Strolling in Straub Park - St. Petersburg
Straub Park in Downtown St. Petersburg is one of the most scenic locations in the Tampa Bay Region. Lovely banyan trees meet the city in a fantastic park setting.
There is so much to offer on the sun coast of Florida, but one of the delights is spending the afternoon in downtown St. Petersburg. This upscale location is an eclectic area full of multi-million-dollar condos, lovely hotels, museums and tremendous water access. Artisans, restaurateurs, business owners, locals and tourist mix gracefully on the streets and sidewalks, where lovely open-air restaurants and shops abound.
The St. Pete Museum of Fine Art, in the middle of Straub Park, is conveniently located adjacent to Beach Drive, in the middle of the action. The Museum features works from America, Africa, Asian, Europe and Oceana with exhibits from ancients times to today. You could easily spend the day seeing everything. The museum is part of the Bank of America Museums on Us Program, meaning you can visit the first weekend of the month for free if you are a Bank of America customer.
You can also find contemporary and decorative works just a few blocks to the south, at the fantastic Salvador Dalí Museum. The Chihuly Glass Museum is at 720 Central Ave, an easy walk from the park as well.
As you leave the Fine Art Museum you can walk down Beach Drive and enjoy a drink or lovely meal at many of the indoor / outdoor cafes. One of my favorites in Ceviche, with lovely tapas, zesty Spanish cocktails, and a variety of sangria. Try the croquetas and pan con tomate, two of my favorites from Spain. The white sangria with mixed fruit is fantastic.
If you cross Straub Park to the east, you will find yourself at the Pier. The St. Pete Pier is a landmark location extending into Tampa Bay from downtown St. Petersburg. Over the years several different structures have been built at the same location, however the current pier was completely rebuilt in 2001. Fun for all ages, the picturesque location provides visitors with 25 beautiful acres adjacent to beautiful azure waters of Tampa Bay. Coupled with Straub Park, this area provides a great location to stroll, bike, dine, drink, shop, swim, and listen to live music.
To the north of Straub Park is the famous Renaissance Vinoy Hotel, a member of Historic Hotels of America. This hotel has changed hands multiple times with the United States Army occupying during the war years. Completely rebuilt in the 80s, the hotel is now going through renovations, and is expected to be completed later this year. However, there are many lovely venues for food and drink with lodging still available, during renovation. Historic tours from this location are highly recommended.
In the summer, gentle breezes keep Straub Park on the cooler side. You can take a ferry to and from Straub Park to downtown Tampa, arriving at the convention center. Bring your bike on the ferry and make a day of it.
At Christmas time you will find skating on synthetic ice - not cold enough for the real stuff. You can take lovely walks under the banyan trees with beautiful lights, and lovely Christmas festival music and food. This is one of the loveliest places in the region for holiday relaxation.
If you are looking for a day away from the beach next time your in Florida, come enjoy lovely Straub Park - anytime of year - in Downtown St. Petersburg!