St. Petersburg, Florida is everything a vacationer dreams of. With its waterfront parks and welcoming Gulf Coast beaches, it’s nicknamed the “Sunshine City” for a reason. In addition to offering plenty of space to soak up the sun, fish, surf, and swim, things to do in St. Pete also has its share of family-friendly activities, cultural experiences, and a happening nightlife scene. It doesn’t matter if it’s your first or fifth visit to the area — you’ll find something new, exciting, and worth telling others about when you return home.
The area around Siesta Key offers plenty of things to do and see as a family. Depending on the age of the children in your party and the number of days you’re vacationing for, you have your choice of activities involving sand, pirates, and even famous artists like Salvador Dali. Take time to get to know St. Petersburg from a kid’s perspective. Chances are you’ll find it a pretty cool place to visit with your family.
Fort de Soto Park
Close to St. Petersburg and full of white, sandy beaches with lifeguards to boot. It’s a great place to spend time with your family because it’s close to nature trails, children’s playgrounds, fishing piers, and even a fort. You can rent kayaks and gain an entirely different view of the ocean or ride around the area on bicycles you can rent. The water is gentle, making it perfect for even the young vacationers.
Get to know the artist Salvador Dali and the works of art that he created at the Dali Museum. The Dali Museum offers a wide variety of kid-friendly activities such as stories, treasure hunts, and craft projects as well as almost 100 paintings. There’s also an outdoor waterfront garden that adds visual appeal to the attraction and grabs the kids’ attention. If you have an aspiring artist in your family, pique their curiosity with regular trips to art museums and galleries. St. Petersburg has many for you to choose from.
Houghton-Wagman Children’s Museum
While you’re at it, check out Great Explorations at the Houghton-Wagman Children’s Museum. The 24,000 square foot museum offers children age 10 years old and younger the opportunity to interact with exhibits (making messes is strongly encouraged). Great Explorations offers a number of national award-winning programs including its preschools, camps, field trips, and community outreach programs. Local residents and travelers alike love it.
Captain Memo’s Original Pirate Cruise
Take a two-hour trip with your family out on the water filled with music, games, and conversations with pirates. The ship travels along the Intracoastal Waterway and Gulf of Mexico, creating memories that last a lifetime. You can get complimentary beverages on the trip so you can quench your thirst without paying a pirate’s ransom.
Clearwater Marine Aquarium
Visit the Clearwater Marine Aquarium and get to know Winter, the dolphin with a prosthetic tail that starred in the movies Dolphin Tale and Dolphin Tale 2. Teach the younger members of your family about the different animals that are rescued, rehabilitated, and released into the wild. Stroll through the different exhibits and learn a thing or two about dolphins, stingrays, and turtles, and share that knowledge with the people you know back home.
Florida nightlife is like no other because of the warm weather, close proximity to the ocean, and culturally diverse venues. It doesn’t matter what type of music you like best — Rock, Reggae or Latin — you’ll find a bar, lounge, or nightclub serving up the coldest beers and hottest tracks every day of the week. Best of all, you can chat with friends, eat dinner, or dance the night away. That’s why St. Petersburg tops the list of fun cities in Florida to visit.
Canopy Rooftop Lounge
The Canopy Rooftop Lounge offers all the sights, sounds, and experiences a person could hope for in an outdoor setting. Instead of having drinks at ground level, why not go skyward and enjoy a different kind of scenery with your significant other or friends? The lounge serves a variety of draught, domestic, craft, and imported beers, as well as wine and spirits. It also hosts a ladies’ night with contests and specials.
Ale & the Witch
The Ale & the Witch offers free, live music daily in a unique atmosphere. So is it any wonder why this recommended night spot draws a crowd? Located in downtown St. Petersburg, the bar serves craft beers and provides plenty of space for you to chat with your company. After taking in all the sights during the day, doesn’t it feel good to kick your feet up and relax in a fun, inviting atmosphere?
See a show at the Mahaffey Theater. In addition to musical and dance acts, comedians, and magicians, the theater also offers ballet and plays. If you want to support the arts while you’re visiting St. Petersburg, this is one of the many ways you can do just that. Best of all, you get to sit in comfortable seats for the duration of the show. Laugh, sing, clap, and enjoy the time you have in the city, because everyone knows how fast a vacation ends.
Get acquainted with history by visiting the Manhattan Casino, a legendary spot for local African American artists. The 12,000 square foot, two-story building has seen its fair share of famous people including Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Nat King Cole, Sarah Vaughn, and Fats Domino. You can host a number of events there, so if you’re planning on getting married or hosting a corporate conference, you’ll have the perfect setting to do so.
See what types of events are going on at the Coliseum. Known as “The Finest Ballroom in the South,” the unique architecture of the building is one of the things that draws people to it. The Coliseum hosts a number of festivals, expos, and events. Check its event calendar to see if there’s something you’d like to attend during your time in Florida.
Sink your teeth into something delicious at one of St. Petersburg’s top restaurants. While visiting attractions, you’ll be hungry for something filling. It doesn’t matter whether you’re looking for American, British, Latin American or Mexican cuisine — you’ll find an array of dining options that meet the needs of even the pickiest eaters. Many restaurants offer meat-free and gluten-free options, too.
A popular tourist spot with its 260-seat capacity, New England-themed tavern food, and generous portions. Choose to eat inside or outside depending on the weather. Conveniently located across from the Museum of Fine Arts, it’s a staple in the community for lunch or dinner. If you’d rather just have drinks, check out the Happy Hour specials that give you the most bang for your buck.
Jacks London Grill
Jacks London Grill offers British food at reasonable prices. Serving classics like fish and chips as well as unique dishes like chicken pub curry, the tavern also sells a variety of fine and pub wines as well as draft and craft beers. The pub also hosts a Happy Hour with drink and food specials so you can dine early and beat the crowd.
Bodega Comida Cantina Café
Serving fresh street food with Latin American flavor. In addition to beef and pork dishes, the menu features organic, vegetarian, and vegan food, proving there’s something for everyone in St. Petersburg. Wash down your meal with a soda fresca, a Mexican Coke, or a colada. It’ll be a fiesta of flavors with every selection you order off the restaurant’s menu.
Known for its “Regional Mexican Food with Southwest Flavors.” Its menu offers a variety of bean soups, guacamole, salads, seafood, poultry, steak, pork dishes, in addition to classic enchiladas, tamales, and rellenos. Drop by for lunch or dinner. If it’s a Sunday, you can even enjoy breakfast at the restaurant.
Serving authentic Italian food fit for the whole family to enjoy. There’s pasta, pizza, and chicken parmesan, as well as Happy Hour specials. If you’re not in the mood to dine in, take your order to-go and head back to Siesta Key where you can eat in your rental with your family or friends.
Attractions: Places to See
With all the things to do in St. Pete, you won’t run out of places to see. In fact, the city is filled with attractions. You may have to schedule a second trip just to see them all. Among the most popular is the Sunken Gardens, one of the oldest gardens in the area. There are also opportunities to get acquainted with the city’s history throughout the day. Wear comfortable shoes if you plan on walking to or from your destination. Nothing ruins a vacation faster than a blister!
The Sunken Gardens is a plant lover’s dream. This 100-year-old garden has some of the oldest tropical plants in the region. It’s known as St. Petersburg’s “oldest living museum.” You’ll find incredible demonstration gardens, mesmerizing waterfalls, and over 50,000 tropical flowers and plants. The attraction offers tours, horticultural programs, and space for special events such as weddings and corporate events. Keep in mind, though, that the gardens may close during bad weather.
Kenwood Historic District
Located west of downtown St. Petersburg. It contains a neighborhood full of historic bungalows and tree-lined streets. It’s also home to the Artist Enclave of Historic Kenwood, a number of small businesses that support the arts. Some of the homes in the district date back to 1900s, making them as much of a historic icon as they are shelters for their residents.
Take a tour of the city and photograph the urban art murals on the sides of buildings. You’ll find incredible examples of the city’s talent wherever you go. The murals are present in alleyways and on rooftops, as well as on the fronts and sides of buildings. St. Petersburg is very supportive of its art community, providing many opportunities for artists to express themselves visually and vocally.
Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg
If the revving of loud engines excites you, don’t miss the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. Every spring, the festival offers its attendees a chance to see cars flying down the roadway at 170 mph. There are 14 turns in the 1.8-mile-long street course. The “World’s Fastest Spring Break Party” is part of the Verizon IndyCar Series and a lot of fun. The whole family can enjoy live music, food truck meals, and the kids’ build-a-racecar tent event.
Replay Amusement Museum
If you love old arcade and video games, you need to visit the Replay Amusement Museum. You’ll get access to games from the 1950s to today. If pinball is your favorite game, you’ll love the “Top 10 Pinball Machines of All Time.” If using a joystick is more for you, you’ll enjoy playing a game or two of Pac Man, Donkey Kong or Mortal Combat. This isn’t just a place for hipsters to hang out; old school gamers are welcome, too!
Things to Do: Activities to Do
The great thing about a city like St. Petersburg is there are many wildly fun and amazing things to do. It doesn’t matter what your interests are, because you’ll find plenty of adrenaline-producing, entertaining ways to spend your time in the city. No matter what activities you plan on doing there, you’ll leave St. Petersburg with much more than you came with. You’ll have a soft spot in your heart for the city and will want to make another trip to visit again soon.
Sunshine Skyway Bridge
Drive across the Sunshine Skyway Bridge. The steel and concrete bridge spans over 29,040 feet from St. Petersburg to Bradenton. It was built in 1987 by the Figg and Muller Engineering Group and is known as the world’s longest cable-stayed concrete bridge. Part of its popularity has to do with its brilliantly-colored yellow cables and the dozens of engineering and design awards it has won.
The home field of the Tampa Bay Rays baseball team. If you love sports and enjoy watching from comfortable seats, you’ll find the 1.1 million square feet stadium pleasurable. Check out the Ray’s Touch Tank, a 10,000-gallon tank filled with stingrays, as well as the concession stands that sell ballpark staples like hot dogs, nachos, and soft drinks. Make memories with the young athletes in your life; they’ll cherish the moment as one of their favorite from St. Petersburg.
Offers free concerts and paid opportunities to see some of the hottest musicians from years past. The outdoor venue is located in Historic Downtown St. Petersburg and has seen performers such as the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Eminem, Pearl Jam, Cyndi Lauper, and Green Day. If being outdoors while live music plays is your thing, you’ll enjoy the experience even more while vacationing in St. Petersburg, FL.
Hit a hole-in-one on one of St. Petersburg’s many golf courses. You have many choices of where to go: Mangrove Bay, Cypress Links, and Twin Brooks. Dust off your clubs and prepare for a satisfying day in the sun, swinging and showing your friends who’s boss. Each golf course offers its own amenities, so pick the location closest to your beachfront rental or that appeals most to you.
Go scuba diving and see what the ocean has in store for you. Divers of every experience level will enjoy snorkeling near the extensive artificial reef system in St. Petersburg. In addition to seeing all sorts of marine life, you may see a sunken ship or two. What other time in your life will you be able to say that?
Florida is the perfect destination for people traveling for business and pleasure. St. Petersburg makes a long-lasting impression because there is so much to do throughout the year. More importantly, it’s close to the beachfront rental you’re staying at in Siesta Key. You get the benefit of falling asleep to the sounds of the ocean while still enjoying the luxury of city life throughout the day.