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Pro tips from our travel blog: Everything you need to know for a perfectly rewarding trip to St. Petersburg - Clearwater

360 days of sun in St. Petersburg, Florida

Around 250,000 people live in the area commonly referred to as St. Pete, known to some as the Sunshine City. St. Petersburg is located on the peninsula that separates the Tampa Bay from the Gulf of Mexico. This region is one of the most frequented destinations for the 2.8 million people living in the Tampa Bay area of Pinellas County. Travelers can access St. Pete from the mainland due north, or by crossing the series of bridges spanning the shore from the east or south. People are drawn to St. Petersburg for the beautiful beaches, pro sports and flavorful food.

Things to see in St. Petersburg
Museums and art culture in St. Petersburg

One of the most popular stops for visitors to St. Pete is the Dali Museum, which proudly displays the world's largest collection of the famous surrealist's artwork. For travelers who prefer art of the more straightforward variety, the Museum of Fine Arts is nearby. Its collection spans artwork created through the ancient and modern eras.

More than 20 art galleries located downtown open their doors each month for a public gallery hop. Some shops even allow patrons to participate in creating brand-new art on the spot. The Great Explorations Children's Museum is a good bet for families with kids who tend to be more hands-on, since young ones are encouraged to touch, explore, move and interact with the exhibits here.

St. Pete also has professional opera, available at the Palladium Theater located downtown.

Other St. Petersburg activities

Other options for your to-do list include the Mazzaro Italian Market, the Mahaffey Theater, the Kenwood History District, Sunken Gardens and the St. Petersburg Pier. Sunken Gardens is open every day and covers four acres that feature a butterfly garden, more than 50,000 tropical plants (some estimated to be a century old), an orchid arbor and exotic birds. This botanical attraction is a sanctuary near the heart of St. Pete.

Take a walk downtown to check out the Mediterranean-inspired buildings and historic architecture. If your exploration of the old part of the city piques your inspiration, hundreds of antique shops are located nearby on Central Avenue. Beachfront restaurants with umbrella-shaded tables are the norm on Beach Drive. The nightlife downtown and at St. Pete Beach is diverse enough to accommodate all age groups and interests. While some prefer to dance at the Coliseum, others slink over to the jazz clubs on Central, or visit the sports bars by Tropicana Field.

St. Petersburg travel information

Most guests looking for St. Petersburg hotels prefer to stay as close to the beautiful shoreline as possible. You won't have a problem finding hotels located off the Gulf of Mexico's coast or in downtown St. Pete. Most of the attractions, dining and shopping options are located around the downtown hotels or near the St. Petersburg-Clearwater International Airport (PIE).

Even though Tampa, Clearwater and St. Pete all seem to be in close proximity, it may take 40 minutes or more to travel between the cities in light to moderate traffic. St. Pete is accessible from Interstate 275, which splits into 375 and 175, allowing commuters to travel to either the northern or southern sections of downtown. Travelers coming from the south may access St. Pete through Bradenton by crossing the Sunshine Skyway Bridge, which stretches across the water for what seems like miles.

Best time to visit St. Petersburg

Many travelers prefer visiting the St. Pete-Clearwater area during the summer months due to the increase in outdoor concerts, local festivals, fireworks and Tampa Bay Rays baseball games. The parades and dancing at the Gulfport GeckoFest during Labor Day weekend also attract visitors from afar. The busy season in St. Pete usually lasts from January to May.

If you prefer bargain rates on travel accommodations, head to the area during June, September or October. The average annual temperature is 73 degrees, and there are usually more than 360 days of sunshine recorded each year.

Ultimately, there is no bad time to visit St. Pete, since special events crowd the calendar year-round, and the weather itself guarantees a good time. Who can resist a place that practically promises an endless summer?