Rebecca Davis is a St. Petersburg—locals call it St. Pete—native through and through. A recent transplant to Washington, D.C., she now delights in visiting what she describes as a “tropical, art-conscious city with a laid-back beach vibe.” Rebecca gets to explore the world by way of photographs and stories as an associate producer at Nat Geo Travel, but she’ll always be proud of her Florida roots. Here are a few of her favorite things about the “other” St. Petersburg.
St. Petersburg Is My City
When someone comes to visit me, the first place I take them to is the front porch of the Vinoy Renaissance Resort for a tropical drink accompanied by a view of Tampa Bay.
March is the best time to visit my city because while most people are shoveling snow, the people of St. Pete are applying sunscreen and enjoying the no-air-conditioning-needed weather.
You can see my city best from the top of the Birchwood hotel in downtown St. Pete.
Craftsman House is the place to buy authentic, local souvenirs.
My city’s best museum is the Salvador Dalí Museum because it houses the largest collection of the Catalan surrealist artist’s work outside of Europe. Plus, the 2011 reveal of the museum’s upgraded digs on the St. Pete waterfront elevated the exterior to a work of art.
If there’s one thing you should know about getting around my city, it’s that St. Pete is extremely biker-friendly.
My city really knows how to celebrate the arts. There’s a plethora of museums to enjoy like the Museum of Fine Arts and the Chihuly Collection. Local artists put their work on display in places like the Craftsman House Gallery and the Saturday Morning Market, too.
You can tell if someone is from my city if they wear flip-flops year round.
My city is known for being full of the elderly and retired, but it’s really a family-friendly, up-and-coming foodie town with a slight hipster vibe.
The best outdoor market in my city is the Saturday Morning Market, a friendly conglomeration of local vendors, artisans, and performers.
To find out what’s going on at night and on the weekends, read Creative Loafing magazine.
When I’m feeling cash-strapped, I bike or walk the Fred Marquis Pinellas Trail, a 47-mile trail that snakes along an abandoned railroad corridor.
To escape the crowds, I head south to Fort Desoto to lounge on the less crowded white-sand beaches.
Wearing shorts to meet “Santa” in the park could only happen in my city.
In the spring you should marvel at the blooming jacaranda trees.
In the summer you should cool off in a pool (try the North Shore Aquatic Complex) because the city gets extremely hot and humid.
In the fall you should explore Weedon Island Preserve and note the subtle change of season.
In the winter you should embrace Florida’s green side and visit Sunken Gardens, four acres of beautiful botanical gardens.
If you have kids (or are a kid at heart), you won’t want to miss the Great Explorations Children’s Museum.