Photo: James Ross
From superb galleries to its urban art, Contributor James Ross discovers that exploring art in St Petersburg, Florida, can be as much fun as the beach
Updated Nov 15, 2022 / Commissions may be earned from our affiliate partner links
Known locally, and with some affection, as “St Pete”, the Florida Gulf city of St Petersburg is a unique destination for more than just its hotel ghosts and romantic love affairs.
In fact, the city is charmingly eclectic, artsy, and bohemian. In fact, St Pete’s diverse residents relish the fact that their city has two distinct sides to explore: the sugar sand beaches in the west, and a thriving downtown to the east that fronts a beautiful marina and is home to one of the most important art museums in the state.
To learn more about these and the many other wonderful things to do in St Petersburg, read our guide to the best places for a genuine art in St Petersburg, Florida, experience.
The Art Lovers’ Guide to Art in St Petersburg, Florida
Visit “The Dali” – The Salvador Dali Museum
Even though most of us visit the “Sunshine State” to celebrate the beaches, ocean, and sun, a visit to the Salvador Dali Museum, or “Dali”, is a must for those who love art in St Petersburg. If you have an afternoon free in, be sure to include on your list of things to do in St Petersburg.
The museum is a beautiful building, as artistically unique as the more than 2,000 works it houses by the Spanish master of surrealism, the largest collection of his works outside of Spain.
Grab a seat in the museum’s coffee shop and marvel at the building’s architecture, the enormous glass bubble with over a thousand triangular pieces of glass and the concrete stairway that extends three stories high, looking like a strand of DNA. Dali was intrigued by DNA, and DNA molecules appeared in several of his paintings.
Afterwards, you can stroll from the museum along pretty Beach Drive, with its banyan trees and a shaded park, lined with all manner of cafés, shops and bars.
Learn more from the museum’s website at https://thedali.org.
Explore St Pete’s Urban Art Scene
In most cities, the alleys are the last place you’d expect to find world-class art. In St Pete, however, home-grown and internationally imported muralists have thoroughly staked their claim to the back walls of the urban buildings, raising the bar and completely redefining the very notion of street art.
The St Pete Mural Tour takes you on a guided journey through the colourful streets, while a local artist guide describes the vibrant stories of the creators behind the murals. The walk takes your breath away as you come upon one mural masterpiece after another.
For more info on walking mural tours of St Pete, visit their website at https://stpetemuraltour.com.
The St Petersburg Museum of Fine Arts
The first museum established in St Pete in 1965, the Museum of Fine Arts is home to a permanent collection of more than 20,000 objects spanning 5,000 years of human history.
My visit coincides with the exhibit Star Wars and the Power of Costume. I am led on an intriguing journey into the Star Wars universe, as characters are brought to life through a dramatic presentation of more than 60 iconic outfits featured in the first seven films of the film series, from Queen Amidala’s lavish gowns to Darth Vader’s imposing black armour.
To learn more about the St Pete Museum of Fine Art, check out their website at https://mfastpete.org.
You’ve Explored the Art in St Petersburg – Now, Where to Stay?
Now that you’ve seen the very best of the art scene in St Petersburg, you’re no doubt feeling a little tired So, where to stay?
For a truly memorable luxury stay, we recommend the historic The Don CeSar. This classy 1920s era hotel features richly decorated rooms and suites and is widely regarded as the most romantic luxury hotel in Florida.
Check out our preferred accommodation partner for the latest reviews, rates, and reservations at The Don CeSar.
Contributor James Ross is a travel writer and columnist, and author of the books Cottage Daze and Still in a Daze at the Cottage. He lives in Muskoka, Ontario, Canada.
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