The Ultimate Guide to Saint Petersburg, Florida: Where to Stay and What Restaurants to Eat At

You’ve come to the right place if you are interested in learning all about what there is to see, do, and eat and experience while on vacation in sunny Saint Petersburg, Florida.


This guide will not only include the best sights and restaurants, but it features insider tips courtesy of me,
a 24-year native resident, that you wouldn’t be able to find anywhere else!


Yes, I’m sharing my favorite secret places to make the most of your trip, so keep reading to find out
where to be no matter what time of year you schedule your Florida vacation.  

where to eat in st. pete florida where to stay in st. pete florida vacation in 2018 best deals


WHERE TO STAY



You need to book a special hotel to make your stay even more exciting.

However, while booking your hotel it can’t be just any normal hotel.

You have two options when choosing the right hotel for you and your family.


The beach or downtown.


Don Ce Sar


If you want to enjoy a five-star hotel experience, grab a room at the famous Don Ce Sar Hotel

along St. Pete Beach.

Not only will you be captivated by the gorgeous hot pink exterior, but you’ll be equally impressed by
the newly renovated interior design elements.



The modern flare of the Don mixes seamlessly with its old-school charm. After all, this hotel was refurbished from its original 1928 debut.

There are plenty of rooms inside the hotel, a whopping 277 to be exact! The Don is a great place to host an event, too.

Stunning weddings and business conferences are on rotation this exclusive venue for those lucky enough to take part.


Postcard Inn


Another hotel that will melt your worries as you escape your 9-5 job for some peace and quiet is the

Postcard Inn.

Located right on the beach, you can walk down from your room to sit by the shore as you

drink your morning coffee.

The rooms offer spectacular decor that makes you feel like a local. Work from the best Saint Pete

artists are hung on the walls that are coated with a bright ocean blue.

At night, treat yourself to a drink at the PCI bar during happy hour.

The sun and the sand and a drink in your hand?

Kenny Chesney must have been dreaming of staying in St. Pete when he wrote those lyrics!


The Vinoy



For a few nights stay in downtown St. Pete, you should check out the

Vinoy Renaissance Resort & Golf Club.

This hotel is also packed with authentic St. Pete history. Live the 1920s art-deco vibes as

you stroll through the lobby

where pieces by legendary glassblower Dale Chihuly hang from above.



The Vinoy offers a gym, pool, spa, bar, tennis courts, and a slew of restaurants within walking

distance of your room.

You can also access Beach Drive where even more popular restaurants await your arrival.     


Hyatt Place



A brand new hotel to the area is the Hyatt Place. Talk about a prime location!

You’ll find yourself smack in the middle of all there is to see in the city as soon as you

pull into the front lobby. Bars and boutiques line Central Avenue that is just outside the door.

The building is extremely new and very modern with touches of marble and steel fixtures throughout.

Of course, when you need time to relax after a busy day of walking, you can easily head up

to the rooftop pool and sip on a flavorful margarita.

Complimentary breakfast is also included with your stay at the Hyatt.


Breakfast



The Wooden Rooster



Crepes on crepes! Need a little Nutella to sweeten your morning?

Head over to The Wooden Rooster for a taste of this iconic French treat.

Savory dishes are also impeccable to try here as they are made with fresh ingredients.


I recommend my personal favorite, the apple melt, which includes chicken, spinach, caramelized apple

and brie cheese.

The portions are also shareable if you stop by with the kids. Gluten-free options are available.


Cassis American Brasserie



Brunching at Cassis is truly how to live like the locals do. You need to try their exceptional brioche

french toast.

Let the courteous staff offer their favorite dishes, too, as everyone has their suggestions.


More French influences can be found here, as ownership of Cassis and The Wooden Rooster are combined.

You can stop by their adjacent bakery for some after dinner dessert.

Gelato and macarons are two staples to munch on at the bakery.


Coffee Shops


Kahwa

Authentic St. Pete coffee is what Kahwa is all about.

The baristas at Kahwa serve high quality 100% Arabica beans in each cup.

There are quite a few new locations popping up around the city, with drive-thrus. 

How convenient is that?! Brewed coffee in your PJs!


Bandit Coffee Co



Coffee bars that double as the perfect place to take Instagram photos are found all over the city.


One, in particular, is Bandit, a minimalist-chic coffee bar and hang out spot where the locals sip on

handmade iced chai tea lattes and get work done while staring out the large glass windows

taking in the gorgeous surroundings.


Beverly’s LA Croisette



Since 1989, Beverly’s has made its mark as a classic American restaurant. Located on Gulf Boulevard,

the Tampa Bay area celebrates each morning with ham omelets, pancakes and home fries from Beverly’s.
Families come to Beverly’s for years and new faces are warmly welcomed.


Lunch


Hawker’s



Asian street food can be found at this corner restaurant.
For a night full of shareable apps, stop by Hawker’s for pot stickers, wings, skewers, spring rolls, or tacos.


King’s Street Food Counter



Diner food has finally hit the city of St. Pete.


King’s Street Food Counter has freshly made milkshakes, hot dogs, grilled cheese sandwiches, and burgers.

And of course, crinkle fries!  


Order your meal and meet up with some friends, or make some new ones, to play a round of

ping pong outside.

Relax at the bar and try some famous St. Pete brews while you indulge in some mini corn dogs.


The Avenue

If you need to catch the big game while in town, stop by The Avenue where big screen TVs

will be displaying just what sports you want to see. The food here speaks for itself.


Some of their most popular dishes include buffalo mac & cheese, chicken & waffles, double burgers,

hand-breaded chicken tenders, and their famous sunshine city cubano.

On a nice night, you can enjoy your meal on their outside patio.


Bodega



Need a Cuban sandwich fix? Bodega on Central is by far one of my favorite places to grab a

quick bite to eat.


They have a complete menu to please any welcoming customer to a bite of Latin American cuisine.

Made-to-order food is how they constantly win over returning locals.

Vegan and vegetarian options are also available here.


Get to ordering a glass of cold brew coffee to wash down your Cuban sandwich that is

overflowing with tender pork.


Dinner


BellaBrava

When you ask for dinner recommendations in downtown St. Pete, BellaBrava will definitely be on the list.


This popular Italian restaurant is perfect for a classy night out. Get dressed up and stroll over to

BellaBrava to wine and dine the night away.

Their wood-fired pizza and pasta dishes delight locals and travelers alike.


Alesia Restaurant



Have you tried pho yet? Wait until you visit St. Pete to spend some time at Alesia, where they

serve meals that offer a combination of

unique flavors with a Vietnamese-French twist.


Their chicken noodle pho is the best dish to have on a cool winter night, which in Florida

would be anything lower than 60 degrees!


Trips Diner

Diner food for dinner is another great option, and there is no better place than Trip’s.


Breakfast favorites are served all day long, so if you desire a stack of pancakes, or hubcakes as

they are better referred to as, for dinner it can happen.


Trip’s is not your ordinary diner. Of course, you can order a few things to split from their

unique menus, such as the chicken parmesan and the fried green tomatoes.


Red Mesa Cantina



In the mood for some Mexican cuisine? Red Mesa Cantina has it covered.

Outdoor seating is quite popular at this location.

Everything from chicken taquitos to shrimp tacos is served at Red Mesa.


There is also a new feature to this local place, a rooftop.

View St. Pete from the top of Red Mesa to soak up all the best scenery.

Many people leave the city and know to come back here to dine again.


Parkshore Grill

Another classic American restaurant that overlooks the bay is Parkshore Grill.

Take advantage of the sunshine and join in on

tasty sirloin steaks and glasses of red wine at this popular restaurant.

Parkshore is also the place to be on a Friday or Saturday night when the weather is

breezy so you can sit back and relax along Beach Drive.


Dessert


The Hyppo Gourmet Ice Pops



Gourmet pops are done right at the Hyppo. Located along Central Avenue, your

dessert decision is finally achievable when you walk in and find long several freezers packed

with decadent flavors.


Some of the best sellers include Chocolate Cheesecake, Straight Up Strawberry, Guava Peach,

Watermelon Mint, and Thai Coffee.

No pop is the same, so make a date to lick a few pops while on vacation in downtown St. Pete.  


(swah-rey)



Cupcakes and alcohol are honestly two partners in crime.





You can easily enjoy both at Swah-Rey, a hot spot for satisfying your sweet tooth while

washing it down with a local brew.

Known as THE dessert bar in St. Pete, your trip is not complete without a sample of

their decadent made-in-house cakes.


Something that sets (swah-rey) apart from other places is the combination of booze and creamy desserts.

You can choose an alcoholic beverage, such as a glass of merlot, and top it off with one of their
signature mini cupcakes of your liking.

Where else can you get the best of both worlds!?


Mini Doughnut Factory



A brand new addition to the downtown area is the Mini Doughnut Factory.

First launched in Tampa, this quirky donut shop added a second location in just recent months.

On the menu are create your own options where you can customize your mini doughnuts to fit your cravings.


You can also choose from a range of premade picks, like the S’mores or the Espresso Chip.


The best part is how you can watch the process take place right in front of you as if you were at Chipotle.

You see freshly baked doughnuts hit layers of toppings, with everything from coconut flakes

to crushed cookies.


URBAN Creamery



Freshly crafted dessert waffles and homemade ice cream are two main attractions that draw in

crowds for after frozen dinner treats at the URBAN Creamery.


The kids will go crazy for the dessert options here.

Create your own milkshake masterpiece using another flavor of ice cream you want.

Open until 10pm, you can swing by the URBAN Creamery for a late night snack.




What To Do When You Get Here




I’m going to give a complete rundown on what to do in St. Pete.

Without giving too much information away, (so you can experience everything for the first time!),

here are the top things you need to see once you hit the town:


  • The Salvador Dali Museum
  • The Museum of Fine Art
  • The Chihuly Collection
  • Morean Arts Center
  • Florida Holocaust Museum
  • Sunken Gardens
  • Ft. De Soto Park
  • John’s Pass Village and Boardwalk
  • Saturday Morning Market
  • Sunshine Skyway Bridge


Nightlife



These are all places to visit once the sun sets for the evening.

The city is thriving with a bustling nightlife scene.


Tons of local brews and old-school games, such as Jenga, are ways to wind down your long day of fun!


  • MacDinton’s
  • Tryst Gastro Lounge
  • The Mandarin Hide
  • Harry’s Beach Bar
  • Woody’s
  • The Canopy
  • Annata Wine Bar
  • Park & Rec
  • HofbrÀuhaus
  • Ferg’s Sportsbar
  • Green Bench Brewing


Pro-Tips


PARKING



Parking is no easy feat in downtown or by the beach.

Don’t let this discourage you from finding a place to park your rental car!

If you booked a hotel close to downtown, you can walk pretty much everywhere

which is definitely something to consider for a centrally located city like St. Pete.


If you are circling around downtown to find a spot, I suggest heading over to 3rd or 4th Ave North

where a lot of open spots are available for free your first 2 hours.

You can also pay at the parking meter if you would like to be closer to Beach Drive.


For the beach, you can also pay meters to park for a few hours while you enjoy the sun.

Don’t be fooled into parking in front of stores!

They WILL tow you if they see you parking in their spots and carrying your beach bag across the street.


You can also park at Guy Harvey Outpost at the Tradewinds Resort where they

have a big lot that is special for visitors.

Stop by and view the huge custom-built fish tank courtesy of the guys from the TV show Tanked.


JUST WALK (or BIKE!)




Honestly, if you book a hotel located in the downtown area, you can walk through the entire city.

Block after block there will be a lot to see, so break down your day according to

what sights and treats you wish to discover.


I would suggest taking your day street by street.


Start one day out visiting all of Beach Drive, plan another day to tackle Central Avenue and

another day to stroll along 1st Avenue.

Then, you can take an Uber ride over to the beach for a day (hello, no parking issues!)

where you can experience the beauty of St. Pete Beach.


Another cool part of St. Pete is the fact that you can bike place to place using Coast Bikes.

This fairly new concept has slowly integrated into how locals commute to and from work or the

grocery store on any given day.


It’s also a neat idea to spend a lovely Saturday morning biking through the streets to

quickly see the amazing sites.

There are bike stands found around every corner of the city to lock up your rental,

so you don’t have to worry about your bike as you stop somewhere for lunch.

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