Considering moving to St. Petersburg? The Sunshine City offers affordable living, incredible weather, some of America’s best beaches, and a strong job market. Here are 19 things you need to know about living in St. Petersburg!
Affordable Living in the Tampa Bay Area
Many people might expect that living in a balmy, beachside locale would come with a higher price tag. That’s not the case in St. Petersburg, however! The cost of living in St. Pete is right in line with the U.S. average, and the real estate in St. Petersburg is particularly affordable. The median home price is $154,800, which is 7% lower than the Florida average and 16% less expensive than the national average! Plus, living in Florida means you don’t have to pay personal income tax.
The Job Market Is Strong
Looking for a job in St. Petersburg? You’re in luck! With a 4.7% unemployment rate, St. Pete is not only one of the best areas for employment in Florida, but also in the entire country! Fortune 500 companies like Raymond James, Jabil, and Tech Data are headquartered in the Tampa Bay area, and job seekers in the health care sector can find opportunities at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital, Tampa General Hospital, and BayCare. Not sure what field you want to go into? Check out the St. Petersburg College Workforce Institute, which provides training, advice, and job interviews to help students and community members find their ideal role!
Proud to Be Florida’s First Green City
When you move to St. Pete, you’re joining a community that’s serious about sustainability. St. Petersburg was designated as Florida’s first green city because of its programs dedicated to water conservation, tree planting, recycling, fuel-efficient technology, and more. In early 2017, the city completely transitioned to using clean and renewable energy. In addition, St. Pete is home to more than 250,000 trees, earning it a “Tree City USA” designation by the Arbor Day Foundation. When it comes to sustainability, St. Petersburg has become a model for the rest of the state to follow!
There’s No Shortage of Sunshine
It should come as no surprise that moving to Florida means you’re going to get a lot of sun—it’s called the Sunshine State for a reason! But even in such a radiant state, St. Petersburg stands out. With 361 days of sunshine a year, St. Pete has earned the nickname “The Sunshine City.” In fact, St. Pete holds the Guinness World Record for most consecutive sunny days! With all those rays, the St. Petersburg weather is generally warm and consistent. Temperatures rarely rise above 90 degrees in the summer or drop below 50 degrees in the winter. The summers can be rainy, especially in July and August, but you’ll never have to worry about snow here!
Get Out to the Beach
With all that sunshine, you’ll have plenty of days to enjoy the numerous St. Petersburg beaches! Tourists and locals alike flock to St. Pete Beach, recognized as one of the best beaches in the country. Here, you’ll find a laid-back atmosphere, miles of white sand, a variety of water sports, and cozy beach bars such as The Drunken Clam and Harry’s Beach Bar. For the perfect beach day with the family, head over to Fort De Soto Park for dolphin watching off Gulf Pier, bikes rides along nature trails, and snow cones from the snack bar. Sidle up to the “World’s Longest Waterfront Bar” at Treasure Island, or travel up the Florida coastline to relax in a cabana at Clearwater Beach. Of course, if you prefer to spend a day at the beach, St. Petersburg has an experience for you!
It’s Easy to Get Around
St. Petersburg is organized in a grid format—streets run north to south, avenues run east to west—making the city’s structure easy to learn and navigate. I-275 provides quick transportation from Downtown St. Pete to most areas of the city, and I-75 makes getting to other parts of the Gulf Coast relatively simple. If you don’t want to drive, St. Petersburg has reliable public transportation as well. The Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority has nearly 40 bus and trolley routes, and the Looper Trolley is extremely convenient for downtown travel.
Biking Is Popular Here
Get ready to break out the bike! With more than 40 miles of bicycle trails and fantastic weather to enjoy them, biking has become a favorite activity for many St. Pete residents. The city even created Coast Bike Share to ensure people always have a ride when they need one. That program—along with St. Petersburg’s efforts toward bicycle promotion, education programs, and the creation of 130 miles of bike lanes—earned the city the status of a Silver-Level Bicycle Friendly Community by the League of American Bicyclists. Those who truly love to ride can join The St. Petersburg Cycling Club, while more casual riders can take part rides such as Open Streets St. Pete or the SPBC Cycling Classic.
Unleash Your Inner Sports Nut
Sports fans have lots of options in the St. Pete area! Become part of Ralph’s Mob and belt out the team songs to support the Tampa Bay Rowdies (USL) at Al Lang Stadium. Fuel up between innings with a Hawaiian Hot Dog or a Smoked Turkey Leg while you root on the Tampa Bay Rays (MLB) at Tropicana Field. Get your heart racing as Indy cars zip by at over 200mph at Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. If you’re a football or hockey fan, there’s plenty of action for you just across the bay! Gear up and head over to nearby Tampa Bay’s Raymond James Stadium to cheer for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (NFL), or catch some of college football’s hottest stars at the Gasparilla Bowl in December. And don’t forget to join the crowd at Amalie Arena for Tampa Bay Lightning (NHL) games!
It’s Very LGBTQ+ Friendly
Looking for a U.S. city that embraces the LBGTQ+ community? Move to St. Petersburg! Each summer, more than 250,000 people gather along the downtown waterfront for St. Pete Pride, a multi-day celebration with concerts, street festivals, and a grand parade. But this annual event isn’t all that makes St. Petersburg one of the nation’s most gay-friendly places to live. The city’s Grand Central District has an LGBTQ Welcome Center and more than 60 LGBTQ-owned businesses, antique stores, and professional services. It’s also home to several of the St. Petersburg’s top gay bars, including The Garage on Central, Lucky Star Lounge, and Punky’s Bar & Grill!
Get Outside & Explore
As great as St. Petersburg’s beaches are, they’re far from the only things to do and see outdoors in St. Pete! With more than 150 parks, miles of kayaking and paddling trails, and several nature preserves and wilderness areas, there are plenty of ways to enjoy the balmy St. Petersburg weather! Fish for redfish and trout and keep your eye out for great blue herons as you paddle through the mangrove islands at Weedon Island Preserve. Enjoy the exotic plants, explore cascading waterfalls, and view flamingos during a stroll through the Sunken Gardens. Walk through the maple swamp on the elevated boardwalks to reach the observation tour at Sawgrass Lake Park. Watch for dolphins and other marine life and get a great view of St. Pete Pier at Vinoy Park, located right on the downtown waterfront. Or get your daily exercise with a run or bike ride on Pinellas Trail, a 40-mile path that winds over rivers and creeks and through quaint small communities.
You’ll Find an Event for Every Interest
With year-round activities, you’re sure to come across an event or festival in St. Petersburg to match your passion. Celebrate the best of St. Petersburg’s restaurants, breweries, boutiques, handcrafted goods, and more amidst live music at Localtopia. See all kinds of artists from local performers to national touring acts like Lizzo and Coheed & Cambria at Jannus Live. Fill up on tacos and beer from more than 20 food trucks on the Alfred Whitted Park lawn at St. Pete Taco & Beer Fiesta. Find fresh bread, produce, and baked goods alongside locally-made clothing and crafts at the Saturday Morning Market. Enjoy the warm weather, beachfront views, and soothing tunes at the Tampa Bay Blues Festival. Race thousands of other runners across the iconic Sunshine Skyway Bridge in the Skyway 10K. Challenge your fellow anglers at the Spring King of the Beach Fishing Tournament. Or peruse and purchase local art or display your own masterpiece and compete for cash prizes at the Mainsail Art Festival.
The Arts Are a Big Deal
If you love the arts, you’ll find all kinds of museums, exhibits, and theaters in St. Petersburg to check out! View the most comprehensive collection of Salvador Dali’s paintings, sketches, and sculptures in the U.S. at The Dali Museum. Explore the expansive collection of artwork, photography, and exhibitions spanning 5,000 years at the Museum of Fine Arts. Be amazed by the stunning blown art sculptures in the Chihuly Collection at the Morean Arts Center. More interested in the performing arts? See everything from Broadway shows to comedy acts, family-friendly plays, and performances by the Florida Orchestra at the Duke Energy Center for the Arts – Mahaffey Theater. Or catch some of the finest jazz, classical music, and blues concerts at Palladium Theater.
Keep the Kids Entertained
There are all kinds of fun things to do in St. Petersburg with kids! Watch them play on the climbing net and shop the pretend supermarket at Great Explorations. Putt your way through tropical hazards, giant snakes, and tiki-themed sculptures during a round of putt putt golf at Polynesian Putter. Take an Island Ferry cruise to snorkel alongside dolphins and find unique seashells. Race down the water slides, play sand volleyball, and float down the lazy river at Adventure Island. See sea turtles, dolphins, white pelicans, otters, and more at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium. Make your child’s next birthday a memorable one with a Pirate Birthday Party aboard Captain Memo’s Pirate Cruise. Help the kids learn more about St. Pete with a giant scavenger hunt throughout the city, courtesy of Urban Adventure Quest. Or hop across the bay to feed giraffes, pet goats, and get up close with kangaroos at ZooTampa at Lowry Park, one of America’s best zoos for kids!
The City Has Gone to the Dogs
St. Petersburg is one of America’s best cities for all pets, but canines in particular have it good in St. Pete. Thanks to the city’s PAWS program, which encourages local businesses to be more pet-friendly, your furry friend is welcome just about anywhere! Several St. Petersburg restaurants like Cassis American Brasserie and Sweet Sage Cafe not only welcome dogs, but also have separate menus dedicated to them. And when Fido’s ready to exercise, you can take him to one of St. Petersburg’s six dog parks or dog beaches at Gandy Bridge Causeway or Fort De Soto Park. Your pup can even be a part of Happy Hour at The Dog Bar, where you can enjoy draft beers and craft cocktails while your dog makes new friends!
Fall in Love with Shuffleboard
The St. Petersburg Shuffleboard Club isn’t your grandparents’ shuffleboard house. Nearly 100 years old, these courts are a St. Pete institution, and they draw players of all ages. If you’re a serious shuffleboard player, you can become a member—joining a group of nearly 1,500 people—and get involved in a league. But casual players are welcome, too! Stop by on Friday nights for St. Pete Shuffle, when all residents are invited to gather with friends, bring some food and cold beers, and get a game going on the courts. Regardless of your skill level, the city’s love of shuffleboard—St. Pete is home to the International Shuffleboard Association—makes the Shuffleboard Club one of the places you must visit in St. Petersburg!
It’s a Foodie’s Paradise…
St. Petersburg might not be an established foodie destination, but its restaurant growth has made it one of the most underrated food scenes on the East Coast. Get the ultimate brunch experience with a Sausage and Waffle Benny or Fluffer Nutter French Toast on the patio at The Mill. Wash down your Brisket & Sweet Potato Souffle with a Bourbon Sidecar cocktail at Urban Brews & BBQ. Crush your burger cravings with a One Bad Pig or Saganaki Burger from Engine No. 9. Savor Yellowfin Tuna Tartare and Faroe Island Salmon at Sea Salt, one of St. Petersburg’s best seafood restaurants. Meet up with friends to share a B&M Farmer’s Board and Curry & Spice Rubbed Smoked Pulled Pork Poutine on the patio at Brick & Mortar. Or cool off from the warm St. Petersburg weather with a Honey Graham Dessert Waffle or cone of Cookies & Cream from Urban Creamery.
…And Some of the Best Food Comes From Trucks
For all its great restaurants, some of St. Petersburg’s best food doesn’t come from traditional kitchens. The food truck scene in St. Pete is ever-expanding, and you can now find cuisine to satisfy nearly any palate on the go. Taste the magic that comes out of wood-fired ovens with a specialty pie like the Porky Pig or the Wild Fun Guys from 28 Grams Pizza. Grab some Grilled Gulf Shrimp Taco and Mexi-Tots from St. Pete Taco Lady. Try creative twists on Mediterranean food, such as the Crabby Gyro or the Mo Rockin’ Shrimp, at Maggie on the Move. Combine the delicious flavors of crispy fried chicken and Korean spices with the KFC (Korean Fried Chicken) or K-Pops from Anju Korean Gastrotruck. You can find these trucks and more all over St. Petersburg—or stop by the Saturday Morning Market to visit several of them at once!
Locals Are Serious About Craft Beer
You’re not going to find many places more passionate about craft beer than the Sunshine City. In fact, St. Petersburg is recognized as one of the top 10 U.S. cities for craft beer! And with a number of standout St. Pete breweries to visit, it’s no wonder why. Sample famous barrel-aged stouts like the Confection Affection BA Double Vanilla and the BA Stout with Cherry and Coffee at Cycle Brewing. Sip a Hawaiian Lion Coffee Coconut Porter as you listen to live music in the beer garden at The Ale and the Witch. Visit the tasting room at 3 Daughters Brewing to try the Florida Orange IPA, El Hefe, Beach Blonde Ale, and more. Gather your pals in the beer garden to enjoy a Postcard Pils and a Skyway DIPA at Green Bench Brewing. If you want to make sure you hit all of the great breweries, take a trip up the coast on the St. Pete/Clearwater Craft Beer Trail, where you’ll find a collection of some of the best breweries and bars in Florida!
Central Avenue Keeps The Fun Going
As Downtown St. Petersburg’s Central Avenue has grown, so, too, has the city’s nightlife scene! During the First Friday each month, the street transforms into a giant block party with live music and rotating food and drink vendors. But don’t worry if you can’t make it! Central Avenue has a wide array of bar and restaurant experiences regardless of when you visit! Sample the inventive signature cocktails, such as the Last Supper or Triple Elvis, that come out of the test kitchen at The Mandarin Hide. Attend a drag show or a dance party at Enigma. Down craft beers like a Magic Hat #9 and Elephant Foot IPA while enjoying the work of local artists at Bar@548. Celebrate the weekend with friends, a Kenwood Margarita, and an order of Homemade Hush Puppies from Old Key West Bar & Grill. Whatever your idea of a great night on the town looks like, Central Avenue has something for you!
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