Summer Road Trip to St. Petersburg

Pack up the car and hit the road for this thriving arts mecca with unlimited culture to spare, just a four-hour drive from Stuart

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The Don CeSar. Photo courtesy of The Don CeSar
The Don CeSar. Photo courtesy of The Don CeSar

Stay

St. Pete boasts many star properties, but few can eclipse The Don CeSar. The legendary “Pink Palace,” built in 1928, has welcomed its share of famous guests ranging from U.S. presidents to Hollywood elite. Having completed a full-site renovation less than two years ago, the stunning National Historic Landmark property overlooks the Gulf of Mexico in St. Pete Beach and offers six restaurants and lounges, an award-winning spa, a new state-of-the-art fitness center, and a private beach with spectacular Gulf Coast views. Guests can opt to stay in one of 277 guest rooms or take up residence a half-mile away in the spacious and family-friendly Beach House Suites.

The Vinoy Resort & Golf Club, Autograph Collection. Photo by Jeff Herron
The Vinoy Resort & Golf Club, Autograph Collection. Photo by Jeff Herron

About 10 miles away on St. Pete’s bay side is The Vinoy Resort & Golf Club, Autograph Collection. The luxurious, cotton candy–hued resort is oozing with charm and is celebrating its platinum anniversary with some new amenities including a 2,000-square-foot spa. Guests can also enjoy the private marina, 10 Har-Tru green clay tennis courts, and an 18-hole championship golf course designed by Ron Garl.

The Dalí Museum. Photo by Dana Hoff
The Dalí Museum. Photo by Dana Hoff

Explore

When you’re ready to head out for the day, a good place to start is the St. Pete Pier, which is teeming with restaurants, art installations, and manicured green spaces.

Then head over to The Dalí Museum to explore the Spanish surrealist’s masterworks and the new Dalí Dome, which stands 39 feet high and 60 feet in diameter and houses Dalí Alive 360°, a multisensory experience with surround sound and digital artwork splashed from floor to ceiling. Next, stop by Morean’s Chihuly Collection to check out a treasure trove of unique creations by renowned blown-glass artist Dale Chihuly. And just a few blocks west in the Warehouse Arts District is Fairgrounds St. Pete, a one-of-a-kind art-meets-technology experience complete with whimsical exhibits, immersive scavenger hunts, and rooms filled with lighting and sound.

The Library. Photo by Alyssa Rosenheck
The Library. Photo by Alyssa Rosenheck

Eat & Drink

Kick off a day of arts and culture at The Library. The eatery at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital puts a bibliophilic spin on Sunday brunch with book-lined walls and cozy nooks for eating and reading. Indulge in gourmet breakfast items like the French toast stack, braised beef cheek Benedict, and maple Snickerdoodle pancakes.

If you’re staying at The Don CeSar, you’re in luck because the resort is home to a AAA Four Diamond restaurant, Maritana. Chef Jason Kohl prepares American and Spanish delicacies like fresh-caught hogfish and Iberico pork with shishito peppers.

Grilled Spanish octopus at Allelo. Photo by Karen Culp
Grilled Spanish octopus at Allelo. Photo by Karen Culp

Within walking distance, you will find Beach Drive, a popular street among epicureans. Nestled between downtown St. Pete and the waterfront, Beach Drive is home to stellar foodie options like Allelo, a Mediterranean restaurant lauded for its seafood-centric fare like grilled Spanish octopus with melon, blueberries, and goat cheese and a 1,200-bottle wine list that nabbed the 2023 Wine Spectator Award of Excellence. And Stillwaters Tavern is a delicious scratch kitchen and bar that serves contemporary American cuisine and flamboyant cocktails. Located across from the Museum of Fine Art, it’s also an excellent spot for people-watching.

Webb’s City Cellar. Photo courtesy of Webb’s City Cellar
Webb’s City Cellar. Photo courtesy of Webb’s City Cellar

Feeling hopsy? Head to the trendy Edge District and order a pint at Webb’s City Cellar, a 2024 James Beard semifinalist for Outstanding Bar (and one of two taprooms at St. Pete’s first microbrewery, Green Bench Brewing Co.). The brews here are served in nucleated glassware with bubble activators to keep them nice and foamy to the last sip

Detour

If you have time, a quick excursion to Gigglewaters is worth the short drive. Just 20 miles north of St. Pete in Safety Harbor, the Prohibition-style bar and eatery has a “secret” 33-seat movie theater, where you can catch a classic flick while enjoying full service from the bar/restaurant.

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