After all that beach-bumming the time is nigh to inject a cool cosmopolitan vibe into your vacay. Next stop: St. Pete! You can haul an Uber or Lyft for the 40-minute ride to downtown St Pete. Or, if you don’t mind a slower pace, you could also catch the Suncoast Beach Trolley to St. Pete Beach, then connect to the Central Avenue Trolley to downtown St Pete.
It is brimming with superb restaurants, bars, boutiques, galleries, museums and local breweries with street art almost everywhere you turn.
Breakfast at Maple Street Breakfast Company (10 – 11:30am)
This place is all about comfort food (or shall we call it guilty pleasures?) and is so worthy of all its rave reviews. Think golden-brown succulent chicken, deliciously flaky biscuit that dissolves in your mouth, home-made jams and jellies and freshly roasted coffee from the local roastery. Throw in some fried green tomatoes and waffles, and you are all set. (Quite possibly with a slight food coma) Luckily, your next stop is just next-door!
Visit the Chihuly Collection (11:30am – 12:30pm)
The totally captivating Chihuly Collection is a glass wonderland and makes for an immersive experience adding a memorable splash of color to your Clearwater Beach trip. We recommend starting out in the Theater, where you get to see how artists breathe life into glass – quite literally. Afterwards admire the sea creatures in the Sealife room and marvel at the out-of-this-world large-scale installations of the Macchia Forest. The Glasshouse and Garden also make for a nice walkthrough, mixing huge glass creations with real plants and flowers. Pass by the gift shop on the way out to pick something up for yourselves, and mom’s/dad’s/Bob’s/Sue’s birthday.
Check out the murals and try some local brews (12:30 – 2:30pm)
Depending on your hunger level, you could aim for a late lunch today and stroll west on Central Ave towards the edgy Edge District to catch some more awe-inspiring murals. Stop by Green Bench Brewing Company, just a block away from Central Ave, for refreshments before you continue walking towards the Warehouse District. You’ll be spoiled for choice with street art and local breweries along the way, and we recommend 3 Daughters Brewing if you are in the mood for some boisterous, bold brews.
Make a loop and turn back towards the Edge District for lunch in direction Green Bench Brewing Company (either by foot, or jump on a trolley).
Grab lunch in the Edge District (2:30 – 3:45pm)
Choose from two legendary food joints depending on your mood. Engine no. 9 possibly have the best burgers in town with a mouthwatering selection of juicy meats with irresistibly tongue in-cheek names.
The award-winning Bodega packs more of a Cuban punch with something for everyone – to be washed down with their home-made thirst quenching juices. After food, jump on the trolley toward the waterfront, which stops right outside the Dalí Musem at the Bank of America high-rise.
Dally around the Dalí Museum (4 – 6:30pm*)
[*Open 10am – 6pm on Sun-Weds & 10am – 9pm on Thur – Sat.]
Redeveloped in 2011, the striking concrete and glass Dalí’s Museum is hurricane-proof and kind of looks like two totally different structures have collided. Well inside, your eyes are immediately drawn to the spiraling staircase and pillar. The museum offers a comprehensive look at the artist’s eclectic work, which you can easily spend a few good hours to explore. Outside, the garden offers a nice little break with views over the marina along with the fascinating melting bench with its melting clock (which looks like its straight out of Alice in Wonderland!)
Explore the Marina and Pier (6:30 – 7pm)
Next, walk over to St. Pete Pier. (It is only a 0.7-mile walk.) On your way to the pier, stop by the large fountain for a snap, then continue strolling along Bayshore Drive to enjoy the marina views with fishing boats bopping in the water and take in the awesome Floridian vibe. Continue out on the Pier for some amazing vistas.
Rooftop drinks at The Canopy, The Birchwood (7 – 8:30)
Just a 5-minute stroll away, along Beach Drive North East Street, you’ll find swanky The Canopy rooftop perched in an advantageous position atop The Birchwood. It is the perfect place to retire for a drink after a day exploring downtown St. Pete, as the day turns to night in front of your eyes.
Fine Dining & Lounging at Tryst Gastro Lounge (8:30 – end)
The award-winning Tryst Gastro is truly a destination on its own, offering a mouthwatering, creative menu of farm-to-table freshness and carefully handcrafted cocktails in an upscale environment. (If you manage to visit on a Wednesday, you and your gang can take advantage of their generous ladies’ night offers!) These guys are open until 2am most days, making it the ideal to cap off the day.