Have your trip to St Pete planned by a professional
As a Tampa native, I’ve always been drawn to the vibrant culture and stunning natural beauty of the Sunshine State. And when it comes to soaking up all that Florida has to offer, the newly renovated St. Pete Pier is one of the must-visit destinations that truly captures the essence of the Gulf Coast.
Whether you’re a first-time visitor or a seasoned local, the Pier has something for everyone – from dazzling waterfront views and world-class dining options to unique shopping experiences and thrilling outdoor activities. So come along with me as I take you on a journey through the sights and sounds of the St. Pete Pier, and discover why this iconic landmark is a must-see attraction for anyone visiting the Tampa Bay area.
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The History of St. Pete Pier
The St. Pete Pier, located in downtown St. Petersburg, Florida, is a 26-acre waterfront destination that has been a beloved landmark since it first opened in 1889. Over the years, the Pier has undergone several transformations, with the most recent renovation completed in 2020, which has transformed it into a state-of-the-art attraction that offers something for everyone.
The Pier boasts a wide range of activities and amenities, including a fishing deck, an interactive splash pad, a family park, and a variety of restaurants and shops. Visitors can also take a stroll along the picturesque waterfront and enjoy stunning views of Tampa Bay, or rent a bike or kayak and explore the area at their own pace.
But the St. Pete Pier’s history is as rich as its current offerings. It has served as a community gathering place for over a century, with its first iteration featuring a railroad depot, bathhouse, and even a zoo. Over the years, it has hosted numerous events, from concerts and festivals to political rallies and parades. In fact, it was the site of the world’s first airline ticket office, when Tony Jannus sold the first commercial airline ticket in 1914.
Transportation and Parking Options: Getting to St. Pete Pier
Getting to the St. Pete Pier is easy and convenient, with a variety of transportation options available to visitors. Here’s a summary of the different ways you can get there and the parking options available:
- Driving: The Pier is easily accessible by car, with multiple parking options available, including a parking garage, surface lots, and on-street parking. Parking rates vary depending on the location and time of day, with hourly and daily rates available.
- Public transportation: Visitors can take the PSTA bus to the Pier, with multiple routes serving the area. The Central Avenue Trolley is also a popular option, offering a scenic route along the waterfront.
- Bike or Scooter: Visitors can rent bikes or electric scooters from various companies and ride them to the Pier. There are also several bike racks located throughout the area for those who bring their own bikes.
- Water taxi: Visitors can take a water taxi to the Pier from several locations, including the Vinoy Basin and the downtown marina.
No matter which transportation option you choose, the St. Pete Pier has plenty of parking available, with more than 2,400 parking spaces throughout the area. Plus, with a convenient shuttle service and bike rentals available, getting around the Pier is a breeze, making it easy to enjoy all the attractions and amenities it has to offer.
Exploring the Pier
Here’s a summary of the attractions and activities available for visitors:
- The Pier Head features a welcome center, market, and observation deck, where visitors can take in breathtaking views of Tampa Bay.
- The Marketplace is a vibrant shopping destination that features local vendors selling everything from handmade jewelry to gourmet foods.
- The Great Lawn is a spacious open area that hosts a variety of events, from concerts and movies to fitness classes and festivals.
- The Discovery Center is an interactive exhibit space that focuses on marine life and the environment, with hands-on exhibits and educational programs for visitors of all ages.
- The Splash Pad is a fun and interactive water play area, perfect for children of all ages to cool off and have some fun.
- The Pier Aquarium is a must-visit for anyone interested in marine life, with exhibits and programs that showcase the unique ecosystem of Tampa Bay.
- Outdoor activities: Visitors can rent bikes, kayaks, and paddleboards to explore the area, or take a sunset cruise on Tampa Bay.
No matter what your interests are, the St. Pete Pier has something for everyone. With a wide range of attractions, activities, and dining options, it’s the perfect destination for a day out with family and friends.
Dining at the Pier
The St. Pete Pier offers an exceptional dining experience with a range of restaurants and bars serving up delectable cuisine with a stunning waterfront view. Here is a summary of the dining options available at the Pier:
- Teak offers a casual yet sophisticated dining experience with a focus on seafood and locally sourced ingredients. They have an extensive wine and cocktail list, and outdoor seating with a spectacular view of the water.
- Doc Ford’s Rum Bar & Grille offers an island-inspired menu with fresh seafood, Caribbean flavors, and a wide selection of rum cocktails. The restaurant has indoor and outdoor seating and a relaxed atmosphere.
- Pier Teaki is a tiki-themed bar and restaurant that serves up tropical cocktails, sushi, and poke bowls. They have an outdoor deck with a stunning view of the water and live music on the weekends.
- Spa Beach Bistro is a casual spot that offers American fare, including burgers, sandwiches, and salads. They have a full bar and a laid-back atmosphere, making it a great spot to relax and enjoy the view.
- Fresco’s Waterfront Bistro is a fine dining restaurant that offers Mediterranean-inspired cuisine with fresh, locally sourced ingredients. They have indoor and outdoor seating with a view of the water, making it a perfect spot for a romantic dinner or special occasion.
With such a wide range of dining options, visitors to the St. Pete Pier are sure to find something to suit their taste buds. From casual spots to fine dining, there’s something for everyone at this iconic waterfront destination.
Final Thoughts on the newly renovated St. Pete Pier
As a Tampa native, it was incredible to see the transformation of the St. Pete Pier. The newly renovated pier offers something for everyone, from the stunning observation deck to the Splash Pad and the Discovery Center. The marketplace and dining options are a great addition, showcasing the best of what the Tampa Bay area has to offer. It’s a perfect destination for families, friends, or a romantic night out.
The St. Pete Pier is a must-visit for anyone visiting or living in the Tampa Bay area. The pier’s stunning views of Tampa Bay and the surrounding area are breathtaking, and the variety of attractions and activities make it a destination that is well worth a visit.
Whether you’re interested in marine life, shopping, dining, or just enjoying the outdoors, the St. Pete Pier has it all. It’s a testament to the thriving culture of the Tampa Bay area and a reminder of the beauty and diversity of this unique corner of Florida.
So, what are you waiting for? Plan your visit to the St. Pete Pier today and experience all that this iconic destination has to offer!