Known by the locals as ‘St Pete’ and nicknamed ‘The Sunshine City’, St. Petersburg, Florida is enjoying something of a renaissance. Once known as the city where Midwesterners came to enjoy their retirement, it’s transformed into an exciting destination for vacations, with a vibrant arts scene and bustling downtown district. Hotels in St. Petersburg will give you quick and convenient access to all the attractions and entertainment that this thriving holiday hotspot has to offer.
St. Petersburg has plenty to offer visitors; whether you’re travelling with the whole family or taking a well-deserved break with your partner. If you’re wondering where to stay in St. Petersburg, you’ll find something to suit all tastes and budgets.
Art is in this city’s makeup, and you’ll find an astonishing array of galleries just a short walk from St. Petersburg hotels. The Dali Museum, set on the waterfront along Dali Boulevard, offers an unparalleled collection of the surrealist’s artwork. Continually ranked as the most-popular attraction in St. Pete, the Dali Museum attracts almost half a million visitors every year. Alternatively, the Museum of Fine Arts exhibits works from both artists of the past and present, such as Monet, Picasso, Greg Smith and Bishop Mann.
The Great Explorations Children’s Museum is a great way to introduce your little ones to the joys of art and creativity. With hands-on exhibits and learning zones, it’s an easy way to spend a few hours.
If you want to leave the hustle and bustle of city life behind you for a few hours, head to St. Petersburg’s historic Sunken Gardens. Over a century old, the gardens are home to more than 50,000 tropical flowers and plants. To enhance the experience, the gardens feature glittering waterfalls and hidden woods, in which you can see and learn about the tropical flora collected from around the world.
If you plan on finding hotels in St. Petersburg, you’ll probably need to pull some treats out of the bag at some point during the vacation. The Busch Gardens theme park offers entertainment for kids of all ages (even grown-ups!). Covering more than 335 acres, it’s packed with African-themed thrills and adventures. Younger children will enjoy the scaled-down rides, such as the Air Grover roller coaster and the Stanley Falls Flume. There’s also the chance to encounter exotic animals when you hop aboard the Serengeti Express safari train.
For older children and adults, there are some heart-stopping rides to scream your way along, such as the 335-foot-high Falcon’s Fury, the vertiginous ‘Sheikra’ or the stomach-flipping fun of the Montu inverted roller coaster. Busch Gardens even has a series of after-dark events for party-loving adults, as part of their Summer Nights program.
While there is some world-class shopping to be had in the Sunshine City, it’s worth taking the time to visit some of the markets, all of which are within easy walking distance of most hotels in St. Petersburg. Top of the list ought to be Mazzaro's Italian Market, which offers all the sights, sounds and smells of an authentic Italian shopping experience. It’s ideal for food lovers, offering freshly-roasted coffee, handmade pasta, and hard-to-find meats and cheeses.
Alternatively, the St. Pete Sunday Market takes place in Central Avenue. Among the crowds, you’ll find a huge range of stalls selling everything from food and flowers to handmade soaps and local arts and crafts. With live music in the background, it’s the perfect place to buy gifts and souvenirs to take back home.