St. Petersburg, Florida
St. Petersburg, Florida, a classic retirement and tourist destination since the 1920s, offers warm winters, renowned beaches and an ideal location.
St. Petersburg, Tampa and Clearwater are the three closely related but decidedly different cities on Tampa Bay, which faces the Gulf of Mexico. Tampa is basically urban, and Clearwater is a bit more suburban, while St. Pete offers a compromise in between the other two – and a great place to live or visit.
With a population approaching 250,000, St. Petersburg is the fourth largest city in one of the fastest-growing states in the country. Its central business district is home to Eckerd College, located on the waterfront and considered to be one of the most beautiful campuses in the world.
For retirees, Eckerd is more than just beautiful. For those interested in sharpening their intellect, the school offers two distinct programs. The Academy of Senior Professionals invites retirees to audit classes, advise student teams or teach. The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute offers the over-50 set enrichment classes, workshops and special events.
Tourists and locals alike flock to the St. Petersburg Pier, a popular attraction that features a small aquarium, retail shopping, adventure activities and casual and fine dining opportunities. Visitors also can take a boat ride and see the sights from the water.
St. Petersburg is noted for its vibrant arts community, regularly placing in the top 25 in the nation among arts destinations. A hub for culture, downtown is home to a wide range of art museums and galleries. In addition, the Palladium Theater at St. Petersburg College, built in 1925, is a performing arts venue that is both intimate and majestic. The American Stage Theatre Company, freeFall Theatre Company and Florida Orchestra all are located in downtown St. Petersburg.
The key players in establishing St. Petersburg were John C. Williams, who bought the land where the city now sits in 1876, and Peter Demens, who played an important role in bringing the railroad there a dozen years later. St. Petersburg was incorporated on Feb. 29, 1892, despite having a population of only 300. It was named after the city in Russia where Demens spent part of his youth.
Today, St. Petersburg offers a humid, subtropical climate, with a rainy season that stretches from June through September. Its beaches are well-regarded – North Beach in Fort De Soto Park has been rated as the top beach in the United States by TripAdvisor.