Florida Travel: A Day Trip to Downtown St. Petersburg

Hop, skip or walk from one museum to another in downtown St. Petersburg, Fla. The city is full of cultural treasures including dozens of art galleries and numerous museums.
If you can only afford to spend a day, head to the waterfront to tour the new Dali Museum, be wowed by the Chihuly Collection, enjoy a leisurely lunch, and shop in unique boutiques while experiencing the casual-chic vibe of St. Petersburg.


Visit the Dali Museum During a Day Trip to St. Petersburg, Fla.

The Dali Museum in downtown St. Petersburg is a celebration of Spanish surrealist Salvador Dali. Housing 96 oil paintings and more than 2,000 other pieces of art, this is the largest collection of Dali’s work outside of Spain. The new museum opened in January 2011 and its most striking feature is the building’s Glass Enigma, a large glass sculpture made from more than 900 glass panels framed in steel and wraps around the building. Inside the museum, look up the spiral staircase to see how the Glass Enigma looks like an eye.

The best way to tour the Dali Museum is with a docent who will explain a few pieces of the artist’s sometimes complicated work as well as provide history about the museum and man behind the art. Tours are included in the admission price and are offered hourly on the half-hour.

Dali Museum
One Dali Blvd.
St. Petersburg, Fla.
Tel: 727-823-3767

Be Wowed at the Chihuly Collection Presented by Morean Arts Center
Vibrant colored glass crafted into slim cones, globes, and peculiar shapes in the Chihuly Collection will amaze visitors. Located less than a mile north of the Dali Museum, the Chihuly Collection opened in July 2010. This is the only permanent installation in the world dedicated to renowned glass artist Dale Chihuly. In addition to traditional displays of artwork, some of it hangs from the ceiling or carefully placed overhead. Pieces in the Collection include Ruby Red Icicle Chandelier, a striking piece composed of what looks like fire engine red icicles, and Float Boat, a wooden rowboat filled with glass floats of varying colors and sizes.

The Chihuly Collection is best experienced on a docent led tour. Time permitting, add a visit to the Hot Shop for demonstrations by local glass artists. Or, create your own piece of glass art by indulging in the Hot Shop Personal Glass Experience.

The Chihuly Collection
400 Beach Dr.
St. Petersburg, Fla.
Tel: 727-896-4527

Eat at The Garden Restaurant for Lunch
St. Petersburg is home to delicious dining options. I enjoyed lunch at The Garden Restaurant, the city’s oldest restaurant. The restaurant is located in the old Detroit Hotel, has a relaxed atmosphere and hotspot for jazz. Dining is available indoors or outside in a courtyard. The menu is extensive and I enjoyed a tasty grilled Portobello mushroom sandwich.

The Garden Restaurant
217 Central Avenue
St. Petersburg, Fla.
Tel: 727-896-3800

Room for Dessert? Enjoy Gelato from Paciugo
St. Petersburg’s waterfront has a European with galleries, parks, and outdoor dining. Taste a bit of Italy with gelato from Paciugo. Traditional flavors are available along with the not so usual as strawberry balsamic vinegar, limoncello and violet.

300 Beach Dr., Ste. 120
St. Petersburg, Fla.
Tel: 727-209-0298

Located about a 90-minute drive west of Orlando and less than 30 minutes from Tampa, a day trip to St. Petersburg is worth the drive. The variety of museums, galleries and boutiques makes it an attractive destination to visit often.