St. Petersburg, Florida – your new home?

If you’ve visited St. Pete recently, it will come as no surprise to you that the New York Times named St. Petersburg, Florida one of the “Top 52 Places to Go.” We agree. St. Pete is a great place to visit, but you may want to consider making downtown St. Pete your home. Although the waterfront downtown area of St. Pete has a rich history, it has recently undergone a transformation. For instance, a modern focus on arts, culture and architecture, makes it easy to fall in love with downtown living.

The new St. Pete is younger and hipper than it once was. In other words, it seems like not that long ago that St. Petersburg was most often thought of as a place for retirees. It’s obvious to see that St. Pete, and particularly the downtown area, has transformed into an eclectic and vibrant walkable city. In recent years it has become a favorite place for entrepreneurial small businesses. Even the modest skyline of St Pete has seen dramatic changes as modern new high-rise buildings blend with charming neighborhoods.

Here are just a few of our favorite things about living in downtown St. Pete.

St. Pete is a place with history

The Albert Whitted Airport, right on the west edge of Tampa Bay and just southeast of downtown, is recognized as the location of the first scheduled commercial airline flight. In January of 1914, A.C. Pheil, a former mayor of St. Petersburg, was transported by Benoist XIV flying boat from the central yacht basin of the downtown waterfront to Tampa.

In fact, construction began in 1928 and the airport opened for business in the summer of 1929. The airport’s namesake, Lieutenant James Albert Whitted, USNR, was a St. Petersburg native and one of the U.S. Navy’s first 250 Naval Aviators. 

Today the Albert Whitted Airport is owned and operated by the City of St. Petersburg. The airport provides various aviation services including aircraft fueling, aircraft storage and parking. In addition, it provides flight training, aircraft charter and rentals, aircraft and helicopter maintenance, aircraft detailing, avionics, pilot supplies, banner towing, and sightseeing services. In fact, several organizations utilize the Airport for their life-saving missions, including the Civil Air Patrol, Johns Hopkins All Children’s, Bayflite Medivac and various other medical transport services. Learn more about Albert Whitted Airport.

The Vinoy

The Vinoy Park Hotel (Renaissance Vinoy Resort and Golf Club) was indoctrinated to the U.S. National Register of Historic Places on September 11, 1978. This historic Mediterranean style hotel is located on the bayfront area of downtown. The hotel was built in 1925 and took 10 months to complete. The hotel was designated as a seasonal hotel, and guests were able to book their stays from December to March. The hotel’s rates at the time were $20.00 a night, the highest in the area at the time. The Vinoy was a favorite of celebrities, and back in the day guests included Babe Ruth, Herbert Hoover, Calvin Coolidge and James Stewart.

The U.S. Army took over the hotel during World War II and it was used as a training school. When the war was over, the hotel was sold for $700,000 to Charles Alberding. Although the hotel continued to prosper for the next couple of decades, it fell out of its former glory and decline and disrepair were visible by the end of the 1960s.

In 1974, the Vinoy closed and sat vacant until the early 90’s when it was purchased by Renaissance Hotels and Resorts and the Vinoy Development Corporation. This new partnership sought to restore the Vinoy to its former glory and began a $93 million renovation, which took two years to complete.

The Vinoy’s sprawling verandah and dining rooms are open to the public. The décor harkens to a slower and more relaxed pace of life. The Vinoy also includes a luxury spa. It’s the ideal place for guests, but also a perfect spot for a break away from the every day. Learn more about The Vinoy.

St. Petersburg is a place for the arts

Over the years, St. Petersburg has become well known as a place for the arts. The downtown area houses many independent galleries, from painters, to sculptors, to glass blowers and more. There is no shortage of shops and galleries you can visit to shop for that perfect statement piece for your home.

If it’s inspiration you seek, then you’ll love the abundance of museums located in the downtown area.

Perhaps the most widely known and beloved museum of residents, as well as visitors to St. Pete, is the Salvador Dali Museum. The museum is an architectural masterpiece in itself. In other words, it’s one of the crowned jewels of picturesque downtown St. Petersburg, and has a Michelin three-star rating, as well as being on many other architectural lists, as a can’t miss landmark.

The museum houses a collection of over 2,400 works from the life of Salvador Dali. For example, they’re oil paintings, many original drawings, book illustrations, artists’ books, prints, sculpture, photos, manuscripts and an extensive archive of documents.

The museum also features a garden, café, and educational programs. You can take a virtual tour from the Dali’s website, but we recommend spending the day in-person for a memorable experience. The Dali has recently included several seasonal exhibits which rotate throughout the year. These exhibits are themed and often include collaborations from Dali’s life with other noted artists of his time.

The Morean Arts Center has been a staple for visitors and residents of St. Pete to connect to arts. Although many new to the St. Petersburg area may not have heard of the Morean Arts Center, they may be more familiar with the Chihuly Collection. Celebrating its ten year stay in the city of St. Pete the Chihuly collection is a stunning, permanent collection of world-renowned artist Dale Chihuly’s unique artwork. The Morean Arts Center constructed a building specifically designed for housing the collection and to offer a unique and memorable visitor experience. Learn more about the Chihuly Collection at the Morean Arts Center. 

St. Petersburg is a place to wine and dine

If you take a short walk down Beach Drive in downtown St. Pete on any evening, you’re likely to get a quick taste of the exploding restaurant scene. The sidewalks have side tables and patrons enjoying a wide variety of dining experiences.

In this walkable city venue, you can enjoy just about every type of cuisine imaginable. Although there will certainly be favorite restaurants you’ll routinely want to visit, you won’t long for options when it comes to dining.

Each restaurant in the downtown St. Pete area seems to be making an effort to outdo their neighbor when it comes to wines, craft cocktails, and craft beer lists.

Lastly, there’s always something to do in St. Petersburg. When you call downtown St. Pete home, you’ll be able to start your own list of favorite things to do and explore. Whether you want to delve into something historic, sample the arts and culture, or relax over a 5-star meal with spectacular wine or drinks, you’ll always feel joy with the options.

Above all, contact us if you want to learn more about The Julia. 

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