like this post? Pin and save for later
How to spend one day in St Pete, Florida
Whether you are staying in the area or visiting on a day trip, St Pete is an obligatory stop in anyone’s Florida itinerary.
With 361 days of sun a year on average, St Pete is known as the ‘Sunshine City’. And with award-winning beaches, world famous art museums and a thriving street art scene, this urban paradise has a lot going on for every type of traveller.
So to help you plan your visit, it’s time for me to reveal a few of my favourite recommendations for how to spend one day in St Pete.
Discover St Pete’s passion for street art
St Pete has embraced the power of street art like no other city I’ve ever been to. This vibrant city understands that art brings communities together and for the last few years they’ve been celebrating this with the annual mural festival SHINE.
Many of the city’s murals originate from this festival, and today the city is alive with colour, with a very artsy and vibrant art scene that attracts visitors from all over the world.
If you’re in town on a Saturday morning and you’d like to learn more about the artists that create St Pete’s incredible murals and their work, you can take a guided tour from Florida Art Craft for only $19. You’ll hear the inside stories of the makers of over 30 artworks, and a portion of the proceeds goes towards the creation of future murals.
Explore the coolest neighbourhood in town
St Pete was once known as ‘God’s waiting room’, but today downtown, and in particular 600 Block, is bursting not only with some of the coolest murals, but with an array of local breweries, hipster restaurants and neighbourhood bars.
But it wasn’t always like this. 600 Block was once ear-marked for demolition to make way for development just before the property bubble burst in 2008. Then someone had the idea to offer affordable rents to artists and it became so popular that it is now at the centre of independent commerce in the city.
Taste local craft beer at Green Bench Brewing Co, shop for nifty fashion and sip cocktails at Brutique, where you can meet the celebrity resident beagle Ziggy, or marvel at Chihuly’s glass sculptures at the Chihuly Collection. There is so much coolness going on at 600 Block that you may need more than one day in St Pete after all!
Try the best Cuban sandwich outside of Cuba
While you are exploring Downtown St Pete, make sure you don’t miss out on visiting Bodega, a now iconic little street food joint that serves the most delicious Latin sandwiches. Their Lechon sandwich, a Cuban style roast pork sandwich, is the best thing I ate while in St Pete. The meat was really succulent and flavoursome, and the freshly baked and toasted ciabatta bread added the perfect crunch to it. Truly mouthwatering!
Bodega’s recipes are so good that it has become iconic. You order through a window, and it’s so popular that you will likely have to queue and you’ll be lucky to find any of their pavement tables free. But you can always take the food with you across the road to Green Bench Brewing Co and wash it down with some local craft beer.
Immerse yourself in the surreal world of Salvador Dalí
I was very surprised to find out that St Pete has a museum dedicated to the life and work of Salvador Dalí. The Dalí opened its doors in 2011 and is home to over 2,400 works by the Spanish artist. It is the largest collection of Dalí’s works outside of Spain, with 96 oil paintings, over 100 watercolours and drawings, as well as photographs, sculptures and other pieces of art.
But The Dalí is more than a museum where you can admire the pieces of art. Here you can immerse yourself in the paintings through augmented reality. With the aid of an app, you can travel through the paintings and discover each element and its symbolism, helping you get into the mind of the artist.
There is also a virtual reality experience called Dreams of Dalí, where you can navigate through the paintings and explore the artist’s surrealist world.
And if you are a lover of modern architecture, you will find the museum building worth a visit in itself. Shaped like a simple rectangle with a free-form bubble erupting from it, it is mesmerising to try and make sense of it. Once inside, the helical staircase is a nod to Dalí’s obsession with the shape of the DNA double helix.
The museum is open daily from 10am to 5.30pm (8pm on Thursdays) and tickets cost $25.
Stroll along the seafront and see the giant banyan trees
No visit to St Pete would be complete without a walk along the seafront, and Bayshore Drive is perfect for this. Following the shoreline you will walk past Mahaffey Theatre (also known as Duke Energy Centre for the Performing Arts), St Petersburg Yacht Club and the Museum of Fine Arts. Along the way you will also find Demens Landing, in the corner of Pioneer Park, where the first railroad pier in St Pete was built in 1889 by Peter Demens, a Russian nobleman. It was Demens who named St Petersburg after the capital of Imperial Russia.
Stop at North Straub Park and admire the two massive trees with exposed twisted roots. They are giant banyan trees. These trees can be found all over St Pete, but these two in particular are the most famous ones due to their size. They make for a great photo opportunity!
Indulge in fish tacos and delicious cocktails
Florida cuisine is massively influenced by latin food, and St Pete is no exception. So if you haven’t had tacos on your visit to the Sunshine City (and even if you have), then a visit to Trophy Fish should be on the cards.
Specialising in fresh fish accompanied by imaginative cocktails, the menu changes daily according to what the catch of the day is. As well as some delicious small bites, it was fresh red snapper on the menu when I visited and it was the perfect filling for tacos.
If you have more than one day in St Pete
Go shufflin’ at the world’s oldest shuffleboard club
St Petersburg Shuffleboard Club was founded in 1924, making it the first shuffleboard club in the world. It was here that the rules of the game were written, and in time it grew to become the largest club of its kind in the world. Today it still keeps that title, and while it was once a game for retirees, it has managed to reinvent itself and the popularity of shuffleboard is on the rise.
While you need to be a member to play here most of the time, on Friday nights between 7pm and 10pm it’s open to the public and you can play shuffleboard for free. The club gets very busy and there is a contagious party atmosphere that will draw you in. And you can bring your own drinks and food, so you can make a Friday night picnic out of it.
If you happen to be in St Pete on a Friday evening, don’t miss out on this unique experience. And if you don’t know how to play, don’t fret. A volunteer will talk you through the rules before you get started.
Get yourself down to the Saturday Morning Market
If you would like to witness St Pete’s sense of community come together, get yourself to the Saturday Morning Market. As its name indicates, it’s on every Saturday morning from 9am to 2pm in downtown St Petersburg between early October and late May. During the summer it moves to a more shaded spot in Williams Park, where it’s a bit smaller.
It’s been rated as one of the top 20 markets in the US (out of around 7,000!) and it’s the largest in the South East of the country. Here you can find local farmers selling their fresh produce, street food sellers from all over the world, artists offering their crafts, and live music. It attracts over 10,000 people every week and it’s an obligatory stop if you are in St Pete on a Saturday.
Stay at the legendary Pink Palace
If you are spending more than one day in St Pete, you will need somewhere to stay. So why not make your overnight stay an unforgettable experience by staying in an iconic and historic hotel?
The Don CeSar opened its doors in the glamorous Gatsby Era in 1928. St Pete was the playground for celebrities like F. Scott Fitzgerald and Al Capone, and The Don was the place to stay and play.
Today the famous Florida Pink Palace hasn’t lost that touch of glamour and it remains a Gulf Coast icon. Perched on the sand dunes of award-winning St Pete Beach, this historical hotel has been sympathetically brought into the 21st century without losing its original charm and elegance.
St Pete Beach was named the Number 4 beach in the US in 2019, so make sure you enjoy this fine white stretch of sand too. A great to time to go down to the beach is at sunset, where you can witness the day end and see the hotel bathed in a fiery light. A true spectacle no matter which way you look.
Other ideas for things to do in St Pete
- St Petersburg: Shell Key Nature Preserve Clear Kayak Tour
- Manatee and Dolphin Watching
- Beach Drive Premium Food Tour with live music
- Brewery Tours (by bus) around Downtown St Petersburg
Planning your trip to St Pete
Do you have any questions about how to spend a day in St Pete, Florida?
Let me know in the comments!
Travelling in the US? Check out my other US articles
- Fun Things To Do on a Santa Cruz Day Trip, California
- Things To Do in Gold Country – A Travel Guide to Tuolumne County, California
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Disclosure: A big thank you to Visit St Pete Clearwater, who hosted me on this trip. As always, all views are my own.