Why We Love Living in St. Pete

Puppies play at Fort De Soto Dog Beach in St. Petersburg, Fla. Heather Comparetto/The Penny Hoarder

In the 1920s, St. Petersburg, Florida — which we lovingly refer to as “St. Pete” — drew droves of people from up north eager to enjoy the sun and vibrancy of this city by the water, aptly dubbed “The Sunshine City.”

In the past decade, younger professionals and entrepreneurs have caught on as well, and started migrating to the city.

Penny Hoarder staff members talk during a meeting. Samantha Dunscombe/The Penny Hoarder

(That’s us!)

St. Pete has been cool all along, its founders developing a hip city since 1875 with wide sidewalks, brick-lined streets, artsy Mediterranean revival office buildings and hotels and expansive green parks along the water, minutes from downtown.

What We Love About St. Pete

St. Pete made The New York Times list of 52 global destinations to see in 2014, alongside exotic and well-known cities like Dubai and Athens.

“There’s a vibrancy going on in St. Pete,” said Roger Dow, president of the U.S. Travel Association, who recently relocated to the city, finding it the best of coastal Florida.

A mural artist paints during St. Pete’s “Shine on” festival. Heather Comparetto/The Penny Hoarder

“It seems like there’s something going on every month, whether it be a concert, a festival, the Grand Prix [or] volleyball.”

Here are some more reasons we at Taylor Media love St. Pete, both as natives and transplants to the Sunshine City:

Low Cost of Living

With a median rent of just $949 and median home price at $180,000, the cost of living in St. Pete is competitive with comparable cities.

That means the pennies you hoard go a lot further!

An income of $45,000 in St. Petersburg is similar to a $69,000 income in New York City, Washington, D.C. or San Francisco.

Boulder is 73% more expensive. Oakland is 74% more expensive, while San Francisco proper is a whopping 171% higher.

Friendly People

With a host of transplants moving to the city every year, making friends is easy!

We love our neighbors in downtown St. Pete, from coffee shops and restaurants that line the surrounding blocks to shops full of arts and crafts. They love us back — sometimes they even show it with free food and discounts.

Oh, and did we mention we’re pals with the mayor’s office?

The Weather

The weather on Florida’s Gulf Coast is hard to top. We average 361 days of sunshine each year and average temperatures fall between 60-85 degrees throughout the year.

Plus, palm trees and other tropical plants are abundant throughout the city!

Palm trees sprout up near The Sundial in Downtown St. Pete. Heather Comparetto/The Penny Hoarder

Beaches Everywhere

Whether you want to blend in with tourists or find a secret local favorite, you’ll find beaches within a 15- to 25-minute drive of pretty much anywhere in town.

Staff at Redington Shores, FL
TPH Staff members play in Redington Shores, Fla. Susan Shain/The Penny Hoarder

And did we mention it’s the Gulf Coast? If you’ve never been, you’re going to be wowed by just how soft and white sand can be and how sparkling blue-green the water can get.

You can also enjoy the wilder side of Florida by taking a walk along the boardwalks at Sawgrass Lake Park, and hiking, canoeing, fishing or picnicking at Weedon Island Nature Preserve.

No Income Tax

Florida is one of only seven U.S. states that don’t collect income tax. As Penny Hoarders, we appreciate the savings!

Local Arts and Culture

Artsy types enjoy the eclectic culture of St. Petersburg as well as the abundance of locally-owned businesses.

Danielle Hope, a glass artist working at The Hot Shop in Downtown St. Petersburg
A glass-blowing demonstration at The Hot Shop in Downtown St. Pete. Heather Comparetto/The Penny Hoarder

The city boasts seven arts districts, a popular annual Pride festival, art and history museums and a booming Central District with shops, restaurants, bars and attractions for locals and tourists alike.

Bucs, Rays, Bolts, Rowdies and Bulls

Whether you visit Tropicana Field right here in St. Pete or head across the bridge to Tampa, you can sit in the stands for tons of pro and college sports.

Root for (or against) the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in football, the Tampa Bay Rays in baseball, the Tampa Bay Lightning in hockey, the Tampa Bay Rowdies in soccer or USF Bulls in just about any sport.

The Food

Aside from the best Cuban sandwiches in the country, the Tampa Bay area has tons of delicious destinations for foodies. Hit up food trucks at the Saturday Morning Market in St. Pete, or stop at any local restaurant downtown for a great meal at prices Penny Hoarders love.

We don’t have time to note all our favorite restaurants right now, but we keep a list in the office for quick lunchtime decisions!

St. Pete by the Numbers

  • Population: 256,681
  • Median Age: 42
  • College grads: 40%, although 60% attended some college
  • Median home price: $180,000
  • Median Rent: $949
  • Average commute: 21 minutes, majority 30 minutes or less
  • Average temperature: between 60-85 throughout the year
  • Average snowfall: 0!

Our Favorite Places in and Around St. Pete.

Heather Comparetto / The Penny Hoarder
Kawha Coffee. Heather Comparetto/The Penny Hoarder

Here at The Penny Hoarder, we are super serious about coffee. Kahwa Coffee is a local favorite with a few locations sprinkled throughout town.

Heather Comparetto / The Penny Hoarder
600 Block. Heather Comparetto/The Penny Hoarder

Shops, food, drinks. The 600 block of Central Avenue is scenic and filled with great eateries and local shops.

Red Mesa Cantina. Heather Comparetto/The Penny Hoarder

Red Mesa Cantina is one of our favorite happy hour spots and serves up delicious Mexican food.

Gulfport. Heather Comparetto/The Penny Hoarder

Gulfport is a nearby waterfront town with many restaurants, galleries and shops to explore.

Saturday Morning Market. Heather Comparetto/The Penny Hoarder

Saturday Morning Market is a popular attraction and one of the regions biggest morning markets. It’s full of local vendors, including Abby Albaum of Hoola Monsters.

Black Crow Coffee, a local favorite in Old Northeast.
Old Northeast. Heather Comparetto/The Penny Hoarder

Old Northeast is a charming residential neighborhood and features Black Crow Coffee, a favorite spot among locals.

Image from facebook.com/3DaughtersBrewing
3 Daughters. Photo from 3DaughtersBrewing/Facebook

In the last couple of years, St. Pete has become known as a great spot for breweries, including 3 Daughters, which boasts games and a stage for local music acts.

St. Pete Beach. Sharon Steinmann/The Penny Hoarder

Did we mention we love beaches? St. Pete Beach is a beautiful stretch of land to relax with family and friends.

St. Pete Waterfront. Heather Comparetto/The Penny Hoarder

St. Pete is known for world class waterfront parks that are great for a casual walk or jog. The city also hosts a number of waterfront cultural events throughout the year.

Central Avenue. Heather Comparetto/The Penny Hoarder

Central Avenue is the hub of nightlife in St. Pete and is also a nice spot to spend the afternoon outside. Along the strip there are craft cocktail joints, dive bars, clubs and speakeasies.

Dali Museum
Dali Museum. Heather Comparetto/The Penny Hoarder

St. Pete is home to an array of art museums. The Dali Museum is among the most popular and draws big crowds year after year.

Tampa Bay Rays. Image from Tampa Bay Rays/Facebook

St. Pete hosts a number of sports teams, including the Tampa Bay Rays.

Sunken Gardens. Sharon Steinnman/The Penny Hoarder

The St. Pete area is home to wildlife sanctuaries and botanical gardens like the Sunken Gardens, located right outside downtown.

Stefan Davis
Weedon Island. Photo courtesy Stefan Davis

Weedon Island is a beautiful preserve filled with scenic boardwalks and is one of the many places where you can kayak.

Jannus Live. Heather Comparetto/The Penny Hoarder

Jannus Live is a courtyard music venue and a great place to catch touring acts.

Classy Closet. Heather Comparetto/The Penny Hoarder

St. Pete is great for vintage shopping. Classy Closet is a treasure trove of rare items.

Brocante Market. BrocanteMarket/Facebook

Brocante Market features vintage furnishings from all over. It happens once a month in a warehouse across from 3 Daughters.

Across the Bridge: Tampa, FL

Don’t forget about Tampa, just a drive over the bridge! Pop over on the weekends to enjoy a whole other city’s vibrant culture.

Or keep Tampa in mind when you’re looking for housing; some of our staff live in the city and make the daily commute. (Our weekly work-from-home days make it easy.)

Tampa International Airport (TPA) has been included in Travel & Leisure’s list of best airports in America. St. Petersburg/Clearwater International Airport (PIE) is accessible and easy to breeze through, with affordable, small airlines flying around the country.

Where We Come From

While we love to connect with the St. Pete community and hire locally, we also reach around the country to find top talent. Many of our St. Pete staff are transplants, moving here to join our team.

Here’s where we came from:

  • Washington, D.C.
  • Philadelphia, PA
  • St. Augustine, FL
  • Madison, WI
  • Boston, MA
  • Orange County, CA
  • New York, NY
  • Troy, NY
  • Detroit, MI
  • Orlando, FL
  • Chicago, IL
  • Perry, FL
  • Atlanta, GA
  • Miami, FL
  • Salt Lake City, UT
  • Los Angeles, CA
  • Long Island, NY
  • Cedar Rapids, IA
  • Milford, CT
  • Oxford, MI

Wanna see for yourself? We hope you’ll consider joining us in the Sunshine City!

Dana Sitar (@danasitar) is a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder. She’s written for Huffington Post, Entrepreneur.com, Writer’s Digest and more, attempting humor wherever it’s allowed (and sometimes where it’s not).