.St Pete Pier Best In The World
The New St Pete Pier is one of a kind and the best in the world. Yes, St Petersburg FL now has the best pier in the world…hands down. Grassy hills create amazing views and perfect spots for concerts. Also, multiple amphitheater areas make it the perfect place for musicians and dancers to share their talents to inspire others. Imagination playground, water works patio and Marine institute make the pier a place of fun and wonder for the children.
Additionally, massive displays of art make it a place to dream for every age. Moreover, there are natural plant habitats over the water with boardwalks commingled throughout. It’s amazing that all these masterpieces come together, surrounded by water, at the new St Pete Pier.
The St. Pete Pier explains “From its earliest days in the late 1800s, St. Petersburg has had a love affair with piers. Blessed with a beautiful waterfront, the city has built, owned and managed public piers designed as come-one-come-all gathering places for residents and visitors alike.
Over the years, some of the city’s pier concepts have been more successful than others. But one thing seems beyond reproach: the new St. Pete Pier will be the city’s most sprawling, activity-abundant, fun-filled, fully inclusive pier yet.
(In the picture above, our interpretation of the architecture and it’s shadows on the sidewalk, is “Knitting the Community and Pier Together As One” It resembles fabric. Go get something your Grandma knitted and shine a light through it and see what the shadows look like.)
The new St. Pete Pier differs from its predecessors
It is not a long, narrow passageway over water that motorists and pedestrians use to get to Pier Point, where all the action will take place. Instead, the new facility is a full-on 26-acre attraction that extends in all directions. The Pier experience begins at the Gateway, immediately west of Bayshore Drive, and there will be several ways for visitors to make their way out to the Pier Point. Along the way, a variety of stops and attractions will offer activities for people of all ages.
It is everyone’s Pier, and a Pier that will have something for everyone. Families will be able to spend an entire day at the park — walking, biking, splashing, sightseeing, basking in the sunshine, cooling off in the shade, and more. Best of all, they can do it all without spending a cent if they choose. On the other hand, a couple could splurge on an upscale meal on the fourth floor of the Pier Point building as they take in the views of St. Pete’s glittering skyline.
(All the wood used in the playground areas are aged to look like driftwood)
Seniors will be able to come for a leisurely stroll and a long, relaxing rest in an Adirondack chair. Joggers will be able to get their run in amid gorgeous scenery. Crowds will gather for concerts. Folks will arrive by boat and tie up at one of the docks. They will be able to rent a kayak and paddle out into Tampa Bay. That’s just a tiny sampling of the ways that people will be able to enjoy St. Pete’s newest central meeting place.
(Splash Bay is a water wonderland…we are waiting on that rare Florida day when it goes below freezing to see if it all turns to snow)
Unlike its precursors, the new St. Pete Pier has been built as a modular series of destinations, each one conveniently leading into the next, making for a cohesive adventure with new surprises at every stop. That means people will be able to plan an itinerary, choose their favorite landing spots, or just show up and explore.
(The New St Pete Pier’s Architecture is very very photogenic)
The New St Pete Pier incorporates many of the best trends in modern urban living. It’s eminently walkable. A tram system will make it easy for people to get from place to place. The Pier has an educational component, the Tampa Bay Watch Discovery Center, which teaches visitors about local marine life and ways to protect and maintain Tampa Bay waters. It features several large pieces of public art, headlined by Janet Echelman’s Bending Arc, a massive, billowing net sculpture that is sure to become one of the city’s signature images. The Pier is as much for people who thrive on non-stop activity as it is for those who want a place for solitary contemplation. Perfect for morning runs, afternoon sunbathing or evening strolls.
(When it rains, nature creates art within the architecture to a circle of wet concrete below, and when the sun is out, shadow and light become pleasure of sight)
Most importantly, The St. Pete Pier is very much a part of the larger downtown St. Petersburg. The district will add a vital new attraction to an urban center that’s thriving and growing.
The only thing that’s missing is you!
It’s time to exPIERience the New St Pete Pier
Top Ways to Spend Date Night at the Pier
The St. Pete Pier is the perfect spot for a date night with a difference. Actually, it is more like an entire collection of spots — and that’s exactly what makes it a great option for couples looking for a break from the same old routine. You are able to combine an array of sights, sounds, tastes and other diversions that are sure to make for an epic night out.
The entire Pier offers opportunities for date-nighters, from long-married couples to blind-date adventurers. You can plan an entire itinerary or just let the night unfold. Your date can range from absolutely free to a full-on splurge.
Let us get you started with some pointers on how to make sure your Pier date turns out to be one you won’t soon forget.
Dinner for Two
The St. Pete Pier offers three attractive sit-down dining options that provide distinct culinary experiences. On the fourth floor of the Pier Point building is the park’s destination restaurant, Teak, an upscale eatery with unimpeded views of the Bay and the skylines of both St. Petersburg and Tampa. This isn’t just about the setting, though — Teak’s menu is equally stunning. Couples are advised to allow time for a drink at Pier Teaki, the rooftop bar above. The two concepts, as well as the more casual Driftwood Cafe downstairs, have the same ownership as St. Pete’s popular Birchwood, a boutique hotel on nearby Beach Drive known for its Birch & Vine restaurant and Canopy rooftop lounge.
(We love the “Popcorn Shrimp” at Teak’s Restaurant…it is served in a popcorn box with real popcorn!)
Date-nighters looking for a more casual and more spirited experience can choose Doc Ford’s Rum Bar & Grille, a seafood-focused restaurant named after a character in over 20 Florida-themed novels by Randy Wayne White. Doc Ford’s provides 10,000 square feet of eating, drinking, and revelry, although a couple can enjoy a quieter dinner for two if they choose. The three other Doc Ford’s, all south of St. Pete, are highly successful destination restaurants. Like a good mojito? Doc Ford’s is famous for them.
Located near the Pier entrance, Fresco’s features a spacious wrap-around deck with views of the open water, boat-filled marinas and the Pier District. The restaurant serves lunch, dinner and weekend brunch, specializing in fresh seafood, steaks, burgers and pastas. With a full bar, Fresco’s is the perfect place to enjoy happy hour while the sun sets over downtown St. Pete.
Take in a Sunset
Virtually any place in the Pier complex is ideal for viewing one of St. Pete’s famous sunsets, whether it’s all the way out on the Pier Point Fishing Deck, along the shaded Coastal Thicket or Walking Waterfront, out by the boat docks, or lounging in an Adirondack chair at the Pier Plaza and Tilted Lawn. Few sights are more memorable than orangey-pink skies behind St. Pete’s ever-growing downtown.
Check out a Performance
Entertainment and events take place throughout the Pier grounds, but date-nighters will want to keep an eye out for regular performances in and around the Lawn Bowl and Event Plaza. The area will feature an ADA-compliant slope that provides enhanced sightlines to performances. The Pier’s event programmers will book an eclectic array of acts, so couples are sure to find performances that suit their taste.
Take an Art Walk
Public art offers added delight at various points in the Pier park. Foremost is the signature piece, Bending Arc, by Tampa Bay native Janet Echelman. Couples are able to stake out a spot and be entranced by her massive billowing net sculpture, which moves with the breeze and will have added dazzle with night lighting.
But Bending Arc is just the beginning. Nathan Mabry’s Myth (Red Pelican), is a 10-foot-high, origami-style, bright-red depiction of the city’s signature bird. Belgian artist Nick Ervinck’s Olnetopia is a daring abstract bronze sculpture sure to stoke the imagination. Xenobia Bailey’s Morning Stars — 23 feet wide and 7-and-a-half feet tall — is a brilliantly colorful fiber mosaic that will be located on a wall adjacent to the Pelican parking lot. And for a touch of history, there’s the homage to St. Pete as the birthplace of commercial aviation: a life-size sculpture of The Benoist, the plane that aviator Tony Jannus flew from St. Pete to Tampa with St Pete mayor Abe Pheil as his only passenger.
In addition to these permanent fixtures, the Pier Marketplace routinely feature booths showing the work of talented local artists available for sale.
What better way to conclude a lovely date than a hand-in-hand saunter under the stars? Because the Pier park is so walkable, any place will do. But if you want to make the experience a little extra special, head over to Spa Beach, kick off your shoes and feel the sand beneath your feet as the Bay laps gently against the shore. Feel free to take your time and enjoy the moment. After all, is there anything more romantic than an after-sunset stroll?
Top Things to Do With Kids at The Pier
The new St. Pete Pier was designed with families and kids in mind. From little ones to pre-teens and beyond, children are be able to engage in a wide array of activities that are sure to keep them physically and mentally stimulated. Whether it’s frolicking on a fun splash pad, biking the beautiful grounds, getting wet and sandy at the beach or learning about Tampa Bay’s unique marine life, the Pier is the do-it-all destination that provides all-day fun and adventure.
Here is a primer on ways for parents to get the most out of taking their children to St. Pete’s 26-acre playground.
Let the Children Play
Not far from the Pier entrance parents will encounter the Glazer Children Playground, an ideal place for families with young ones to get their Pier experience started. The Glazer Family Playground is a big, colorful playground was conceived by one of North America’s premier playground designers. The children will be able to burn off energy, play with their friends and have loads of fun on slides, swings, climbing structures, obstacle courses, activity nodes and more!
Get ‘Em Wet
Keep the kiddies cool — and tire them out in the process. At the Pier Plaza, visitors will find an interactive water feature that is both a fountain and a splash pad, with big and small vertical water jets. On warm days — and there are quite a few in this part of Florida! — the area is populated with frolicking youngsters. Of course, parents and grandparents are welcome, too. After a good soaking, visitors will be able to retire to the adjacent tilted lawn to dry-off under the sun and catch a breath. Nearby shade trees are in abundance, along with a covered pavilion to enjoy snacks and cold drinks.
Head to the Beach
Families will be able to add a beach excursion into a day at the Pier. The new Spa Beach has been expanded and will feature a natural shoreline. If you’re a visitor staying downtown, and the kids are clamoring for a little sand and sun, here’s the convenient answer. In case refreshments are called for, the Pavilion Cafe will be just a short walk away.
Lay Out a Picnic
Kids gotta eat, right? And so do the adults. While there will be plenty of places to purchase food at the Pier, sometimes you’d rather bring along your own stuff. The Bioswale — an eco-friendly pond — is its own green mini-park, with lots of grass, trees, and a small pond. The Bioswale will offer plenty of picnic tables and Adirondack chairs. And, of course, there’s always that old standby: the picnic blanket.
Break Out the Bikes
Is there anything cuter than a helmet-wearing 4-year-old steering a tiny bicycle with training wheels, as a parent dutifully runs alongside within arm’s reach? Or perhaps the youngsters are a little older and are now riding along with mom and dad. Regardless of a child’s age or skill, the Pier will be a terrific place for bike rides. The Walking Waterfront, a continuous sidewalk on the Pier’s periphery, and the Coastal Thicket, a heavily shaded oasis of native Florida plants and trees, make for relaxing, scenic excursions. Bicyclers should be mindful that they will be sharing these passageways with pedestrians.
Teach Your Children
Kids will be to learn about marine life and our local environment at the Discovery Center, which is run by Tampa Bay Watch, a highly respected nonprofit organization dedicated to the protection and restoration of Tampa Bay waters. The group will hold educational programs in an interactive classroom and at an open-air Wet Classroom bordered by walkways and railings, and including a bleacher-style observation deck. The Discovery Center will offer field trips for school kids and parents with youngsters in tow are advised to make it an essential part of their Pier visit.
Drop a Line
The Pier will feature a fishing platform built on caissons left from the previous “inverted pyramid” pier, letting you get close to the water and wet a line. It will be a spacious deck that holds a large number of anglers engaging in one of St. Pete’s favorite pastimes. Families will be able to bring along their own rods, reels and gear, or buy necessities at the adjacent Gator Jim’s Tackle. There’s a good chance that youngsters will reel one (or more) in.
All parents know the sound of little ones complaining that they’re tiiiiiiired. They might even fall to the ground, unable to take another step. It’s cute — but only when you look back on it. The Pier facility has gone the extra mile so parents can minimize collapsing child syndrome. Trams will traverse the grounds with stops strategically placed along the way. This allows children to spend more energy having fun than traipsing from place to place and breaking into a chorus of complaints. You’re welcome, parents!
History of The Pier
St. Petersburg has always had a pier. In fact, in the city’s early days, it had several of them jutting out into Tampa Bay. Here’s a look at some of the city’s rich and storied pier heritage.
The Railroad Pier
The city’s first pier dates back to 1889, built by railroad entrepreneur Peter Demens. The Orange Belt Railway built the Railroad Pier which extended a half-mile into Tampa Bay from the foot of 1st Ave S, the terminus of the railroad. Lined with warehouses and loading docks, the 3,000 ft-long structure soon became popular with anglers and swimmers, prompting the construction of a bathing pavilion and toboggan slide.”
Talking to many people that live here, we have found that many people visit the pier frequently to relax, meet with friends, play guitars and sing, play games, and take time to just “be”. The people agree that the pier is no longer separate from the community. Gladly it’s now homogenized and now a daily part of the lives of the community. All the new shopping areas, dining and snack venues and sitting areas make the pier a place to hang out with friends and family. The spa beach is also a favorite with the luxurious sunning lounge chairs. Additionally, all the umbrellas and trees give such wonderful shelter from the bright St Petersburg sunshine. The New St. Pete Pier truly has a new love relationship with the people who live here. We hope all the vacationers and visitors will also take advantage of this new wonder of our world.
The St Pete Pier also explains it’s history
The Brantley Pier
Constructed by boat builder D.F.S. Brantley, the 1,500 ft Brantley Pier is built to compete with the Railroad
Pier, although it never rivaled the railroad pier commercially. A horse-drawn flat car was used to shuttle goods
and passengers from water’s edge to and from moored ships at the pier’s head. Its 34-room bathing pavilion
proved extremely popular. The Brantley Pier started the tradition of 2 nd Ave NE piers. It is replaced in 1906
by the Electric Pier.
The Fountain of Youth Pier
Edwin H. Tomlinson built a 2,000 ft pier and artesian well near the east end of 3rd Ave S. In 1908 Dr. Jessie F. Conrad sampled the well water while visiting and liked it so much that he bought the pier. He promotes the well as The Fountain of Youth, and the water, which contained high amounts of lithium, was eagerly sought by visitors. The pier is torn down in 1927. The Fountain of Youth is now located at 4th Ave and 1st St SE, connected to the ordinary tap water.
The Electric Pier
In the years before World War I, the Electric Pier became a major tourist attraction and a symbol of the new St. Petersburg. Known for its hundreds of electric lights and streetcar lines, the Electric Pier extended 3,000 ft into Tampa Bay. Publisher Frank Davis, who also owned the St. Petersburg Electric Light & Power Company and the St. Petersburg & Gulf Electric Railway, developed this pier which became a major tourist attraction. It was demolished in 1914.
The Municipal Recreation
The first pier to accommodate automobiles, St. Petersburg’s Recreational Pier opened in December 1913. On January 1, 1914, Tony Jannus flew the first flight of the world‘s first airline from the Central Yacht Basin by the pier across the Bay to Tampa. Early amenities located along the pier approach included a hangar for the first airline and subsequent aviation use, an indoor swimming pool called the Spa, an aquarium (which later became the museum of history in 1922), and a dance hall and banquet facility. Additional public facilities added through the years included Spa Beach, sandwich shop, tennis courts, the Solarium for nude sunbathing, and a senior citizen’s center. The October 1921 hurricane damaged the wooden pier and it is replaced by the Million Dollar Pier in 1926.
Million Dollar Pier
Opened in 1926, the Million Dollar Pier and its Casino is a major attraction for the city and popular gathering space. In addition to Spa Beach, a solarium, and bait houses, the Pier accommodated a two-lane roadway, a streetcar line, an observation deck, and WSUN radio station. Designed in the most popular architectural style in St. Petersburg in the 1920s, the Pier incorporated Spanish, Italian, and Moorish elements, rounding out the City’s Mediterranean Revival style heritage. And, the Million Dollar Pier is demolished in 1967 due to deterioration.
The Inverted Pyramid Pier
Then the Inverted Pyramid is built on top of the 1926 Pier head. Completed and opened to the public in 1973, the iconic design continued the tradition of an over–water public gathering place and tourist attraction in downtown St. Petersburg for four decades. Over the years, it housed three restaurants, snack bars, miniature golf, novelty shops, an aquarium and breathtaking views of Tampa Bay. The structure closed in 2013 to make way for a new St. Petersburg Pier.”
Although, many St Pete piers have come and gone, we believe the New St Pete Pier is here to stay…forever! If you are looking to join our community, please call 727-262-7920. We are here to help you find the perfect place to call home.
Update 1/23/21: Today we were at the St Pete Pier walking after lunch at BellaBrava and we saw an amazing performance.