Best Things To Do in St. Petersburg, FL
"The Sunshine City" offers a great mix of cultural and outdoorsy attractions, ranging from the renowned Dalí Museum to Fort De Soto Park to The Mahaffey Theater. Baseball fans can catch a Tampa Bay Rays game at Tropicana Field and visitors in search of unique finds can frequent the Saturday Morning Market. With a plethora of events and a lively downtown area, there's never a shortage of things to do in St. Petersburg.
Updated March 30, 2017
- #1View all Photos#1 in St. Petersburg, FLBeaches, Hiking, Parks and Gardens, Recreation, Sports, FreeTYPE2 hours to Half DayTIME TO SPENDBeaches, Hiking, Parks and Gardens, Recreation, Sports, FreeTYPE2 hours to Half DayTIME TO SPEND
Spanning five small islands, the 1,136-acre Fort De Soto Park lies at the mouth of Tampa Bay and attracts more than 2.7 million visitors a year. The park features 7 miles of waterfront, two fishing piers, a 4-mile hiking and skating trail, picnic and camping grounds and a historic fort. Climb the stairs of the fort for a breathtaking view of the Sunshine Skyway Bridge, one of the world's longest cable-stayed concrete bridges. Then, stop by the Quartermaster Museum to learn more about the fort through historic photographs and Spanish-American War artifacts.
The park is also one of the best places in St. Petersburg to visit the beach. The popular North Beach is recognizable by the large pirate ship playground near its entrance and the myriad of seashells and white sand dollars along its sands. At the waterfront, travelers can also rent a canoe or kayak and navigate the 2-mile paddling trail or try fishing. Recent visitors raved about everything there is to enjoy at the park, especially the lengthy dog beach.
- #2View all PhotosfreeSt. Pete Beach#2 in St. Petersburg, FLBeaches, Free, Neighborhood/AreaTYPEHalf Day to Full DayTIME TO SPENDBeaches, Free, Neighborhood/AreaTYPEHalf Day to Full DayTIME TO SPEND
St. Pete Beach is a barrier island community just west of St. Petersburg and home to a large swath of award-winning beaches. Pass-a-Grille Beach is a long undeveloped stretch of public beach, perfect for a variety of water sports, including parasailing, stand-up paddleboarding, windsurfing and kiteboarding. Recent visitors raved about St. Pete Beach, noting the soft, white sand, terrific maintenance and warm Gulf of Mexico waters.
St. Pete Beach is also brimming with top hotels and restaurants. Once you've settled in, venture out to the Corey Avenue district to enjoy funky specialty shops, galleries and eateries. PJ’s Oyster Bar is the place to visit for seafood dishes like snow crab legs, grouper and clam chowder. Steam and Chill Food Haven and Lounge is located nearby and also highly praised for its seafood and unique dishes. Recent travelers enjoyed the watermelon salad, shrimp and grits, and rutabaga fries.
- #3View all Photos#3 in St. Petersburg, FLMuseumsTYPE1 to 2 hoursTIME TO SPENDMuseumsTYPE1 to 2 hoursTIME TO SPEND
The waterfront Dalí Museum holds the largest collection of Salvador Dalí's works outside of Spain. The building is just as impressive as the masterpieces displayed inside. One of the architectural elements is called the "Glass Enigma" — it's composed of 1,062 glass triangles that are visible from the outside. On the inside, a free-standing spiral staircase dominates the entrance. Architect Yann Weymouth had the staircase tested for strength by having two rugby teams dance on it to disco music. The museum also features a labyrinth and the Fountain of Youth.
On free hourlong tours, visitors can admire surrealism art of all kind, everything from watercolors to sculptures. Highlights include "Eggs on a Plate without the Plate" and "The Hallucinogenic Toreador." Recent travelers found the building as artistic and strange as Dalí himself, adding that it made the experience enjoyable for children and those not particularly interested in art. Admission is $24 for adults, $17 for teens and $10 for children. The Dalí Museum is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., with extended hours on Thursdays. For more information on hours and exhibits, visit the museum's official website.
- #4View all Photos#4 in St. Petersburg, FLShopping, FreeTYPE1 to 2 hoursTIME TO SPENDShopping, FreeTYPE1 to 2 hoursTIME TO SPEND
The market is held every week in downtown St. Petersburg and is the perfect place to buy fresh produce and a gift or two. Choose from more than 15 different international cuisine types of ready-to-eat food, whether it's Jamaican patties or Irish pies. Live music plays in the center and performers like balloon artists and magicians are scattered throughout. Recent visitors found the market the best place to be on a Saturday, and many especially enjoyed the social experience.
Located in the Al Lang Field parking lot, the market is open from early October to late May every Saturday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. A smaller summer market runs from June to August in Williams Park every Saturday 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Plenty of parking is available near the market: the South Core Garage across the street has more than 1,100 spaces with a $3 entry fee and the Baywalk Parking Garage two blocks north has more than 1,300 spaces and costs $1 for the first four hours. For more information on vendors and parking, visit the market's official website.
- #5View all Photos#5 in St. Petersburg, FLEntertainment and NightlifeTYPE2 hours to Half DayTIME TO SPENDEntertainment and NightlifeTYPE2 hours to Half DayTIME TO SPEND
Located in the heart of downtown St. Petersburg, The Mahaffey Theater is a cultural jewel that seats up to 2,031 visitors. Top-quality national and international artists, such as the renowned Florida Orchestra, grace the theater’s stage. The chock-full calendar includes everything from the Clifford the Big Red Dog musical to the Shut Up and Laugh comedy event. Recent concertgoers raved about the seats at the theater, finding them all, including the least expensive ones, to be fantastic in terms of views and acoustics.
The Mahaffey offers on-site parking for $10 and a dinner delivery service, where you can order food from certain restaurants to be delivered before select shows and enjoy your meal in the plaza or atriums. Patrons should plan to arrive at least 45 minutes before showtime. Tickets vary in price depending on the event and seat. For more information on upcoming shows, visit the official website.
- #6View all Photos#6 in St. Petersburg, FLMuseums, Sightseeing, SportsTYPE2 hours to Half DayTIME TO SPENDMuseums, Sightseeing, SportsTYPE2 hours to Half DayTIME TO SPEND
Located a few blocks from downtown St. Petersburg, Tropicana Field is the only professional sports facility that features a tank full of cownose rays. Thanks to a partnership with the Florida Aquarium, visitors can touch, feed and interact with more than 30 stingrays throughout a game. The dome-covered baseball stadium also features the Ted Williams Museum and Hitters Hall of Fame. Admission is free to fans attending Tampa Bay Rays home games. And if you’d rather explore the facilities than attend a game, check the schedule and take a 90-minute tour. Highlights include the field, dugout, press box, tank and museum. Tickets are $9 for adults and $7 for children.
Recent visitors found the air-conditioned stadium to be a nice break from the stifling Florida heat and humidity. When the weather is too hot for the beach, a Rays baseball game is a good alternative. Ticket prices for baseball games vary depending on the time of year, the opponent and the seat location. For more information on upcoming games, visit Tropicana Field's official website.
- #7View all Photos#7 in St. Petersburg, FLHiking, Parks and Gardens, Recreation, Sightseeing, Sports, FreeTYPE2 hours to Half DayTIME TO SPENDHiking, Parks and Gardens, Recreation, Sightseeing, Sports, FreeTYPE2 hours to Half DayTIME TO SPEND
The Weedon Island Preserve spans 3,190 acres and comprises aquatic and upland ecosystems. Visitors can take a variety of guided hikes, walk the boardwalks through tidal flats and mangrove forests and fish on the pier. Located deep within the preserve, the Cultural and Natural History Center features an exhibit gallery called "Connecting People and Place" that encourages visitors to reconnect with the environment through 6,000 square feet of interactive exhibits. The center also offers interpretive hikes, workshops and other programs. The hours are Thursday through Saturday 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Recent travelers raved about kayaking the mangroves and bird-watching on the boardwalk. Fishing and picnicking are also popular activities at the preserve. The fishing pier and outlying oyster bars are ideal for catching sea trout, snook and sheepshead. And the four picnic areas and pavilion are available on a first-come, first-served basis.
- #8View all Photos
This 4-acre attraction in downtown St. Petersburg features more than 50,000 tropical plants as well as a variety of exotic birds. Paved pathways make it easy to explore the botanical garden. Enter through a fountain plaza and follow the trail to the orchid arbor and the Growing Stone, a fossilized limestone rock. Other highlights further along the trail include the Japanese garden, Wishing Well and Wedding Lawn.
Visitors raved about the beauty of the 100-year-old garden, but caution to bring bug spray. The attraction is open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and on Sundays from noon to 4:30 p.m. Admission is $8 for adults and $4 for children. For more information on garden tours, horticultural programs, field trips and more, call 727-551-3102.
- #9View all Photos
Located on the waterfront, the permanent collection of world-renowned artist Dale Chihuly is displayed in a 10,000-square-foot building on Beach Drive. The entrance is dominated by the iconic 20-foot sculpture of cerise-colored rocks and the inside is brimming with intricate glass works. Pieces showcased in the building that are particular highlights include "Persians," "Tumbleweeds" and "Ruby Red Icicle Chandelier."
Recent visitors found the small museum stunning and highly recommend the glass-blowing demonstration. The demonstration is held at the Glass Studio & Hot Shop, located in the nearby Morean Arts Center. The studio also offers a 30-minute, one-on-one session with a demonstration artist where you can create your own masterpiece and view the collection for $19.95. Individual visits to the collection and gift shop cost $14.95 for adults.
- #10View all Photos#10 in St. Petersburg, FLMuseumsTYPE1 to 2 hoursTIME TO SPENDMuseumsTYPE1 to 2 hoursTIME TO SPEND
Discover 4,500 years of civilization in the Museum of Fine Arts, located in the heart of downtown. Highlights include masterpieces from Monet and Renoir, a sculpture garden and a Steuben glass gallery. The traveling exhibits and events, such as the Smartly Dressed Fashion Show and Stuffed Animal Night, make multiple visits to the museum worthwhile.
Travelers describe the museum as a hidden gem and recommend visiting on Thursday nights when admission is reduced. And many especially enjoyed the on-site cafe and live music. The museum is open Monday through Saturday 10 a.m.to 5 p.m., with extended hours to 8 p.m. on Thursdays. Admission is $20 for adults, $15 for college students, members of the military and seniors, and $10 for children ages 7 to 18. For more information on the permanent collection and upcoming events, visit the museum's official website.
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