The St. Pete Pier is celebrating their Grand Opening this week! An incredible new addition to the already uber-popular downtown waterfront! It spans 26 acres and came at a price tag of $92 million! There is something for everyone from kids to fishermen. For art lovers, there are various works of art scattered strategically throughout the grounds. From the well-known Tampa Bay artist Janet Echelman’s, “Bending Arc” to the Nathan Mabry “Red Pelican” sculpture that will signal you that you are at the entrance to the pier. There are trams at the entrance to drive you down to the pier, in the event you can’t or don’t want to walk. The first of six restaurants “Fresco” is located at the entrance overlooking the marina.
Things to Do on the Pier
The St. Petersburg Museum of History is located along the entrance to the pier. Open from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Learn all about the history of St. Pete in this beautiful facility. General Admission is $15.00 and kids under 6 are free! A bronze statue by the late sculptor, J. Seward Johnson, Jr. called “Get the News!” is a newsboy holding up the paper next to a bench of newspapers on the grounds of the museum. Mr. Johnson also designed the “Unconditional Surrender” famous sailor and nurse statute in Sarasota.
There is an amazing play yard area for the kids to play and climb. Just on the outskirts of the family area is the “Spa Beach Bistro” a casual outdoor café where you can sit outside or get food to go. Nearby, there are fountains to cool off for everyone to dip their toes. On the south side of the is “Doc Ford’s Rum Bar & Grille”, a full-service restaurant serving local fresh seafood.
The Tampa Bay Watch Discovery Center has interactive exhibits, videos and a touch tank. Kids and adults of all ages can explore and learn about sea life on our Suncoast. The center will host classroom space and an open-air wet classroom. An experience everyone should check out on your way to the pier.
Grand Opening Activities at St. Pete Pier
For the Grand Opening week, there is live music, jugglers, unicyclists and breakdance performances. There will be puppet shows and balloon twisting for the kids. You can sit on the Great Lawn and enjoy the music and views. The pier houses several restaurants including “Teak”, which is the upscale, fine eatery, the “Driftwood Café”, for shacks and on the rooftop floor is “Pier Teaki” which has the ultimate views of downtown St. Pete and Tampa Bay! Pier Teaki has a tiki bar ambience serving cocktails and Hors D’ Oeuvres including wings, flatbreads, coconut shrimp, burgers and fish sandwiches.
The back of the pier has spectacular views of the bay along with a fishing deck. You can bring your canine friends on leases to walk around the pier area. There is “Gator Jim’s Tackle” for those who want to try their hand at throwing a line but didn’t bring their rod along. There is also a gift shop for those want to sport a new St. Pete Pier t-shirt. You can go for an hour walk around or spend a day exploring all the pier has to offer. St. Pete has done a superb job in showing off the great Suncoast area!
You must have a ticket to go to the pier, they are free online and you can check out all the information on their Facebook page. Bring a face mask to wear around areas where you can’t socially distance and there are 10 hand-sanitizing stations located all around the pier area. Don’t forget your camera for some great photo-ops. Dogs are welcome on leashes except in the restaurants. For the Grand Opening, the hours are 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., through Saturday and Sunday is 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Photos by Vicky Sullivan