City of St. Petersburg

They know that the best place to grow their business is in the "Sunshine City".

St. Petersburg is a city in Pinellas County, Florida, United States. It is known as a vacation destination for both American and foreign tourists. Although the city of Clearwater is the county seat of Pinellas County, all county services are available through county offices in St. Petersburg. St. Petersburg is the second largest city in the Tampa Bay Area, which is composed of roughly 3 million residents, making it the second largest Metropolitan Statistical Area in the state.

The city is often referred to by locals as St. Pete. Neighboring St. Pete Beach formally shortened its name in 1994 after a vote by its residents. The city is located on a peninsula between Tampa Bay and the Gulf of Mexico. It is connected to mainland Florida to the north; with the city of Tampa to the east by causeways and bridges across Tampa Bay; and to Bradenton in the south by the Sunshine Skyway Bridge (Interstate 275), which traverses the mouth of the bay. It is also served by Interstates 175 and 375, which branch off I-275 into the southern and northern areas of downtown respectively. The Gandy Bridge, conceived by George Gandy and opened in 1924, was the first causeway to be built across Tampa Bay, connecting St. Petersburg and Tampa cities without a circuitous 43-mile trip around the Bay through Oldsmar.

With a purported average of some 360 days of sunshine each year, it is nicknamed "The Sunshine City." For that reason, the city has long been a popular retirement destination, especially for those in the United States from colder Northern climates. This reputation earned the city the derisive nickname of "God's waiting room". In recent years, though, the population has shifted in a more youthful direction.

Attractions and Points of Interest

The city has a children's museum (Great Explorations), Museum of Fine Arts, a History Museum (which has a full-size replica of the Benoist seaplane and is located near the approximate spot by the St. Petersburg Pier where the first flight took place), a Holocaust Museum, and the Salvador Dalí Museum, which houses the largest collection of Dalí's outside of Europe, including a number of famous and large-scale paintings such as The Discovery of America by Christopher Columbus. There is also a Chihuly Collection that houses some of the magnificant glass sculptures of Dale Chihuly. There are also various other smaller art galleries and entertainment venues, especially in the downtown area, which has seen a boom in development since the mid 1990s; these include: The Mahaffey Theater complex, American Stage (an equity regional theater), The Coliseum, Palladium Theatre, The Midtown Royal Theater, The Arts Center, and the Florida Craftsmen Gallery.

Downtown is the location of the Sundial shopping complex which contains an IMAX Muvico 20 screen movie theater, as well as many chain restaurants and retail shops, catering to more of a middle and upper class audience. Sundial is also a nightlife destination. Central Avenue, from the Yacht Club west to 8th Street, is very vibrant and "organic." Restaurants serving ethnic and domestic culinary specialties can be found throughout the downtown area. Every Saturday morning, from October to May, the downtown area hosts a farmers market in the parking area of Al Lang Field (aka Progress Energy Park). Local vendors sell the fruits of their labors (whether edible or decorative) alongside artists of all kinds including live music.

Due west of downtown on Central is a district called Grand Central which is contained within Historic Kenwood. It is known for its artistic community, LGBT presence and hosting of the annual St. Pete Pride parade. Like its name implies, Old Northeast is adjacent to downtown from the northeast. It is known for its historic status and eclectic architecture. Roser Park is another historic district, located just south of downtown. It is known for its stately architecture. Together, these areas comprise the urban core of St. Petersburg.

North of downtown is Great Explorations, The Children's Museum, an interactive museum featuring a Children's Village with giant pretend stores, Fire House and Pet Vet Clinic, and preschool, science, music, art, and water exhibits. The museum is located next to Sunken Gardens. 4th Street as a whole, from Downtown up to Gandy Boulevard, is home to many restaurants and bars running the gamut from fast food to haute cuisine. This area is called the "Garden District", although as of 2010 this name is not widely in use.

Boyd Hill Nature Park located on Lake Maggiore is a 245-acre preserve where you can see many of the endangered plants and rare wildlife of Tampa Bay. There is a bird exhibit which houses bald eagles, owls, hawks, and other species. St. Petersburg is well regarded for its beaches. In 2005, Fort Desoto was rated the number one beach in America by the annual Dr. Beach rankings. TripAdvisor also has the beach ranked number one in the nation for 2008. Also noted for its arts community, St. Petersburg regularly places top 25 in the nation among arts destinations Recently, St. Petersburg has become known and regarded as one of America's most livable cities.

Downtown

Downtown St. Petersburg is the Central Business District, containing high rises for office use, most notably the Bank of America Tower. The Tampa Bay Times newspaper is headquartered in the downtown area. The Mahaffey Theater complex, the Morean Arts Center, dozens of other art galleries, Haslam's Book Store, The Coliseum, Palladium Theatre, and Jannus Landing are among the galleries and cultural venues featured downtown. Several prominent museums are located in the perimeter - Chihuly Collection presented by the Morean Arts Center, Museum of Fine Arts, Salvador Dalí Museum, the Florida International Museum, and the Holocaust Museum. The city also plays host to many festivals throughout the year.

Downtown contains the University of South Florida St. Petersburg, and a downtown branch of St. Petersburg College. The downtown perimeter also houses several parks, most of which are waterfront or lakefront. Straub Park is nearly a half mile long, boasts a waterfront location, and is home of the Museum of Fine Arts. The Vinoy Hotel has a waterfront location, a spot on the National Historic Register, and a AAA Four-Diamond rating. This area also contains Vinoy Park, which is known to hold music festivals, including the Vans Warped Tour. All of the above are connected via the Looper Trolley.

Most of the dining downtown can be found on or near Central Avenue or on Beach Drive near the waterfront. Central Avenue and adjacent streets also contain most of the active nightlife scene which includes bars, lounges and clubs to suit most tastes as well as two busy concert venues: Jannus Landing and the State Theatre. The nightlife scene is credited to recent demographic and regulatory changes. In 2010, the city council voted to extend bar hours until 3 A.M., identical to cross-bay "rival" Tampa.

Tropicana Field, home of Major League Baseball's Tampa Bay Rays, is located in the western part of downtown. Until 2008, the team played its spring training games at Progress Energy Park, right down the road. This setup was unique, making St. Petersburg the first city that played host to its baseball team during spring training as well as the regular season since the 1919 Philadelphia Athletics. 

Jutting a half mile into the Bay is the St. Petersburg Pier. The Pier closed to visitors in 2013 and the community is voting for replacement options. Due to its livability and myriad amenities, St. Petersburg's downtown has been rated among the best in the South. The area's beaches are a 10-mile drive from downtown.

St. Petersburg boasts the third largest dedicated public waterfront park system in North America, with a waterfront park system that stretches seven miles and is used year round for public events, festivals and other activities. In the early 1900s, citizens and city leaders engaged in a long and boisterous debate over the future of the young city's waterfront space with one side advocating for commercial, port and industrial development and the other side advocating for a long-term commitment to parks and public access to the waterfront. The public access and park contingent won the debate when, on Christmas Eve 1909, the city announced the acquisition of the waterfront land that is encompassed by the waterfront park system.

The city is also becoming one of the largest destinations in Florida for kiteboarding, a relatively new water-sport, with locations such as Ft. Desoto Park, Pass-a-Grille, and Ten-Cent. St. Petersburg locals such as Billy Parker and Alex Fox have gained a reputation for being some of the best kiteboarders in the world. The St. Petersburg Shuffleboard Club was established in 1924 and gained attention as the "World's Largest Shuffleboard Club" with 110 courts and over 5,000 members in the 1950s and 1960s.