Florida Stories: A Walking Tour of St. Petersburg

    Tom Scherberger

    Want to explore the cultural, historical, and architectural treasures of St. Petersburg, Fla.? There’s an app for that.

    Just go to Florida Stories Walking Tours, and download the app created by the Florida Humanities Council.

    With this app you can learn, at your own pace and on your own schedule, what some of Florida’s most unique towns and cities have to offer.

    Here’s an overview of what you can experience via the St. Petersburg app:

    Where: St. Petersburg
    Number of stops: 12
    Start: St. Petersburg Museum of History
    Author: Historian Ray Arsenault, author of “St. Petersburg and the Florida Dream.”
    Start: St. Petersburg Museum of History

    Overview

    The St. Petersburg tour takes you from the downtown waterfront to the shuffleboard courts that once defined the city, tying the city’s past as a silver-haired retirement center to the energized and creative urban oasis it is today.

    The downtown streets are lined with bustling restaurants, cafes, bars and galleries, many in restored buildings from the early 20th Century, blending with new residential high rises.

    As the tour winds through downtown, you can appreciate how the city grew by promoting itself to visitors as “a place of perpetual sunshine, warmth, and good health: the Sunshine City in the Sunshine State.”

    The city’s residents have jealously guarded and preserved the downtown waterfront for public use, making it the perfect jumping-off point to explore the city’s history and contemplate its future.

    Highlights

    The St. Petersburg Museum of History is a prime spot on the waterfront near where Tony Jannus piloted the first commercial air flight in the country.

    The Detroit Hotel, built in 1888 and one of the city’s oldest buildings, is part of the historic First Block, which remains a vital part of the bustling downtown scene.

    Crislip Arcade, built in 1925 and nearly torn down in 2008, represents how historic preservation and the arts brought new life to the city.

    The Kress Building, built in 1927, recalls the era of green benches that drew throngs of retirees but is also a reminder of a painful part of the city’s past, when African-Americans were not allowed at its lunch counter.

    Fun Fact

    St. Petersburg holds the Guinness World Record for the most consecutive days of sunshine (768).

    Things to Do


    Take in world-class art at the Museum of Fine Arts with Monet, Renoir, Cézanne, Rodin, O'Keeffe and Andrew Wyeth.

    Don’t miss the Dali Museum, an architectural gem, with the largest collection of the artist’s works outside of Europe.

    Stroll Beach Drive, the best people-watching spot in the city, and stop at one of the many outdoor restaurant tables for prime people watching.

    Gallery-hop along the 600 block of Central Avenue.

    Relax at one of the numerous craft breweries (Cycle Brewing was recently named one of the top 10 in the world by ratebeer.com).

    St. Pete is a bike-friendly city and has short-term bike rentals throughout the downtown area via Coast Bike Share.

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