Located in Pinellas County in the Tampa Bay area, St. Petersburg is one of the bigger cities in Florida. As Florida sees an influx of new residents, many are thinking about the different places they could move to, including St. Petersburg.
If you want to know what living in St. Pete is like, you’re in the right place! Let’s talk about what makes this city stand out from other big towns like Tampa and why you might want to move here.
What Is St. Petersburg, Florida Like?
As the second-largest city in the Tampa Bay area, St. Petersburg has much of what you would expect from a big city. Still, downtown St Pete has a unique feeling thanks to the emphasis the local governments put on its initiatives. It won’t feel like the more historic towns of the United States, instead offering a fun mix of older Floridian architecture and fresh businesses.
Ten Reasons to Live in St. Petersburg, Florida
St. Petersburg is a growing town in the Tampa Bay area and for good reasons. There are plenty of perks to living in the area, such as:
Despite being across the Bay from Tampa itself, St. Petersburg doesn’t have the same high cost of living as its cousin city does. In fact, St. Petersburg’s median house price is just below the national average, making it an affordable city.
The other nice perk of living in Florida is the lack of a state income tax. Because of the flourishing tourist industry, the state makes enough revenue off of other sources so that residents don’t have to worry about an income tax. More money in your pocket means more house over your head or more cash on hand to enjoy the city life!
St. Petersburg is not joking around when it comes to being retiree-friendly. This city practically rolls out the red carpet for our seasoned citizens. With a wealth of activities and amenities tailored to the 65+ crowd, St. Pete is essentially the “The Golden Girls” script that comes to life.
Enjoy your retirement years with a wide array of senior-focused social clubs, activities, and public services. You’ll find everything from Bingo Bonanza nights (not for the faint-hearted, let me tell you) to Tai Chi in the park, and don’t forget about the excellent healthcare facilities with specialized geriatric services.
Plus, the city’s flat topography makes it easy to get around, even if you trade in your sports car for a golf cart. The slower pace of life here is perfect for those looking to swap the 9-to-5 grind for a more relaxed rhythm. So if you’re planning your retirement, St. Pete doesn’t just say “Welcome!”, it says “Put up your feet and stay awhile!”.
Green Energy Initiatives
St Petersburg, as a relatively new city, has the benefit of smaller infrastructure systems to update with modern tech. As part of its growth, St Petersburg adopted a green initiative to improve the sustainability of the city and reduce things like air pollution and reliance on fossil fuels.
For example, St. Petersburg uses clean and renewable energy sources to power the city and its infrastructure. Also, the town has a Tree City USA designation from the Arbor Day Foundation due to the over 250,000 trees planted across the city.
There are also programs dedicated to water conservation, recycling, and fuel-efficient public transportation services.
Plenty of Local Sports
While Tampa gets a lot of recognition for its sports teams, St. Petersburg is actually where a lot of teams play their games. Both the Tampa Bay Ray from Major League Baseball and the Tampa Bay Rowdies from the United Soccer League have stadiums in downtown St. Petersburg.
Even then, football and hockey are a 20-minute drive across Tampa Bay to downtown Tampa. There, sports fans can watch both the Tampa Bay Buccanneers from the National Football League and the Tampa Bay Lightning from the National Hockey League.
All of these stadiums have plenty of parking and local restaurants to hang out at before or after the game.
Perfect Weather For All The Beaches Nearby
St. Pete has the Sunshine City nickname for a reason! The city receives an average of 361 sunny days a year, meaning that it will be a rare day that you can’t pop down to the beach for the afternoon.
Plus, the temperature doesn’t change much over the year. On average, temperatures reach the low nineties during the peak of summer and average around the mid-fifties during the winter. So, expect warm weather just about any day.
You won’t be hurting for your choices for nearby beaches, either. While St. Pete Beach has plenty of spots to catch some sun, other nearby beaches like Clearwater Beach and Indian Rocks Beach have spots for visitors and locals alike. Each of these sandy beaches has a unique draw, from the range of hotels in Clearwater Beach to the upscale feeling of the southern Indian Rocks Beach.
Parks and Outdoor Activities Aplenty
St. Petersburg beaches aren’t the only outdoor activity to dive into, though. There are plenty of local parks like Fort De Soto Park that offer historical vistas, bike trails, and nearby parks to enjoy the sunshine in. There are also nature trails, such as the nearly 50-mile Pinellas Trail, to explore.
St. Petersburg residents also enjoy their time out in the water. It’s common to see folks hop on their boats or paddleboards in the downtown Waterfront areas and all across the waves of the sandy beaches dotting the Gulf Coast.
These nature preserves aren’t hard to find all across Pinellas County thanks to the area’s dedication to conservation.
A Thriving Art Scene
The culture scene of St. Petersburg is thriving thanks to its focus on the fine arts. There are roughly half a dozen museums scattered across the downtown area, plus multiple concert halls and theater spaces. You can find a different show or concert almost any night. Plus, there are frequent art events and gallery viewings at museums on weekends.
St. Petersburg neighboring city across the Bay, has a historical district called Ybor City that is home to a lot of Hispanic culture and art, as well. Really, the South Tampa area overall has a lot to offer to artists and art aficionados!
The Food and Drink Scene
If you like exotic food and craft beer, St. Pete is the city for you! Almost any kind of cuisine can be found along St. Petersburg’s main streets, most of which are small or local businesses.
There are also plenty of bars and breweries across Pinellas County, including Big Storm Brewing and Mad Dog Brewery. Florida’s brewing industry is rapidly growing, meaning that you won’t be hurting for choices in new drinks to try while living here.
It’s A Pet-Friendly Place
Older residents and young professionals in the St. Pete area take their pets seriously! The city has several features that make it a great place to walk your pets. There are plenty of dog parks along the water and in the downtown area itself. Many of the apartment complexes and neighborhoods have communal grassy areas for a furry friend to do their business while out on the town.
Plus, many of the local businesses are pet-friendly. Thanks to how appealing the weather makes outdoor seating, many restaurants let folks bring their pets to the table. Some businesses even leave food and water dishes for pets to take a break while walking!
The City Is Highly Accessible
Like other Tampa Bay cities, Florida’s Sunshine City is easy to get around in. Traffic can be tough during the morning and evening rush hour, but navigating the city isn’t a problem.
You can get almost everywhere in St. Petersburg by walking. Cyclists will enjoy the bike lanes along major roads and all the sidewalks and trails that cut through the town.
If you’d rather sit, there are options other than taking a car. Buses and trolleys run all over St. Pete. Each option has online pass programs that make it easy to get your fare paid ahead of time and hop on when the vehicle arrives at your stop.
Plus, St. Pete is just off a major highway. Going north, you’ll reach Tampa and its amenities like Tampa International Airport. Off to the south is the Sunshine Skyway Bridge, where Pinellas County residents can get to the southern parts of the state without doubling back over Tampa.
Four Drawbacks of Living in St. Petersburg, Florida
While living in St. Petersburg has its perks, there are some downsides to the area. So, let’s be honest about what might keep some folks away:
The Summers Are Scorchers
While it is nice to have sunny weather almost all year, Florida is notorious for its humidity. St. Pete is no exception to that.
The humidity is at its worst during the summer and never really goes away as it does up north. Expect your summer days to be spent in the shade with a cold drink if you aren’t used to the Floridian weather.
Violent Crime Is A Problem
While violent crime is on a downward trend in St. Petersburg, it is still almost double the national average.
While this problem gets lessened the further away from the city you get, living in St. Pete does mean accepting the increased chances of one of these crimes happening to you.
The tourism industry in St. Petersburg is what gives it its vibrant culture and economic stability. However, that also means that during the peak season, the city gets flooded with tourists.
This can lead to crowded beaches, longer wait times at restaurants, and increased traffic on the roads. If you’re not a fan of crowds or long lines, this might be a downside to living in the area.
Prone to Sinkholes
Unfortunately, much of Pinellas County suffers from sinkholes—so much so that it’s known as sinkhole alley. St. Petersburg is no exception, with limestone caverns beneath the surface, prone to collapsing when water levels change.
You may notice that some roads, especially north of downtown, are warped from sinkholes. As you get closer to Crescent Lake, you’ll see more and more empty lots that were once homes. If you’re thinking of buying a home in this area, you’ll want to ensure it isn’t prone to sinkholes first.
Living in St. Petersburg or the surrounding area offers a lot. The downtown St. Pete area has plenty of what makes city life great without losing the refreshment of being out in nature. The sandy beaches and nature preserves around the area mean that you can enjoy a day in the sun before popping into your favorite restaurant for a bite to eat.
For folks looking to live in a place that blends nature and city life, then living in St. Pete could be the best choice for you!