Locals are proud to have the St. Pete Pier in the city and it’s clear to see why. The newly reopened St Pete Pier in Saint Petersburg, Florida is a great place for locals and tourists to come and enjoy the day. With so much to do and see there is something for everyone! I’ll walk you through everything you may want to know if you plan to visit.
History of the St Pete Pier
While the St Pete Pier recently opened in July 2020 (delayed from May 2020 due to COVID), it isn’t the first time a pier has been here. In fact, there has been a pier in Saint Petersburg since 1889 and there have been several different designs over the years. The old pier needed repairs estimated between $25-40 million so it was decided to tear the old pier down.
Discussions for the new pier began way back in 2004! A committee was formed in 2009 with a design competition following approximately two years later. The original design for the pier was vetoed by citizens in 2013 so it was back to the drawing board for another designer to be selected in 2014. From there, it took around 3 years for the plan to come to fruition and the 26-acre Pier District ended up costing around $92 million! Just a tad more than the original $50 million budget.
Restaurants at the St Pete Pier
Doc Ford’s Rum Bar and Grille
We absolutely love the Doc Ford’s located in Fort Myers so we were really excited to hear that we’d be getting one here in St. Petersburg. Doc Ford’s is quintessential Florida with amazing seafood, drinks, and waterfront views. Their menu also offers non-seafood options for anyone in your party who might not be a seafood lover.
Fresco’s Waterfront Bistro
Fresco’s is located near the pier’s entrance. It has a wraparound deck with views of the water and marina. We haven’t been here yet, but have heard nothing but raves about the amazing food. They have fresh seafood, steaks, burgers, and pastas. So in other words, they have it all!
Spa Beach Bistro
This is one of the cheaper food options. It is located at the entrance of the pier, close to the playground and the beach. They serve drinks, pizza, and quick bites. You are allowed to walk around with alcoholic beverages so if that’s something you’re interested in, this is a great first stop to be able to walk around the pier with a drink. We love grabbing one of their boozy iced coffees in the morning.
The Driftwood Café is located on the West end of the pier. They have a lighter fare, so it’s a great spot to stop by if you want a snack. The Driftwood Café also offers cocktails and wine. They have plenty of seating available.
Teak is a fine dining restaurant with 360 degree water views. The food is just as good as the views and Teak truly makes a perfect location for a special occasion or nice date night.
Pier Teaki also offers incredible views of the water and downtown St. Pete skyline. This is a great spot to grab a drink. We usually come for an appetizer and a drink, but they have a nice menu here as well. Pier Teaki is popular, which can make finding a spot to sit a bit competitive. But it’s totally worth it for this view:
Family-Friendly Activities at the Pier
The Pier features great playgrounds for the kids and there is also a splash pad. There is comfortable seating for parents in the shade. This picture shows the splash pad with the Spa Beach Bistro to the right. The large playground is on the other side of the bistro.
St Pete Pier Beach
There is a beach at the pier if you find yourself wanting to relax and enjoy the warm Florida sun. This is the only place at the pier where alcohol is not allowed. And while it is technically a beach, it is on the bay side. So while beautiful, it’s not going to be the same kind of water you might find on one of the Gulf Coast beaches.
Fishing in Downtown St Petersburg Florida
At the very end of the pier, you are able to fish. There is also a bait shop located there, Gator Jim’s Tackle and Bait Shop.
Exercise and Kayak Rentals at the St Pete Pier
If you are looking to be a bit more productive, the pier is a great place for that, too! Every time we visit, we are accompanied by runners, walkers, and bikers. The length of the pier is just over a half a mile with plenty of space to accommodate everyone. You can also rent kayaks at Spa Beach if you want to mix up your exercise routine.
Tampa Bay Watch Discovery Center
The Tampa Bay Watch Discovery Center is a wonderful organization that does a lot for Tampa Bay. Their mission is to protect and restore Tampa Bay estuary through their scientific and educational programs. You can visit them in the middle of the St Pete Pier, where you’ll learn about the bay, including the different species found here. There are interactive displays, video presentations, and a touch tank.
Shopping at the Pier
The St Pete Pier Marketplace consists of 17 vendors at the very beginning of the pier. This is a great place to pick up some souvenirs while supporting local, small shops. Among the shops, you can buy t-shirts, sunglasses, hats, home decor items, and more!
Tips for Visiting the Pier
I recommend skipping the cute dress or skirt (unless it won’t blow in the wind) because it is so windy. One of my friends actually warned me of this before our trip but I ignored her thinking that she just visited on a windy day. So just learn from my mistake and don’t ignore this advice like I did.
If you do not want to walk the pier, there is a free shuttle that drives back and forth down the length of the pier.
The pier is close to a lot of different things to do! One of my favorite things to do is just wander downtown St Petersburg and the pier makes this easy to do. There are so many great shops and restaurants that you could spend the whole day exploring downtown.
The St Pete Pier is a great place to visit if you’re looking for fun activities and want to be in the city but get away from the hustle and bustle for a little bit. With a little something for everyone, I think you’ll love your time at the St Pete Pier!