Relatively than take one massive trip this summer time, we opted as an alternative for a couple of quick journeys so we may expertise extra new locations. We kicked issues off with this 3-night journey to Charleston, SC, we met up my mother and father within the Georgia mountains in July, after which capped off the summer time with a getaway to St. Petersburg, Florida. Sherry and I had solely been there very briefly throughout this 2008 seaside trip, so we have been excited to spend extra time there and discover it with our youngsters.
So right here’s a fast recap of what we did, the place we ate, and why we’re excited to return.
The place Did We Keep In St. Petersburg?
St. Petersburg is situated on Florida’s Gulf Coast, throughout the Tampa Bay from town of Tampa. The realm has a lot of nice seashores, however we particularly selected St. Pete for town and cultural features of it (since we’ve got loads of nice seashores the place we dwell). It appeared to vow a number of the similar issues we liked about our former hometown of Richmond, Virginia (we love a mid-size metropolis with an artsy really feel and many good meals).
For these causes, we selected to remain nearer to Downtown St. Petersburg (reasonably than close to the seashores). We stayed in an Airbnb simply outdoors of the Grand Central District, which promised to be a enjoyable industrial district. The home itself was good (clear, well-stocked, and dog-friendly!) nevertheless it turned out to be much less walkable to the place we spent most of our time than we’d hoped so I’m not linking it right here.
We’d most likely select one thing a little bit additional East subsequent time we go. I additionally assume if we have been to return for an extended journey, we’d select a home nearer to the seaside – since there gave the impression to be extra choices on the market – then we’d simply drive downtown. It’s actually not a really massive metropolis and we solely skilled very gentle visitors whereas we have been there.
What We Did In St. Petersburg: The Pier
The massive attraction in downtown St. Petersburg is The St. Pete Pier, so we naturally headed there on our first morning. For those who’re picturing some rinky-dink picket fishing pier (like I used to be at one level) you couldn’t be extra unsuitable. It’s MASSIVE and has tons to do. Had it been rather less sizzling out and we weren’t interrupted by a rainstorm, we virtually may’ve spent a complete day on the market.
That’s the view from the top of the pier, wanting again towards downtown. It’s crammed with inexperienced areas, eating choices, artwork items, and extra. That is the 3-story construction (every with a special restaurant) from which I took the above picture. See? Completely not rinky-dink.
Our two favourite spots on the pier have been the playground and the Tampa Bay Watch Discovery Heart. The latter is a small however enjoyable nature middle towards the center of the pier. It was surprisingly reasonably priced ($18 whole for all 4 of us to get in) and so they’re even dog-friendly! Actually, we largely stopped in for the A/C, however ended up staying about 45 minutes wanting on the numerous animals and interactive shows.
The playground was one other shock hit, since our youngsters are starting to age out of them. However this one was massive, fashionable, and creatively executed, so they’d a good time. We adults even obtained to take a seat within the shade!
The very last thing we did close to the Pier (earlier than some shock rain drove us inside) was to take a look at this huge tree outdoors of the St. Petersburg Museum of Historical past. If you’ll find our youngsters within the image, you’ll get a way of the dimensions.
Once more, we may’ve spent much more time at The Pier. We’d love to return on a weekend when the seller Market is occurring, or at evening when the Bending Arc artwork set up is all lit up.
What We Did In St. Pete: The Salvador Dalí Museum
The next day, we ventured again downtown to go to The Salvador Dalí Museum. An artwork museum might not be each household’s thought of a kid-friendly exercise, however each of our youngsters love artwork so this was a must-see for us. The museum does a very good job of catering to younger guests too. There are a couple of interactive displays (together with a VR expertise) and even some AI-generated movies of Dalí “himself” speaking with you.
It was additionally simply spectacular to see so lots of his works up shut. His items are sometimes so intricate and, nicely, surreal that the children discovered them actually fascinating to have a look at. Sherry additionally had enjoyable breaking out a few of her school artwork historical past information.
The one bummer about our go to is that, as soon as once more, we obtained a shock rain storm so we couldn’t go to the “avant-garden” (har har). In addition they simply added an enormous dome that hosts the immersive Dalí Alive 360° expertise, however we visited sooner or later – actually sooner or later! – earlier than it opened to the general public.
Talking of immersive artwork, we wished The Fairgrounds had been open whereas we have been there too. It’s solely open on weekends and our journey fell on a Monday evening – Thursday morning.
What We Did In St. Petersburg: Discover & Store
Other than the 2 locations above, we spent most of our journey simply sort of exploring. There are many outlets and eating places alongside (and proper off of) Central Avenue within the Grand Central District, so it was additionally enjoyable simply strolling round.
There usually gave the impression to be extra eating places than there have been shops to buy in, however we did discover this actually cute bookstore: Tombolo Books. We love an indie bookstore, and every time we go to a brand new metropolis we all the time look one up.
It additionally bears mentioning that St Pete was tremendous welcoming to everybody! It undoubtedly has an inclusive metropolis vibe that made us so comfortable – from the rainbow crosswalk within the Grand Central district to indicators displayed in store home windows and flags hanging outdoors.
For those who couldn’t inform from these photos: there are TONS of murals and colourful storefronts. So there’s loads of eye sweet, simply strolling round. This explicit mural was on the facet of Pete’s Bagels, which was additionally our favourite breakfast of the journey.
I’m undecided if this graffitied bench counts as “public artwork,” however we undoubtedly loved the picture op. You’ve got my permission to make use of this picture at my funeral.
If murals aren’t the one kind of eye sweet you crave: we additionally discovered a number of the actual property selection. We did a little bit little bit of driving round every afternoon simply to get our bearings in St. Pete. First, we stumbled upon some lovely neighborhoods between downtown and Snell Isle. Simply tons of cool homes (some massive, some small) that felt like a cool mixture of tropical and historic. It virtually felt like a Florida model of Richmond to us. This home made Sherry scream and gasp a number of instances.
We additionally heard of this different neighborhood known as Driftwood (because of @ilovetheburg on Instagram, which had tons of native suggestions). It was not possible to seize it on digicam, nevertheless it was extremely jungly and funky. Simply put “Driftwood Street” in Google Maps to seek out it. Severely. Go drive by way of. It felt like we entered Jurrasic Park.
Sherry and I may most likely drive round exploring neighborhoods all day, so we’d undoubtedly love to try this once more in St Pete.
The place We Ate In St. Petersburg
As I mentioned in our Charleston submit, we’re not at all foodies, and with youngsters and a canine in tow, our priorities are sometimes straightforward, enjoyable, informal, and a menu that pleases everybody. So right here’s a fast run-down of the locations we loved most.
Pacific Counter was like a sushi & poke model of Chipotle. It’s undoubtedly a “quick informal” fashion place, so I really feel bizarre saying it was my favourite meal of the journey, however constructing our personal sushi burritos and poke bowls was superior and it was scrumptious. I obtained a Hawaiian sizzling canine too. The children obtained free pineapple whip (I suppose that’s a factor on Wednesdays?) and everybody left comfortable and full. It seems to be like Pacific Counter is a sequence within the Tampa Bay space, however may somebody fairly please open one close to us on the panhandle?
Ceviche was the restaurant we hunkered down in throughout our post-Pier rainstorm, and it was most likely Sherry’s favourite of the journey. This undoubtedly stretched the children’ palettes a little bit bit (the meatballs, croquetas, and pesto rooster have been the most important hits with them) however that was the fantastic thing about sharing a bunch of small plates.
As a lot as this subsequent place seems to be prefer it’s known as “Beer Tacos,” it’s truly Casita Taqueria. Tacos and quesadillas are all the time crowd-pleasers within the Petersik family, and this place had a wonderfully chill, dog-friendly environment, together with nice meals.
One other fool-proof crowd-pleaser with us is dessert. Probably the most memorable one on this journey was at La Diperie. You begin with a base like a soft-serve cone, a donut, cookie dough balls, and even an ice cream sandwich. Then you definately select from dozens of flavored dips that your base will get dunked in, after which toss on a topping or two. YUM.
And though we didn’t truly eat right here (they have been one way or the other out of bread?) we have been glad we stopped into the 2D Cafe. The ’80s child in me felt like I had stepped into the Take On Me video!
And since Sherry and I’ve been on a espresso kick this 12 months, we loved trying out a few native espresso spots in St. Pete. Bandit was tremendous cool. I’m nonetheless fascinated with the summer-special Bouquet Latte I obtained and I remorse not getting a full breakfast there. We additionally checked this tremendous art-deco spot known as Paradeco, which was actually cool inside.
I solely want my mind would learn Paradeco as “Para-Deco” (a reference to paradise + artwork deco) as an alternative of “Parade-Co,” which feels like a enterprise that places on parades.
One Final Cease: The Seashore!
Okay, okay, so I mentioned we didn’t come to St. Petersburg for the seashores. However after we checked out of our Airbnb, we couldn’t resist a detour out to one of many seashores: particularly, an space known as Passe-A-Grille, which a pal had advisable to us. The drive there was quick (possibly 15-20 minutes?) and we obtained to soak up the well-known pink Don CeSar lodge on the way in which.
We additionally grabbed breakfast on the way in which out at Paradise Grille. It’s a very unfussy, however fantastically beachfront restaurant within the middle of Passe-A-Grill. We liked it!
Although we dwell close to the seaside, this was an unfamiliar expertise to us as a result of our seashores are surrounded (protected? blocked?) by very tall 3-story dunes. So most “Gulf entrance” eating choices supply nice views (wanting down on them from above), however you’re fairly removed from touching precise sand and water. Not right here! You’re just about instantly on the seaside.
So it was an ideal enjoyable strategy to finish the journey earlier than heading dwelling. We left desirous to expertise extra of the world – each downtown and by the seashores – so we’re excited to return!
Different Household Journeys We’ve Taken
For those who’re taken with our tackle different locations or are looking for family-friendly journeys, you would possibly get pleasure from a few of these posts too: