St Pete Pier is the latest and greatest update to the amazing city of St Petersburg in Florida. Originally constructed in 1913 with many different iterations over the years, St Pete Pier FL just recently reopened in 2020 after three years of renovations with some major new improvements. This amazing new public park pier area has really brought the city of St Petersburg into the front running for the best city in Florida. With so many amazing things to do at St Pete Pier FL, you will never be bored during your stay. In this guide, I will be going over my personal favorite things to do as well as the amazing St Pete Pier restaurants.
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My Favorite Things to Do at St Pete Pier FL
After visiting the city many times over the past 5 years I fell in love. Although I travel full time as a digital nomad, I have recently in 2021 “moved” to St Pete. So when I am not traveling, I will be in St Pete. This is without a doubt my favorite city in all of Florida. The addition of the newly updated St Pete Pier is a great reason for that. St Pete is incredibly interesting that the majority of the waterfront is public parks, not just for the super wealthy as private homes. Having spent a lot of time in the city, I definitely know some of the best things to do at St Pete Pier FL. And here they are:
1. Explore the Pier on Foot
The most obvious of things to do at St Pete Pier is to just take a long walk and explore. The pier is quite massive in size and there are lots of different areas to explore. There are beautiful views of the city along the walk. You will also have panoramic views of Tampa Bay. It is a very beautiful public park and there is plenty to see. If you don’t feel like walking the entire thing, there is a free tram to take you from the front to the end. It runs pretty often and is a convenient way to get around.
Some of my favorite areas of the Pier are the seated areas near Doc’s Grille as well as the small overhangs with little seating areas. There are lots of cool little alcoves with plenty of seating. If you have children, there is a fantastic nautical-themed playground. You can see kids of all ages enjoying themselves at this park. There is also a splash pad area where water shoots up from the ground for kids to cool off during those super hot St Pete summer days. Be sure to walk all the way out to the very end of the Pier where you can fish or just take in the magnificent views of Tampa Bay!
2. Go on an Art Walk
There is some really fantastic art along the Pier. My personal favorite is pictured above called the “Bending Arc” which was designed by Janet Echelman. There are chairs set up underneath this glowing net art installation and you can just sit back and enjoy the art. The entire space is super serene with a really fantastic atmosphere. The colors cast onto the net change constantly and it is a really cool space to enjoy.
Other popular art that you can find along the pier is “First Flight” by Mark Aeling which is a real-sized sculpture of the plane that was flown round trip to Tampa for the first time in 1914. It is a really cool sculpture. There are lots of other small art installations all over the pier so have a walk around and see how many you can find. Let me know which is your favorite art piece on the pier in the comment section below!
3. Eat at one of the St Pete Pier Restaurants
You’ll find several options for St Pete Pier restaurants. When the pier recently reopened in 2020, they added several new options for both sit-down dining as well as counter quick service restaurants. Everything from pizza to ice cream to beer and cocktails can be found at these St Pete Pier restaurants. Keep in mind that this is a touristy area so that is reflected in both the price and the quality. Not to say that any of these are bad, just expect to pay a higher price because of it being on a tourist attraction like St Pete Pier FL.
The Best St Pete Pier Restaurants
- Teak St Pete-If you’re looking for a fantastic view of the entire city skyline with some decent food, come to Teak at the very end of the pier. The food is nothing spectacular but the views are so amazing that this is one of the best St Pete Pier restaurants.
- Pier Teaki-This bar is one floor above Teak and has the same fantastic views of the city on one side but also extends to overlook the entire Tampa Bay. Their drinks are pretty good although high tourist prices. But definitely, a great place to have an alcoholic beverage.
- Doc Ford’s Rum Bar and Grille St Pete Pier-For a laid back and chill Florida grill vibe, come to Doc Ford’s. They have a really cool ambiance often accompanied by live music and a chill atmosphere. I’ve never eaten the food here but I have heard it is pretty good. But I definitely recommend having a drink here and listening to some live music.
- Spa Beach Bistro-Located in the splash pad and beach area, Spa Beach Bistro is a fast-casual dining option with typical American fare like burgers, hot dogs, and pizza. They even have vegan pizza here! The food is pretty good and reasonably priced.
- Driftwood Cafe-After walking the whole length of St Pete Pier FL, stop at Driftwood Cafe at the end of the pier for a coffee, ice cream, or a sandwich. You get great views of the city as well with some great cafe-style fare.
- Hops and Props-At the very entrance of St Pete Pier FL, Hops and Props is a brewery where you can either get a beer to walk along the pier with, or you can sit and enjoy it there. They have some fantastic beers.
4. Hangout at the Beach
St Pete Pier FL has its own little beach area called Spa Beach. While I wouldn’t personally go swimming in the water here you are totally allowed to do it. I don’t know much about the water quality here but sometimes it just looks a little bit off. But I see plenty of people swimming here sometimes so that is totally up to you. The sandy part is nice though to put your toes in and enjoy some sand without having to drive over to St Pete Beach.
There are permanent loungers set up on the beach that are completely free to use. Surprisingly I don’t see people using this area very often. That can be a good thing because if you are looking to use one of the loungers and just relax then you will often have the area completely to yourself. They even have sunscreen pumps located at the entrance to the beach with SPF 30 in them so you don’t get burnt. This is a great addition to the Pier.
5. Grab a Drink and Walk Around
There are many places on St Pete Pier FL to grab an alcoholic beverage and walk around. You are allowed while on the Pier to carry open alcohol as long as it is in the proper container. I don’t believe glass is allowed but a plastic cup is. At the front of the pier is the brewery Hops and Props. They have some fantastic beer that you can enjoy either at the Brewery or in a to-go cup for taking it along the Pier.
Along with the brewery, there are several drink stands along the pier where you can buy beer, wine and a few select cocktails. You are not allowed to carry any of these off of the Pier so you have to finish them before you leave. I personally really suggest Hops and Props over the beverage carts because you get a better beer for the same price. You can also go to Pier Teaki at the end of the Pier and get fantastic views of the city. They don’t have to-go drinks but you can sit and enjoy your drinks there. The drinks at Pier Teaki are pretty decent but be aware that they are expensive for what you get. Also depending on the time of day, this place can fill up pretty quickly.
6. Go for a Run
Going for a run on St Pete Pier is something that I do very often when I am visiting. The length of the Pier is great for running and then continuing along the waterfront. St Pete actually has a really fantastic running setup because the entire waterfront is a public park area. Along with running, you will often see lots of people working out in other ways on St Pete Pier. Amazingly I have seen so many people rollerblading on the Pier that I’ve lost count. It’s a really cool vibe with everyone being very active year-round. This is a really fun and healthy one of many things to do at St Pete Pier FL.
7. Explore the Marketplace
At the very front entrance to the Pier, you will find the St Pete Marketplace. During certain times local vendors from all over St Pete come and sell their goods. You can find everything from local spices to St Pete souvenirs and much more. This is not running at all times so be sure to check online for when this is available. The vendors are set up in collapsible kiosks that you will see at all times even when the Marketplace isn’t open. The Marketplace really encourages buying locally and supporting the local community. This entire market is under the cover of a solar panel roof so don’t worry about overheating.
8. Have a Picnic with Views of the City on the Tilted Lawn
A really cute idea for some fun things to do at St Pete Pier is to have a picnic with views of downtown. There is a special area on the pier that has a slightly raised, grassy area with permanent sun umbrellas setup. You can bring a blanket and a little picnic setup. The views of the downtown skyline are absolutely beautiful from here. It’s a great place to just hang out and just exist in this awesome urban space. Or if you don’t want to go through the hassle of bringing your own, you can always grab some food at the nearby counter service restaurant and come eat here.
9. Visit the Tampa Bay Watch Discovery Center
Come learn all about the natural world in the Tampa Bay Area at the Tampa Bay Watch Discovery Center. Here you will learn all about local wildlife and the history of the surrounding nature. There is a fee for this so keep that in mind. It is located closer to the end of the Pier so those with mobility issues would be advised to take the tram out to it. In my personal opinion, while this is an educational experience, it would be more enjoyable if it was free to the public. I think it would encourage more people to come and learn about preserving the natural habitat that they live around. But of course, that is not up to me to decide. Either way, it is worth a visit. You can find more information about the Tampa Bay Watch Discovery Center on their official website here.
10. Listen to Live Entertainment
Like many other public parks, lots of people come to play their music on St Pete Pier. You’ll hear all kinds of music from acoustic to rap and may even see some street performers. St Pete is well known for being a very artistic city so you can actually hear some pretty good music. Obviously, it’s not Central Park or anything where you hear some real professionals but it’s still nice to hear some music.
Along with the free music that you will hear from artists on the pier, you can listen to live music at Doc Ford’s Rum Bar. While you can obviously enjoy the music if you are dining here, there is also seating set up around the live entertainment area. So you could just sit on a nearby bench and enjoy the music completely free of charge. This is a great one of many things to do at St Pete Pier.
As you can see, there are a lot of things to do at St Pete Pier. I personally am so glad that the city of St Petersburg decided to renovate the Pier and create such a fantastic addition to this already amazing city. The city has seen incredible growth over the past few years and it is only going to continue growing. As of now, there are already several new large-scale buildings going up downtown. St Pete Pier has really put the city on the map as a truly modern American city with a lot to offer. I hope that whether are just coming for a visit or if you live here that this guide has offered a little bit of insight into this new addition to the city. If you are interested in learning more, checkout the rest of my St Petersburg Florida content here.
I hope that you have found this blog post to be useful and informative. I also hope it helped you to better understand the city and St Pete Pier restaurants as well. If you enjoyed my content, please consider signing up for my email list to be notified anytime I publish a new blog post. Also, be sure to follow me on social media to stay up to date with all of my travels. Thank you so much for visiting my website!