Your Next Weekend Escape: St. Petersburg

PSA: St. Pete is Florida’s most underrated gem—and we’re here to tell you it’s time for a weekend trip. It’s got all the fixings for an epic escape from Miami (think gorgeous beaches, cooler weather, stellar restaurants and top-notch art museums). Here, everything you’ve got to see, eat and do while you’re there. (Because it’s not a matter of if you go, but a question of when. Time to use that personal day, maybe?) 

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Where To Stay

If you take away one thing from this article, let it be this: Booking a room at the Kimpton Hotel Zamora will guarantee you an amazing stay. About ten minutes from downtown St. Pete, this boutique Mediterranean-inspired property near the beach is full of expansive (and affordable) suites with balconies overlooking the Gulf of Mexico. The rooms are modern, cozy and dog-friendly (rates start at $169 per night). It also has a first-rate rooftop bar that makes for an epic sunset viewing spot. Head up around 6 p.m. and snuggle on a plush lounge chair with a glass of chilled rosé in hand. If Zamora is full, look to the Cordova Inn, a charming hotel in historic downtown St. Pete.

Insider tip: Downtown St. Petersburg is less than ten miles from St. Pete Beach. But because there’s virtually no traffic in the area, the drive is just under 15 minutes. That means you get to experience the excitement of downtown but squeeze in a few hours a day on the sand, too.

Where To Eat

St. Pete takes its food seriously. Make a reservation at Ichicoro Ane, a swanky Japanese-inspired eating and drinking den filled with ramen, bao buns, dumplings and sake. The city’s first-ever 24-hour diner, 2nd & Second, is the place you want to go when you’re craving doughnut French toast and truffled eggs with hash browns. Looking for celebrity-chef eats? Head to Michael Mina’s Locale, an Italian food hall and marketplace (and its sister restaurant, FarmTable Cucina), for house-made potato gnocchi and freshly baked focaccia. There’s also Bodega, an authentic Cuban sandwich spot, and Cassis, a buzzy waterfront brasserie perfect for weekday brunch (go for the blueberry pancakes and the croissant sandwich). Oh, and let’s not forget about Intermezzo, a minimalist coffee shop with a killer cold brew and a late-night cocktail menu.

Insider tip: Check to see what time the sun sets when planning dinners and drinks for maximum ’Gram potential.

Where To Drink

With food this good, it comes as no surprise that the city also boasts some pretty unique bars. On the laid-back side, go for a milkshake or a local brew from Kings (and then play a serious game of Jenga). For a mysterious speakeasy, try the Mandarin Hide and order an espresso martini made with sweet vanilla-bean vodka and fresh espresso. Then there’s Tryst Gastro Lounge, which sports a cozy outdoor patio and an elegant bar with a rotation of craft cocktails. For craft-beer enthusiasts, look no further than 7venth Sun, stocked with a healthy selection of local brews, or Dunedin, which also happens to be Florida’s oldest microbrewery.

Insider tip: Visit the breweries during the day and make plans for the Mandarin Hide or Tryst in the later evening, after sunset and dinner.

Where To Explore

There’s a little something for everyone here. First off, St. Pete is home to the Dali Museum, which includes the largest collection of the Spanish surrealist’s work outside of Spain. (Yep, you’re going to want to spend a solid two to three hours here.) Then comes the Chihuly Collection, a jaw-dropping reserve of Dale Chihuly’s vibrant, multicolored studio glass work. Otherwise, you’ve got to check out the Museum of Fine Arts, attend an hour-long glass-blowing class at the Morean Arts Glass Studio, walk around St. Pete’s murals and visit Sunken Gardens, a four-acre botanical paradise. And of course, you have to spend some time on the beach. Just cross the street from Kimpton Hotel Zamora for a tourist-free strip of serenity.

Insider tip: Group the Dali, murals and Sunken Gardens into one day, and save all things studio glass and the Museum of Fine Arts for the second day. But whatever you do, be sure to squeeze in a trip to the beach at least once a day, morning or night.

When To Go

It’s lovely year-round, but late winter/early spring is the best time to experience St. Pete’s prime 75-degree temperatures and peacefulness. (Just aim to avoid the week when spring breakers bust into town.)

Insider tip: If you really don’t feel like driving, we spotted round-trip flights to Tampa for as low as $107. What’s your excuse now?