By Heather Turk
With its many murals and breathtaking beaches, St. Petersburg, Fla. is the very definition of a picture-perfect vacation destination. Not surprisingly, one of the city’s most popular attractions also happens to be very picturesque—beautiful Beach Drive in downtown St. Petersburg.
Nestled beneath the striking Mediterranean Tower of The Vinoy Renaissance resort, visitors will find Beach Drive reminiscent of a stylish promenade in the French Riviera. Featuring an array of high-end shops, world-class museums and galleries and delectable dining options for all tastes and budgets, visitors can stroll the charming waterfront shopping district while soaking up some of the city’s best views.
Beach Drive’s eclectic collection of boutiques offers everything from high-end beach ware (Cerulean Blu) to fresh-ground spices (Savory Spice Shop). Must-stop shops include the Infused Tea Company, a staple of downtown St. Petersburg thanks to its flavorful selection of loose leaf teas, and SHAPIRO’S Gallery, one of St. Petersburg’s oldest art galleries. Boasting an ever-changing feast for the eyes, SHAPIRO’S features a collection of blown glass, jewelry, wall art, clay pieces and more created by artists from Florida and across the country. It’s the perfect place to find a unique present or addition to your home décor!
Beach Drive is also home to some of Florida’s most delightful dining and drinking establishments, like The Canopy rooftop lounge. Perched atop The Birchwood hotel, guests can indulge in invigorating libations like the Michter’s Coco Rock (Michter’s Small Batch Bourbon with a toasted coconut ice cube) and tantalizing light fare while enjoying unobstructed views of Tampa Bay, Straub Park, Beach Drive and the downtown St. Petersburg skyline. Private cabanas are available and there are fire pits to warm up by during those “cold” winter nights.
Another popular drinking and dining spot is 400 Beach Seafood & Tap House, with indoor and outdoor dining, overlooking Straub Park and The Vinoy hotel yacht basin. Guests can experience award-winning coastal cuisine by chef Ana Granucci while enjoying a selection from the restaurant’s extensive wine list, which offers 40 wines by the glass or one of 24 draft beers. Other delightful options with mouthwatering fare include Annata, a relaxed restaurant and wine bar situated on the scenic waterfront of Straub Park, and the popular Italian eatery Bella Brava.
Of course, this is just a taste of what Beach Drive has to offer. For more information, go to StPete.org.