Downtown St. Petersburg offers attractions galore for visitors

The holidays are approaching, and that means relatives may be visiting to share family traditions.

It’s also the season when Florida, with its sunshine and mild winters, attracts an influx of friends and family escaping bone-chilling weather in other locales.

The Museum of Fine Arts in downtown St. Petersburg boasts a collection of artworks dating from the antiquities to modern day. The collection includes a wide array of works from acclaimed artists such as Monet, Cezanne, Renoir, Gauguin, O’Keeffe and Wyath. (B.C. Manion/Staff Photo)

The Museum of Fine Arts in downtown St. Petersburg boasts a collection of artworks dating from the antiquities to modern day. The collection includes a wide array of works from acclaimed artists such as Monet, Cezanne, Renoir, Gauguin, O’Keeffe and Wyath. (B.C. Manion/Staff Photo)

The prospect of finding something to do that will appeal to people of all ages and interests can prove daunting. But downtown St. Petersburg is a great place to go to find something to see or do for practically everyone.

Here’s a sampler of some the attractions awaiting you across Tampa Bay in St. Petersburg.

Just to note, before heading to any of these spots, be sure to pick up downtown guides and brochures, and check websites for potential discounts. The savings can be substantial.

Chihuly Collection presented by Morean Arts Center
If you enjoy beautiful glasswork, you’re likely to fall in love with this stunning permanent collection by Dale Chihuly.

The 10,000-square-foot setting located at 400 Beach Drive N.E., features Chihuly’s colorful glassworks ranging from a Persian Sunset Wall to a Ruby Red Icicle Chandelier.

Visitors can learn more about Chihuly’s life as an artist and about the creative process that yields the works on exhibit during a presentation, which runs continuously, in a small theater in the space.

The store, which does not require museum admission, offers a variety of related merchandise and original works for purchase.

It’s open daily, except Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Museum of Fine Arts
Located at 255 Beach Drive N.E., in the heart of downtown St. Petersburg, this museum offers an art collection that extends from antiquity to the present day.

Highlights include works by Monet, Cezanne, Renoir, Gauguin, O’Keeffe, Wyath and other acclaimed artists.

Besides its collection, the museum offers an array of special events, has a museum store, and a café.

Museum admission is not required to dine at the MFA Café.

Open daily, except Thanksgiving and Christmas.

The Dali
Step into the surreal world of Salvador Dali at The Dali, the largest collection of Dali’s works outside of Spain.

The collection, located at 1 Dali Blvd., includes more than 2,100 Dali paintings, prints, sculptures and drawings.

Café Gala is inside the museum.

400 Beach Seafood & Tap House
Visitors to downtown St. Petersburg will find plenty of places to enjoy a meal and relax. This restaurant, at 400 Beach Drive N.E., serves coastal cuisine, has indoor and outdoor dining, and serves lunch and dinner daily.

It also has valet parking and is pet friendly.

Parkshore Grill
This restaurant at 300 Beach Drive N.E., also features indoor and outdoor seating. It serves lunch and dinner, offering fine food, wine and spirits.

It has a Saturday and Sunday brunch.

The Vinoy Renaissance St. Petersburg Resort & Golf Club
If you enjoy interesting architecture, this 1920s Mediterranean Revival hotel at 501 Fifth Ave. N.E., provides plenty to ponder.

The structure is on the National Register of Historic Places. For those visiting the area for just a day, it provides a nice photo op.

Others, spending more time in the area, may want to stay at the resort and partake of its 18-hole golf course and 12-court tennis complex. It also boasts a private marina.

North Straub Park
Visitors can find a place to relax on park benches and enjoy scenes of the waterfront, The Vinoy resort hotel, a marina and beautiful trees in this park at 400 Bayshore Drive N.E., which sits between The Vinoy and The Museum of Fine Arts.

Other nearby attractions:

  • Florida Craftsmen Gallery, 501 Central Ave. — A statewide nonprofit gallery and retail shop that represents fine craft artists from Florida.
  • Morean Arts Center, 719 Central Ave. — Home to studio art classes, jewelry making, photography and more.
  • Morean Glass Studio & Hot Shop, 719 Central Ave.: — Working artists create glass pieces and explain the process, as spectators watch. Those who are interested can book their own hot shop experience to work with an artist to create their own blown glass.
  • Morean Center for Clay, 420 22nd St., S. — Pottery enthusiasts can see the largest working pottery center in the southeast in this historic train station.
  • Haslam’s New and Used Books, 2025 Central Ave. — Florida’s largest new and used bookstore with more than 300,000 volumes available for purchase.
  • Florida Holocaust Museum, 55 Fifth St., S. — The museum features the history of the Holocaust beginning with the history of anti-Semitism and life before World War II, followed by the rise of Hitler and the Nazis and anti-Jewish legislation. The exhibition culminates with sections about concentration camps and killing centers, and a boxcar that was used during the Holocaust.
  • Sunken Gardens, 1825 Fourth St., N. — A 100-year-old botanical garden with more than 50,000 tropical plants and flowers.
  • Craftsman House, 2955 Central Ave. — Gallery and café in a historic bungalow, with more than 300 national and local artisans.

Trolleys are available in St. Petersburg.

For more information, visit PSTA.net and VisitStPeteClearwater.com.

Published November 5, 2014

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