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View of Downtown St. Petersburg from the Water

15 Things to Know About Living in St. Petersburg

Considering moving to St. Petersburg? Nicknamed “The Sunshine City” for its sunny weather, St. Petersburg stands out as one of the nation’s fastest-growing cities and offers a vibrant mix of arts, culture, dining, sports, and outdoor recreation along a stunning shoreline. Check out these 15 things to know about living in St. Petersburg!

Settle Down in an Affordable Florida City

Aerial View of Downtown St. Petersburg. Photo by Instagram user @jimgaudette

Photo via @jimgaudette

By living in the best-run city in Florida, you might expect unreasonably high prices. After all, living in St. Petersburg comes with beautiful outdoor spaces and high-quality amenities! However, St. Petersburg’s cost of living is 6% lower than the national average, providing gorgeous coastal living at an affordable price. St. Petersburg real estate is a significant factor, with housing prices 11% lower than the national average. Plus, living in Florida means you don’t have to pay personal income tax, which can save you money throughout the year.

Graduate from St. Petersburg Universities

If you’re moving to St. Petersburg to get your degree, there are a number of colleges and universities to choose from! Focus on high-demand majors from Environmental Studies to Political Science at Eckerd College—which has been highly ranked nationally for its short-term study abroad and amongst the Peace Corps’ top volunteer-producing colleges. Choose from over 110 degree and certificate programs or take short-term training courses for professional development and industry certification at St. Petersburg College. Pursue a Bachelor of Science in Nursing with hands-on clinical education supported by advanced technology at the Galen College of Nursing. Or enroll in programs related to biology, financial analysis, teaching, art, and more at the University of South Florida – St. Petersburg Campus.

Benefit from a Growing Economy

Outside View of the John Hopkins All Children’s Hospital Research and Education Building in St. Petersburg. Photo by Instagram user @spcisps

Photo via @spcisps

Employment prospects in St. Petersburg are vast, diverse, and exciting. Its job market has increased recently, with job growth over the next ten years expected to be higher than the national average. St. Petersburg’s Grow Smarter economic development strategy has identified five major industry sectors to help foster their growth and development—while simultaneously working to reduce equity gaps within the workforce. St. Pete is also home to Fortune 500 companies like investment banking firm Raymond James Financial or electronics manufacturer Jabil—which is also St. Petersburg’s largest employer. Or find jobs with other top employers in St. Petersburg, like lifestyle retailer HSN, capital management software company Ceridian, and research and teaching hospital Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital.

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Travel the City Conveniently

St. Petersburg's Autonomous Vehicle Service, AVA. Photo by Instagram user @rideptsa

Photo via @rideptsa

The city of St. Petersburg provides a number of options for transportation. Bike lanes and infrastructure in Downtown St. Petersburg offer high bikeability and walkability, so you can get around the city center with ease. Consider riding with the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority, whose buses and trolleys include several accessibility features. Travel anywhere from Pass-a-Grille to the Blind Pass Bridge by using the Freebee Shuttle Service. Get to the city’s major museums and attractions downtown with the Looper Trolley. Go from Downtown St. Petersburg to St. Pete Beach by using quiet, low-emission transportation with SunRunner. Experience the most active shopping, dining, and entertainment districts in nearby Dunedin, courtesy of the self-driving AVA (Autonomous Vehicle Advantage). Or book a flight at the St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport for long-distance trips.

Take Advantage of Sunshine City’s Weather

View from Below of St. Petersburg's Sunshine Lane. Photo by Instagram user @stpetechamber

Photo via @stpetechamber

Thanks to St. Petersburg’s tropical climate, there are roughly 39.7 inches of annual rainfall and a hurricane season, which runs from June through November. But it’s not called “Sunshine City” for nothing—back in the late ’60s, St. Petersburg set the world record for most consecutive sunny days. Now, despite occasional storms, there’s an average of 248 sunny days per year—with temperatures typically falling between 56 and 89 degrees, and winter lows rarely dropping below 46 degrees. Seize the day and hike trails at the Weedon Island Preserve. Tour 400 acres of maple swamps and flourishing wildlife at Sawgrass Lake Park. Marvel at lush gardens and cascading waterfalls at the Sunken Gardens. Or find great food, interesting crafts, and live music in the heart of the community at the St. Petersburg Saturday Morning Market.

Witness Beautiful Beachside Views

Sunset View of Treasure Island Beach from Dock. Photo by Instagram user @mklynch24

Photo via @mklynch24

Looking to kick back and relax? The Sunshine City is home to a vibrant beach culture. Visit nature preserves while walking along the soft white sand at St. Pete Beach. Head to the west end of Gulf-to-Bay Boulevard for lush landscaping and Gulf Coast food at Clearwater Beach. Cycle down a .85-mile trail while taking in the sun from “mid-island” at Treasure Island Beach. Or discover waterfront dining, drinks, shopping, and more along St. Pete Pier, which won the 2022 Global Awards for Excellence for urban land development. St. Pete Beach, Clearwater Beach, and Treasure Island Beach have all been ranked among the top 25 beaches in America, so you’re sure to find quality coastal experiences. Other sightseeing destinations near St. Petersburg include Fort De Soto Park, a 1,136-acre Spanish-American War-era fort that gives a glimpse into local history and panoramic views of the Gulf of Mexico.

Retire in St. Petersburg Communities

Man Jogging at a Trail Near St. Petersburg Skyscrapers. Photo by Instagram user @photomarlon

Photo via @photomarlon

Thinking about retiring in St. Petersburg? The city is very retiree-friendly since the lack of state income tax means retirement and social security benefits aren’t taxed. The monthly cost of assisted living in Florida is also significantly less expensive than the median national cost. With a number of retirement communities in St. Petersburg, retirees can appreciate local sunny weather, beautiful nature preserves, and scenic beach views—and benefit from the Sunshine Center‘s nationally-accredited health, fitness, and wellness programs for seniors. And with hospitals like Bayfront Health and HCA Florida St. Petersburg Hospital, retirees have consistent access to high-quality medical care. Additionally, St. Petersburg has been named one of the best cities for military veterans to retire, with VA resources at the St. Petersburg Regional Office and opportunities to find community through organizations like The Circle of Veterans and Families.

Spend Quality Time with Family

Child in Pumpkin Patch at Boyd Hill Nature Preserve. Photo by Instagram user @stpeteparksrec

Photo via @stpeteparksrec

Whether you’re looking for beaches, parks, or museums, there are countless ways to have fun with the whole family while living in St. Petersburg! Get little ones involved in enriching youth programs at organizations like St. Pete Youth Farm. Sign up for seasonal activities including K-5 camps, nature camps, and therapeutic recreation through the St. Petersburg Parks & Recreation department. Discover fascinating family-friendly exhibits like the AR Sandbox, Great Beginnings, or I Dream In Lego at the Great Explorations Children’s Museum. Play games on the playground and beachfront volleyball courts at North Shore Park—or take swim lessons at North Shore Aquatic. Enjoy a staycation at the Terry Tomalin Campground, step back in time at the Pinellas Pioneer Settlement, or see interactive exhibits in the education center at Boyd Hill Nature Preserve.

Walk Fido in St. Pete

When you move to Sunshine City, bring your furry friends with you! As one of the most pet-friendly cities and the most dog-friendly city in America, St. Petersburg features a high number of pet stores and vet offices, along with many pet-friendly restaurants, businesses, and shopping centers. Additionally, there are countless dog parks across St. Petersburg, making it easy to exercise and socialize with your dog. Run along the beach and give your pup showers on hot days at the Fort De Soto Dog Beach Park. Walk off-leash in fenced parks like Kenwood Dog Park and Northshore Dog Park. Stay for drinks after a day out with your best pal at The Dog Bar. Visit the award-winning Pinellas Ale Works (PAW), a dog-friendly brewery, tap room, beer garden, and private event space in Downtown St. Pete. Or book an overnight stay at a pet-friendly beach resort—like the Don Cesar Hotel, which allows up to two pets per room.

Participate in Pride in St. Petersburg

Pink Haired Performer with Rainbow Dress at Pride Parade. Photo by Instagram user @stpetepride

Photo via @stpetepride

With a thriving LGBTQ community and diverse population, St. Petersburg is a city of inclusivity—and has received a perfect equality index score nine years in a row. The city even features Metro Inclusive Health, an organization committed to providing health and support services for everyone—including LGBTQ programs and trans healthcare. The Metro LGBTQ Welcome Center also exists as part of these efforts, promoting local events and providing critical resources to both residents and visitors. Plus, thousands of locals and visitors celebrate diversity each year at numerous Pride-focused events throughout the city. Participate in Miss St Pete, Queer-E-Okee, and the 5k Pride Run events at St. Pete Pride, which is Florida’s largest Pride celebration. Go for drinks and a good time at the St. Petersburg Pride Bar Crawl. If you need somewhere to stay during the celebrations, lodge at LGBTQ-friendly accommodations like the Casa Del Merman at GayStPete House.

Cheer On Your Favorite Sports Teams

Tampa Bay Rowdies Player Catching a Baseball. Photo by Instagram user @raysbaseball

Photo via @raysbaseball

No matter which sport you rep, there’s a little something for everyone in St. Petersburg. Check out International Baseball, where players from all over the world come to hone their craft in tournaments at the aptly-named Baseball City. Come see the Tampa Bay Rays (MLB) hit home runs at the world-famous Tropicana Field. Root for the Tampa Bay Rowdies (USL) as they shoot and score goals at AI Lang Stadium. Celebrate the history and tradition of St. Pete’s long-standing Tampa Bay Area Pelican Rugby Football Club (FRU) at Jack Puryear Park. Or follow fast-paced, heart-pounding races at the Firestone Grand Prix of St Petersburg.

Enjoy St. Petersburg Art & Culture

Outside View of the Chihuly Glass Museum Exhibit. Photo by Instagram user @chihulystpete

Photo via @chihulystpete

There is no shortage of performance venues and museums in St. Petersburg for artists and entertainers to showcase their creativity. Visit the Salvador Dali Museum to witness over 2,400 surreal and breathtaking works by Salvador Dalí. Appreciate intricate glass sculptures and striking Contemporary exhibits at the Duncan McLellan Gallery, the Imagine Museum, and the Morean Art Center‘s Chihuly Collection. Immerse yourself in playful art and technology exhibits at Fairgrounds. Attend a diverse range of engaging plays and performances from the freeFall Theatre Company. Or educate yourself on the influence of St. Petersburg’s diverse history and culture at the African American Heritage Trail and Dr. Carter G. Woodson African American Museum.

Experience Festivals Throughout the Year

Guitar Player Performing at Florida's Reggae Rise Up. Photo by Instagram user @stpetefl

Photo via @stpetefl

An active festival scene means there’s always something happening in St. Pete! Stroll through a display of automobiles, aircrafts, yachts, and luxury products at any of St. Petersburg’s Festivals of Speed. Support local artists by admiring creative, original artwork at the SHINE Mural Festival, St. Petersburg Fine Art Festival, and Mainsail Art Festival. Take the family to St. Pete Pier for food, drinks, and pumpkin patch events at the Fall Festival. Sample drinks from St. Pete’s finest local craft breweries, listen to live music, and shop from beer-themed vendors at Brewfest. Listen to regional acts while eating tasty local seafood at the St. Petersburg Seafood & Music Festival. Rock out with performers from across the country at Reggae Rise Up or the Tampa Bay Blues Festival.

Eat Delicious Local Food

Quinoa Salad at Doc Ford's Bar and Grille. Photo by Instagram user @docfords

Photo via @docfords

Foodies can find plenty of delicious cuisine at St. Petersburg restaurants. Pick up piping hot slices of St. Petersburg pizza like Impossible Meatball, Noble Pig, and Bianca Pizza at NobleCrust. Order specialty vegan hot dogs at Nah Dogs Vegan Hot Dog Cart. Savor a seafood spread of Shrimp Scampi Flatbread, Campeche Fish Tacos, and Yucatan Baked Oysters at St. Petersburg pier restaurant Doc Ford’s Rum Bar & Grille. Pull up a chair for a mouthwatering Teriyaki Steak or sushi rolls like the Key West and Spicy Salmon at Rain Japanese Sushi Bar & Thai. Enjoy plant-based vegan pub food like the Old Smokey Burger alongside cocktails like Pimm’s Cup and the Queen-Tini at Cider Press Vegan Gastropub. Or feast on classic Italian cuisines like Bella Bruschetta, Stuffed Gnocchi alla Vodka, and Pasta Arrabbiata at BellaBrava.

Enjoy a Bustling Nightlife

Three Women Toasting Drinks at the Mandarin Hide. Photo by Instagram user @mandarinhide

Photo via @mandarinhide

The fun doesn’t stop when the sun goes down! Jam to live jazz, blues, and funk while enjoying a Manhattan Blues, Soul Music Mule, or Old Fashioned Elixir at Ruby’s Elixir. Grab retro-themed shots and drinks like the Tropical Blast and Power-Up Punch while playing classic arcade games or rooting for your favorite sports teams at Park & Rec DTSP. Relax and unwind with a Unicorn, Faceplant, or Dirty Lemonade Kava while watching live performances at eccentric Mad Hatters. Suit up for a selection of constantly rotating traditional and brand-new premium craft cocktails at Mandarin Hide. Or step away from the bar scene to throw axes at the indoor recreational range, Hatchet Hangout.


Moving to St. Petersburg? With convenient storage facilities in and around Sunshine City, Extra Space Storage can help with your transition. Find St. Petersburg storage units near you!

About Mike Beutler

Mike Beutler is a writer and digital content specialist who transitioned to self storage in 2020 after several years in the airline industry. His travels cultivated a passion for exploring cities across the U.S. and abroad and inspired him to learn more about practical insights for urban living. With 14 moves under his belt, both locally and cross-country, he also has a passion for minimalism and organization, and sharing tips to help others make any space feel like home while staying organized.