St. Pete is the hidden gem in the Tampa Bay. Just 11 miles Southwest of Tampa, this small peninsula on a peninsula is home to some of the best art, music and hipster spots in the Tampa Bay. Unlike it’s neighbors, Tampa and Clearwater, St. Pete is a small town with a big town feel. Every day and night there’s something interesting and artsy to get lost in. Whether it’s live music from local artists, incredible murals that make you feel like you’ve landed in Wynwood, Miami or all you can drink kava, you will be amazed at what St. Petersburg, FL has to offer the unconventional and artistic traveler.
“Comedians have a supportive place to share new material, poets can seek solace and feel heard, and musicians can get the house rocking. There’s something for everyone...”
The St. Pete Mural Tour
The Mural tour is a guided tour of various murals scattered throughout the city of St. Pete. The St. Pete Mural Festival is organized in Fall of each year and is hosted in part by the city. The artists the come to this small city are from all over the world. You'll find some incredible artwork in surprising places. Murals can be found in nearly every corner of the city center. Be sure to look on the sides of two story buildings, in alleyways, and everywhere in between.
You can jump on a bike with your friends and family and follow the crowd from mural to mural. I’m not a fan of huge crowds so I like to do a self-guided tour. The city offers a map for those who want to skip the crowd and go renegade!
Learn more about the St. Pete Mural Tour here.
The 2nd Saturday Artwalk
The artwalk is definitely something to see if you’re in St. Pete. The St. Pete 2nd Saturday Artwalk is a series of organized art and performance showcases that occur every 2nd Saturday of the month. Most of the showcases are concentrated around the warehouse district in South St. Pete but you’ll find many events to attend throughout the city. On 2nd Saturday, you can jump on the free St. Pete trolley and jump from place to place and checking out places of interest. Some of my favorite 2nd Saturday showcases are:
Glass Blown Art @ Duncan McClellan’s Gallery
African-American Art @ The Dr. Carter G Woodson African-American Museum
Imported Russian Art @ Vladimir’s Collection
Local Theater Productions @ The Studio@620
Shine Open Mic
The Shine Open Mic is the perfect place to try out your new material and be supported by other artists. This open mic has an incredible blend of comedians, poets, musicians and story-tellers. The host, Chuck Terzian, has changed the way open mics are done in the city. With his magical blend of lights, cameras and stage props, he manages to turn a simple mic into a pop-up production. Whether you’re in person to watch the open mic or you’re tuning in on Facebook Live, the quality of artists will blow your mind. They come from all over the Tampa Bay to perform and be featured at the Shine Open Mic.
Comedians have a supportive place to share new material, poets can seek solace and feel heard, and musicians can get the house rocking. There’s something for everyone at this small and artsy mic.
Check out the Shine Open Mic here.
See Local Music at Paper Crane
Paper Crane is the place where all of the my favorite local artists in St. Petersburg gather. It’s a collective of artists who have built a space that highlights local talent through concerts and performances. They are home to screen printers, musicians, DJs and more! If you’re looking for kick-ass indie music, tranquil instrumental vibes, DIY and underground art culture, this is the place!
Check out the Paper Crane here.
Saturday Morning Market
As a vegan foodie, I am absolutely in love with farmer’s markets. With every city I visit, I like to hit a farmer’s market while I’m there. It's incredibly convenient to have one of the largest farmer’s markets in the Southeastern USA in your backyard. The Saturday Morning Market has an incredible array of live music, art, fresh produce, clothes, jewelry, food trucks and everything in between.
When I’m in St. Pete, I enjoy doing my personal shopping here. I find the produce is very fresh, affordable and it feels good to give my money to a local, small business owner. My favorite places to hit in the Saturday Farmer’s Market are:
The Twisted Indian Food Truck - Delicious Indian-food to go
Little Pond Farm - organic produce from a CSA
Ras Rody’s Jamaican Vegan Kitchen - On the go vegan grub
Learn more about the Saturday Morning Market here.
Did you know St. Pete, FL has one of the highest concentrations of kava bars anywhere in the world outside of Southeast Asia? Yeah, facts! This place seems to have a kava bar every half mile. For those who don’t know, Kava is a Southeast Asian drink made from the roots of a pepper plant and combined with water to create a euphoric beverage. It’s non-alcoholic and can even help detoxify the liver.
Kava bars have become a special part of St. Pete culture. Each bar has a different vibe. Some are more professional and upscale which tend to attract the digital nomad and business-minded individuals. Other bars have a more tiki neighborhood hangout vibe. I like both and everything in between! My favorite kava bars to crawl to are:
Grassroots Kava House - Professional, upscale, digital-nomad friendly
Bula Kafe - Tiki, neighborhood hangout, live music
Muddy Waters - great open mic, neighborhood hangout
Mad Hatters Ethnobotanical Tea Bar - Psychedelic, fire spinning and hula hooping on Saturdays
The Blueberry Patch
I saved the best for last. The Blueberry Patch is Florida’s longest surviving artist retreat. If I could describe the Blueberry Patch in three words it would be psychedelic, liberating, and community-minded. This place is on several acres of land just outside of the St. Petersburg city limits. They have colorful lights strung from every corner, DIY make-shift mini environments where attendees can get lost and enjoy the vibe, and plenty of people to connect with. This place has a festival ground feel inside of the city. It’s a popular place for people of all ages. Since it started in the 1970’s, this place has attracted free spirits and music lovers. The cost of entry is usually $5 and it goes straight into the non-profit (the Blueberry Patch is a certified 501.c.3 nonprofit) to help preserve the space. It’s an incredible place worth visiting if you love local music, a festival-style environment with a lot of interesting people to meet!
Check out the Blueberry Patch here.
If you're not convinced by now, St. Pete is an incredible place to be. The unique and artistic spaces in this city are unlike any I've seen before. If you find yourself in the Tampa Bay and in need of some magical places to visit, definitely pay a visit to St. Pete.