Jess Ann Kirby visits Saint Petersburg, Florida and shares all of her favorite spots

Photography: Craig Mackay

Dear Saint Petersburg, I Love You

Location Marker St. Petersburg, Florida

I’ve come to the conclusion that this post is less of a travel guide and more of a love letter to St. Petersburg. A quick trip to the west coast of Florida for a wedding turned into a few days of discovering a place we are determined to call home for a while next winter. I didn’t quite know what to expect when we left at 3am for our quick flight to Tampa, but from the moment we stepped off the plane it was love at first sight. I feel a bit silly talking about a place so fondly when we only spent three days there, but there’s just something special about it. From the perfect weather to the pristine beaches to the friendly people and the amazing food we must have said, “we have to come back” about 100 times. Many of you sent messages asking for our recommendations as you have trips planned in the near future so I wanted to get this post up quickly. A huge thank you to everyone who sent us your suggestions and favorite places, that’s the only way we made decisions of where to go and no one steered us wrong. I should also note, we didn’t get the chance to explore Tampa and I didn’t include anything about that here because it’s worthy of it’s own post. Saving it for our next trip. Don’t forget to check out my Youtube haul with everything I packed for the trip. Everything in this post is also linked at the bottom.
Jess Ann Kirby wakes up for sunrise on St Pete Beach
Jess Ann Kirby wears a Cynthia Rowley sweatshirt and Agolde vintage shorts on the beach in Saint Petersburg

Where to Stay

So first things first, everyone wants to know about “The Don.” We stayed at the Don Cesar mainly because it was such a short trip and the wedding was there so I just wanted it to be easy and I wanted to be on the beach. Would I stay there again? No. But it was fine for this trip. I will say it was PERFECT for the wedding, and it was great to walk out of the hotel and onto the beach. The service was fine and we had an awesome lunch on the beach one day, but the rooms were nothing special, and it’s one of those places that charge you for everything. I get it, they’re a hotel, they need to make money, but I don’t even want to admit how much money we spent for just 3 nights (INSANE). And we weren’t by any means big spenders while we were staying there. My cousin and some friends stayed at the Kimpton across the street and down a few blocks. They loved it. We went for dinner one night and it was not impressive, but I think we just ordered the wrong things. That said, it’s way more affordable than the Don, but doesn’t have the convenience of walking out onto the beach. When we go back we are going to rent a house in downtown St. Petersburg instead of being near the beach. It’s only a 15 minute drive so it really depends on if you have a car and what you feel like doing. If you don’t plan on leaving the beach, stay at The Don or somewhere close. If you want to explore, I recommend downtown St. Petersburg. I will say, the sunrises we woke up to every morning were so beautiful. There are tons of vacation rentals, friends of ours rented a nice Airbnb not far from the beach (you did have to go over the bridge).

Where to Eat

There were SO many great restaurant, cafe, and brewery recommendations we didn’t even scratch the surface, but we had some amazing meals. I’ve included a bunch of suggestions below, including a lot of places we didn’t get to, but looked great. Like I said, we’ll be back! As you’ll see if you look these places up, they are all in St. Petersburg. The bars and restaurants on the beach are pretty touristy and if you want really good food, I’d make the trip. I’m sure there’s some decent spots for lunch and definitely cocktails on the beach, but downtown St. Petersburg is where it’s at for the food scene (from what we gathered during our short trip).

 

Coffee Shops

Intermezzo
Bandit – We went here. Coffee and kombucha were amazing and people had their dogs inside so basically this place is awesome.
Black Crow
Kahwa

Food

Bodega – OMG, this is a must. We had the most incredible lunch here. The sweet and spicy slaw is to die for. I got a juice from their spot next door too.
Red Mesa Cantina – We had the BEST dinner here. Great happy hour, awesome service, outdoor patio. Loved it.
Cider Press Cafe
Nitally’s Thai-Mex
Il Ritorno
Red Mesa Mercado – Walked by this place, it looked awesome.
The Hyppo
Urban Creamery
Spinners (St. Pete Beach)

Breweries/Bars

Green Bench
3 Daughters
Cycle Brewing
Canopy Rooftop & Bar
The Bends
The Ale & the Witch
Pinellas Ale Works (dog themed)
Undertow (beach bar)
Jimmy Bs (beach bar)

Jess Ann Kirby enjoys lunch at Bodega in Saint Petersburg, Florida
Jess Ann Kirby relaxes on Central Ave in Saint Petersburg, Florida
Jess Ann Kirby styles a striped button down with ripped jeans and a straw tote
Jess Ann Kirby packed GRLFND jeans and a striped button down for her trip to Saint Petersburg
Jess Ann Kirby visits a plant shop on Central Ave in Saint Petersburg, Florida

What to Do

Obviously beach time is a must if you’re in the St. Petersburg/St. Pete Beach area. The beach is absolutely beautiful and the sunrises and sunsets are breathtaking. We spent majority of our time on Pass-a-grille Beach in front of the Don Cesar because it was just easy. There are of course also tons of amazing markets, museums and shopping.

Northshore Park
Fort DeSoto Beach
Pass-a-grille Beach
Sunken Gardens
Dali Museum
Wall Murals (Shineonstpete.com)
Central Ave (tons of amazing shops)
St Pete Saturday Morning Market
Locale Gourmet Market
Indie Market

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15 Comments

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  1. Emily says:

    I haven’t been back to Saint Pete in years and this is really making me want to plan a trip! I love your outfits so much, need those Agolde shorts. 🙂
    xo,
    Em
    http://www.organicallyemily.com

  2. Amanda G says:

    OMG Bodega is my favorite! I am so glad that you loved St. Pete! I grew up not far from there and lived downtown for three years before moving to Tampa. We make day trips frequently and always have the best time!

  3. Bill says:

    I was on your flight back to PVD and thought it was so odd that I just recently started following you and there you were in Saint Pete the same time I was there. However I was there for a quick escape to visit a friend as I just lost my husband and partner of 20 years suddenly. So I was in no mood to talk but I almost introduced myself! And I did admire your Away bag and bought one the next day! See even when you don’t think anyone is paying attention they really are! My husband and I have so many wonderful memories of Newport and Second Beach in Middletown that it’s going to be so hard this summer and all the summers in my future without him. I just know I’ll run into you again so next time I’ll definitely introduce myself. Loving your style!

    • Jessica says:

      I’m so sorry for your loss. I can’t imagine how hard that must be, I know condolences aren’t enough but I will be thinking of you and sending you good energy. Please say hi next time, I am sure we will run into each other again. xx

  4. Katie says:

    I went to college in St. Pete (Eckerd College, right on the beach!) so this was so nostalgic…it’s such a little gem of FL!

  5. Natali says:

    This def. looks like a place I’d love to visit… Looks so relaxing and dreamy, not to mention delicious! 😀

    https://lartoffashion.com

  6. Taylor says:

    Nothing is worse than getting ripped off by a fancy hotel! One time my husband and I got breakfast at a hotel like this, and it was something like $80. My husband had the funniest reaction – his jaw dropped and he said it felt like someone just pulled down his pants, as a prank! I died laughing!

    Your outfits are just so cute! Love the stripes and not overly nautical feel – just enough! Need to get down to this side of the FL coast! Must have been such a nice change of pace from this snowy winter up north. So fun!

  7. Sequoia Grant says:

    I moved to St. Pete because I loved it. Just like you! It’s constantly growing! BTW, what camera did you use for these shots!

  8. Kayla says:

    Pass-a-Grille has to be hands down one of the nicest beaches ever! It’s absolutely breathtaking and you’re 100% right the sunrises are amazing! So glad you had a great trip and enjoyed your time there. I’m very much looking forward to my girls trip coming up in a few weeks!

  9. What a CUTE town! I am loving the colors! And yes, we went to a wedding and stayed in the hotel once in Cleveland. It was great for the wedding but not great to stay at! haha

  10. Gina says:

    Next time you visit, try Brick + Mortar, Reading Room and Lolita’s Wine Market. You ended up at some great spots – Red Mesa Cantina and Bodega are top notch. We live in the more artsy area near Bandit in Grand Central District. Try finding an Airbnb in Kenwood, Uptown, Old North or Southeast. Glad you enjoyed St. Pete – it’s the best!

  11. Meg says:

    Been wanting to go here since reading your post and the stars aligned and was able to just book a last minute trip with my husband! Cannot wait to try out all of your recommendations!

  12. Lynn says:

    I loved the St. Petersburg post even though I am living here in Florida and the Hawaii photos and outfits were spectacular ! I just got the pony scarf and was wanting the round straw bag so badly but there was only black left. Everything was beautiful!🌹