The city and its surrounding area has a wonderful dual personality. On its west side facing the Gulf of Mexico is St. Pete Beach and a series of beautiful, sister city beaches stretching north along the coast. On its opposite side facing Tampa Bay is downtown area - the cultural center of this area. Both personalities have much to offer.
Downtown is a revitalized blend of luscious parks and impressive architecture that come together into a very pleasant city environment. One could easily enjoy a warm sunny day simply strolling through this area.
The Pier is closed permanently. One of the more striking structures is The Pier. This five-story, inverted pyramid building is located at the end of a man-made causeway that extends 2,400 feet into bay. The Pier, now closed, had several restaurants, shops, an aquarium, and an observation platform that provide a contemporary setting for dining, entertainment, shopping and sightseeing. Efforts are underway to replace this fascinating structure.
The downtown bayfront area hosts an impressive collection of sailboats and yachts at the Municipal and Harborage Marinas. Facilities at both marinas are first rate. The St. Petersburg Yacht Club is also located here.
Several museums are home to downtown including the Museum of Fine Arts, Museum of History, the Florida International Museum and the Salvador Dali Museum! The Florida International Museum regularly hosts world-class exhibits. On the lighter side one can visit nearby Great Explorations, a hands-on museum that is generally a big hit with the kids.
The nearby Mahaffey Theater hosts a variety of entertainment events including Broadway, family shows, ballet, jazz, symphonic and popular music. Just a few blocks away is the tilted-dome indoor arena Tropicana Field which is the home of the Tampa Bay Rays baseball team.
Its alternate personality exists on the west coast along the Gulf of Mexico. St. Pete Beach is a seven mile beach of fine white sand that so typifies the west-central coast. On the southern end is the Don Cesar Beach Resort and Spa. The resort originally built in 1928 has been refurbished and offers luxurious accommodations.
Fort De Soto State Park is a 900-acre park that has seven miles of beaches, two fishing piers, a bike and walking trail, picnic and camping facilities, and a historic fort for which the park is named. Visitors can stroll through Fort De Soto which was built during the Spanish-American war. Immediately adjacent to the fort is a fishing pier that extends for hundreds of feet into the Gulf. The pier overlooks the Gulf of Mexico, Tampa Bay and Egmont Key.
Johns Pass Village at Madeira Beach is a rustic boardwalk community with restaurants, bars, shops and boat rental facilities. The village overlooks Johns Pass on the inside of the pass that leads to the Gulf of Mexico. Those with an interest in boating could watch the comings and goings of private and commercial boats through this narrow pass for hours.
The Pinellas Trail is paved trail for walking, jogging, biking and roller blading. This 34 mile trail stretches from St. Petersburg to Tarpon Springs.
For professional sports enthusiasts, the area is a veritable paradise. Major League Baseball team Tampa Bay Rays play at Tropicana Field from April to September. Across Tampa Bay, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers NFL football team play at the Raymond James Stadium during the season from August to January. The Tampa Bay Lightning National Hockey League team play at the Times Forum from October to April.