The Top 8 Places To Live Near St. Pete, Florida

December 29, 2017 by The727Team

Don’t go through life, grow through life…

8 best places to live near St. Pete
There are a lot of people moving to the beautiful area we live in and if you’re reading this article you might just be one of them. When I moved here in 2013 I knew nothing about the city besides what I had seen when my brother lived here in 2005. Little did I know that this city was undergoing a huge transition phase and I  had arrived at the beginning of it. The more I explored, the more I realized what an exciting place this was to live.

Tampa Bay St Pete Downtown

Downtown St. Pete waterfront overlooking Tampa Bay 

The different areas in and around St. Pete fit together like a puzzle, all of them a little bit different but when you understand how it all fits together you realize how unique this area is as a whole. An area that is a relatively small peninsula in Florida packs everything from world class beaches to modern downtown areas juxtaposed with historical buildings from a century ago.

The appeal to this area is more than what is here. It’s the combination of all the elements that create a certain vibe. Everyone from the artsy folks to the business people and everyone in between have their place in St. Pete. I’ll do my best to paint a picture of what kinds of people live in these different neighborhoods so you can see where you might fit in best.

2017 Dali Museum

The world famous Dali museum in Downtown St. Pete

I titled this article Top 8 Places to Live Near St. Pete because some of these are not technically a part of the city but surrounding areas and cities. There are a few areas that exist as unincorporated portions of Pinellas County. I will also be including specific neighborhoods of St. Pete.

Since everyone has different needs when it comes to where they want to live, the purpose of this article will be to highlight the best parts of each area to give you a full perspective on why people choose to live where they do.  Many of the things I will be talking about are obvious to people who have lived here for a while so this article is more suitable for those looking to move here with limited knowledge of the local area. With that said, in no particular order here is my pick for The Top 10 Best Places To Live Near St. Pete.

8. St. Pete Beach

Who doesn’t want to live near the beach? In 2015 St. Pete Beach was rated #2 on Trip Advisor as Best Beach in the entire US, in 2016 it came in at #4 and 2017 #3. I would say that being in the top 5 for the past 3 years is something to be proud of.  St. Pete Beach is a combination of small motels and inns that have been around for decades as well as huge 5 star resorts located directly on the beach.

What I noticed right away is how different St. Pete Beach is from St. Pete. It is literally a whole different city – Both in municipality and vibe. You’ll notice many people that live here seem to be on permanent vacation with locals hanging out regularly at the local beach bars and restaurants. Things just move a bit slower here and no one seems to mind.

Here’s a few of my favorite places to go in St. Pete Beach. Hotel Zamora 360 Rooftop Bar is a relatively new addition to the area. This is not the only rooftop bar in St. Pete Beach but it is my favorite. The cozy furniture and expansive open space make it a very comfortable place to come have a drink or two with friends. The west portion of the rooftop overlooks the beach from across the road and the east portion has a direct view of boats cruising down the intercoastal waterway. Hotel Zamora also has a pool on the bottom floor that routinely hosts public pool parties which typically attract a younger crowd.

Another winner is Bongos Beach Bar & Grille. Bongos is one of a kind – grab a table literally right on the beach and enjoy lunch with your feet in the sand. Their food is good and reasonably priced. You can order up one of many tropical drinks and live that Florida lifestyle right. This restaurant is located at the base of the Grand Plaza Hotel but it’s not the only dining option here. The rooftop has a revolving restaurant accurately named Spinners which also features a rooftop lounge called Level 11. These establishments are better suited for dinner and night time activities.

One of the most popular places on the beach is Post Card Inn commonly referred to as PCI by locals. This is another hotel with facilities open to the public. You will find that this is typically the most crowded area of St. Pete Beach especially during tourist season. There’s good reason for this – it’s a great place to hang out and enjoy the beach life. The hotel has a beach bar, volleyball courts and a pool right next to the gorgeous sands of St. Pete Beach.

don cesar st pete beach pink palace

The Don Cesar in St. Pete Beach. Also known as the “Pink Palace”

I’m about to let you in on a little St. Pete Beach Secret. When you’re coming to St. Pete Beach from the south end and see this gorgeous pink hotel featured above, hang a left and soon you’ll find yourself in the charming little beach town called Pass A Grille. This little beach front town is filled with more local shops and culture compared to the mostly touristy St. Pete Beach. You can park literally 30 feet from the beach and it’s typically not overrun with tourists. If you’re going to buy a home to live the beach life, this area is the way to go.

Paradise Grille on the beach
Have breakfast at Paradise Grille in Pass A Grille
Pass A Grille is a little bit different from the rest of the beach areas. If you aren’t looking for it, you most likely won’t find it. Instead of a tourist mecca, this area feels more like an island that belongs to the locals. It really feels like an island. Traffic moves slow, people are walking everywhere, life is on “island time”. If this sounds exciting to you, you can take a look at these homes for sale in and around Pass A Grille.

Check out this article about St. Pete Beach which has a more in depth look of recommended bars, restaurants, lodging and activities.

Are you ready to move to the beach yet? If so, here’s a list of homes for sale in St. Pete Beach for your browsing pleasure.

7. Gulfport

Similar to St. Pete Beach, Gulfport is it’s own city separate from St. Pete. What was once a small fishing village has turned into an eclectic artsy town with a local feel. The downtown area consists of restaurants, bars, art shops, kava bars and a variety of other establishments. Some of these businesses actually operate out of converted houses which adds to the charm of this tiny town. There are many people that take pride in the fact that they live in this funky town. I think that saying from Portland “Keep Portland Weird” would also apply to Gulfport.

It’s a bit of a weird city with some residents that fit right in.  If you want a glimpse into the locals lifestyle be sure to check out their local facebook group.Gulfport is just one of those places you have to visit yourself to understand. They say if you’re going to go Gulfport, never go full Gulfport but I’m going to tell you exactly how to go full Gulfport so you can get the full experience. Here’s a few places that truly exemplify the Gulfport culture.

The Blueberry Patch

I heard about this place many times before I actually had a chance to go check it out. The Blueberry Patch was started as a sort of hippy commune in the late 1970s and is now a place where many go to celebrate alternative culture in a sort of judgement free zone. They describe themselves as an artistic retreat – a place for Art, Love and Music. There are many eclectic, artistic and musically inclined people that hang out here. If you’re going to go full Gulfport, this place oozes it. They have 4 events per month and the easiest way to keep up with them is through the event section on their facebook page.

Pia’s

I’ve only been here twice but I’ve been meaning to go back. I was honestly surprised at how good the food and experience was. It tasted like everything was made from scratch, the veggies were fresh and the atmosphere felt authentic. If you’re going to take a date somewhere in Gulfport this is my number one pick. It is especially enjoyable if you enjoy your meal on the shaded patio in the back.

O’Maddys

This is the cornerstone of downtown Gulfport. O’Maddys is a sports bar with direct views of the bay. There is plenty of indoor and outdoor seating and if you happen to stop by on the weekend it’s usually pretty packed.  My kickball team would stop by here after our games to have lunch and maybe a few drinks. It’s a great place to spend a Sunday afternoon during NFL season. Here’s a great page with more information on Gulfport.

If you’re looking to live somewhere with a small town vibe Gulfport may be perfect for you.  This little waterfront town has plenty to keep you occupied but if that’s not enough the beaches and downtown St. Pete are only a short drive away.  If this is something that sounds exciting, you can start your search on our Gulfport Homes For Sale page.

 

6. Downtown St. Pete


It is truly amazing how much this city has changed since I moved here in 2013. I remember riding my bike down Central Avenue and seeing all the potential but nothing really exciting except a few spots in the immediate downtown area. Since I moved here, I would estimate at least 100 new establishments have opened up in the downtown vicinity. Now everyone wants to live downtown but unfortunately not everyone can afford to as the demand for both rental and residential property has skyrocketed. As I write this article I’m sitting outside of one my favorite places Genaro Cafe  and from right here I can count 9 businesses that have opened in only the past few years.

dog bar grand central

The Dog Bar located about a mile west of downtown in the Grand Central District. This area right next to Downtown has just started to come into it’s own.

There’s so much going on downtown that it will be best if I only touch on a little bit of each district. There’s a solid mix of the types of people that live and hang out downtown. This city has kind of grown into itself and different districts have popped up to appeal to different demographics. Here’s a general overview of the different districts.

Starting on Beach Drive you will find upscale restaurants and bars, Tryst Gastro Lounge & The Canopy Rooftop Lounge are two notable establishments that cater to the type of people who enjoy a posh atmosphere. What I enjoy about these places is that they still maintain a very inviting ambience regardless of how you dress. Downtown St. Pete on the whole is significantly less pretentious than other big cities like Miami and Tampa. Dress codes here are virtually non-existent and that is a big contributor to the overall relaxing vibe of this area. Many downtown areas are strictly business however living in Downtown St. Pete is more like being on permanent vacation.

Beach Drive downtown

The Canopy Rooftop Bar on Beach Drive

Right around the corner is the the Sundial and surrounding areas. The Sundial is basically an extension of Beach Drive. Here you will find establishments with the same upscale nature. Fine dining restaurants such as Sea Salt which is a second story high end seafood restaurant that features an expansive patio and elaborate interior including a 22 foot tall glass walled wine cellar. The anchor tenant at Sundial is a gourmet grocery store with a diverse variety of food called Locale Market. Here you can find groceries to take home or gourmet meals to go. The other tenants of the Sundial are mostly fashion and jewelry stores that cater to the type of people who have plenty of disposable income.

Sundial
Moving on to Central Avenue in the Historic District. This is the area on Central which is a full square block of bars and restaurants with Jannus Live– a concert venue right in the middle. This is the original fun block of Downtown. Dive bars, classy sit down restaurants, high end cocktail gastro lounges (whatever that means), a sushi bar and locally made fast food are all here. Here you’ll find a mix of all types of people – probably more diversity than the other districts of downtown since there’s so much packed into one square block. It’s the great St. Pete melting pot. There is live music to be enjoyed on the sidewalk seating and of course enough people watching to keep occupied for an afternoon.  If you’re coming here from out of town, this is the first spot you should come visit.

first friday

The Historic Central Ave Block

This is where the infamous “First Friday” takes place where they shut down the street and open container laws fly out the window. Here’s a tidbit of advice – If you decide to get intoxicated, don’t punch a police horse or you will be arrested for assaulting an officer (something my friend witnessed first hand). Usually the police are nice enough to let you pet the horses if you want though.

There are plenty of condos in the immediate Downtown near the historic district as well as the ones on Beach Drive however your money will go much further if you decide to live only a few blocks further out in the EDGE District.

The EDGE district stands for Entertainment, Dining, Galleries & Shops, Etcetera. This part of downtown is more my style. It has a ton of great restaurants and bars that never get overly crowded but still have a lively ambiance. Developers have realized there is a demand to live downtown and not everyone can afford the Beach Drive prices so complexes like The Arlington & District on 9th have popped up. These town home associations offer a lot more living space for the price compared to the condos in the immediate downtown area.

the arlington district on 9th townhomes

The District on 9th Townhomes will be completed end of 2019. If you’re looking for value per square foot this area of Downtown is the way to go. This area is considered the EDGE district which is more affordable to live than in the immediate downtown area.

Wherever you decide to live downtown, you won’t have to go too far. DTSP (Downtown St. Pete) is all packed into about 1 square mile. Just know that the area surrounding Beach Drive is going to be by far the most expensive. Since it’s all so condensed, it only makes sense to me to live a little bit further away from all the action to get more value. If you’re actively looking for a good deal downtown your best bet is to have us set you up on an auto-search that notifies us whenever something new hits the market. The good ones downtown typically go quick if they’re priced right. If you’re ready to get set up on a downtown search just send us a quick note with your information and a little bit about what you’re looking for.

Ovation & Florencia

Luxury condo buildings on Beach Drive. The Florencia & Ovation stand side by side.

Unfortunately I’m not an expert wordsmith yet so I couldn’t describe St. Pete as eloquently as this article on visitstpeteclearwater.com does – “The city of St. Petersburg is something truly special— it has every amenity you can imagine, still with a quaint sense of community and fantastically Floridian appeal.” This is absolutely true. Downtown St. Pete is really not that big but pretty much everything you could ever need is here. Have you ever dreamed of living in a city without needing to own a car? Downtown would be perfect for you. There are many people who are able to live and work in Downtown. To me it’s the perfect balance – A semi-big city with a local feel where you routinely run into people you know downtown.

A few of my friends and family that have visited me here have pointed out that it just feels like a friendly city. Part of this is people are happy to live here but I also believe that the outdoor seating that’s abundant in this city helps foster a local atmosphere. You may sit down for drinks or a meal outside and see a few people you know walk by which gives you the chance to strike up a conversation. I’ve never experienced anything like this in other cities I’ve lived in and it’s one of the reasons I love living here.

If you’re looking to be right in the action then Downtown is for you. There are pre-existing homes as well as plenty of new construction in the works. Reach out to us and we can help you figure out which works best for you. For a list of homes currently for sale in Downtown St. Pete, check out our Downtown homes for sale page or we’d be happy to reach out to you to get the conversation started.

5. Old Northeast


This is one of the most desirable neighborhoods to live in in St. Pete and probably top 3 in all of Tampa Bay. There are a few reasons for this. This historic neighborhood is not technically Downtown St. Pete but it is the first neighborhood that borders the north end of downtown. You really get the best of both worlds in this area, the beautiful character of the historic homes and the exciting vibe of DTSP.

Old Northeast Tavern

There is also a strong sense of community in this area with a local plaza being the epicenter of community gathering. This plaza is only made up of a few local businesses but it is always buzzing. The anchor tenant is the Old Northeast Tavern, a cozy neighborhood bar that is almost like the neighborhood living room. I remember when I lived in Germany someone told me that some German villages have a community house where the locals can come gather and use for social purposes and I always thought that was a great idea to bring the neighborhood together. That concept is what the Old NE tavern & plaza remind me of. Other tenants include Old Northeast Pizza, a laundromat and Black Crow Coffee. Both are fantastic additions to this plaza and a great place to run into your neighbors.

Old NE St. Pete
On the east side of this neighborhood is the well known North Shore Park. The people who designed this city had the foresight to section off an enormous amount of waterfront property for public use rather than sell it for personal home development. This is one of the biggest appeal factors for Downtown St. Pete. Everyday you will find both locals and tourists enjoying the waterfront, walking, running, biking and kayaking. There is also a pool, volleyball courts and a few baseball diamonds all along the waterfront. Many of the major events put on in Downtown St. Pete are hosted at Northshore. Living in Old Northeast you will always be in on the action.

Here’s a link to our homes for sale in Old Northeast page.

4. Kenwood


There is something magical about Kenwood. Located about a mile west of Downtown St. Pete, this neighborhood consisting of about 1100 homes is made up of mostly bungalows built in the 1920’s. The typical Kenwood home owner is the type of person who takes pride of ownership in their historic home. The typical Kenwood home is not huge but instead capitalizes the use of space to maximize the desirability and coziness of the home. For example many Kenwood homes will have a front porch for relaxing on when you’re in the mood to talk with your neighbors walking by. Many will also have a private fenced in back yard featuring extensive landscaping, ambient night lighting, fire pits, hot tubs, grill areas and of course plenty of seating for guests in and around the patio for when you want to have your friends over.  These homes are filled with character and old time charm but this is not the only factor that makes Kenwood a desirable place to live.

seminole park

Seminole Park pavilion fits the historical design cues of Kenwood.

Kenwood is a social neighborhood. Part of this is because many of these homes are built for entertaining. Once a month one of the neighbors volunteers to have a neighborhood “Porch Party” where the community gets together, shares food and gets to know each other. The people that take pride in their homes love to show their creations off to their neighbors which is why many of them are happy to host these events. There is also an annual event called Pinot In The Park where the neighborhood gathers together in Seminole Park in a celebration of fine wine and locally catered food. Another event worth noting is the annual Bungalowfest where 10-15 Kenwood home owners open up their homes to the public to show off the extensive renovations and updates in their historic bungalows. Check out this video of Bungalowfest we put together in 2015.

Kenwood is also home to a large concentration of LGBT friendly people. Nearby is The Grand Central District where Florida’s biggest gay pride parade started 15 years ago. St. Pete is a very accepting place for the LGBT community but Kenwood and The Grand Central District are the epicenter of this movement.

3. Snell Isle


Driving into Snell Isle is a bit of a dramatic experience compared to other neighborhoods. As you cross the bridge from Old Northeast to Snell Isle, you’ll go from cobblestone streets to manicured lawns with mega mansions overlooking the bayou. Drive further and you’ll notice a building taller than the rest that looks like it takes design queues from a middle eastern mosque. This is actually the Vinoy Golf Club and is a big part of St. Pete & Snell Isle history.

Snell Isle St. Pete

Snell Isle Golf Club

Take a turn off the main road to see some of the most expansive and extravagant personal residences in the St. Pete area. Many of these homes are more modern compared to historic neighborhoods such as Old Northeast and Kenwood. You’ll be hard pressed to find a waterfront home under the 2 million dollar price point and many of the non-waterfront homes are still pushing over the million dollar mark.


This neighborhood is what you would picture if you were to envision an upper class suburbia. Well manicured lawns, large homes with nice cars parked outside and locals outside enjoying their neighborhood.  The best way to explore this area is to jump on a bicycle and take a slow ride around. This will give you the chance to make your way through this large neighborhood easily yet slowly be able to look around and appreciate the different styles of architecture incorporated into these luxurious homes.

Are you looking for a beautiful home in a sophisticated neighborhood? Snell Isle is the go to place in St. Pete for luxury living near downtown. Here is a list of current homes for sale in Snell Isle.

2. Pinellas Point


I may be a little biased on this neighborhood because this is where I live. Pinellas Point is the southern most point of Pinellas County and is many times overlooked by people during their home search. Many people have the mentality that nothing south of Central Avenue is worth looking at because of some broad generalization of the quality of neighborhoods on the south side. Along with Pinellas Point I can name a few other neighborhoods on the south side that I would live in as well. Coquina Key, Lakewood Estates, Bahama Shores and Broadwater are all often overlooked areas with some gorgeous homes and pleasant neighborhoods.

Skyway Marina District established in 2013 has seen a ton of development in 2017 and plenty more planned for 2018.

The southernmost part of Pinellas County also has an up and coming commercial area which was named The Skyway Marina District in 2013. This district was formerly mostly vacant shops and run down buildings however it is now undergoing a dramatic improvement phase with new retail stores, restaurants and a large scale 80 million dollar new construction mixed use apartment complex that broke ground in 2017. The Skyway Marina District is the first impression of St. Pete you have as you come across the Skyway Bridge from the south. With that said, it is important that this area properly portrays the prosperous nature of our city (I hope you like alliteration).

Here’s the city’s mission statement regarding the future of the area “The Skyway Marina District Plan represents a collective vision for a south St. Petersburg mixed use center.  The community has long desired a destination district in the far southern Pinellas County area as their first option for shopping, dining and employment.  A successful district would expand the market from local to regional, improving the business mix and increasing employment opportunities.”

One of the main roads in this area is 54th Avenue South which serves as a gateway from mainland Pinellas to some of the most beautiful beaches in the United States including Fort Desoto and St. Pete Beach. This is another reason for revitalization in this area. It’s also worth mentioning that there is a large concentration of nice neighborhoods in this area with very limited options for dining and retail. This plan is not just for aesthetics of the area but actually a necessary step to improve convenience for locals and strengthen the sense of community and pride of the residents that live in these surrounding neighborhoods.

This area is also home to the infamous Pink Streets. The Pink Streets have this name because the roads here are literally pink. This area was originally supposed to be the most wealthy suburbs of the city before the immense development of downtown St. Pete and surrounding areas. It is still a really nice, peaceful neighborhood with plenty of nice homes.

Are you ready to become my neighbor in the southernmost part of St. Pete? Check out our page of homes for sale in Pinellas Point.

1. Old Southeast


Old Southeast is where I want to move to next. Just close enough to downtown to be convenient yet just far enough away to have your own piece of serenity. This neighborhood also has a 14 acre waterfront park and a couple of small gathering spots for locals – A beautiful historic restaurant and a trendy market nestled right in the middle of the neighborhood. There is even a local treasure here called thrill hill which is a small bridge at the entrance of the Old Southeast neighborhood coming from Downtown. Thrill hill is a tiny, very steep bridge that will get your car airborne if you hit it going faster than about 40 MPH. Good news is that it’s still pretty exciting to drive over it doing the speed limit.

lassing park old southeast

The restaurant Chattaways features bright decor and an expansive patio with a koi pond. This restaurant serves up many American style dishes and standard bar food. Their food is great and it’s also a super relaxing place to have a drink if you need a break from the busy downtown scene. They put their beautiful patio to use with live music and other events on a regular basis.

The Old Southeast Market is a relatively new addition to the neighborhood and I have never seen anything like it. Inside you will find the standards of a local market – Cold drinks, a nice wine selection, some snack options and a deli that makes sandwiches and other to go meals. Outside they have a patio where you can sit down and enjoy the sun with your food and drink. Sometimes they’ll even have special events such as yoga on the patio. I had visited this market when they first opened and then again a few months later and the owner recognized me as soon as I came in which was a pleasant surprise. The staff seems to treat their customers as friends – this sort of dynamic is something you can only find in a locally owned neighborhood market.

Old southeast market

As you drive through Old Southeast you will notice a wide variety of the types of homes here. It’s similar to Old Northeast in the way that the majority of the neighborhood is made up of historical homes from the 1920’s era with some more modern homes mixed in. There are many eclectic homes here and I’ve noticed there’s a good amount of them that have rental units attached and are legally zoned for multi-family. This is great news if you’re looking for an income property to supplement your mortgage payment.

There are two other smaller neighborhoods in this area that are usually lumped into the Old Southeast category. Driftwood, an area that resembles a subtropical jungle more than the typical St. Pete neighborhood is a true hidden gem. At only 49 homes, this neighborhood has a sense of exclusiveness and has a claim to fame as well – It’s the only part of Pinellas County that saw armed conflict during the Civil War. Here’s an extremely well done video of the Driftwood neighborhood which is part of the city of St. Pete’s living local series.

The other smaller neighborhood named Tropical Shores consists mostly of homes built in the 1950’s. This is where you will need to look if you’re considering a waterfront home in the Old Southeast Area. Many of these homes differ from what you would see in the rest of the area – They are typically block construction homes built in the 1950’s rather than the historic 1920’s homes you see in the rest of the neighborhood.

Overall Old Southeast is definitely one of my favorites and I plan on living there one day.  Here is a list of homes currently for sale in the Old Southeast neighborhood.

Final Thoughts

This city is even more than I thought it would be when I first moved here. I’m writing this article the week of Thanksgiving so in the spirit of being thankful I’d like to express my gratitude for the opportunity to live in such an amazing, progressive, diverse and forward thinking city. I’ve lived in different parts of the US as well as Germany for some years and up until I lived in St. Pete, I would always be looking out for the next best thing. Here I am content and happy that I can wake up every day and enjoy this ever changing city.

There is something for everyone here. I was able to buy my first home in St. Pete which is perfect for me because this is where I’m putting down my roots. If you enjoy this city as much as I do you will probably feel the same way.

If you need assistance on your real estate search we would love to sit down with you at your office in St. Pete at 2012 4th St N. We also have some fantastic listing services that include high definition video walk through tours which help our listings get exposure to thousands of people before they even hit the market. Below is a map of our office location, looking forward to meeting with you!

 

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