We finally got to “exPIERrence” the new St Pete Pier in our beautiful downtown St Petersburg, FL. Over 7 years ago was our first time visiting DTSP when we came to Treasure Island for vacation. We were instantly in love and eventually moved here and planned our wedding in 2015. I loved the retro look of the old St Pete Pier but it was never open when we visited as they had already planned to demo and redesign a new one…. but we loved it so much it ended up in our engagement photos.
We have waited over 5 years to see what the city would come up with and were pretty saddened when the opening was postponed due to COVID-19 from May until July 6 when it finally had a soft opening. We didn’t want to risk crowds so we just lived vicariously through everyone’s photos on Instagram for a few more weeks.
Finally, for my 36th birthday (on a quiet Wednesday night) we decided to mask up and head downtown to look around, enjoy a drink, and have a fabulous dinner and sunset at Teak.
It is BEAUTIFUL! It looks exactly like every mockup I had ever seen of the final plans. The landscaping is beautiful and labelled with information. The walkways are spacious, tons of seating along the way, more parking than I imagined and fun transportation vehicles playing high energy music. Sculptures and artwork at every turn with amazing views in every direction. Lots of security, trash and recycle bins conveniently placed throughout made it feel so safe and clean.
We stopped at the “bar” situated at the halfway point and had the best Blueberry Sangria with Rose wine and a traditional Florida RumRunner near the new beach area. The entire pier is open container so you can walk and sip and enjoy the breeze. We found a great place to sit and people watch – so many people walking, running, skateboarding, rollerblading and furry friends passing by. It was wonderful to see so many people out enjoying a piece of the city after these rough several months.
We then headed to the third floor of the pier to have dinner at Teak. We had 6:30 reservations that were secured about a week prior and had an incredible view of the city from our table. We tried the Smoked Fish Spread and enjoyed wine and tropical drinks. While at the Pier it’s a must to try the seafood so we went with Fish and Chips and Lobster Mac & Cheese which we highly recommend. Since it was my birthday they allowed me to choose any dessert for free – we got the decadent Reece’s Peanut Butter pie and have no regrets!
In full Florida fashion, we did get a beautifully intense thunderstorm that was incredible to watch from Teak. Once it blew past we tried to go upstairs to Pier Teaki but it was closed due to the weather. We’ll have to go back another time. Instead, we walked downstairs to the end of the fishing pier and were blessed with dolphins, a manatee and a rainbow. Everything magical all in one evening.
As we headed back in the direction of the car it was dark enough to see the Bending Arc by Janet Echelman and the beautiful city of St Pete all lit up. It was a perfect evening and well worth the wait. The Pier is a must-see if you are ever in the area and perfect to take friends and family visiting from out of town if you’re lucky enough to live here. Bravo St Pete- we can’t wait to go back!